Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Royal Decoy by Heather Frost

Royal Decoy by Heather Frost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Medieval fantasy
Release Date:  June 18, 2020

Book Description:  A SERVANT blackmailed into becoming a princess’s decoy.
A BODYGUARD determined to keep her alive.

A PRINCE forced to execute his father’s brutal laws.
A PRISONER used to keep him compliant.

A WORLD on the brink of war.

In one horrible night, Clare goes from kitchen maid to royal decoy. She has three months to become the princess's perfect double so she can ensure her betrothal to an enemy prince. Desperate to survive, Clare throws herself into self-defense training, taught by her distractingly attractive bodyguard. The danger increases when a ruthless assassin begins stalking her, intent on ending the tenuous peace.

Across the northern mountains, Prince Grayson is his father’s ultimate weapon. He carries out the king’s harsh orders because the one person he cares about is his father’s prisoner. Grayson's silent obedience is tested when his father plans to exploit the marriage alliance between two of their greatest enemies. If Grayson submits, the blood of thousands will spill. If he resists, the girl who means everything to him will die.

The fate of Eyrinthia hangs in the balance. Some want peace. Some want war. All will be thrown into chaos.




My thoughts: This book has just about everything! It is set in a fantasy fictional world. The time would be roughly medieval.

It was easy to become captivated by the two stories taking place in this book. Clare happened to be at the wrong place at the right time and finds herself caught in a trap. In order to stay alive and protect her brothers, she must put her life on the line and be the decoy for the princess. There are assassins who would do anything to stop the political marriage between the Princess and an enemy Prince.

Grayson is a Prince from another enemy kingdom who has to obey his father's decree. His heart isn't in enforcing his father's laws, but there is a sweet girl who he would do anything to protect. His story is heartwrenching. His family is terrible. He really is caught in a bad situation.

The intrigue is fantastic. I love a book with intrigue! You don't know who the bad guy is, and there are so many political adversaries and plots that it kept me reading and wanting to figure everything out.

This is a series that is worth reading. I will anxiously await the next installment to see what happens next and if the good guys will win in the end.




Pre-order your copy today!



About the Author: Heather Frost writes mostly YA fiction and has a soft spot for tortured characters, breath-stealing romance, and happy endings. She is the author of the Seers trilogy and the Fate of Eyrinithia series. She has a BS in Creative Writing and a minor in Folklore, which means she got to read fairy tales and ghost stories and call it homework. When she’s not writing, Heather likes to read, travel, and hold Lord of the Rings movie marathons. She owns two typewriters, sings in the car, and dreams of living in a castle someday. She currently lives in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering mountains in Utah. To learn more about Heather and her books, visit her website: www.HeatherFrost.com

Friday, May 22, 2020

Solving Sophronia by Jennifer Moore





Solving Sophronia by Jennifer Moore
Solving Sophronia by Jennifer  MooreMy rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre:  Victorian Romance/Mystery

Book Description:  Lady Sophronia Bremerton is a far cry from the typical debutante, but she's the toast of London's upper class for one simple reason: she's a society columnist for the London Illustrated News, and the gentry loves seeing their exploits printed in the gossip pages. But Sophie has bigger plans - she aspires to be an investigative reporter. When a stuffy ballroom at yet another Season proves to be nothing more than the usual rumor mill, Sophie seeks respite in the library alongside four other young women who, for their own reasons, are also looking for escape. As the conversation turns to their secret ambitions, the women form a sisterhood and a bold plan: they will make their dreams a reality, no matter the obstacles. Thus begins the Blue Orchid Society.

Hearing of a murder in a London rookery, Sophie seizes the opportunity to prove her skills. Detective Jonathan Graham doesn't believe a civilian, a noblewoman at that, should be anywhere near a murder investigation, but Sophie insists on helping bring the killer to justice. Her investigative prowess doesn't go unnoticed by the police, especially Jonathan, who can't decide whether this intrepid reporter is a thorn in his side or the woman of his dreams. But as the case grows more complicated and dangerous, their very lives - and their hearts - may be at risk.




My thoughts:  In the Victorian Era, being a woman was tough. They were on the verge of gaining freedoms, but society wanted to hold them back.

The Blue Orchid Society is a series of books that feature women who have dreams and all of them meet to discuss their plans and ways to accomplish them.

This book features Sophronia, she wants to be a writer for the newspaper, not just the society columnist. She longs to be taken seriously and shows that she is capable of contributing more than inconsequential information.

Sophie has a big heart. She understands people of all classes. She looks at who they are inside rather than just their place in society. She is born as a Lady but is not recognized by her family as being relevant to their way of life. She is caught between two worlds and trying to find her place in life. She begins to prove her worth as a journalist when she partners with Detective Graham in solving a string of murders. I loved their partnership. He is reluctant to trust a woman but soon realizes that her experience and attention to detail are valuable.

