Friday, April 12, 2024

The Headmistress



About the Book:

Can two solitary hearts discover that their best chance for happiness lies in working together?

The Honorable Sienna Clarke has spent most of her life defying the expectations placed upon women in society. A scientific scholar at heart, she uses the inheritance she receives from her late father to open a special school for young ladies—one where they will be allowed to study any subject they wish, even those traditionally reserved for men.

Jasper Walker left Roderick Glen in disgrace more than two years ago and hasn’t set foot in the village since. Despite his attempts to change his life for the better, he finds himself once more searching for a way to repair a costly mistake. When his latest error results in deadly circumstances, Jasper reluctantly returns to Roderick Glen, hoping to escape from those who wish him harm. Seeking a way to support himself, he takes a job as caretaker for the school for young ladies that has recently opened in the village.

Sienna isn’t certain what to think of the new caretaker. He is handsome and charming, but also quite mysterious. She can’t shake the feeling he has secrets he’d rather keep buried, but despite her misgivings, she can’t deny her growing attraction to him.

Jasper has no desire to fall in love with anyone, certainly not a headstrong, opinionated headmistress far above his station, but when dangerous threats are made against Sienna and her school, he vows to do whatever he must to protect her and find the person responsible. Can love break through the barrier that surrounds his heart and show him what it means to truly put another person’s needs above his own?

Return to Roderick Glen for another glimpse of life in the small, quaint village, and follow its citizens as they struggle to balance life, love, and faith in this fifth installment of The Ladies of Roderick Glen.

My Review: 

It’s great to return to Roderick Glen and to see how everyone is doing. Author Kristie Self writes from multiple POVs and has several stories occurring that I think she’s a genius to be able to provide continuity for each of them. There is a character index in the front of the book for easy reference if needed to help you see where they fit into the story.

The Honorable Sienna Clarke defies the conventions of English society and builds a school for girls that has an emphasis on science and advanced mathematics. She has great determination and compassion for the girls who attend and live there at the school. I admired her vision for the future and felt she had just what was needed for being the headmistress. Jasper Walker becomes involved in the school as its caretaker, and I loved seeing the transformation that has taken place in his life.

This is the fifth book in The Ladies of Roderick Glen and I have enjoyed reading each of them. I heartily recommend reading this book. While it can be read as a standalone, I recommend that you read the previous books to enhance your reading pleasure. I am eagerly looking towards the next book (and more) to come. There are so many possibilities for beloved characters.

Things to enjoy:
Mystery
Danger
Romance
Interesting characters
Forgiveness
Redemption
Faith message

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

What the Mountaians Remember

 


About the Book: 

At this wondrous resort, secrets can easily be hidden in plain sight when the eye is trained on beauty. April 1913 —Belle Newbold hasn’t seen mountains for seven years—since her father died in a mining accident and her mother married Indiana gas magnate, Shipley Newbold. But when her stepfather’s friend, Henry Ford, invites the family on one of his famous Vagabonds camping tours, she is forced to face the hills once again—primarily in order to reunite with her future fiancé, owner of the land the Vagabonds are using for their campsite, a man she’s only met once before. It is a veritable arranged marriage, but she prefers it that way. Belle isn’t interested in love. She only wants a simple life—a family of her own and the stability of a wealthy man’s pockets. That’s what Worth Delafield has promised to give her and it’s worth facing the mountains again, the reminder of the past, and her poverty, to secure her future. But when the Vagabonds group is invited to tour the unfinished Grove Park Inn and Belle is unexpectedly thrust into a role researching and writing about the building of the inn—a construction the locals are calling The Eighth Wonder of the World—she quickly realizes that these mountains are no different from the ones she once called home. 

As Belle peels back the facade of Grove Park Inn, of Worth, of the society she’s come to claim as her own, and the truth of her heart, she begins to see that perhaps her part in Grove Park’s story isn’t a coincidence after all. Perhaps it is only by watching a wonder rise from ordinary hands and mountain stone that she can finally find the strength to piece together the long-destroyed path toward who she was meant to be. International bestselling author Joy Callaway returns with a story of the ordinary people behind extraordinary beauty—and the question of who gets to tell their stories.

My Review: 

One of the hotels that I remember most from my childhood vacations was staying at Grove Park Inn that is located in Asheville,NC. It was magnificent! With its mountain setting, its beautiful rock exterior, and its huge lobby it made our house seem so tiny. When I read the description of this book I thought it would be interesting to learn more about its construction.

