Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Altered Helix by Stephanie Hansen #blogtour #giveaway #yafantasy


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Altered Helix
(Altered Helix #1)
By Stephanie Hansen
Young Adult Fantasy Novella
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 96 Pages
May 19, 2020 by Hypothesis Books

Source:  Received to Review
Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I didn’t want to take the traditional path. First, I wasn’t ready for college. Second, I was going to live with my best friend, Tiff, and work at the Haunted House. Third, did I mention the hot guy Josh that works there too?

The most exciting thing about Austria’s new job, at a local haunted house, was the fact that the toughest looking people screamed the loudest. But when she meets the boy without a home, Josh, Austria's life takes intriguing and eventful turns. Up until now, Josh has managed to hang with his Street crowd, but they’re in danger, and so is Austria, the girl Josh recently fell for. The group finds themselves joining forces with previously considered enemies who also now find themselves in danger.

Deeply compassionate and full of twists, Altered Helix captures the struggle of polarized people that must work together for the greater good.

My thoughts:  Altered Helix focuses on a young woman who is trying to figure out how she would like to spend the rest of her life.  The story takes place in almost what I would consider an alternate reality. Society is made up of people who have homes and jobs, and it seems to be normal for teenagers to be living on the streets. 

Austria tries living away from her mom working at a haunted house.  The group of young adults is eclectic.  There are the well-to-do frat boys, the middle class, the homeless, and the owner who seems to be trying to make the world a better place.

The feel of the book was a little dark.  It is told from Austria's point of view.  She is trying to make sense of the world that changes in an instant for her.  She finds that there is another side to her life that she was unaware of.  At times I felt like her discoveries were a little bit choppy and I had a hard time transitioning from idea to idea.  Over time, however, I grew accustomed to the writing style and it all came together for me.  I have to admit that my interest is peaked and that I want to continue with the rest of the trilogy.

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Other Books in the Series

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About the Author

Stephanie Hansen is a PenCraft Award Winning Author. Her short story, Break Time, and poetry has been featured in Mind's Eye literary magazine. The Kansas Writers Association published her short story, Existing Forces, appointing her as a noted author. She has held a deep passion for writing since early childhood, but a brush with death caused her to allow it to grow. She's part of an SCBWI critique group in Lawrence, KS and two local book clubs. She attends many writers' conferences including the Writing Day Workshops, New York Pitch, Penned Con, New Letters, All Write Now, Show Me Writers Master Class, BEA, and Nebraska Writers Guild conference as well as Book Fairs and Comic-Cons. She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Georgana's Secret by Arlem Hawks #BlogTour #GeorganasSecret #RegencyRomance


Georgana's Secret by Arlem Hawks
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Regency Romance

Book Description:  A Regency romance on the high seas. Two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.

As a young girl, Georgana Woodall dreamed of beautiful dresses, fancy balls, and falling in love. However, when her mother dies, she cannot face a future under the guardianship of her abusive grandmother and instead chooses to join her father on his ship disguised as his cabin boy, "George."

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty's Royal Navy claiming his full attention. While trying to adjust to a new crew, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the captain's cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the "boy" under his wing. After discovering several clues, Dominic deduces that George is really a woman. Knowing that revealing the cabin boy's secret would put her in serious danger from the rowdy crew, Dominic keeps silent and hides his growing affection for her.

Georgana is quickly losing her heart to Dominic's compassion and care but is convinced nothing can come of her affection. She cannot continue to live her life on the sea and having already missed too many seasons in London, her chances of being welcomed back into polite society and finding a suitable husband are quickly slipping away.

My thoughts: I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this story. I wasn't expecting to become entranced with a story that takes place on the sea during the Regency Era.

Georgana (aka George) is a young woman (lad) who has an abusive grandmother. When her mother passes away her Captain father takes her (him) as part of his crew. She must remain hidden, no one can know that the Captain's daughter is aboard the ship.

Dominic Peyton has just become the First Lieutenant on the Deborah. He discovers a cabin boy, named George who is abused by the other boys on the ship. The Captain doesn't give George the same share of duties and many see him as a poor excuse for a boy in the Navy. He decides to take the young man under his wing and teach him to defend himself.

There are so many moments that made me laugh. Georgana is trying to hide the fact that she is a girl and attracted to Lieutenant Peyton. (Oh dear!) It doesn't take long for the Lieutenant to start figuring things are not quite what they seem to be.

The book describes the hard life at sea: the poor diet, cramped quarters, naval hierarchy, the threat of mutiny, and war. It isn't the place for a girl trying to fit in as a boy.

I loved the characters, the setting, the premise, everything about this book made me happy.

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

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About the Author:  Arlem Hawks began making up stories before she could write. Living all over the Western United States and traveling around the world gave her a love of cultures and people and the stories they have to tell. With her travels came an interest in history, especially the history of her English heritage. When she isn't writing, Arlem is baking her characters' favorite foods, sewing Regency dresses, learning how to play the tin whistle, and water coloring. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two children. Having previously published four historical romance novellas, Georgana’s Secret is her debut novel.




