Thursday, January 19, 2023

Five Stars to "Scotland's Melody" by Katie Stewart Stone





Scotland's MelodyScotland's Melody by Katie Stewart Stone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Historical Romance

Book Description:  Melody Foster has been granted every luxury available save one: the ability to love whom she chooses. When her father reveals that she is to marry a wild Scot she’s never met, Melody defies him and declares she will never marry without affection. Her choice to marry Richard, a footman in her father’s household, prompts her family to disown her, and she goes to London to risk everything for love. But she is blindsided. Without a penny to her name, her love is worthless to Richard, and he decides to change tactics. Perhaps she could still serve a purpose—after all, her family can’t sit idly by while she is held for ransom . . .

Desperate to escape the man she thought she loved, Melody finds allies to aid her: first, her old governess and then Cameron Findlay, a handsome stranger who is startled by the distraught young woman who catapulted into his life. Cam finds himself sympathetic to the young woman’s plight, so he and his sister agree to take her on as a servant in their household. Cam and Melody are powerfully drawn to one another, but can Melody ever trust her heart when it was so terribly wrong before?



My thoughts: I made the mistake of starting this book in the evening. I didn't get much sleep. I woke up early to finish the book. I did not want to put this one down.

Melody wants to marry for love. I wholeheartedly support this. She finds out the hard way that not all men are honest or have her best interests at heart. Her mistake of running away to the wrong man led her to the right man.

I loved Cameron and his sister. She couldn't have chosen to hide in a better carriage. When she met them she found the path to happiness. Not to say that they were perfect or that there weren't challenges to overcome in the book. There is a lot of story in the middle that left me captivated.

I could not give Scotland's Melody a higher recommendation. I loved this book and would want to read it again.

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



Online Purchase Links:





About the AuthorKatie Stewart Stone is an Austen enthusiast, a blogger, a journal-writer, and a wife and mother. With her debut work, Coming Home to Bellingham, Katie achieved a life-long goal of finishing and publishing a novel. She writes what she wants to read and rarely reads anything without a good romance. Katie graduated from Brigham Young University in 2012 with a bachelors in Therapuetic Recreation and spent six years working in the non-profit world, while writing on the side. When her beautiful boy was born in 2018, she quit her day-job and committed to finishing her first Regency novel. Now she spends her days dreaming up new ways to bring young lovers together in the most Regency-appropriate scenarios possible, along with carrying out her duties as a stay-at-home mother to two wonderful children who were named after Austen characters.

Visit her WEBSITE!

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

To Win a Prince by Toni Shiloh #bookreview

 


To Win a PrinceTo Win a Prince by Toni Shiloh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Christian Fiction

Book Description As a fashion aficionado and best friend of the queen of the African island country Oloro Ilé, Iris Blakely dreams of using her talent to start a business to help citizens in impoverished areas. But when she discovers that Ekon Diallo will be her business consultant, the battle between her desires and reality begins.

Ekon Diallo has lost everything: his princely title, his material possessions, his friends, and the respect of his countrymen. To pay for his actions against Oloro Ilé, he's forced to assist the charismatic Iris Blakely--but he can't allow his heart to distract him from regaining his status.

As Iris strives to get her business off the ground while keeping her heart intact, will her dreams of happily ever after survive the challenges she faces?
 



My thoughts: Toni Shiloh has created a beautiful country with Oloro Ilé. I really enjoyed In Search of a Prince. This companion novel did not disappoint. I love how she created a vibrant culture. I would still love to visit if it weren't a fictional place.

Iris is the best friend of Queen Brielle. The male MC is Ekon. He was part of a plot to keep the throne from Brielle in "In Search of a Prince". This is the story about his punishment and Iris who sees the good in people and situations. This is also a story about redemption and forgiveness.

Iris and Ekon have chemistry from the start. The problem is that he is performing community service by working for her. It creates a hurdle that must be overcome for them to give in to their mutual attraction. The love story is a slow burn. It takes time for them to get to know and trust each other. There is also the problem that Iris is the best friend of Brielle. It's not easy to fall in love with the man who worked to overthrow her. It makes it a little awkward.

There is so much to recommend in this book. It is Christian Fiction. There are religious elements that are vital to the plot of the book.

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



Online Purchase Links:




About the Author:  Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

Visit her WEBPAGE!


Monday, January 2, 2023

The Rose and the Thistle by Laura Frantz #TheRoseandtheThistle #BookTour #AustenprosePR #HistoricalRomance


 

The Rose and the ThistleThe Rose and the Thistle by Laura Frantz
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Description:  In 1715, Lady Blythe Hedley's father is declared an enemy of the British crown because of his Jacobite sympathies, forcing her to flee her home in northern England. Secreted to the tower of Wedderburn Castle in Scotland, Lady Blythe awaits who will ultimately be crowned king. But in a house with seven sons and numerous servants, her presence soon becomes known.