This is a very interesting and fun book. It's not too gory or violent. Sophie is shielded from the worse aspects of murder. This book has just the right amount of mystery and romance.

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




Online Purchase Links:


No photo description available.

Jennifer  MooreAbout the Author:  Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world, which includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that are anything but romantic. Jennifer has a BA in linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family.

Visit her WEBPAGE.

There is a companion novella that introduces the series.  I loved it!  It is free for your kindle!

Emmeline (The Blue Orchid Society #0.5)


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Rakes and Roses by Josi Kilpack #blogtour #excerpt






Rakes and Roses (Mayfield Family #3)Rakes and Roses by Josi S. Kilpack
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to review
Genre: Regency Romance

Book Description:  A Mayfield Family Romance

Lady Sabrina endured an abusive marriage, a miscarriage, and early widowhood to emerge as a smart, successful, confident woman who found a way to make her mark in a man’s world. She has friends and purpose, but cannot hide from the emptiness she feels when the parties are over and the friends have gone home to families she will never have.

Harry Stillman may be charming and handsome, but he’s a gambler and a rake who has made a mockery of his privileges. He turns to the mysterious Lord Damion for financial relief from his debts, but still ends up beaten nearly senseless by thugs and left in an ally.

When Lady Sabrina comes upon Harry after the attack, she remembers the kindness Harry once showed to her six years ago and brings him to her estate to heal. Though their relationship begins on rocky footing, it soon mellows into friendship, then trust. But Lady Sabrina needs to keep Harry at a distance, even if he is becoming the kind of man worthy of her heart. After all, she is keeping a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything she’s so carefully built.
 


My thoughts:  I love the premise of this series. A wealthy elderly uncle, who never married and is without an heir, decides to bestow an inheritance to his family on the condition that they marry. He doesn't want them to live as he did. Alone.

This story is about Harry. He has many vices. He's a rake, and alcoholic, and a gambler. He is indebted to a very horrible man and his uncle has cut him off. He has no way to fulfill his obligations until Lord Damion finds worth in him and loans him the money on condition that he reform his life and repay the debt.

I loved the characters in the book. Harry seems at first to be unredeemable until he discovers his own worth and decides to be a better person. His personality is fun and he is full of mischief. I enjoyed the teasing between him and Sabrina. He pulls her out of her lonely life and helps her rediscover happiness. She has also lived a difficult life and seeks to see her worth as a person and friend.

Rakes and Roses was a fun book to read. I look forward to any book that comes out by Josi Kilpack. I hope that there is another Mayfield book to look forward to.




Online Purchase Links:





Read an Excerpt!

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

Malcolm turned to Ward, who stood frozen a few feet behind Harry, reminding him that Ward could very well pay for Harry’s sins even though it was Harry who had chosen this path over and over again, even when the pleasure was gone. Even when he’d burned through his estate’s profits and started to sell off his land in pieces.
“You have this money on your person, friend?” Malcom asked Ward, lifting his eyebrows.
Ward blinked, then licked his lips. “No, sir.”
“But you are going to loan two hundred and seventy pounds to this waste of human flesh?” He waved toward Harry, who was trying to draw a full breath.
Harry stared at the club swinging from the bigger man’s hand. Uncle Elliott’s words from more than a year ago echoed in Harry’s mind: “I am attempting to save you from yourself before it is too late.”
Was this what “too late” looked like? Felt like? Had Harry reached the bottom of the barrel that had once seemed to have no end?
“I have until noon,” Harry said again. “And I’ll have p-payment by then, I p-promise.”
Malcom looked at him again. “And what is your promise to me?”
The big man tapped the club against his thigh, the sound matching the new drumbeat in Harry’s throbbing head.
Get away. Get away. Get away.
Harry thought of the open end of the alley behind him. He might not be able to get the money in time, but he could save Ward and buy himself a few hours to at least attempt a solution. Years ago, Harry and Ward had designated the Cumberland Gate of Hyde Park as a rendezvous spot should they be separated amid what used to be nothing but pranks in Town. Harry cleared his throat and coughed twice, hoping Ward would recognize the signal Harry had ignored when Ward had used it earlier.
What he would not give to go back and relive the last few hours of his life. Last few years, maybe. He heard Ward’s sharp intake of breath as the larger man stepped forward. Harry threw his coat at the men to buy a few seconds and yelled, “Run!”

