Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Heart of the Rebellion by Sian Ann Bessey ~ Blog tour with a #giveaway. #historicalfiction





The Heart of the RebellionThe Heart of the Rebellion by Sian Ann Bessey
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to review
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Description:  September 1400

King Richard II of England is dead. And after three years in His Majesty’s service, Rhys ap Tudor and his brother Gwilym are finally free to return to their ancestral home in North Wales. Their long-anticipated homecoming is overshadowed, however, by the harsh changes they encounter in their once peaceful land. The new king, Henry IV, rules with an iron fist, and the country is ripe for rebellion. Instantly thrust into the forefront of the conflict, the proud Tudor brothers enter the fight for their freedom.

Lady Catrin Buckley is alert to the unrest swirling around her. As the daughter of an English father and a Welsh mother, she knows too well the trouble her lineage poses. Her own battle, however, is one of the heart: she is to be married to a man she neither knows nor loves. Then an unexpected encounter with the enigmatic Rhys ap Tudor changes everything. Soon, Catrin finds herself swept into a rebellion that could not only change history but also rewrite her own future.



My thoughts:  This book is beautiful inside and out. I love the cover and the book is fascinating. Sian Ann Bessey has presented a story and setting that are well done.

This book is set during the Welsh rebellion in the early 15th Century. When a book is well written I tend to start looking up the people and events portrayed in the story. I spent a fair amount of time Googling Rhys ap Tudor and the capture of Conway Castle. Sian Ann Bessey really brought the events and people to life. I could almost imagine myself there with them.

This is a bit of a love story between Rhys and Catrin. There is an underlying attraction that is present from the moment they meet. The story focuses more on the struggles of Wales to be free from Britain than on romance.

This book is a work of fiction loosely based on events in history. I loved the time I spent reading it.




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Sian Ann BesseyAbout the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads)  Sian Ann Bessey was born in Cambridge, England, but grew up on the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales. She left her homeland to attend Brigham Young University in Utah, where she earned a bachelor's degree in communications with a minor in English.
She began her writing career as a student, publishing several magazine articles while still in college. Since then she has published historical romance and romantic suspense novels, along with a variety of children's books. She is a USA Today best selling author and a Whitney Award finalist.
Although Sian doesn't have the opportunity to speak Welsh very often anymore, she can still wrap her tongue around, "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch." She loves to travel and experience other cultures, but when she's home, her favorite activities are spending time with her family, cooking, and reading.
 



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Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Duke's Second Chance by Jen Geigle Johnson

The Duke's Second Chance by Jen Geigle JohnsonThe Duke's Second Chance by Jen Geigle Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to review
Genre: Regency Romance

Book Description:  Second chances often come from surprising places. Will the Duke find another chance at love when everything seems to be combining against him?

Gerald feels as though he’s lost everything when his wife takes her last breath.

Amelia’s world turns upside down when the Duke of Granbury steps into her tea shop and leaves with her heart.

But when a secret from Amelia’s past unveils possibilities, will the duke get a second chance at love from an unexpected source?





My thoughts:  The story begins with a celebratory event that quickly turns into tragedy. Gerald is forced to live without the woman that he loves and has no inclination to see his newborn son. He is bitter and feels that he has no hope.

Trying to run away from his problems he finds himself at the door of a tea shop and meets a woman who he feels he can talk to. Amelia feels an instant connection but realizes that he is above her station. When he reveals a drastic plan she realizes that she must be just as drastic to save him from a life of unhappiness.

This book is really sweet. I enjoyed the relationship between Gerald, Amelia, and Gerald's best friend. Gerald is surrounded by people who genuinely care about him and will do whatever it takes to help him find happiness. This book is a second chance for him and a time that he can come to love his son. I liked the relationships that were built in this story.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.




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Jen Geigle Johnson
About the Author:  Jen Geigle Johnson once greeted an ancient turtle under the water by grabbing her fin. Other vital things to know: the sound a water-ski makes on glassy water and how to fall down steep moguls with grace. No mountain is too steep for her to climb, yet. During a study break date in college, she sat on top of a jeep's roll bars up in the mountains and fell in love. She discovered her passion for England while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager.


Now an award-winning author and mother of six, she loves to share bits of history that might otherwise be forgotten. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure. She is a member of the RWA, the SCBWI, and LDStorymakers. She is also the chair of the Lonestar.Ink writing conference.

https://www.jengeiglejohnson.com



Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me by Julie Wright


Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me by Julie WrightGlass Slippers, Ever After, and Me by Julie Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Description Can the fairy tale bring Charlotte the happiness she’s looking for, or was he always there to begin with?