No sooner has Everard Hume lost his father, Lord Wedderburn, than Lady Hedley arrives with the clothes on her back and her mistress in tow. He has his own problems--a volatile brother with dangerous political leanings, an estate to manage, and a very young brother in need of comfort and direction in the wake of losing his father. It would be best for everyone if he could send this misfit heiress on her way as soon as possible.

Drawn into a whirlwind of intrigue, shifting alliances, and ambitions, Lady Blythe must be careful whom she trusts. Her fortune, her future, and her very life are at stake. Those who appear to be adversaries may turn out to be allies--and those who pretend friendship may be enemies.

My thoughts:  Beautiful

Lady Blythe Hedley was forced to leave her home. Her father was Catholic and sympathetic to the Jacobites. Both were not popular or encouraged during a time of political upheaval. Her father sent her to France and then Scotland to protect her from danger.

She flees to Wedderburn Castle where the new Laird recently lost his father. He has many things on his plate and an English Lady adds to his problems.

This book is beautiful on the outside and on the inside. Laura Frantz's writing is gorgeous. Her attention to detail and her research makes the book effortless to read. I was captivated by the setting and the characters. Blythe and Everard are good and honorable.

I loved their story.

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




Online Purchase Links:




About the Author:  Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Proud of her heritage, she is also a Daughter of the American Revolution. When not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS


Sunday, December 11, 2022

My Testimony Tree by Sierra Wilson (Book Tour and Giveaway)

 


My Testimony TreeMy Testimony Tree by Sierra Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source:  Recieved to Review
Genre: Childrens Religions Picture Book

Book Description:  My testimony is special.

It's the spiritual things I know.

And just like a tree,

Every day I'll help it grow.

From tiny seed to strong, fruitful tree, a testimony is something that must be nurtured and cared for your whole life through. With beautiful illustrations and poetry, this story of faith helps children understand what a testimony is and how to help it thrive, bringing them closer to Heavenly Father and the Savior.


My thoughts:  I love this tiny yet powerful picture book. It is written in prose and gives very basic instructions and illustrations on how to grow a testimony.

It doesn't stop at how to plant a seed and grow a testimony. It talks about mistakes that can diminish a testimony and the steps that need to be taken how to care for and mend the tree.

The illustrations are adorable and are sure to capture the attention of a child. Kudos to the author and the illustrator on a job well done.

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





Online Purchase Links:




About the Author Sierra Wilson is the author of several faith-filled picture books including I Can Be Like Jesus, The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for Me, and Standout Saints: Church History Heroes from Around the World. She currently lives in Alberta, Canada where she adores hiking, skiing, and adventuring with her husband and five children. 

Online Presence:
@sierraauthor on Instagram and Twitter

 
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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Death on a Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews #ChristmasMystery #BookTour #DetectiveMystery

 


It's Christmas time!  That means cozying up and reading a Christmas book!  Here is one that may interest you.  I love a good mystery <3



No-nonsense Nantucket detective Merry Folger grapples with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and two murders as the island is overtaken by Hollywood stars and DC suits.

Nantucket Police Chief Meredith Folger is acutely conscious of the stress COVID-19 has placed on the community she loves. Although the island has proved a refuge for many during the pandemic, the cost to Nantucket has been high. Merry hopes that the Christmas Stroll, one of Nantucket’s favorite traditions, in which Main Street is transformed into a winter wonderland, will lift the island’s spirits. But the arrival of a large-scale TV production, and the Secretary of State and her family, complicates matters significantly.
 
The TV shoot is plagued with problems from within, as a shady, power-hungry producer clashes with strong-willed actors. Across Nantucket, the Secretary’s troubled stepson keeps shaking off his security detail to visit a dilapidated house near conservation land, where an intriguing recluse guards secrets of her own. With all parties overly conscious of spending too much time in the public eye and secrets swirling around both camps, it is difficult to parse what behavior is suspicious or not—until the bodies turn up.
 
Now, it’s up to Merry and Detective Howie Seitz to find a connection between two seemingly unconnected murders and catch the killer. But when everyone has a motive, and half of the suspects are politicians and actors, how can Merry and Howie tell fact from fiction?
 
This latest installment in critically acclaimed author Francine Mathews’ Merry Folger series is an immersive escape to festive Nantucket, a poignant exploration of grief as a result of parental absence, and a delicious new mystery to keep you guessing. 


