Wednesday, December 30, 2020

A Daring Pursuit






Stephenia McGee not only brings to life the aftermath of the assassination of President Lincoln through historical documents but through that of Annabelle Ross, Lily Rose, and the Daniels brothers in this third and final book of the Accidental Spy series. 

This story further fleshes out the characters of the series, raising some in attitudes of people after the war of both the North and the South. The very serious social issues of race were addressed through personal conflict and relationships, exposing unjust prejudice and reconciliation. 

Listening to an Audible production of the exciting events of John Wilkes Booth’s escape and confrontation with the Union soldiers and Matthew Daniels’ encounter with a crazed Confederate ex-comrade made time fly by.  

If you are a historical fiction fan, I highly recommend reading these books since the plot is excellent and the events of the series were well researched. As an afterward in this book, Ms. McGee shares the source of the journal entries and newspaper accounts that she used. These were fascinating and you can read further details for yourself if you so choose since she shares where she found the information.


Thank you to the author for a free audible version of her book. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


Description of the book: 

When Annabelle failed to stop the nation’s first presidential assassination, not only did the country plunge into chaos, but she’s mistaken for one of the conspirators. Imprisoned and berated while waiting for trial, she wants nothing more than to return to Rosswood Plantation. But in order to gain her freedom she must decide between trusting a man from her past or keeping her faith in the increasingly distant soldier she’s come to love.

Forced to choose between his allegiances and the safety of the people he loves, Matthew finds himself swept into the most massive manhunt in history. John Wilkes Booth has disappeared, and everything Matthew holds dear rests on finding the assassin. But to finally bring the conspirators to justice, Matthew must first conquer his own demons. Can he discover the power of redemptive love, or will his future with Annabelle be another casualty of war?

★ A Daring Pursuit is a 2020 rewrite of the previously published title Labeling Lincoln (The Liberator Series book three)


Friday, December 25, 2020

The Duke's Refuge


 Lorri Dudley draws you immediately into the story as we see Georgia Lennox struggle to retrieve her trunks that have deliberately been pitched into the ocean as she disembarks.  Regardless of her safety, she is determined to rescue her belongings. Harrison Wells, who has been given the task of escorting to her father’s home, is both amused and alarmed as he watches her struggle with this impossible task. Thus, begins the relationship between spoiled, insecure Georgia, and wounded, cynical Harrison.

There are several aspects I enjoyed about the book. 1) The clever way the correspondence that opens every chapter tells another story that is occurring simultaneously. 2) The comedic events of Georgia’s clothing and how this plays a part in the story.  3) The flaws, struggles, and changes that occur in both Georgia and Harrison.  4) A rival suitor who has determined he wants Georgia. 

This is the first book in four of The Leeward Islands series.  I am looking forward to reading the next book, The Merchant’s Yield. 


About the book: 

Georgia Lennox has traded in her boyish ways for pink gowns and a coy smile to capture the eye of the Earl of Claremont. However, on the day she's convinced the earl will propose, Georgia is shipped off to the Leeward Islands to care for her ailing father. But when she arrives on Nevis, the last thing she expects is to learn that her abrupt departure was not at her father's bidding but that of the infuriating, yet captivating, island schoolmaster. And now her plans may well be shipwrecked.

Harrison Wells is haunted by the memories of his deceased wife and hunted by the subsequent women who aspire to be the next Duchess of Linton. Desiring anonymity, he finds sanctuary in the Leeward island of Nevis. He's willing to sacrifice his ducal title for a schoolmaster's life and the solace the island provides. That is until unrest finds its way to Nevis in a storm of pink chiffon—Miss Georgia Lennox.

As Georgia and Harrison's aspirations break apart like a ship cast upon the rocks, a new love surfaces, but secrets and circumstances drag them into rough waters. Can they surrender their hearts to a love that defies their expectations?


About the author: 

"Why I write...
I believe readers should be led on a heart journey. Romance should allow for an escape from everyday life. It should also lead us to a better understanding of the human condition and how God views us. I believe readers, like the heroines and heroes of stories, are not static creatures and can discover different aspects of themselves through empathizing with characters' comical mishaps and dramatic misunderstandings. I believe romance novels can depict a fallible human heart that can be made whole again by a merciful creator and remind us of the hope for the same."

Lorri Dudley has been a finalist in numerous writing contests and has a master's degree in Psychology. She lives in Ashland, Massachusetts with her husband and three teenage sons, where writing romance allows her an escape from her testosterone-filled household.

Occasional Moments of Happiness: A Memoir



 I just finished Shana's autobiographical inspirational account of her struggles with bulimia, a terrible eating disorder. I admire her transparency and sharing her story of redemption. Through the account of her life she shares the struggles she had and how God brought good from it all. This remarkable story brings hope and knowledge that we are loved no matter what we face or decisions we make. Should you know of anyone who is struggling with an eating disorder or an addiction, Shana's story shares how it can be overcome.