A modern, reimagined Cinderella story.

When aspiring author Charlotte Kingsley finally gets published, she thinks all her dreams have come true. But the trouble begins when her publicity firm reinvents her quirky online presence into a perfectly curated dream life. Gone are the days of sweatpant posts and ice cream binges with her best friend, Anders, replaced instead with beautiful clothes, orchestrated selfies, and no boyfriend. Only, that carefully curated fairy tale life is ruining her self-esteem and making her feel like a fraud.

When a bestselling author takes Charlotte under her wing—almost like a fairy godmother—she helps Charlotte see the beautiful person she already is and the worth of being authentic. But is it too late to save her relationship with Anders? The clock is quickly ticking towards midnight, and Charlotte must decide between her fairy tale life and the man she loves, before he's gone forever.
 



My thoughts: This book seemed like it could be realistic to me. Charlotte "Lettie" is an aspiring author who has heard "no" too many times. She has a few hangups and a complex about her writing until she is finally told "yes"!

To me, this was a story about reinventing yourself to become who others think you should be. Lettie is an adorable person with a great personality until a publicist gets hold of her and makes her change her online personality and lifestyle. Her best friend, Anders, sees who she really is and is upset about the changes (rightfully so). They are neighbors, best friends, and eventually a couple. He loves the quirky person that she is and the fact that she can wear sweats and t-shirts with the best of them. He is not a fan of the designer clothes, make-up, or change in a nickname.

I loved the relationship between Lettie and Anders. He is the boy-next-door who watches out for her and has her back in all situations. They have issues and have to learn to transition their relationship. It is a rocky transition that leads to soul-searching and compromise. The relationship felt authentic and I loved it.

Julie Wright uses humor, great characters, and an engaging plot to create a book that is fun to read and pretty great! This is a clean book with kissing.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.



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About the Author:  Julie Wright is the author of more than twenty novels, including the Proper Romance® novels Lies Jane Austen Told Me and Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She is a Whitney Award winner and a Crown Heart recipient. She is represented by agent Sara Crowe. She loves reading and writing, playing on the beach or hiking with her husband and kids, and watching her husband make dinner.


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Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Candy Cane Caper by Josi S. Kilpack

The Candy Cane CaperThe Candy Cane Caper by Josi S. Kilpack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Culinary Mystery

Book  Description This Christmas, Sadie Hoffmiller Cunningham is making a list and checking it twice. For the first time since she and Pete married five years ago, their combined families are gathering for the holidays in Fort Collins, Colorado, for a party that would make Santa and Mrs. Claus proud.

She just has to bake the famous Cunningham Candy Cane Cake, make sure the looming snowstorm doesn't derail everyone's travel plans, and oh, yes, solve one teensy-tiny mystery before the big day.

At ninety-four and nearly blind, Mary, Sadie's friend and neighbor, knows this will be her last Christmas. When Sadie learns that someone has stolen antique Christmas ornaments from Mary's tree, she vows to find the thief, no matter what. The ornaments had been appraised at more than $40,000, but they were worth even more to Mary, who had intended to bequeath them to her great-granddaughter, Joy, as a final gift.

With Pete in Arizona wrapping up a case of his own, it's up to Sadie to question the residents of Nicholas House, where Mary lives, and deduce who had the means and the motive to steal heirloom ornaments during what should be the most wonderful time of the year.

When stories of other thefts surface, Sadie feels like she's creating a "naughty" list that could rival Santa's. Identifying the thief, recovering the ornaments, and restoring them to Mary's tree in time will take a Christmas miracle—and maybe a few extra-special cookies.
 



My thoughts:  It has been a while since I read a culinary mystery featuring Sadie. I am reminded of why I love her so much. She is a bumbling amateur detective who has a strong desire to help others.

This story takes place several years since the last one. If you have never read a book featuring Sadie Hoffmiller Cunningham, this is not a bad place to start. Of course, if you read this one you may want to go back and read the others.

Sadie's dear friend is celebrating her last Christmas. She celebrates by putting up a Christmas tree with her valuable ornaments adorning it. When several are missing Sadie is on the case. She wants this Christmas to be a happy one for her friend.

One of my favorite aspects of a Sadie book is the awkward situations she gets herself into. She has a wonderful sense of humor and doesn't take herself too seriously. She is a character that I really enjoy. This book was perfect for the coming season and for enjoyment. This book contains a bonus, at the end of every chapter is a recipe featured in that section. 



