Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Spotlighting "Secrets of Stonebridge" by Anita Stansfield #booktour #giveaway


Since the untimely death of her young husband, Regina Everleigh has been consumed by her grief. After more than a year spent sequestered in her rooms at Stonebridge Manor, the once lively young woman is encouraged to venture into town—her first small step toward healing. But Regina is shaken out of her stupor when she makes a most unexpected discovery: a foundling baby girl. Regina is instantly enthralled with the infant and determines that she will claim the child as her own—a deception that seems, in the moment, to be harmless. But when her husband’s cousin Radcliffe comes back into her life, Regina quickly becomes entangled in a tenuous charade.

Radcliffe is immediately taken with both the charming baby girl and the woman he believes to be her mother. As Regina and Radcliffe are drawn together, first as friends and then as something much deeper, the future is bright with unspoken promise. But when the truth of the baby’s parentage is revealed, Regina stands to lose all that she has come to cherish.

Read an Excerpt


“Gina knew that some form of a lecture was coming. In most situations, a maid would never speak so comfortably and casually to the person for whom they worked. But Emerald and Ruby had grown up with Gina, and they mutually shared an attitude of responsibility for Gina’s best interests, every bit as much as they worked together to care for her daily needs. Occasionally they both shared tea or a meal with her since she’d not eaten any meals outside her rooms for months now. But she couldn’t recall both being in her room together at this time of day. She sensed some kind of conspiracy and discreetly slithered deeper beneath the covers until they flew abruptly from over her face and she found herself looking up at Emerald, with the much shorter Ruby at her side. Both were scowling with determination, and Gina wished she could feign ignorance regarding what this might be about, but she knew exactly why they might feel the need to unite in confronting her. Nevertheless, that didn’t mean she wanted to discuss the matter—even with these women she trusted completely. She only wanted to continue on as she had been doing since Dwight’s passing. Life beyond her bedroom, sitting room, and personal parlor held no interest for her whatsoever. She had devoted herself to Dwight in every way, perhaps believing that her efforts could eventually create positive changes between them; but now she would never know. She’d worked hard to convince herself that there was a happy and hopeful future with him. And then he’d abandoned her. Of course, she knew he’d not intentionally met with a riding accident that rainy spring morning, but he had gone out riding when she had requested that he stay in due to the weather being so dreadful. He’d promised he wouldn’t be gone long, insisting that he only felt the need for a brief jaunt to get some fresh air. But the drizzle had turned to a downpour, and the meadows and woods through which he frequently rode had become muddy—or at least that’s what she’d been told by those who had found his body. When he’d not returned after many hours, his cousin and some of the servants had gone searching for him. It had been the unanimous opinion of all who had seen the location of the accident that the horse had apparently lost its footing on a muddy incline and Dwight had fallen from the saddle. The horse had loyally remained with its owner of many years, unharmed but very dirty. Apparently, Dwight had died instantly, according to what the local doctor had said about the way he had hit the ground. Gina found some comfort in knowing he hadn’t suffered, but in the depths of her grieving she had never been able to shake the feeling that he’d abandoned her, even if he’d never meant to do so. And with his death, all hope of creating a better marriage—and becoming a mother—had shattered into far too many pieces to ever be mended.”


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Friday, July 23, 2021

Hearts at Dawn by Alysa Salzberg #bookreview #fairytale #beautyandthe beast


Hearts at Dawn
by Alysa Salzberg
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling/Historical Fiction

Book Description History and magic intertwine in a fairytale retelling that will capture the hearts of Beauty and the Beast fans.

Hope helps you endure. Love will break the spell.

Paris, 1870. As the Franco-Prussian War enters its desperate final months, the capital transforms from a splendid metropolis into a city under siege. Lavish meals change to rations, pigeons deliver letters, and two destinies will collide, challenged by a seemingly unbreakable curse.


Every night, New York aristocrat Orin Rush transforms into a monster. After learning that a human heart is the only way to break the curse, he keeps himself carefully distant from anyone he might hurt.

Can he lift the enchantment without taking a life?

His search for answers leads him to Paris.


Every day, free-spirited Claire Turin photographs the people and animals of Paris. Fascinated by the city she loves, her greatest dream is a secret she keeps in her apartment. Her greatest fear is the emptiness of night when she thinks of the family she’s lost.

She’s never loved anyone else. Maybe she never will.


Will Paris and its people survive the hardship of the Siege? Will Orin break the curse? And will two hearts who’ve never known love awaken in the City of Light?

My thoughts: The word that comes to mind when I think about this book is beautiful. Alysa Salzberg has written a book that is, well, beautiful.

Hearts at Dawn is told in the third person by the one who cursed Orin to become a beast at night. It is a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling that also reminds me of "The Swan Princess". Two other words are ones that I think of when contemplating this book, regret, and hope. I don't believe that the fairy's name (at least that's what I think she is) who cursed Orin out of jealousy is mentioned. She holds deep regret as she watches and waits for the curse to be lifted. Hope is what Orin looks for in his future. He is in Paris looking for clues to break the spell, and while there he meets Clair. A dynamic young woman who he holds in high regard.

Another interesting layer is that it is told during the siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War. I was impressed with Salzberg's description of the living conditions of the people. She pulled me into the book and I could imagine myself there with the characters.

I'm grateful that I borrowed the book from Kindle-Unlimited. It is a story that will stay with me for a while.

Online Purchase Link:

About the AuthorAlysa Salzberg is a writer and worrier.
She lives with her family in Paris, France.
Besides them, she loves books, cats, history, movies, art, antiquing, celebrity gossip, and cookies.
You can learn more about her and Hearts at Dawn at

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Between the Wild Branches by Connilyn Cossette #BiblicalFiction #ChristianFiction #BookReview

Between the Wild Branches (The Covenant House, #2)Between the Wild Branches by Connilyn Cossette
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to review from Bethany House
Genre: Historical/Biblical Christian Fiction

Book Description: Ten years ago Lukio fled Kiryat-Yearim, where he'd been adopted by the Levite family who guarded the Ark of the Covenant. Feeling betrayed by everyone, he returned to his birthplace in Philistia to become a famous fighter. Now the champion of Ashdod, Lukio has achieved every goal with the help of his ruthless cousin. But just as he is set to claim the biggest prize of all, the daughter of the king, his past collides with his present in the form of Shoshana.

After a heartbreaking end to her secret friendship with Lukio, Shoshana thought to never see the boy with the dual-colored eyes and the troubled soul again. But when she is captured in a Philistine raid and enslaved in Ashdod, she is surprised to find that the brutal fighter known as Demon-Eyes is Lukio himself.

With explosive secrets and unbreakable vows standing between them, finding a way to freedom for both may cost them everything.

My thoughts:  Every once in a while I come across a book that blows me away with the depth and scope of the plot and characters. Between the Wild Branches was that kind of a book for me.

This is the second book in The Covenant House series. I have not read the first, but it didn't impact my understanding of this novel. This book was excellent, so I will be reading the first at a later date.

Lukio and Shoshana have been through some difficult and demoralizing trials. If I were to put myself into Shoshana's shoes, I would have probably given up. Her strength is inspirational. This book is about faith in the face of adversity.

It was refreshing to read a story set during the time of Samuel the Prophet. The conflict between the Hebrew and the Philistine adds tension to the story. The book contains political intrigue, secrets, and rediscovering faith.

By the end of the book, I was anxiously turning the pages. I wanted to know if Lukio and Shoshana could find a happily-ever-after. It was easy to root for them and hope that the King of Ashdod would be defeated. I lost a couple of hours of sleep because I couldn't put it down.

This is a Christian fiction that contains non-graphic violence. I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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About the Author Connilyn Cossette is a Christy Award and Carol Award winning author whose books have been found on both ECPA and CBA bestseller lists. When she is not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible to discover gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although she and her husband have lived all over the country in their twenty-plus years of marriage, they currently call a little town south of Dallas, Texas their home. Connect with her at

Thursday, July 15, 2021

John Eyre: A Tale of Darkness and Shadow by Mimi Matthews #JohnEyre, #HistoricalRomance, #HistoricalFiction, #GothicRomance, #ParanormalRomance, #MimiMatthews, #BookT


John Eyre: A Tale of Darkness and Shadow
by Mimi Matthews
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source:  Review copy from Netgalley
Genre: Gothic Romance/Retelling

Book Description:  Yorkshire, 1843. When disgraced former schoolmaster John Eyre arrives at Thornfield Hall to take up a position as tutor to two peculiar young boys, he enters a world unlike any he's ever known. Darkness abounds, punctuated by odd bumps in the night, strange creatures on the moor, and a sinister silver mist that never seems to dissipate. And at the center of it all, John's new employer—a widow as alluring as she is mysterious.