About the author:

Shana Donyaei looks forward to her favorite holiday each year- summer. A time when she enjoys watching the ferry float by from her deck, gardening, and sunset walks along the beach with her husband, three kids, and her German shepherd. On any given day, you can find her in the checkout line at her favorite grocery store and in her kitchen, where she loves to whip up yummy ethnic cuisine. She resides in beautiful Kitsap Peninsula, near the town of Manchester, in Washington state.




Sunday, December 20, 2020

Finding the Road Home


 

I would love to live in the town of Rebel, Oklahoma that Tina Radcliffe has created. The townsfolk are blessed to have a caring sheriff by the name of Mitch Rainbolt.  His town is in need of another police officer who happens to be a young lady named Daisy Anderson. Daisy takes the job to support her nieces and nephews that she is raising. While it is just what she needs to take care of all of them, it's not her dream. Owning a bakery is her heart's desire. 

Join Mitch and Daisy as they not only take care of the town and its endearing characters, but manage to help raise necessary funds for the police force and realize their dreams.  I would recommend this book to my family and friends and hope there are more stories to come about this intriguing town and the folks who live there. 

I am including my mom's famous chocolate fudge pie recipe. You should make two because one will be gone in the blink of an eye! 

Chocolate Fudge Pie

1 stick butter

2 squares unsweetened chocolate

4 eggs beaten (use a large bowl so you can pour other ingredients into it)

1 1/2 c. sugar

3 T. light corn syrup (can substitute agave)

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1- 9" pie shell

Melt the butter and chocolate chips in microwave, being sure to check and stir every 30 seconds.

Beat sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla and add to the beaten eggs. 

Add melted chocolate chips to the batter and stir well. 

Pour batter into 9 " pie shell. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until is it set and is a custard consistency.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus



After hearing so much about this book I just had to read it. This was an amazing book and should be made into a movie! It is a split time mystery and had so many plot twists and nail-biting scenes. 

I loved the complex storyline, flawed characters, the suspense, mystery, and the exciting conclusion.As an additional bonus, the cover is brilliant and perfectly captures the events of the story. 

Rarely am I speechless, but after I read this book, this was my reaction. 

What?!

Huh?

Really??

Wow!!

I never saw that coming! What book of hers can I read next? 


If you are an Agatha Christie fan or you love complex stories and mysteries, this book is for you!  5+ stars


Desorption of the Book: 


1928
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the "Watchman," she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa's search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk's shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot's history, she's also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Masquerade Marriage

 



History comes alive in this adventurous Scottish romance written by Anne Greene. Our family lost a great deal in the Battle of Culloden and I have often wondered what it might have been like to have lived after that horrific defeat. 

I was captivated by this story of bravery of both Brody MacCauley and Megan MacMurray. Brody not only fought for what he believed in at great sacrifice to himself, but he also is left with the weighty responsibility of caring for his wounded clansmen. The spirited Megan showed great fortitude in going against her family’s wishes of marrying a wealthy lord to help the condemned soldiers. The story was well crafted, bringing in history with exciting events and endearing characters. This is book one in the Scottish Marriage Trilogy.  I look forward to reading the other two books by this talented author. 

Thank you to the author for a copy of this book. I am not required to write this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

* Note: The sporran pictured here is made from a mink stole that my husband bought at a thrift store. No animals were hurt by him in order to make it. 😀


Description of the Book: 

A SECRET LIST

To protect his loved ones and escape the dark fate of his brothers, a noted warrior abandons his identity. Hiding from relentless soldiers who want him dead, Brody MacCaulay vows to protect the woman he loves more than life, more than freedom, more than Scotland. But his presence throws her into danger.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

How May I Offend You Today?




With a catchy title like this, I thought Susannah would be  a woman with a sense of humor and I wasn’t disappointed. With her funny stories and insights she combines wisdom and “love your neighbor as yourself” pieces of advice. I found her book to be light hearted , transparent, encouraging, and convicting. I love that she isn’t afraid to call attention to things in our lives that need correcting, no matter whether that offends us or not.  


Susannah finishes each of the chapters of the book with “Things That Work My Nerves”. Just to let you know, Susannah put random numbers on her pet peeves and there are not that many chapters.. :)  Here are two of them: #59 “Why do I only notice the green growth on the bread after I’ve eaten half the sandwich?” and  #37 Men with “I love my wife” bumper stickers on their vehicles. “This causes arguments between wives and their husbands who don’t have ‘I love my wife bumper stickers.’ “  


Thank you for Net Galley  for a free copy of the book. I was not required to give a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

The Way of the Brave




This first book in the Global Search and Rescue is fast-paced and exciting. Set in Alaska, a team of women decide to climb Denali, the largest mountain peak in North America, to prove that they are stronger than they think they are. Each of them is climbing this treacherous and unforgiving mountain to prove to themselves they are capable. Kit, Jenny, Aria, and Sasha each have to conquer their fears and the unpredictable and dire weather conditions that Mother Nature throws at them. I was on the edge of my seat, reading as fast as I could, as there were several perilous events that took place.

Jenny Calhoun and Orion Starr both had guilt and regrets about a military operation that had gone terribly wrong. I liked how Ms. Warren used the harsh, life threatening conditions to make Jenny and Orion to face mistakes in their lives and find love and forgiveness.

Warning: Do not read this late at night because you may have a difficult time sleeping- I did!

Favorite Quotes: 
"We don't stop living life just because bad things can, or will, happen. We just keep going forward, trusting in God's plan for us, even if bad things happen, God is still there, still in control, Still saving us. Still protecting us. " 

"Be brave, Jen. Love when it hurts, When it's scary. When you're not sure what the future might be." 

Thank you to Revell for a free copy of the book. I was not required to give a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Description:

Former pararescue jumper Orion Starr is haunted by the memory of a rescue gone wrong. He may be living alone in Alaska now, but the pain of his failure–and his injuries–has followed him there from Afghanistan. He has no desire to join Hamilton Jones’s elite rescue team, but he also can’t shirk his duty when the call comes in to rescue three lost climbers on Denali.

Former CIA profiler and psychiatrist Jenny Calhoun’s yearly extreme challenge with her best friends is her only escape from the guilt that has sunk its claws into her. As a consultant during a top-secret mission to root out the Taliban, she green-lighted an operation that ended in ambush and lives lost. When her cathartic climb on Denali turns deadly, she’ll be forced to trust her life and the lives of her friends to the most dangerous of heroes–the man she nearly killed.

Her skills and his experience are exactly what’s needed to prevent another tragedy–but in order to truly set Orion free from his painful past, Jenny will have to reveal hers. They’ll have to put their wounds behind them to survive, but at what cost?

About Susan May Warren: 
Growing up in Minneapolis and attending the U of MN, I learned to love city life, although I'm a woodsy girl at heart. Or maybe I'm an adventurer -- having lived and traveled all over the world, including Siberia Russia as a missionary for eight years. Probably that's why my characters can't sit still, and seem to get into one scrape after another -- they're too much like me! I love God, my family, my country, my church, and feel privileged every day to be able to write stories.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

A Dangerous Performance



This is the second of three books in the Accidental Spy series. The artful weaving of the story’s characters, historical facts, personal journal entries of the conspirators, and scenes from the deplorable conditions of the war prison camp make you feel you are there.

I appreciated all of the research that went into writing this book and learning more with the afterward historical notes. In fact, I have spent hour afterwards of reading about those people who took part in the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln and other key government leaders at that time. If you like historical fiction then this series should be added to your TBR list. I listened to this as an audiobook on Audible and enjoyed the portrayal of Annabelle's spirited and feisty grandmother, Mrs. Smith by Bryn Austin. You could hear the authority of this powerful matriarch and what she must have been like. Thank you to the author for an audio version of the book. I was not required to write a review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Book Description:

History can change in the blink of an eye...

Annabelle’s bravery unraveled a destructive plot and saved the president, but now the thwarted conspirators grow desperate. While trouble turns more deadly in Washington, Matthew and Annabelle escape to New York, where they have finally succeeded in finding Matthew’s brother. But breaking him out of Elmira prison is about as likely as saving her fractured inheritance.

Protecting Annabelle put Matthew on the wrong side of some very dangerous men, but he’d do anything to save the woman he loves—even if it means keeping her from the truth. With time running out and an unexpected miracle testing what remains of his faith, Matthew must confront his fears or risk losing her heart forever.

★ A Dangerous Performance is a 2020 rewrite of the previously published title Losing Lincoln (The Liberator Series book two)
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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island

 


Mackinac Island is a beautiful place and the Grand Hotel is an unmistakable iconic landmark.  With a breathtaking view of the lake and gardens, and its opulence, it attracts the wealthy. Maude Welling's family are residents of the island who own a small hotel.  It has always been her desire to become the manager, but at what cost? Betrayal, love, secrets galore, and colorful characters make this book a great historical romance.  It is a stand alone book, but is part of the My Heart Belongs to series. 

Description of the book: 

Moor your heart on Mackinac Island along with resident sweetheart Maude Welling, an heiress trying to prove her worth by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel. Meet Ben Steffans, a journalist posing as a wealthy industrialist who has come to the island to uncover a story about impoverished men pursuing heiresses at the famed hotel. Will a growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed in this Gilded Age romance?

The Letter

  Book:  The Letter Author:  Edwina Kiernan Genre:  Christian Historical Romance Release date:  November 1, 2022 She wants a new life. He’s ...