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Josi S. Kilpack
About the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads) I wrote my first book while on bed rest with my third child in 1998 and haven't stopped. My most recent books have been Historical Romance through the Proper Romance line with Shadow Mountain Publishing.


I currently live in Willard, Utah with my husband, and children.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Book Blog Tour ~ "Sojourner" by Janalyn Voigt #SojournerTour #Giveaway #Fantasy

On Tour with Prism Book Tours


SoJourner by Janalyn Voigt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genre: Fantasy

Book Description:  Mara didn't know her parents were living a lie.

After learning a secret that causes Mara to question her heritage, she runs to Torindan, the High Hold of Faeraven, to seek the truth. What the innkeeper’s daughter doesn't know is that Rand, the mysterious tracker she’s hired to guide her through the wilderness, has been sent on an errand that puts her life at risk.

Helping Mara furthers Rand's purposes, but he doesn't count on his emotions interfering.

With Faeraven on the brink of war, Rand is faced with a life-altering choice, Mara is torn between escape and learning the truth, and the future hangs in the balance.

Will Mara be heir to the Faeraven throne? Can Rand escape the terrors of the dungeon?

As Torindan and Pilaer prepare for battle, anything can happen.


My thoughts: This was my favorite book of the series so far. I found it easier to read and not as confusing as the previous books. This may be because there is less movement to different locations. This book seemed to be more about character development and the stress of creating a family.

Mara was thought to be dead by her father, High King Elcon. He mourned the loss of his wife and daughter for years until she was found and brought back to him. At this point, she had been raised by a mother and father and forged relationships. It was a struggle to make a relationship with a man who was her father and a stranger at the same time.

While this story was progressing another family story was developing. This one was Rand's family. His father is Freaer, the usurper who wants to take the throne from Elcon. Rand is illegitimate, making his story a tough one to read. He is basically a good guy who is in a bad situation.

I loved the interaction of the characters and the weaving in of the past, present, and future that is to come. This is story of finding love, hope, friendship, and honor in a time of war.

I am looking forward to the next installment!

Source: Kindle Unlimited



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Other Books in the Series


About the Author


Janalyn Voigt is a writer and professional speaker with a photography habit and a passion for travel. Her unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and fantasy creates worlds of beauty and danger for readers. Tales of Faeraven, her epic fantasy series beginning with DawnSinger, carries readers into a land only imagined in dreams. She is represented by Sarah Joy Freese of Wordserve Literary.


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Monday, October 14, 2019

Mistaken Reality by Traci Hunter Abramson #BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway


Mistaken RealityMistaken Reality by Traci Hunter Abramson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Suspense/Romance



Book Description Hadley Baker can’t believe her boyfriend finally invited her on a fancy hotel dinner date only to break up with her in public. Even more unbelievable is the moment FBI Agent JD Byers finds her crying in the women’s restroom and demands she evacuate. Seconds after JD ushers Hadley outside, an explosion shatters the building. Could her life be any more disastrous?

JD didn’t anticipate seeing Hadley, the beautiful schoolteacher, again after he saved her from the hotel attack. But soon after her ex-boyfriend became a lead suspect of the hotel bombing, the man turned up dead—and now it seems that Hadley herself is a target. Determined to keep her safe, JD shelters Hadley as they join forces to put together the pieces of the perplexing case. When they discover the horrifying truth behind her ex-boyfriend’s nefarious work, Hadley realizes her life is far from the only one being threatened. Countless others are in danger, and she and JD may hold the key to saving them.
 



My thoughts:  This is a book that I could NOT put down. The action started at the beginning. The momentum kept building until the end. The characters, plot, story, and setting all blended perfectly to create a powerful book. This is what I have come to expect from Traci Hunter Abramson. She knows her material and how to present it for readers.

The Saint Squad, Guardians, CIA, and FBI all work together to bring down a human trafficking ring. The skill, information, intelligence, and undercover agents form a formidable team. This book brings together characters that I love from previous books. It is a stand-alone. You don't have to read her other books to enjoy this one, it was just satisfying for me to have them come together.

I highly recommend this book. I also recommend that you wait until you have some time to devote to this story before you start reading it. If you are like me, you won't be able to put it down.

This book contains non-graphic violence, human trafficking victims, and kissing.