The author gives detailed information about the building of the inn throughout the book since Belle Newbold finds herself tasked with writing about it. I loved that she not only writes about the building that is occurring, but also about the men who were involved in its construction (engineers, architects, stone masons, etc.). This made the story more personal and interesting, giving tribute to the people who made this beautiful place possible.

Belle’s story of wanting to marry Worth Delafield as an arrangement suits her just fine. Belle and Worth are not interested in marrying for love since they each have deep hurts from their pasts. The story of them trusting each other with their secrets and finding love was what I liked best.

Marie Austen, Belle’s “cousin”, was awful! Her behavior towards Belle, but even more so with men, made me cringe. I didn’t like some of the compromising scenes (nothing explicit) that she was caught in and her attitude towards marriage.

* some mild swearing, and two spicy scenes that I didn’t like (I’m a no spice reader)

I received a copy of the book from the publisher through AustenProse. I voluntarily reviewed this, and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

The Better Man



About the Book:

A woman bound by duty and debt. A man who doubts his worth.

After tragedy broke her family, Laramee fled her family’s once beloved Colorado ranch. But the news that her ailing parents are considering selling the place lures her home after five bitter years.Jamie Cannon spent a decade redeeming himself from the mistakes of his youth. As a successful partner in his family's real estate business, he's back on solid ground. If only his worried parents believed it too.When Jamie needs an escape from the Denver social scene, the Stone’s request for an appraisal of their remote ranch gives him the perfect excuse to get away. But Laramee Stone is as determined to drive this paper pusher off her family’s property as Jamie is dedicated to fulfilling his assignment. The two eventually agree to a truce for the sake of the Stone’s financial future, but as Laramee and Jamie work together, they reveal glimpses into the tragedies that destroyed their pasts. In one another’s company, old hurts heal, and they feel whole.But ex-fiancé Sutton is back. This man, who saved Laramee and her parents after tragedy struck, wants Jamie gone and Laramee back. Sutton discovers Jamie’s past and reminds him of his failings, leaving Jamie with two critical questions he must answer before he can tell Laramee how he feels—Could Jamie’s past baggage threaten Laramee’s happiness?And is he the better man for Laramee Stone?

 My Review: 

When Laramee comes home to the old ranch where she grew up per her mother’s request, she doesn’t expect to have a city slicker be there too. Realtor Jamie Cannon has been sent to check on the viability of the ranch and to appraise the ranch for its possible sale. Sparks fly when Laramie discovers why Jamie is there since she was unaware of what her folks were planning. Laramee wasn’t about to go easy on Jamie as he stays at the ranch for an extended period of time. There are some pretty funny scenes when Laramee gives Jamie some undesirable jobs that will make you chuckle.


While this is a love story, it also had some more serious topics of guilt, forgiveness, and self-worth. Ms. Lewis handled all of it with respect, showing that people like Laramee and Jamie can get past their hurt by leaning on God and others. I think everyone can relate to Laramee and Jamie in different areas of their lives.

This is the second book in the Silver Buckle Bride series. It can easily be read as a standalone, however, the characters from the first book do make a short appearance in the book. If you are a reader of clean romantic fiction, then this will be a book you will enjoy.

I received a copy of this book with no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

An Uncertain Road


About the Book

Book: An Uncertain Road

Author: Abbey Downey

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: February 27, 2024

A female auto racer, and mechanic determined to walk away from the sport, and the race of a lifetime… 

 
When young widow Flora Montfort returns to America, she’s determined to use her training in auto racing to support herself and her French mother-in-law—even if female drivers are rare in 1905. So when the owner of a successful sporting goods store hires her to drive in the Glidden Tour, a ten-day race through New England, she jumps at the opportunity. 

  

Jensen Gable must be convinced that joining the team as the ride-along mechanic is worth the risk. After losing his best friend in a tragic racing accident, Jensen has vowed never to participate in the sport again. But his promise to protect that friend’s younger brother, also on the tour, is the only thing that outweighs his fear of the dangers. 

 

As they race through New England, Flora and Jensen find common ground that ignites their interest in each other, but doubts and old enemies come between them. Hazardous road conditions, meddling locals, and competitors who’ll stop at nothing to win—they all conspire to prevent Flora and Jensen from reaching the finish line. As the race of a lifetime heats up, one question rises above all others…can their love find the road that leads to forever?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 My Review: 

I haven’t ever read a historical romance about race cars or female race car drivers, but I was intrigued by the story. I enjoyed learning about the Glidden Tour and stopped several times while I was reading to learn more about the cars that were featured. I can honestly say that I am glad automobiles have improved throughout the years as Flora and Jansen embarked upon a ten day tour with a road that was really not much more than a path in several places. 


The theme of letting go of the past and allowing God to help was well done and was shown not only in Jansen’s life, but Flora’s as well. This is a lesson that many of us can relate to personally. I can recommend reading this book for readers from young adults through mature readers. This is the first book in the Adventurous Hearts series, and I am looking forward to seeing what other experiences await us. 


I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. A positive review was not required. 

About the Author

Abbey Downey started writing inspirational romance stories during naptime when her kids were babies and found she couldn’t stop. She previously published two books with Love Inspired Historical under the pen name Mollie Campbell. She also works with Spark Flash Fiction producing a quarterly digital magazine that contains love stories under 1000 words.

A life-long Midwestern girl, Abbey lives in central Indiana with her husband, two kids, and one rather enthusiastic beagle. She loves watching her kids play sports and fixing up a 1900 farmhouse with her husband.

 

 More from Abbey

It started as a deep dive into the history of women in sports.

While we don’t immediately think of women when we consider the origins of sports and exploration, time and again my research revealed stand-out women participating in the early days of every sport and making history in adventurous endeavors. Females were later barred from these activities by a culture that saw them as fragile, but for those first years, the women who were tenacious enough to try succeeded right alongside the men.

So I set out to bring to life heroines that shined in some of my favorite historical sports and activities. In An Uncertain Road, the heroine, Flora Montfort, was inspired by real-life female race car driver Joan Newton Cuneo. In the early 1900s, Joan was a strong advocate for road safety and women learning to drive. She fought hard for her right to race, just like Flora does.

Jensen Gable is the reluctant ride-along mechanic for Flora’s racing team. He wants to protect those he cares about, even if that leads him to make some wrong choices in the name of their safety. He’s a little grumpy and a lot wounded, but Flora’s presence in his life helps him learn to heal—and smile again.

One of many things I love about writing historical novels is weaving in delightful tidbits that come up in my research. In An Uncertain Road, a fascinating historical detail is before the Glidden Tour begins, when the group visits Coney Island for a day. There’s some fun flirting—over a piece of green cheese in a moon-themed amusement ride.

I also enjoyed getting to research and use real historic locations in this story. My favorite place the team visits is the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, where the 1905 Glidden Tour stopped for a mid-tour break. It’s still in use today and is stunning, surrounded by mountains and beautifully restored.

But I’d have to say my favorite moment in the book is a nod to my favorite TV show. Yes, I worked a reference to The Office into a historical novel. Let me know if you find it!

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy Flora and Jensen’s story!

Blog Stops

Book Looks by Lisa, March 27

Pause for Tales, March 27

Life on Chickadee Lane, March 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 29

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 30 (Author Interview)

Devote To Hope, March 30

Texas Book-aholic, March 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 1

She Lives to Read, April 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 3

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 4

Simple Harvest Reads, April 5 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Inspired by Fiction, April 5

For Him and My Family, April 6

Cover Lover Book Review, April 7

Holly’s Book Corner, April 8

Just Your Average reviews, April 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Abbey is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2aa72/an-uncertain-road-celebration-tour-giveawayMy Review: 


Sunday, March 24, 2024

Luck of the Irish

 

About the Book

Book: Luck of the Irish Cozy Mystery Anthology

Authors:Kate Darroch, Jessica Thompson, Kathleen Kalb, C A Phipps, Amy Grundy, J R Lancaster, Jaclyn Weist, Jessica Brimer, K Rose, and W Jenkins

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release Date: March 17, 2024

A fabulous collection of Cozy Mysteries from your Favorite Cozy Authors –  published on St Pat’s Day, so they ALL feature The Luck of the Irish. ALL PROCEEDS go to help children living in ghastly conditions in internment camps.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

 My Review: 

Ten authors with ten very different stories— the idea of a cozy mystery anthology in which the sale proceeds go to a charitable cause was the reason I chose to read it. I think anytime you have an anthology there will be stories you will enjoy and others that are not ones you would necessarily read. But, that is the nice thing about an anthology since you get an opportunity to read one of their works without investing a lot of time should there be a story that isn’t something you like. There are a few whose stories I liked and will check out their other books.

I received a complimentary copy of the book through Celebrate Lit. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.

 

About the Authors

Living on the picturesque Devon coastline, Kate combines her passion for cozy sleuths and her experiences living in many countries to create compelling Travel Cozies.
Màiri Maguire, a Scots Irish schoolteacher from 1970s Glasgow, the heroine of Kate’s debut novel, Death in Paris, has earned Kate many international book awards, including Incipere’s Best Christian Fiction 2022, consolidating her reputation as a notable author.
Kate hopes her readers will enjoy Màiri’s adventures as much as she enjoys Father Brown, Sherlock Holmes, and that old movie, the Perils of Pauline.
Next, Kate created Huntingdon Hart Investigates. Hunt is a dryly witty, prescient, tongue-in-cheek combo of James Bond and Sherlock Holmes, who’s in endless pursuit of a much older woman.
Kate’s most recent opus is the Christian Second Chance for Lasting Love series, Sweets By the Sea, a depth saga of Recovery and Redemption which her readers insist is even more adorable than her Cozy Mysteries. The first book in the series is Thanksgiving in Welcombe Baywhich has been rapturously received by Readers Favorite’s critics.
Jessica Thompson is the award-winning author of the Amazon best-selling mystery novels “A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide” and “A Caterer’s Guide to Love and Murder”. Her latest novel, “Shoot Shovel and Shut Up,” is a classic mystery that won second place in the Firebird Awards. Jessica’s “Beyond the Woods: A Supernatural Anthology” is a family-friendly collection of her own campfire stories. Jessica is also Assistant Finance Chair for the Storymakers Guild.

More from Kate

Recipe for Irish Stew and an introduction to the book and why my fellow authors and I created it.

The Luck of the Irish: a Cozy Mystery Anthology from 10 Cozy Authors

Editors:  Kate Darroch and Jessica Thompson

You will love this Cozy Mystery anthology crammed with Cozy Mysteries from 10 Cozy authors

Renowned, like Kathleen Marple Karb, and New, like J R Lancaster

 

Let’s start our St Pat’s Day Celebrations the right way, with delicious things to eat and drink! Food for the body.

Irish Stew

A Royal Chef cooked this yummy Irish Stew Recipe at Sandringham House

Learn his delicious, although not strictly traditional, Irish stew recipe – and surprise your loved ones with a dish fit for a King!

Darren McGrady    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9HWZe9cSrM

Continuing our St Pat’s Day Celebrations, the right way, with Fascinating Mysteries full of Luck! Food for the mind.

The title says it all! Ten Cozy Mysteries from beloved Cozy Authors to give you food for the mind throughout the celebrations!

And winding up our St Pat’s Day Celebrations the right way, with a thought for those less fortunate… Food for the soul.

Why did 10 Authors get together to give you this super collection of Cozy Mysteries? Because we were aghast at the plight of children in border internment camps. We funded all costs of publication. 100% of all book sales proceeds goes to RAICES

Help these kids in dire need. And have fun reading Cozy Mysteries at the same time.

Blog Stops

Blogging With Carol, March 14

By the Book, March 15

Texas Book-aholic, March 16

Life on Chickadee Lane, March 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 18

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 21

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 22 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, March 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 23

A Reader’s Brain, March 24 (Author Interview)

Book Looks by Lisa, March 24

Holly’s Book Corner, March 25

Pause for Tales, March 26

Lights in a Dark World, March 27

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the Cozy Authors are giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2a7aa/luck-of-the-irish-celebration-tour-giveaway



Friday, March 22, 2024

A Hope Fulfilled

About the Book

Book: A Hope Fulfilled

Author: April W Gardner

Genre: Biblical Fiction (Obadiah)

Release Date: November, 2023

One Hebrew slave’s courage and faith opens the gate on Edom’s demise.

Tikvah, a Hebrew slave in Edom, lives in hope of once again seeing Jerusalem, the Holy City. When a Babylonian general and his dashing Jewish liaison arrive at her master’s house, whispering plans of Edom’s destruction, she senses Yahweh at work. After all, there’s a prophecy foretelling His justice upon the kingdom. Tikvah clings to that promise while obediently following the call of service into the heart of danger. If only there were a promise she would come out the other side alive.