"Hawks crafts a spellbinding tale featuring rich characters and raw emotions set against the atmospheric backdrop of sea life in all its danger and beauty. Georgana is a tough protagonist holding her own in a world dominated by men, while Peyton's charm and sensitivity marks him as a true gentleman. A hidden identity, flirtation, and treachery make for a rousing tale to captivate lovers of historical romances."— Publishers Weekly

“This tale felt sweepingly cinematic at times and was both action-packed and heart-wrenching with an immersive narrative.”— Katie Jackson, RegencyProofreading.com

Arlem Hawks wove a magnificent tale of adventure and deception and delivered a happy ever after that was as unconventional as the rest of the story. With so many stories of romance out there, it is refreshing when one comes along that is very different than the stories that I am used to. A little adventure always livens things up fabulously.”— Emily Flynn, Reading with Emily

"Fans of sweet love stories as well as readers who fondly remember those marvelous old traditional Signet Regencies will quickly succumb to the siren song of Hawk’s expertly crafted novel, which delivers the perfect blend of Jane Austen-smart romance and Patrick O’Brian flavored seafaring adventure. Teen romance readers will cheer on the plucky heroine as she finds the courage to forge her own path in life and love."— Booklist, starred review

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Dress Shop on King's Street by Ashley Clark


The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Description:  Harper Albright has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her to sew. As she rethinks her own future, secrets long hidden about Millie's past are brought to light.

In 1946, Millie Middleton boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.

Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston and the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they've both dreamed of. But it's not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams

My thoughts: WOW! This is such a beautiful story. It is a multi-generational novel that takes the reader from before the Civil War into the present day.

Millie is a woman who is half white and half black. Her mixed heritage gives her more freedom to live in the white world. Her story begins before Martin Luther King changed life for many black people.

Her life is threatened when a white young man learns of her mixed heritage. In order to protect her, Millie's mother puts her on a train to move to an area where she can pass as a white woman.

The story "packs a punch" as injustice is described. Millie has a love story that is beautiful, but her heart is broken when she becomes a mother. To me, it is unfathomable the way that people in the black community were treated. It is because I have never experienced it, that I have a hard time wrapping my head around it.

While there is a lot of pain, there are good times too. The story really is one of hope. It comes full circle when dreams are realized and that generations following have more opportunity.

I cannot give this book a higher recommendation. This will remain in my head and heart for a long time to come.

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About the Author:  Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses as an adjunct. She's an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns.

Monday, January 11, 2021

His Accidental Bride by Carolyn Twede Frank


His Accidental BrideHis Accidental Bride by Carolyn Twede Frank
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre:  Historical Fiction

Book Description:  Dorothy Bednar is living a life she despises. Forced to work as a double-dealing saloon girl, Dorothy has finally had enough. The next train out of town is her ticket to freedom, and Dorothy jumps aboard without a thought for where she’s going—until she meets a kind woman aboard the train. Her fellow passenger was originally traveling to Colorado to marry a man she’d never met, but her cold feet offer Dorothy the perfect opportunity to set up roots somewhere new. Dorothy soon finds herself posing as the mail-order bride—after all, marrying a stranger can’t be worse than what she left behind.

Young Colorado lawyer Ronald Smith is astonished when he spies the lovely woman who comes to greet him—the woman who is to be his wife. Dorothy is beyond Ronald’s wildest dreams, a kindhearted partner eager to be a homemaker and mother. To Dorothy, Ronald is the most gentlemanly man she’s ever met—a man who makes her feel safe and cherished. What begins as a deception soon deepens into true love, but too soon, Dorothy’s secret past threatens the beautiful life she’s built—a life that feels truer than anything she’s ever known.

My thoughts: If you add up a good-for-nothing brother, a mail-order bride, physical abuse, and a really great guy who wants to get married you get His Accidental Bride. There is more to the story, but I feel that these are some of the prominent plot points.

Dorothy Bednar is a good young lady who is caught up in a life that she wants to run away from. Her older brother has her commit crimes and beats her when she doesn't comply. A quick run to the train station leads her to Miss Cooper, who is traveling West to meet her groom. Dorothy's intrusion gives Miss Cooper an excuse to run away from her situation. Win/Win!? No, it never turns out pretty when those things happen.

Dorothy had good intentions to deliver the letter from Miss Cooper to Mr. Ronald Smith, but he was too nice and she kept getting lost for words. Next thing you know, everyone thinks that she is Miss Cooper. What is a nice girl to do? Play along until she can extract herself from the situation.

This was a cute book. I loved Dorothy and Ronald. I hated Dorothy's brother and another bad guy in the book. I loved the setting of a small town in Colorado set in the 1800s. I also loved that the book was about forgiveness and making a fresh start.

There were a few places where the pacing was a bit slow, but overall, I didn't feel like it detracted from the story.

This is a good, clean, fun novel that left me feeling good at the end.

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

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About the Author: (From Goodreads)  About my writing: I don't like to write candy for the brain. But I do like to try to make my books not only fulfilling, but entertaining. Candy is nice, but a meal of meat, potatoes, and veges can leave you more satisfied. My books give the reader a good taste of history and/or science along with a dash of mystery folded into the story.

About me: I've always loved writing, but haven't gotten serious until the past seven years. When I'm not writing, I like to garden, sew, fix up old houses, or anything else creative. My favorite movies are ones about history.

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