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Traci Hunter Abramson
About the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads)  Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children's teenage years. She is a five-time Whitney Award winner and has written more than twenty-five bestselling novels. Follow Traci on BookBub at shorturl.at/ewDJ5

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Friday, October 11, 2019

A Corporate Courtship by Amy Craig

A Corporate CourtshipA Corporate Courtship by Amy Craig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Description:  Mayor Gloria and British executive Alexander struggle to keep a professional distance while they work to revitalize a facility in Stoneblock, NJ. She knows everything about her constituents and he likes to keep his distance. When outside activists threaten the project, can they devise a solution full of opportunities amid the optimism of Christmas?



My thoughts: What do you do when you are the mayor of a small town and an International executive is trying to make a deal on an expansion of plant? You keep your distance, even though it is hard.

Gloria is the mayor of a small community in New Jersey. She loves her home and is determined to revitalize it and bring jobs to the area. The local plant is looking to expand and is being blocked by community activists and an overzealous environmentalist. Alexander is there to discover what the roadblocks are and to find a way to push the deal through. In spite of the chemistry and attraction, they know that a relationship would complicate the deal.

This book detailed the process of expansion and the love of two people for each other and their jobs. Amy Craig laid the foundation for the story and the struggles that the characters experience. The romance was not a quick one, it developed over time and with a lot of sacrifices. This book is not a quick-moving story, it takes a little bit of time to appreciate the characters and their plight.

The book contains more innuendo than hand-holding or kissing.



This book is available on Kindle Unlimited!


Amy CraigAbout the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads) Amy Craig lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with her family and a small menagerie of pets. She writes women's fiction and contemporary romances with seemingly intelligent and empathetic heroines. She can't always vouch for the men. She has worked as an engineer, project manager, and an incompetent waitress. In her spare time, she plays tennis and expands her husband’s honey-do list.
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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Secrets and Suitors by Joanna Barker #Regency #blogtour #giveaway



Secrets and Suitors

Secrets and Suitors by Joanna Barker
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Regency Romance
Source: Received to Review

Book Description: Reluctantly returning to London for yet another Season, shy Nora Hamilton has nearly given up hope that she will ever find the love match she longs for. After all, the one man she does harbor feelings for—her closest friend, James—has made it perfectly clear he views her as just that: a friend. With James traveling half a world away and Nora's father pressuring her to marry for wealth and status, Nora is forced to set aside her desire for love and accept the future she has always dreaded.
Until James returns unexpectedly and Nora's feelings once again rush unbearably close to the surface. Determined to save what is left of their friendship, Nora ignores her own heart and allows herself to be swept up in the London Season, soon finding herself the object of two very different gentlemen's affections. Though she should be thrilled, both men come with a glaring fault: neither is the one man who holds her heart.

But there is much more at stake than heartbreak. When long-kept secrets are laid bare, Nora must face the fears that have plagued her all her life and decide what true love is worth.


My thoughts:  I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a time and place where young men and women were supposed to marry someone who could give a better social standing or had a large dowry.

Nora is faced with this dilemma.  Her father has picked out her suitor and she is to fall in line and obey.  Her head cannot reconcile this with her heart.  She tries to look at Mr. Weston objectively, but he doesn't compare to her childhood friend.  In order to buy time with her father, she strikes a bargain.  Now, she needs to figure out a way to extricate herself from a delicate situation.

This book is a pleasure to read.  I love how Joanna Barker is able to pull me into her story.  I had great empathy for the characters and loved the descriptions.  Regency Romance is one of my favorite genres because of the pageantry, societal expectations, and love finding a way in spite of roadblocks.






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This book is available for Kindle and Nook at an amazing price of $5.99. 
 (Double-check price before purchasing.)

Q & A With Joanna Barker
*********************

When is your favorite time of day to write?

When at all possible, I love to write in the afternoon! I am neither an early worm or a night owl, and so my brain functions better in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, that seems to be the time when my kids are determined to distract me the most, so I rarely get to write then. But early evening would be a close second, once the house gets quiet after bedtime.

Is there another genre of books that you would like to write about?


I adore YA fantasy, and I have an idea that’s been itching at me for a while! It’s pretty far down the line, but I hope I get to it one day!


*********************


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About the Author:  ​Joanna Barker was born and raised in northern California. She discovered her love for historical fiction after visiting England as an eleven-year-old, and subsequently read every Jane Austen book she could get her hands on. After graduating from Brigham Young University with a degree in English, she worked as an acquisitions editor before devoting herself full-time to writing. She enjoys music, chocolate, and reading everything from romance to science fiction. She lives in Utah and is just a little crazy about her husband and two wild-but-loveable boys. 



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