Chapter Four

Sabrina startled from sleep and lifted her head from the window pane. The moon was still bright in the sky.
There had been too many late nights these last weeks. She stood to stretch her arms over her head when movement drew her eye to the street below. She lowered her arms and leaned forward as a man, dressed in a dirty shirt—she did not think he even wore a cravat—ran hard down the center of George Street.
The height and thickness of her windows blocked the sound of his boots on the cobbles or what she assumed would be his ragged breath torn from his heaving lungs. His quick pace and heightened color in his cheeks showed his fear, however, which made Sabrina wish she could help him.
It was nearly four o’clock in the morning—far past the time a woman could act on her compassionate feelings for a golden-haired stranger.
As quickly as he’d entered one side of the frame of her window, he was gone through the other side.
Sabrina knelt on the window seat and leaned forward to see if she could catch an additional glimpse, but the other houses on the street blocked her view. Another man, this one dressed ominously in black, entered the frame on the same course. Clearly the man in the dirty shirt had not been running to anything, but rather from this man.
The large man slowed near the center of her window view, then stopped. He bent forward, hands on his knees as he gasped for breath. After several seconds, he shook his head and stood up again, though not fully. He kept his hand pressed to his side for another minute as he walked in slow circles, looking in the direction the other man had gone. Finally, he turned back the way he had come and walked out of view.
“And the fox outfoxes the hounding hounds,” Sabrina said quietly.
Men like that would not give up, however. The fox for this hunt looked very much like the kind of man she attempted to save when she could: young, gentle born, with enemies he
could not outrun forever. Would that she could save this one.
The night returned to motionless dark. Sabrina raised her eyes to the moon again, grateful for this fox having reminded her of her purpose and her determination to use her position for something of good.
“But for grace,” she said, turning to her bed.
Another night.
Toward another day.
May God bless the poor foxes.
Chapters Three & Four. Pages 28-33



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

About the Author: Josi S. Kilpack is the author of several novels and one cookbook and a participant in several coauthored projects and anthologies. She is a four-time Whitney Award winner —Sheep’s Clothing (2007), Wedding Cake (2014), and Lord Fenton’s Folly (2015) for Best Romance and Best Novel of the Year—and the Utah Best in State winner for fiction in 2012. She and her husband, Lee, are the parents of four children. You can find more information about Josi and her writing at josiskilpack.com.







Thursday, May 14, 2020

Leaning on Jesus: Strength for a Woman's Heart by Michelle Wilson

Leaning on Jesus: Strength for a Woman's HeartLeaning on Jesus: Strength for a Woman's Heart by Michelle Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Inspirational/Religion



Book Description No books, blogs, or studies can prepare you for the complexities of womanhood. The joys and challenges that come with being a woman can often feel like a roller coaster of highs and lows, especially when sweet moments are tempered by feelings of inadequacy. If your journey through life too often feels like an unforgiving magnification of your weaknesses and shortcomings or you find yourself feeling alone, it is time to turn to the healing balm of the Savior's love.

In this mix of memoir, insights, and inspiration, Leaning on Jesus takes readers through the ups and downs of womanhood, gives practical tools for a better life, and highlights the importance of cultivating a relationship with the Savior to find power, purpose, and peace. You'll laugh and cry in equal measure as author Michelle Wilson describes her own experiences, delving into the common fears women of all ages and stages face and exploring each topic from motherhood to menopause with humor and heart. Find strength in this sweet reminder of your invaluable role as a woman, and catch a glimpse of your true magnificence in the Lord's eyes.

My thoughts
"Have hope in Him." In my world, it is easy to get caught up with how I think my life should be, how my home should be, and how my children should be. This book resonates with me on many levels.

There are two chapters that touched me deeply. They were the messages that I was meant to embrace in my life and try to do/be better. There is a lot of great information in this book. I will revisit sometime when I need to hear/embrace another precept. Michelle Wilson knows how to write an inspirational book that appeals to me. She uses scriptural references, her own experience, and the experiences of others.

The first chapter that I needed to hear was Chapter 6 - Weight a Minute. In this chapter, she mentioned that there are women we hear about who had amazing accomplishments. She then poses the question of whether their weight or figure is something that we know or think about. I am hard on myself and beat myself up that I don't have the figure that I want. I have a negative dialogue going on inside of my head. I was reminded to love myself right now and not focus on the scale. She doesn't advocate not taking care of yourself or making positive goals to lose weight, she made me realize that as I accept myself I can make the changes that I need to in a positive way.

Chapter 16 - The Child You Have. This is a hard one. She mentions that you should parent the child you have instead of the one you wish you had. I am blessed to be a mother. I love my children. There are times I wondered what I did wrong to deserve a child who suffered from depression. He started threatening suicide when he was 6 years old, in Kindergarten. I know in a book review you don't usually put your own experiences. I mention my experience because she writes this chapter with relatability. There are moments that we can glean understanding when it is presented in a certain way.

Michelle Wilson writes with humor. She takes the gospel topics and helps me to laugh through them. Yes, the gospel is serious, but it doesn't have to be presented in a dry way. Her writing appeals to me.

There are many more chapters that have great information. She has chapters focusing on women in the scriptures and how they faced being a mother. They went through some difficult things and persevered with faith. It reminds me that I am not alone. Together as women, we can get through this.

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



Online Purchase Links:


About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads) MICHELLE WILSON is a wife, mom, and popular inspirational author and speaker. She loves family, faith, and food, and admittedly has a bad habit of laughing at the wrong times. Through her published books and years of speaking to groups large and small, Michelle has helped thousands of women build stronger relationships with themselves, others, and Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. She believes in the power of choice, purpose, and perspective, and feels every woman can be joyful and brave.

She blogs at michellewilsonwrites.com, where you can find uplifting, honest, and thought-provoking posts. You can also find the recipe for best chocolate chip cookie ever.


Visit her WEBPAGE!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A Proper Charade by Esther Hatch #booktour #giveaway #historicalromance


A Proper CharadeA Proper Charade by Esther Hatch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Victorian Romance

Book Description:  Lady Patience Kendrick was born to a life of privilege, and with the London Season looming, she finds herself facing unprecedented pressure to adhere to the rules of society. Unfortunately, the free-spirited young woman is anything but proper. Patience's elder brother, a former military man, bemoans his sister's antics - but when he accuses her of incurable frivolity, it is simply more than she can bear. Determined to prove her brother wrong, Patience undertakes a drastic experiment: she will disguise herself as a maid and demonstrate her ability to work as hard as anyone.

Taken on as household staff by her brother's former general, Patience soon learns that willingness and ability are two very different things. While her plan sounded promising in theory, the reality is that she is out of her depth - and the irresistibly charming son of the house isn't helping matters. Patience soon finds herself embroiled in a charade far more complicated that she imagined. With both her pride and her heart at stake, she is determined to prove her brother wrong - even as her plans spiral delightfully out of control.



My thoughts: I think that this book could be considered a case-study of the meaning of a charade. There were several centering around one specific.

Lady Patience Kendrick wants to be taken seriously. She wants to experience life and have different experiences that those that are provided to her as the sister of a Duke. Her plan is to become a maid in the household of the General her older brother served under. This unlocks so many possibilities for humor, mischief, and general mayhem. There are many moments that either make you laugh out loud or want to duck and take cover for the embarrassment that is about to ensue.

The characters of Patience and Anthony were fantastic. They bring out the better attributes in each other. They embrace life in different ways but find that they have more in common than either imagined. Patience is fun and full of life, while Anthony is methodical and practical. When they come together to hatch a scheme and then build a relationship is a wonderful story.

There were a few characters that I didn't really care for (ahem...Miss Morgan). Patience also finds a reluctant ally in a well-know rake, Lord Bryant. Most of the characters are not exactly what they seem to be, which adds to the story.

If you are looking for a fun and clean historical romance, I would highly suggest this one.



Online Purchase Links:




Esther HatchAbout the Author: (Taken from Deseret Book)  Esther Hatch grew up on a cherry orchard in rural Utah. After high school, she alternated living in Russia to teach children English and attending Brigham Young University in order to get a degree in archaeology. She began writing when one of her favorite authors invited her to join a critique group. The only catch was she had to be a writer. Not one to be left out of an opportunity to socialize and try something new; she started on her first novel that week.

Visit her WEBPAGE!


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Monday, May 11, 2020

The Earl's Daughter: A Regency Romance by Laura Beers

The Earl's Daughter: A Regency Romance (Regency Brides: A Promise of Love Book 4)The Earl's Daughter: A Regency Romance by Laura Beers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Regency Romance

Book Description:  Lady Charlotte Taylour knows she should feel saddened by the news that her father has died, but all she feels is an immense relief. How can she mourn such a neglectful father? When she is summoned to London for the reading of the will, disaster strikes, and she finds an unlikely ally.

Lord Hudson Beauchamp, a hard-working district judge in London, has been tasked with retrieving his sister from finishing school. Along the way, he rushes to help the most intriguing woman he has ever met. Always the dutiful gentleman, he offers not only to escort her to London but to the reading of her father’s will, as well.

As Charlotte and Hudson begin spending time together, their feelings for each other deepen, something neither of them is prepared for. With danger continuously lurking around Charlotte, Hudson is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep her safe, even risk his own life.



My thoughts  Why have I never read a novel by Laura Beers before? I have been missing out! I am already perusing her books on Goodreads and figuring out what I want to read and wondering when I will get a chance to.

I loved, loved, loved the characters in this book. Charlotte and Hudson. Sigh. From the moment they met in a coaching inn, I knew that they had to become a couple. Their easy relationship and friendship is something novels are made of. (Ok, I'm cracking myself up over that one.) I'm coming down from a romance overindulgence right now.

This is a wonderful book to read when you need to escape into another world and time and forget about the stay-at-home orders. Time flew by for me and I was happy to not see anyone or go anywhere.



This book is available on Kindle Unlimited!



Laura BeersAbout the Author:  (Copied from Amazon)  Laura Beers is an award-winning author. She attended Brigham Young University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management. She can't sing, doesn't dance and loves naps.

Besides being a full-time homemaker to her three kids, she loves waterskiing, hiking, and drinking Dr. Pepper. She was born and raised in Southern California, but she now resides in South Carolina.
Visit her WEBPAGE!

Flight of the Spark by Evelyn Puerto

Flight of the Spark: Book 1 of the Outlawed Myth Fantasy SeriesFlight of the Spark: Book 1 of the Outlawed Myth Fantasy Series by Evelyn Puerto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Dystopian

Book Description:  Book 1 of The Outlawed Myth series


Duty. Desire. Destiny.

How far would you go to be safe... to be free...to be loved?

Iskra doesn't question the rules. The rules are there to keep her safe from those who are deemed unsafe or unfair. Anyone who breaks the rules is taken, never to be heard from again. But that's the price everyone gladly pays for peace and safety. And no one wants to live like the Riskers--barbarians who reject order and justice, and could kill or be killed at any moment.


When a friend is taken because of Iskra, the guilt forces her to do the unthinkable: seek out the Riskers. Iskra's quest to save her friend quickly entangles her fate with a cryptic prophecy and a young Risker named Xico, who ensnares her heart and is willing to put it all on the line to win her.


With every risk Iskra takes, the closer she gets to true freedom. But every choice carries a consequence. The choices she makes set events she never imagined into motion, and the price of her freedom could very well be her life and the life of the man she loves.



My thoughts: This book became better as the story progressed. I was intrigued at first with Iskra. She lives in a small dystopian village. She is oppressed but doesn't realize it. The village is told that the rules are to keep them safe, but anytime someone asks too many questions, they are "taken". The villagers can't speak about them and none of them know their fate.

At the beginning of the book, Iskra is on a caravan to a neighboring village. They are under heavy guard to keep "safe" from the bandits and the Riskers. She missed the caravan and narrowly escaped being killed by the bandits. She finds herself in a village of Riskers and soon uncovers all of the lies and the secrets that are kept from her and her village.

Iskra is a reluctant hero. She isn't a rule breaker, but the more she gets to know a family of Riskers, the more unanswered questions she has. There is also the teenage son, Xico, who pulls her in.

Ther are many layers of secrets in this story. It was interesting to see each of the lies revealed and the impact they have for Iskra and Xico. There are people she has known and trusted who are not what they seem. With so many voices going around her, it is hard to know who to trust and how to live her life.

The book is told from more than one perspective. This adds an extra layer of understanding to the book. It is nice to know the reasoning and plots that are happening to and around Iskra. I enjoyed the religious aspect of the book. The Riskers believe in an "all-knowing and seeing" diety. There are amulets of power that believers use to access the power and in religious ceremonies.

The ending left me wanting more. I hope that the second book will be released soon!

The book has some fade to black intimacy and violence.

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



Online Purchase Links: 


Evelyn PuertoAbout the Author: (Copied from Goodreads) Evelyn Puerto reads just about anything and writes in multiple genres. When she married, she inherited three stepdaughters, a pair of step-grandsons, and a psychotic cat. Currently she writes from northeastern Wisconsin, but soon will be heading south for shorter winters.
Visit her WEBPAGE.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Governess of Banbury Park by Julie Matern #BlogTour #Giveaway

The Governess of Banbury Park Blog Tour

The Governess of Banbury Park
Genre: Regency, Romance
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Publication date: April 14, 2020
Source:  Kindle Unlimted
Rating: 4 of 5 stars


 At the reading of her father's will, Sophia Cavanaugh learns that she is suddenly destitute. Impoverished, grief-stricken and alone, she sees only one course open to her - becoming a governess. With little experience and no references, securing a position proves more difficult than expected until she finds a champion in the dashing and well-connected Charles Mortimer. he quickly captures her heart but are the feelings mutual? Sophia is provided a position by his meddling mother and the two are parted, but fate thrusts them back together. Will Sophia risk her heart and confess her love?



My thoughts: This book was a little different from the typical Regency Romances. Sophia's father passes away and leaves her penniless. She doesn't have family living in the area, she has no resources, and she doesn't want to bring her father to shame because he didn't provide for her. Her only option is to trust the Lord and move on to another town where she doesn't know anyone.

She was blessed to meet a loving couple willing to take her in until she can find her way as a governess. This is where the story gets really interesting. She meets Charles, who comes from wealth and finds a position far from her new home. The problem with being a governess is that you go into an existing home not knowing the living situation of the family. She soon learns that the public face of her employers is very different from how they live in private.

One thing this book reminded me of is that women during the regency period did not enjoy a lot of rights. Many women were helpless to provide or escape from a bad situation. I liked the fact that this novel did not focus on the proper manners and balls typically found in this genre. I really enjoyed the focus of women in the story. The women were from many different parts of society.

The romance is sweet. It didn't happen quickly but over a period of time. Mainly because of Sophia's reduced circumstances and an ambitious mother.

This book contains spousal abuse.

Source: Kindle Unlimited.



About the Author

matern-julie-author-photo_2
This is the second regency romance by Julie and the third is well underway. Julie was born and raised in London, England and still visits often to see family, wander around her old haunts and order cream teas with scones full of clotted cream and jam and a big cup of hot chocolate. She loves all things Jane Austen as well as mysteries, photography, chocolate, shoes, pickle ball and ...chocolate.

Snippet

On the final day, the whole company, including Sophia and Emily, was taking a walk around the estate after lunch when the redoubtable Mrs. Mortimer hung back. Sophia viewed her approach with dread and slowed her own progress, but Mrs. Mortimer, it appeared, was determined and stopped completely, waiting for Sophia to draw near.

“You appear happy here, Miss Cavanaugh,” she began, touching her perfectly coiffed hair. “You must be most indebted to our family for finding you such an agreeable situation.” 

Sophia feared a verbal trap was being sprung and simply nodded.

“Is it not then a poor show of appreciation to dally with my son’s affections?” she glowered.

Sophia was caught off guard by such a direct reproach. Usually the gentry were much more discreet in their conversations. She must be absolutely furious. “I . . .” she began. 

“Do not deny it!” Mrs. Mortimer spat out, eyes narrowed to slits. “Let me explain how the world works for you. There are distinct social principles that divide the classes. Under no circumstances should these be crossed!” Sophia stepped back. “Charles is destined for great things, and as my only son, certain conduct is expected of him. My grandchildren must be the progeny of both a mother and father of the highest bloodline to honor our family’s good name and standing in society. The children of a governess will not do! Do I make myself clear?” She waited for no response before ploughing on.

“Charles is weak when it comes to matters of the heart, and you are a distraction. He does not know his own mind and is easily persuaded by a pretty face. It is his duty to marry a woman of fortune and title, and therefore his history must not be besmirched by a dalliance with a servant. If you care for him at all, you must relinquish him.” She stopped and planted herself directly in front of Sophia. “Do I have your promise to give him up?”

Righteous indignation had swelled during this scolding and now rose like a genie from a bottle within Sophia, knowing as she did the heritage of the woman berating her. She was torn between calling Mrs. Mortimer out as the worst of hypocrites, which would cause Charles more grief, or agreeing with her to smooth his path. Though she felt the flame of shame burning on her cheeks, her discomfort did not deter the woman or appeal to her sympathies. Rather, Charles’s mother bore down with all the authority she could muster to pressure her into compliance. The challenge merely emboldened Sophia, though she decided that she would keep her counsel on Mrs. Mortimer’s ancestry for Charles’s sake.

Giveaway

TGOBP Tour Giveaway
-(2) winner's will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card (open Int.) -(1) winner will receive an ebook copy of The Secret of Haversham House (open Int.) -(1) winner will receive their choice of a print copy of one of Julie's books (US only)
Enter the giveaway HERE.

Tour Schedule

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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Motherhood: Powered by Love, Saved by Grace by Christie Gardiner

Motherhood: Empowered by Love, Saved by GraceMotherhood: Empowered by Love, Saved by Grace by Christie Gardiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Inspiration
Length: 16 pages



Book Description:  Motherhood: We do what we have to do; we face what we have to face. We all experience our own seemingly insurmountable challenges only to somehow rise again.
Mothers traverse a lifelong path of ups and downs, often encountering seemingly insurmountable obstacles along the way. In those moments when the gulf between who you are and who you must be for your children seems too great to bridge, where can you find the strength to not only survive but also thrive? With an abundance of personal stories and thought-provoking questions, bestselling author Christie Gardiner reaches out to women in all stages of motherhood with the answer: through the grace of Jesus Christ, you can do all things.