Online Purchase Links:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS


Advanced Praise:

  • “This fast-moving mystery packs in a lot, but never too much, and will work for fans of coming-of-age stories, police procedurals, and romance.” —First Clue

  • “Fresh, well-wrought prose brings the setting of Nantucket to life. Mathews consistently entertains.” —Publishers Weekly

  • “Christmas and death come to Nantucket . . . Plenty of fascinating characters and myriad motives make for an exciting read.” —Kirkus Reviews 

  • “Mathews consistently places relationships at the forefront of her mysteries, and Merry's unique blend of tenacity and humanity makes her a heroine to root for.”—USA Today bestselling author Karen Odden, author of the Inspector Corravan mysteries



Read an Excerpt:
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She’d risen before dawn and driven out to Great Point, stopping near the Wauwinet hotel (which was closed in winter) to deflate the ancient green van’s tires. The gatehouse to the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge was deserted; and her spirits rose in the hope that she would find herself completely alone. 

She drove over the sand at a snail’s pace for nearly forty minutes, sipping black coffee from an insulated bottle, windows cracked to welcome the crash of the Atlantic waves. At 6:49 a.m. by her watch, the sun rose out of the sea like a burning goddess, and it almost seemed possible that she was the only person on earth alive to witness it. 

Great Point is Nantucket’s outflung upper arm, a narrow pen- insula of sand that trails northward for miles. At its tip, the calmer seas of the Sound run headlong into the open water of the Atlantic Ocean, creating dangerous shoals and rip tides and cross currents. Bluefish and bonito, false albacore and striped bass lurk in the rills where the two waters meet, and the fish draw birds 

Which, in turn, drew the green van filled with photographer’s equipment, lurching along a beach still wet and compacted from yesterday’s rain. 

She parked not far from the lonely white tower of Great Point’s lighthouse and carried her tripod to the lee of its empty keeper’s quarters. It was odd, she thought, that the presence of the buildings did nothing to humanize the spot. If anything, their desertion intensified the solitude. She was surrounded on three sides by ocean and buffeted by wind. Later in the day, gray seals would haul out of the Atlantic to sun them- selves. In this first hour of daylight, little stirred except the fitful branches of beach plum and bayberry. But the air was filled with wings. 

She sighted sanderlings, running back and forth in the wash, as she set up her equipment, and a few dunlins as well—common to the Arctic Circle in summer months but hugging a different latitude now that it was December. Gulls of all kinds stalked the waterline, crying harshly. She did not waste her film on them. She waited, her coffee thermos drained and the cold beginning to seep into her toes, for the northern gannets. 

She had come out this morning hoping for the heavy white predators of winter seas, with their bright blue eyes and black flight feathers. Gannets had dagger-sharp bills and dove straight from the air into the waves with a terrific splash, stabbing their prey at depths of up to seventy feet. Remarkably, they used their six-foot wingspan to swim underwater. Gannets were the Olympians of the Atlantic, and the ways they manipulated wind and sea fascinated her. 

She had brought two camera bodies, both Nikon F2 35mm, that she’d bought as a baby in the 1980s. They were loaded with two different speeds and types of film—the first, with Fujichrome Provia 100f slide film that offered the speed and saturated color she sought for both birds and landscape; the second, with Ilford HP5, a 400 speed ISO black and white film that was brilliant for capturing movement without blur. She also had four different lenses with her, interchangeable on both bodies: the standard 50mm, useful for close-up and still shots; a 24mm wide-angle lens she rarely needed but packed as part of her kit; a 105mm and a 180mm for zeroing in on objects far away. 

She had attached an MD-4 motor drive to one camera body to advance her film swiftly as she pointed and shot, and she had brought along a handheld light meter to supplement the one in the camera viewfinder. It was light that influenced how widely she set the f-stops on her various lenses; the viewfinder’s, which operated with a 3V lithium battery, showed only light reflected from the subject, not the depth of her field. For that, she needed the handheld one. 

Yes, her work verged on art; but it began with science. 

She tested the light now as she moved around the sand, focusing out on the roiling waters of Great Point Rip. It was stronger at twenty past seven, with the persistent heaviness of early December. Moving to the tripod, she attached a cam- era body and 105 mm lens for closer focus and snapped a roll’s worth of snow buntings, quietly enjoying the plump little birds’ alert briskness in the higher dunes. Then she reached for her second camera and attached the 180mm lens, scanning the horizon. Set her f-stop to 5.6, the aperture quite open to capture swift birds in flight. The gannets were out there; she had only to wait. 

They appeared at 8:37, a great cloud winging in from the east with the sunlight gilding their feathers. The air was filled with high-pitched cries as they circled a hundred yards above Great Point Rip, a, searching the seas all around her for schools of fish. She pivoted to follow the birds’ flight with her camera’s eye, resetting her f-stops and snapping the powerful wing thrusts, until the first gannet glimpsed prey and, folding its wings back along its body, torpedoed into the water. 