Click here to get your copy!
 My Review: 

In this book by April Gardner you will experience what it might have been like to have been a Jewish slave during the time that the biblical prophet, Obadiah,  foretold of the destruction of Edom. I thought it was very interesting and plausible that a Jewess certainly could have helped enemies in its destruction.


I enjoyed the story with brave and fearless Tikvah  as she trusts Yahweh to lead her, and Kala, her protector. If you are a fan of Biblical fiction you’ll want to investigate reading this yourself. 


I received a complimentary copy of the book. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

April W Gardner is an indie author whose great passion is historical romance with themes of Native American and Southeastern U.S. culture. Copyeditor, mother of two grown children, and non-trad college student, April lives in South Texas with her husband and two German Shepherds. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.

 

 

 

 

More from April

So…Obadiah? Who ever heard of Obadiah as the backdrop for biblical fiction? I hadn’t. But that’s not where A Hope Fulfilled began…

In late December 2021, while deciding on a Bible reading goal for the upcoming year, I pondered which sections of the Bible I knew least. The minor prophets came to mind right off, then camped there as I asked myself what I knew about these little books.

I’d heard a million sermons preached from one or another of them over the years, but could I give even a one-sentence summary on any of the twelve? That question required a moment’s thought, which produced Jonah and the big fish, Hosea and his harlot wife, Joel and the locusts, Amos and… Uh, er, uh…

This was a problem. After burning some brain cells on the matter, I finally hung my head and admitted I was a minor failure. If I’d been tested right then on the minor prophets, I would have received a big red F.

How was this possible? I’m a missionary’s kid who never missed a church service, for goodness’ sake. This was unacceptable. I had an MK reputation to uphold.

Kidding, kidding. But the point remains. After 4.5 decades in church, I should be able to state every book’s title and theme. At a minimum. Anything less is spiritual laziness.

With that challenge in mind, I hitched up my trousers and set to work. My task? One minor prophet a month. I would read each one again and again, really drilling them home, absorbing their messages and banishing my spiritual “shame.”

By April, and my fourth read of Obadiah, I stared at my Bible, the verses swimming before me, and admitted to a second problem—despite my faithful rereading, the first four books were all running together in a mental smear of prophety messages.

Warning, judgment, doom, gloom. There was hope in there, too, of course. Praise God. And a harlot wife. I had that one down. But I was no closer to being able to distinguish them, to really understand the books with any kind of true ownership.

Since I’m a goal-girl, it made me a little sad to set aside my twelve-prophet year, but there was no getting around it. If this was going to work, I would have to go deeper, get messier, put on my work gloves and knee pads, and start digging.

New goal! Understand Obadiah. I’d worry about the rest once I had this one down. Fifteen months and three written books later, here we are, celebrating the release of my first biblical fiction, A Hope Fulfilled.

So, how did I get from studying a minor prophet to writing biblical fiction? The journey from point A to point B wasn’t very long. The series (A Fire and a Flame) started out as a Bible commentary for women, but when I got to exploring the history around Obadiah, my fiction brain kinda took over. It does that sometimes. Silly brain.

I did finish the commentary, but as soon as I allowed myself to ponder all the what-ifs of the event, the novella practically wrote itself.

Obadiah gives a fiction writer almost no details to build on. So, A Hope Fulfilled is what one might call an artist’s rendition of what might have happened during the fall of Edom. There were probably Hebrew slaves in Edom. One of them probably knew the prophecy of Edom’s doom. And that somebody might have, just might have, longed to help God’s justice play out.

Thus, Tikah and her story, A Hope Fulfilled, were born.

Blog Stops

Dee S White, March 20

Holly’s Book Corner, March 21

The Lofty Pages, March 21

Book Looks by Lisa, March 22

Exploring The Written Word, March 23

Books You Can Feel Good About, March 24

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 25

Lots of Helpers, March 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 28

The Printed Edge, March 29

Texas Book-aholic, March 30

She Lives To Read, March 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 1 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, April 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, April is giving away the grand prize package of a $30 Amazon gift card and a paperback set of the A Fire and a Flame!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2a8f4/a-hope-fulfilled-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Headmistress

About the Book: Can two solitary hearts discover that their best chance for happiness lies in working together? The Honorable Sienna Clarke ...