My thoughts:  As a mother, sometimes it feels as if we are doing a lonely job. I often feel as if I'm doing it by myself, in spite of the fact that I have an amazing and helpful husband.

This booklet is a reminder that we are never doing it alone. As mothers and sisters, we were blessed with each other. We are also blessed with a loving Father in Heaven and a Savior who died for us and can comfort us.

Christie Gardiner uses examples of women who survived and thrived through struggles and how they were helped through them. I was also reminded to accept Grace when offered to me. That is one of the hardest challenges. I get caught up in the, "I can do it all by myself" thinking.

This is really a sweet little booklet full of gentle reminders and love.



Online Purchase Links:


This is a great gift under $3 to give to a mother you care about.

Christie GardinerAbout the Author:  (Copied from Goodreads) Christie has enjoyed participating in speaking engagements across the country where she loves reminding groups of women that with God, they are not alone and are enough. Christie's heartfelt and quick-witted writing was first enjoyed in blog form on behalf of the Utah Jazz and Illume Gallery of Fine Art. Her performing career has spanned three decades in theater, television, film, commercials, podcasting and voiceover work. She is a longtime faculty member at the Utah Conservatory of Performing Arts where she inspires young people to increase their self-esteem through participation in the arts. She enjoys serving in her church's youth program. In her spare time you will find Christie with her husband and children, in nature or in the yoga studio teaching a class. She makes her home in Utah and occasionally, the Oregon coast.
Visit her WEBPAGE!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Blog Tour Grand Finale ~Kingdom Above the Cloud by Maggie Platt #KACPrism #Giveaway

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Author Interview

What inspired you to write KINGDOM ABOVE THE CLOUD?

It really started with a daydream. What if there was a world full of characters who had mastered either a deadly sin or a fruit of the spirit? I started designing characters and imagining scenes, and it took on a life of its own. By the time I was done writing it, it was a deep dive into my Christian faith on a scale I never expected!

Bookworm Lisa - Review

"The descriptions of life in a village where everyone lives in a treehouse are beautiful. . . . I found a lot of symbolism for Christianity. A loving creator who doesn't force your decisions but asks for you to follow him. He loves unconditionally. The book was a great contrast between good and evil, the consequences of living in a corrupt society."


"I love all the imagination throughout this story. Adia sounds like a great place to live. It was fun to follow Tovi through all of her adventures. The fantastical places in the story were interesting and great to hold the attention of the reader. . . . I highly recommend this story to other readers who enjoy a great adventure."


How to Build a World from Scratch

When I started writing Kingdom Above the Cloud, I had images in my mind of characters and scenes. I jumped right in, never considering important details about the world they live in. . . . There is so much to consider when creating a fantasy world. If I were starting all over, I would follow these steps. . .


"Kingdom Above The Cloud, author Maggie Platt's first book in her Tales From Adia series, was a fairly quick read and a much different take on fantasy than usual. If you have kids or grandkids in the right age group you should check this story out."


A throat cleared behind her, and she turned away from the ridge expecting Silas. A dark-haired stranger stood close behind her, and her heart thudded in sudden fear. She scrambled to her feet, sending loose rocks plummeting toward the boulders below.

“I’m so sorry to startle you,” he apologized, holding his hands out as if to prove he meant no harm. Even in her terrified state, the first thing she noticed was there was no heart on his palm. “I was walking by, and you looked upset. Are you all right?”

Wishful Endings - Guest Post

Introducing Adia!

Kingdom Above the Cloud’s main character, Tovi Tivka, grew up in Adia. When the story begins, she is there among the treetops, wistfully yearning for more out of life and answers to her deepest questions. To get you better acquainted with this setting, here are some common questions I receive about Adia. . .


"Kingdom Above the Cloud was a quick and satisfying read, bringing to mind one of my childhood favorites, The Mirror of N’de by L. K. Malone. The characters were very well developed and the world was painted with symbolism. Tovi’s character arc was beautifully rendered, and I found myself seeing aspects of myself in the character. . . . I would recommend it to anyone who loves allegories such as The Chronicles of Narnia, fantasy lovers, and anyone wanting a good, comforting read."


THE 5 FANTASY WORLDS THAT SHAPED MY WRITING

I have moved homes approximately 7 billion times. As any frequent mover knows, heavy books often don’t make the cut. No matter how much you love them, they end up in the Good Will pile after you’ve moved them house to house a few times.

So, despite deep connection with my books, only a few have survived from my childhood. Most of my shelves are full of books that I have collected in just the last 2 years since moving into my current house. However, when I look at the oldest beat-up volumes, I can’t help smiling. These well-loved, dog-eared, creased and worn-out books all have fantasy elements and made me the writer that I am today. . .



As the early dawn haze ran away from the light and the birds began to wake, Tovi Tivka sprinted along a familiar ridge never pausing to consider the danger should she fall. Her breezy yellow dress billowed in her wake, as did the long waves of her dark blue hair. She was petite in every way, short and wiry. She had an angular nose, a stubborn chin, and dark brown eyes with one small purple star on the edge of her left iris. To her left was dense forest. To her right, a cliff that fell to boulders far below. Under her tough, bare feet was the hard-beaten path she had run every morning for the last six months.


"Maggie Platt has crafted a well-written allegory. . . there are characters to love and characters to hate. There are fantasy elements in this allegory, making it a good book for fantasy lovers. Kingdom Above the Cloud is book one in the Tales from Adia series. I look forward to reading future books."

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post...

Kingdom Above the Cloud
(Tales from Adia #1)
By Maggie Platt
YA Fantasy, Christian, Allegory
Paperback & ebook, 239 Pages
April 17th 2020 by Ambassador International

What if the nine Fruit of the Spirit and the Seven Deadly Sins were locked in a battle for control?

Abandoned as infants, Tovi and her twin brother were raised by an eclectic tribe of warm, kind people in a treehouse village in the valley. After her brother's sudden disappearance Tovi questions her life and her faith in an invisible King. Ignoring her best friend Silas' advice, she decides to search for her brother in the kingdom on top of the mountain.

Above the cloud, the Council of Masters receives their orders. Tovi and her brother are the objectives. King Damien has a plan and Tovi is the key. The Council of Masters want her, but will she remain unscathed?

Amidst the glamour of the kingdom above the cloud Tovi is torn between her own dark desires and unanswered questions. It starts with a snake and a crown. When the ring is complete, will her life be over?

(Affiliate links included.)

About the Author


Maggie Platt is a writer, traveler, cancer survivor, and dreamer. Her greatest joys are being Auntie M to her amazing nieces and nephew and sitting with students and friends over cups of coffee and deep conversations. She works at her alma mater, Anderson University, and she lives in a cozy little cottage nearby where students come to sit on her couch just to laugh, cry, and talk about life.


Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive a signed print copy of Kingdom Above the Cloud, map of Adian, bookmark, and sticker (US only)
Ends May 6, 2020

ENTER HERE

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Saturday, May 2, 2020

Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker **5 star review**

Lakeshire ParkLakeshire Park by Megan Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Regency Romance


Book Description:  “Charming, beautifully written, and hopelessly romantic. Sure to be a new favorite!”
-JULIANNE DONALDSON, best-selling author of Edenbrooke

Brighton, England 1820

Amelia Moore wants only one thing—to secure the future happiness of her younger sister, Clara. With their stepfather’s looming death, the two sisters will soon be on their own—without family, a home, or a penny to their names. When an invitation arrives to join a house party at Lakeshire Park, Amelia grasps at the chance. If she can encourage a match between Clara and their host, Sir Ronald, then at least her sister will be taken care of.

Little does she know that another guest, the arrogant and overconfident Mr. Peter Wood, is after the same goal for his own sister. Amelia and Peter begin a rivalry that Amelia has no choice but to win. But competing against Peter—and eventually playing by his rules—makes Amelia vulnerable to losing the only thing she has left to claim: her heart.
 



My thoughts:  There are books that make you feel good while you are reading them and it is sad to see them end. This was one of those books for me. I fell in love with the characters and the story. It was a hard book to put down! This is her first full-length novel. The book is polished and the voice is fantastic. Megan Walker is an author that I will be looking for in the future.

Amelia Moore and her sister Clara are in dire circumstances. Their stepfather is on his deathbed and will not provide for their future. Soon they will be destitute with nowhere to go. An invitation to a house party takes them to Lakeshire Park where it is vital that one of them make a match. Amelia puts all of her hope into Clara making a good match and is willing to sacrifice her happiness for her sisters. What she didn't count on is Peter.

I don't know if I could adequately describe Peter. He is by far my favorite character of the book. He has a talent for drawing Amelia out of her shell and helping her to see the possibilities for happiness in her future. He is persistent and fun.

There is so much to recommend in this book. It is now a favorite of mine. This may be one that I revisit in the future.



Online Purchase Links:





Megan WalkerAbout the Author:  (Copied from Goodreads) Megan Walker was raised on a berry farm in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where her imagination took her to times past and worlds away. While earning her degree in Early Childhood Education, she married her one true love and started a family. But her imaginings of Regency England wouldn't leave her alone, so she picked up a pen. And the rest is history. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and three children.
Visit her WEBPAGE!