Sixteen months earlier, heiress Bertha Mason embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Marriage wasn't on her itinerary, but on meeting the enigmatic Edward Rochester, she's powerless to resist his preternatural charm. In letters and journal entries, she records the story of their rapidly disintegrating life together, and of her gradual realization that Mr. Rochester isn't quite the man he appears to be. In fact, he may not be a man at all.

From a cliff-top fortress on the Black Sea coast to an isolated estate in rural England, John and Bertha contend with secrets, danger, and the eternal struggle between light and darkness. Can they help each other vanquish the demons of the past? Or are some evils simply too powerful to conquer?

My thoughts:  It has been a long time since I have read a gothic novel. I had forgotten how much I love the genre.

John Eyre is a retelling of two classic novels that have been combined to create a new and refreshing story. I was caught up in the feeling of danger around every corner. The landscape is covered in a mist that is abnormal. Two children who reside in the home are mute because of the horrors they have experienced. Strange sounds are heard in the night and a face appears in the mirror.

John is the tutor of two children that are in the care of Mrs. Rochester. He cares for the boys and endeavors to teach them, a situation that is hard due to the fact that the boys do not speak. John is patient and loving to the boys and tries new and unique ways to reach them. His employer is a widow and carries secrets with her.

The best word I can use to describe the book is unique. Mimi Matthews has proven that she is a multi-faceted author. The book flows beautifully. The book is told through letters, journal entries, and what the characters are currently experiencing. She kept me in suspense as I continued on the journey with the characters.

The book contains suspense, non-graphic violence, and a few stolen kisses.

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

Online purchase links:

About the Author:  USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Regency and Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Fly Home to Me by Chalon Linton #giveaway #BookReview #ChristianFiction #ContemporaryRomance


Fly Home to MeFly Home to Me by Chalon Linton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Christian Fiction

Book Description: A traffic jam is the last thing Piper Holland has patience for. The dry cleaner’s will soon close, and she really hopes to wear her luxury silk blouse when she pitches her theme to the editors of the magazine she works for. But when she finally sees what’s caused the backup, she feels a pinch of guilt: a man in a military uniform is gallantly pushing a stalled vehicle off the road. Suddenly her rush to the dry cleaner’s seems incredibly unimportant. Fate offers Piper a chance to redeem herself, however, when the handsome good Samaritan crosses her path again.

Gabriel Orsini, a fighter pilot stationed at Luke Air Force Base, seems to be the perfect man, and an assignment at the magazine offers Piper the perfect chance to get to know him better. Her “Day in the Life: Hometown Heroes” article was tailor-made for the bighearted pilot. Before long, their interviews for the article enter date territory, and Piper realizes she’s falling for Gabriel. But her tragic past has taught her one thing: everyone leaves. And the transient lifestyle of a military man leaves her no doubt that Gabriel will eventually abandon her too. With her heart on the line, Piper must decide: is the risk of loss worth the possibility of forever?

My thoughts:  Fly Home to Me is a novel that just makes you feel good while you are reading it. Piper and Gabe are two people who have had heartache in the past. Piper tries to shut herself off from other people and Gabe cares about everyone. It is interesting to think about how people handle stress, heartache, and other trials differently.

Gabe is just a good man who is perfect for Piper. He is patient and in all sense a gentleman. To me, this story was more about Piper. She has to change her perception and her goals to find happiness. Her transformation is compelling and feels real. I'm not going to say a lot about it, because this is a book that I recommend for everyone.

I enjoyed the patriotic aspects of the book. Gabe is a fighter pilot. The book brought home how much our men and women in service (and their families) sacrifice.

The romance is sweet. This book is all about forging a relationship. The trials, the friendship, the ups and downs that come when you fall in love.

The book kept my attention from start to finish. The pacing is great, the plot is solid, and the characters are wonderful. It is a Christian romance.

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

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About the Author:    Chalon Linton is an air force spouse, a mother of four, and a fan of all things romance. Jane Austen has long been a favorite because who can resist handsome men in tailcoats? Manners, wit, and true love, combined with a faith in God, guide her stories to a happily ever after. She has met friends from around the globe and is grateful for each experience that adds to her own faith in the goodness of people. Chalon currently lives with her handsome husband in Southern California.

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Saturday, July 10, 2021

The Heart's Charge by Karen Witemeyer #bookreview #christianfiction #oldwest


The Heart's Charge (Hanger's Horsemen, #2)The Heart's Charge by Karen Witemeyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source:  Paper Review Copy from Bethany House
Genre: Christian Fiction

Book Description: For years they've been nomads for justice, but a final mission may just lead their hearts home.

Members of the legendary Hanger's Horsemen, Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks arrive in Llano County, Texas, to deliver a steed, never expecting they'd help deliver a baby as well. Left with an infant to care for, they head to a nearby foundling home, where Mark encounters the woman he nearly married a decade ago.

After failing at love, Katherine Palmer has dedicated her life to caring for children, teaming up with Eliza Southerland to start Harmony House. Eliza understands the pain of not fitting society's mold, being illegitimate and of mixed ancestry. Yet those are the very attributes that lead her to minister to outcast children. The taciturn Jonah intrigues her by defying all her stereotypes of men, but there are secrets behind his eyes—ghosts from wars past and others still being waged.

When the Horsemen hear rumors of missing children, they stay to investigate, sticking close to Harmony House and its beautiful owners. As they work together to uncover the truth, love and danger grow hand in hand until a final sinister scheme threatens to destroy them all.

My thoughts: Sigh... Those Hanger's Horsemen! If I were in trouble I would want any one of them helping me, to have all four would be even better.

Jonah and Wallace stumble upon a case where Box Car children are being taken. Their sense of right and wrong lead them to investigate and endeavor to save the children. Their adventure leads them to deliver a baby and Wallace to find the woman he intended to marry years ago. The romance in this book is tender and respectful. The best part is this is a two-for. Two romances for the price of one.

Harmony House is a place for parent-less children. It is not an orphanage because the children are taken care of as they would in a family setting. The founders love each child as if they were their own. The women do a fantastic job, but their place is in dire need of improvement. Both Jonah and Wallace rise to the challenge of helping and protecting the women and children. The four main characters are beautifully written. I could almost imagine myself on the homestead with them. Karen Witemeyer captured the old-west for me. I was lost in the pages of the book.

The Heart's Charge is an inspiring book. There is one more Horseman to go. I really want to continue with the series and see what is in store for this group of heroic men.

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

Online Purchase Links:

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About the Author: For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. A transplant from California, Karen came to Texas for college, met a cowboy disguised as a computer nerd, married him, and never left the state that had become home.

Winner of the National Reader's Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, and a finalist for both the RITA and Christy Awards, Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She also loves to reward her readers. Every month she gives away two inspirational historical novels to someone from her newsletter list and offers substantial bonus content on her website. To learn more about Karen and her books, or to join her subscriber list, please visit

Friday, July 9, 2021

Once I Was Engaged is coming to the theater! #giveaway #spotlight #ChurchofJesusChristofLatterDaySaints


This looks like a really cute film.  I look forward to watching it.  


-Highly Anticipated Sequel to ONCE I WAS A BEEHIVE opens exclusively in theatres on July 21-


SALT LAKE CITY – Advance tickets are now on sale for ONCE I WAS ENGAGED – the eagerly awaited sequel to the award-winning, smash hit ONCE I WAS A BEEHIVE – the film opens exclusively in Utah theatres on Friday, July 21 before expanding to Arizona, Idaho, and Nevada on August 6 and nationally on August 13. Written and directed by Maclain Nelson, ONCE I WAS ENGAGED brings back all the original film’s favorite cast of characters, including Bree (Clare Niederpruem), Holly (Hailey Smith), Lane (Paris Warner), and of course, Carrie Carrington (Lisa Valentine Clark). And this film introduces a couple key new characters, including Curt Carrington; Carrie’s husband and Bree’s father, played by High School Musical’s Bart Johnson; and Thys Chesterfield, played by Studio C’s Tanner Gillman.

“Fans have been screaming for a sequel ever since we released the first film,” exclaimed Nelson. “And we are beyond excited for everyone to get back to the movie theatre and experience the next chapter in the lives of their favorite campers.”

The story takes place about two years after ONCE I WAS A BEEHIVE. The young women and their leaders have grown up (some more than others), and Bree’s surprise engagement and the whirlwind of wedding planning brings them all back together – with hilarious and touching results.

“This movie is the warmest and funniest thing you’ll see this year,” quipped Lisa Valentine Clark. “Not to mention audiences get to see some men in the mix this time. We added the one-and-only Bart Johnson and the charming and hilarious Tanner Gillman. I’m not going to say they steal the show, but I’m not going to not say that either. You’ll just have to come see for yourself.”

Even though the story is a sequel to the first film, audiences will also get to see the original girls as their much younger selves for the first time. “I won’t give away too much, but old and new fans alike get to learn so much more history of the girls,” explained Clare Niederpruem, who plays Bree. “Audiences will absolutely adore them, and who knows, maybe there’s a prequel story to BEEHIVE that needs to be told.”

In the years since ONCE I WAS A BEEHIVE was released, many cast members have been busy in the entertainment industry, especially Clare Niederpruem. ENGAGED signals her first return to being in front of the camera in quite a few years. “We’re so excited to celebrate at the premiere and mingle with the fans. We want this to be the party of the summer,” said Niederpruem who has become a sought-after director for feature films, TV movies and TV series, including an adaptation of LITTLE WOMEN and multiple TV movies for the Hallmark Channel. 

To see the trailer for ONCE I WAS ENGAGED and to see where the film is playing nearest you, visit:

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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The Ice Swan by J'nell Ciesielski #bookreview #historicalfiction #WWI


The Ice SwanThe Ice Swan by J'nell Ciesielski
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source:  Netgalley

Book Description: Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian monarchy, a princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it.

1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, Princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory. Svetlana and her family are forced into hiding in Paris’s underbelly, with little to their name but the jewels they sewed into their corsets before their terrifying escape.

Born the second son of a Scottish duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. After treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter. Intrigued by this mysterious, cold, and beautiful woman, Wynn follows Svetlana to an underground Russian club where drink, dance, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka.

Out of money and options, Svetlana agrees to a marriage of convenience with the handsome and brilliant Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her family’s debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn cannot help hoping the marriage will turn into one of true affection. When Wynn’s life takes an unexpected turn, so does Svetlana’s—and soon Paris becomes as dangerous as Petrograd. And as the Bolsheviks chase them to Scotland, Wynn and Svetlana begin to wonder if they will ever be able to outrun the love they are beginning to feel for one another.

The Ice Swan is a ray of light in the middle of a Europe that was sinking into darkness. Ciesielski’s talent for storytelling from the heart is a feast for the readers’ eyes.” —Mario Escobar, international bestselling author of Remember Me and Children of the Stars

Adventurous World War I historical romance
For fans of Kate Quinn, Beatriz Williams, and Aimie K. Runyan
Full-length, stand-alone novel (approx. 120,000 words)
Includes discussion questions for book clubs

My thoughtsThe Ice Swan is a beautiful story. I was easily caught up in the story that takes place during WWI. Princess Svetlana flees her Russian homeland with her mother and sister. They take very little with them, their clothes and a few jewels. It was interesting to read the story from the viewpoint of an ousted aristocrat, rather than from the revolutionists. She works hard to hold her family together in spite of her mother.

The three women find sanctuary in Paris, but not in deluxe accommodations. They are refugees that stay in the basement of a church with many others. An accident takes leads her to a Scottish surgeon. He is in Paris to operate on British soldiers. Dr. Edwynn MacCallin is taken with Svetlana immediately and hides his title as the second son of a Duke. He wants to be known for his own accomplishments and not be deferred to because of his social standing. I loved how he truly cared about people and was willing to offer his services to anyone in need.

The story takes the reader into the heart of the underground Russian refugees in Paris. It is a world of gambling, lasciviousness, and greed. Svetlana finds out firsthand how they work when she has to pay her mother's debts.

Svetlana's world is one of terror and unrest. The story begins in Russian and ends in Scotland. The reader is taken to three distinct cultures and countries. I was captivated by Svetlana and Edwynn's story. My words are not eloquent and it is hard to convey the feeling of the story.

I recommend this book. If I have time I would say that it is worth a re-read.

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

Online Purchase Links:

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About the Author: With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at