It was like watching a fighter jet plummet in a death spiral. The gannets’ speed was suicidally fast. They knifed into the waves at sixty miles an hour, as though punching through concrete. The fish they devoured underwater, at point of impact, then bobbed up to the surface to cry out their satisfaction. She knew enough about them to realize that one or two might not survive the morning’s feeding—the slightest miscalculation of angle as head hit sea, and the bird’s neck would snap. 

The cacophony was immense. When she paused to reload her film her hands were shaking with the excitement and pleasure she witnessed. She forgot the cold entirely. Her heart raced and she could not stop smiling. 

She had no idea how long they remained, only that after a time the wild calls faded again into the distance, the gleaming white and black bodies were pinpoints on the horizon, and once again, she was alone with the rearing stone tower and its emptiness. Exhausted. 

Chapter 8, pg. 51-54

From Death on a Winter Stroll © 2022, Francine Mathews, published by Soho Crime



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




About the Author: Francine Mathews was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written thirty books, including six previous novels in the Merry Folger series (Death in the Off-SeasonDeath in Rough WaterDeath in a Mood IndigoDeath in a Cold Hard Light, Death on Nantucket, and Death on Tuckernuck) as well as the nationally bestselling Being a Jane Austen mystery series, which she writes under the pen name Stephanie Barron. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado.

Monday, December 5, 2022

The Sisters of Sea View by Julie Klassen #BookTour #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance

 




BOOK DESCRIPTION: Some guests have come for a holiday, others for hidden reasons of their own . . .


When their father's death leaves them impoverished, Sarah Summers and her genteel sisters fear they will be forced to sell the house and separate to earn livelihoods as governesses or companions. Determined to stay together, Sarah convinces them to open their seaside home to guests to make ends meet and provide for their ailing mother. Instead of the elderly invalids they expect to receive, however, they find themselves hosting eligible gentlemen. Sarah is soon torn between a growing attraction to a mysterious Scottish widower and duty to her family.

Viola Summers wears a veil to cover her scar. When forced to choose between helping in her family's new guest house and earning money to hire a maid to do her share, she chooses the latter. She reluctantly agrees to read to some of Sidmouth's many invalids, preferring the company of a few elders with failing eyesight to the fashionable guests staying in their home. But when her first client turns out to be a wounded officer in his thirties, Viola soon wishes she had chosen differently. Her new situation exposes her scars--both visible and those hidden deep within--and her cloistered heart will never be the same.

Join the Summers sisters on the Devonshire coast, where they discover the power of friendship, loyalty, love, and new beginnings.

My thoughts: The first thing that I noticed about the book is the cover. It is lovely and captures a time and place that I would like to visit.

The first thing that struck me was the beautiful descriptions. The house sounds lovely and the sea beautiful. I could picture a quaint town full of history and tourists.

The Summers family had to relocate to Devonshire Coast because of the untimely death of their father. Their home was entailed, but the father purchased this home as a getaway place, and now it is the residence of his wife and daughters. Unfortunately, they cannot afford to live in it. To remedy the situation, they turn it into a bed and breakfast. The sisters have drastically different personalities. The story changes the POV between the sisters. I find it refreshing to get the whole story from each of them.

This is an "Austenesque" book. Julie Klassen has captured the feel of one of her books.

I also loved the many different guests that visit their home.  It is a very eclectic group.  I would say that it is hard for young ladies to give up their rooms and adjust to a different living situation.  Imagine walking into your room to find a gentleman in there.  That is definitely not a common occurrence in the Regency time period.

If you are looking for a Regency novel that is a little different, this may be a book that you would like to take a look at.


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




PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS



Watch as Julie Klassen introduces the book!



About the Author: Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. Her books have sold over a million copies, and she is a three-time recipient of the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award and has been a finalist in the RITA and Carol Awards. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.


ADVANCE PRAISE

  • “Jane Austen fans will delight in this nimble series launch…Klassen excels at weaving her various story lines, each emphasizing the colorful qualities of her characters and allowing them the space to shine. Readers will be eager for the next installment.” —Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)


PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF JULIE KLASSEN 

  • “Julie Klassen delights with a winsome love story…” —Publisher’s Weekly, on A Castaway in Cornwall

  • “I couldn’t put it down! It you are a historical fiction fan you need this one on your radar! It was a spooky delight full of heart. ”—Anne Mendez, The Lit Bitch, on Shadows of Swanford Abbey

  • “…a wonderfully engaging novel full of intriguing characters and storylines. I highly recommend it and can’t wait for more in the series.” —Laura Gerold, Laura’s Reviews, on The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill