Monday, January 31, 2022

Beyond the Lavender Fields by Arlem Hawks

1792, France

Rumors of revolution in Paris swirl in Marseille, a bustling port city in southern France. Gilles Étienne, a clerk at the local soap factory, thrives on the news. Committed to the cause of equality, liberty, and brotherhood, he and his friends plan to march to Paris to dethrone the monarchy. His plans are halted when he meets Marie-Caroline Daubin, the beautiful daughter of the owner of the factory.

A bourgeoise and a royalist, Marie-Caroline has been called home to Marseille to escape the unrest in Paris. She rebuffs Gilles’s efforts to charm her and boldly expresses her view that violently imposed freedom is not really freedom for all. As Marie-Caroline takes risks to follow her beliefs, Gilles catches her in a dangerous secret that could cost her and her family their lives. As Gilles and Marie-Caroline spend more time together, she questions her initial assumptions about Gilles and realizes that per-haps they have more in common than she thought.

As the spirit of revolution descends on Marseille, people are killed and buildings are ransacked and burned to the ground. Gilles must choose between supporting the political change he believes in and protecting those he loves. And Marie-Caroline must battle between standing up for what she feels is right and risking her family’s safety. With their lives and their nation in turmoil, both Gilles and Marie- Caroline wonder if a révolutionnaire and a royaliste can really be together in a world that forces people to choose sides. 

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. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications, with an emphasis in print journalism.   She lives in Arizona with her husband and three children.

My Review: 

4.5/5 Stars

This was such a tender love story of Marie- Caroline who is a Royalist and Gilles who is for the Republic. A romantic relationship is difficult enough on its own, but even more so when two people have such differing political views and backgrounds in a time of crisis. Ms. Hawks navigated Caroline and Gilles through tumultuous obstacles with ease as only she can do. I was drawn into the story by seeing that love is strong enough to overcome insurmountable odds.

Ms. Hawks captures the mood and conflict of the French Revolution so well with the story of this courageous young couple. Showing the conflict through Gilles and Caroline’s feelings made this an interesting story. When emotions run high from those of the more aggressive revolutionaries I was a bit nervous as to what would happen and was relieved things were resolved. 

One of my favorite quotes that I believe aptly describes the character and courage of both Caroline and Gilles is, “Doing right is more important than who is right, I believe.”   

If you like stories similar to  A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, you will enjoy reading this. The author did an excellent job of portraying this time period and those who would have lived and loved during this conflict.  

I was given an advanced reader copy of the book from Shadow Mountain. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Lumberjacks and Ladies

Book Description: 
Lumberjacks and Ladies Work Together to Build America
Struggling to remain independent in the 1800s, four women reluctantly open up to help from lumberjacks—and love.
All That Glitters by Candice Sue Patterson
Winifred finds herself running the family lobstering business when her father and brothers join the California gold rush. Will she stubbornly reject help from a local lumberjack?
Winter Roses by Pegg Thomas
Elizabeth cooks for a logging crew, spurning the men’s advances, until reoccurring gifts capture her attention. Will she heed her mother’s warning about “shanty boys”?
Not for Love by Naomi Much
Widowed, Maggie seeks a husband—in name only—from the logging camps, but the man who answers her letter is a surprise. Can she open her heart to love again?
Undercover Logger by Jennifer Lamont Leo
Carrie will not sell her timberland and allows the banker’s nephew to sign onto her logging crew to ferret out the reason she is losing money at an alarming rate. Will truth be revealed to her forlorn heart?

My Review: 

Each of these stories was well written and interesting. There were mysteries, marriages of convenience, unexpected love, and terrific characters who were good and noble.  Each story had a lumberjack who was selfless and wanted the best for the woman that they loved. I liked each of the novellas with their unique plots. 

The historical notes that the authors shared about the ideas for their stories was of great interest. It made them all the more real and would be places I would love to visit.  

I would highly recommend you read this if you like clean, wholesome  romance, or westerns.   You will want to add this to your collection.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Monday, January 24, 2022

The Thief and the Noble

Book Description: 

A Robin Hood Regency

“Remember who you’re fighting for.”

As the daughter of a marquess, Lady Marian Russell is poised to impress in her first London Season. She is young, beautiful, and wealthy—but catching an eligible husband is the last thing on her mind. Marian is disillusioned with how the upper class lives while the poor of London suffer, and she is determined to right this imbalance. When she comes face-to-face with a mysterious man who steals from arrogant aristocrats and redistributes the spoils to the poor, Marian recognizes a motivation that mirrors her own. She is determined to discover the true identity of the unscrupulous hero and offer her assistance.

When she unmasks the bandit Robin, he begrudgingly agrees to train the lovely Marian in the art of thievery in exchange for her silence, quickly realizing that his heart may be stolen next. But when they discover a copycat thief operating in London, they are faced with a foe whose purpose is far from noble. Amid distracting suitors, becoming a champion of the poor, and a growing attraction Marian can’t ignore, can she and Robin expose the renegade pilferer without risking themselves.

My Review: 

I enjoyed this retelling of Robin Hood. Ms. LeCheminant did a great job in taking the familiar characters of this age old tale and placing them into the Regency era. Marian, Robin, Will, John, and Gisbourne are all a part of this adventurous tale.

Lady Marian Russell had a tender heart towards the poor as shown when she says, “It isn’t fair,” she said to herself, “Everyone deserved the basic comforts of life.” Getting hired as a barmaid was an ingenious way to not only find out how others lived, but also fuel her  passion to help them.  Marian is also observant, quick-witted, and intelligent, which makes her the perfect partner for Robin.  

Robert Loxely, the Earl of Huntingdon, has experienced the disparity between “the haves” and “the have nots” and wants to do what he can to correct it. Being found out as a thief was not part of his plan. But, that is what makes this story fun as Robin adds more people to his cause. 

The copycat thief that Robin and Marion must thwart adds additional depth to the plot.  I like the camaraderie that is shared between them and the way the book ended.  I received an advanced reader copy from the publisher through NetGalley.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Beyond Her Calling


Title: Beyond Her Calling

Series: The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, Book 4

Genre: Christian Historical Romance / Victorian Romance / Scottish Romance


Ivy Knight feels that her life may never start. Though her loving family assures her that her place in the world is close to home, she still feels a push to move out of her comfort zone. Hoping against hope, she travels to her old friends at McCale House, seeking a purpose.

Jordy McAllen has just returned to Scotland after his education in London. He fears that what everyone has always said about him may be true: he can’t be a good doctor, let alone a good man. Determined to prove himself, Jordy snatches up the opportunity to become the doctor in the village of Keefmore near his parents’ farm.

When an old friend decides to travel to Keefmore and visit a relative, Ivy follows. She soon finds herself drawn to Jordy, but as their attraction grows, they both face doubts. A relationship between the two of them feels improbable—and might just require a step of impossible faith.

Amazon Link:

My Review: 

Traveling to Scotland in this book was a treat as Ivy Knight feels she needs to return to the McCale House where she had spent some time years before.  Ivy doesn’t feel that she has a purpose and hopes to find her life’s calling while there. 

Long time friend, Jordy McAllen who Ivy had met at the McCale House is someone she comes to fully trust.  He finds the good in Ivy and encourages and defends her when the villagers speak derogatorily about her. As Ivy helps Jordy with his fledgling medical practice and spend more time together, their relationship deepens.  There was a great balance in their relationship because each found the good in the other person. They  helped them to see beyond their feelings and find their self-worth in the Lord. 

Ivy was a unique young lady. Things didn’t come as easily to her as they did to others. But, the fascinating thing that I learned about her was she experienced things through music. Being a musician, she describes her feelings about events, the town’s children,  and Jordy with musical terms and specific piano pieces.  I even looked up the pieces so that I could hear what Ivy was hearing to better understand her.

Ivy was a gem that loved people who had been misunderstood and helped them to be accepted by the villagers.  Jordy had made bad decisions when he first went to college, but I was glad to see that he had truly left that life behind him. This was a sweet Christian romance story about finding love, forgiveness and true worth.

Thank you to the author for a copy of the book. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Author Information:

Kellyn Roth is a historical romance & women’s fiction author who writes about the empty places where hope has the most room to grow. Her novels include the inspirational Victorian family saga, The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, and the Kees & Colliers series, which follows a broken family in the tumultuous years of the first half of the 20th century.

Kellyn is a student of the Author Conservatory, a virtual assistant, and a writing coach. When not building her author career, she is likely getting lost somewhere in the Pacific Northwest with her friends, watching period dramas and facetious comedies, or spending time with her husband.

There is a Giveaway for Kellyn's Tour!

Please go to Kellyn's Instagram for a chance to win:

Giveaway items: a copy of Beyond Her Calling, a painted ornament by @paintedprosedesigns , a sticker by @pembertea, a necklace and earring set by @eruvandicrafts, and any swag Kell deigns to stick in.








Monday, January 17, 2022

Her Darling Mr. Day

I absolutely loved this book! Flora Wingfield had been in love with Mr. Theodore Day for a very long time. Manipulating her entire family to go to Louisiana in hopes of regularly seeing Teddy made me realize how desperately in love she was with him. Too bad he didn't see her than more than just a good friend.

Flora's grit and determination to become her own person and get what she wanted made me root for her on every page. I thought she was going to give up, but I loved watching her bravery and some recklessness come through when it was most needed. She doesn't back down and goes for things she sees are truly important.

There was so much in this book to love! Sage advice, excitement, romance, humor, adorable characters, river pirates, and a hungry alligator that make this a 5/5 star rating. If you like romance, comedy, adventure, and a great Christian story, read this fantastic book. It is the second book in the American Royalty book series and I would suggest you read My Dear Ms. Dupré additionally so you can fully understand this story.

One of my favorite quotes was:

"You have always been a sweet light in my life, a star that if I should ever get lost in this world, all I had to do was look up and find you."

I received a copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Note: The alligator that is in the picture was such a funny scene that I had to include it! The riverboat (necklace) plays an important role in the story.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

In the Waves of Tristwick

I could almost smell the sea and feel the ocean breeze upon my face as I began reading this book set in a small fishing village of Cornwall. With the dramatic opening scene of Moroven Hollow nearly drowning from being entangled in the net of Trevik Honeysett’s crew, I was caught (pun untended) up in this story. 

The enemies-to-lovers trope was well written as both Moroven and Trevik work through mistrust, superstition, secrets, and heartbreak. Trevik was more than just a fisherman, showing Moroven that forgiveness and love were possible. I loved that he was able to thwart her greedy and horrible uncle. 

The secondary characters of Mrs. Honeysett and Poppy added depth to the story. I loved how Mrs. Honeysett took Moroven into her home and accepted her as one of her own from the beginning.  I hoped things would work out for Moroven just so she could stay with her and Trevik's chatty, bubbly sister, Poppy. It was great to see how Mrs. Honeysett helped Trevik with the plan to gain Moroven’s freedom.

The stories of the mermaids as well as the songs the villagers and fisherman sang added to feeling a part of the story. I could hear the men singing songs and Moroven joining in with them as the sat around the campfire.  I have never read a story set in Cornwall that went into such detail about a fisherman’s life like Ms. Hathaway did with her book. I was so happy to read her notes about her research and facts she included in the book.  She even wrote some of the lyrics to the songs that were sung! This added depth to the story and even more admiration for her talent as a writer. 

This is book 4 in A Cornish Romance series, but it can be read as a standalone. I haven't read the other books, but I certainly will be!  I was given a complimentary copy of the book. I was not required to write a positive review; all opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

High-Wire Heartbreak

As a mystery writer, Chloe Whitfield is looking for inspiration for a new novel.  I love that she chose to go to John and Mable Ringling’s estate and now museum, Cad’Zan.  The mystery that she finds connected to her own life made this a clever and interesting story. The dual timeline of the present with Chloe and the past story of her great-grandmother, Lucinda, was well written. I liked the interconnectedness of the two stories and the conclusion. 

Of the two stories, I enjoyed Lucinda and Bernardo’s the best. The love and commitment that Nardo had to Lucinda shows that love “endures all things, hopes all things, believes all things.”  However, I do wish Lucinda had shared her past with their daughter, Alice, since she incorrectly assumed things about her mother. Alice would’ve had a chance to learn the truth much earlier. 

I would recommend this latest book in the fantastic Doors to the Past series. This is a standalone book, but I have enjoyed all of the books. I received this complimentary copy from NetGalley and Barbour Books and was not required to give a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.  

* Those are cotton candy flowers around the book in an attempt to be clever. lol

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Copper for the Countess Audiobook

Do you like to listen to audiobooks? I certainly do! They can really make a book come alive and this was the experience I had when I listened to Copper for the Countess. Having read the book before listening to the audio version, I had certain expectations of what Lady Evelyn Lyon would sound and act like.  Ms. Hussey'd portrayal of her was perfect! Her accent was fabulous and her sweet, caring nature was evident when she was speaking to the children.  Ms. Hussey's characterization of all of the people in the book was well done.  Not only did she have to do men's and women's voices, but also children's and British accents too! 

The pacing was excellent. It was neither too fast nor too slow.  I felt as though I was a part of the story.  I highly recommend listening to this book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

I received a free review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book: 

A Victorian countess doesn't belong on a ranch, and a frosty cowboy knows nothing about raising a family. When the two have no choice but to rely on each other, is there any hope for happiness, let alone true love?

Lady Evelyn Lyon lost her husband and her fortune on the same day. Daughter in hand, she makes her way to the copper mines of Arizona, hoping her husband's stock in the Bisbee Copper Queen mine will make it possible for her to raise her little girl. Every man she's known has failed her, and she would far rather be alone than dependent on one. When the stock certificates in her possession prove fraudulent, Evelyn and her little girl are more alone than ever.

Chris Morgan, known as "Frosty" by cowhands and neighbors alike, never expected to have a family. When his cousin back east dies and leaves Chris with two children to raise, Chris has no choice but to change his plans. But raising children and running a ranch at the same time is a tall order. He's at his wit's end when he comes across a British noblewoman who has no business wandering around the desert without protection. When he learns her story, Chris knows they might be the solutions to each other's problems.

A hasty wedding and dusty ride to Chris's ranch starts their marriage of convenience off on a bumpy road. With children to raise and cattle to herd, Evelyn and Chris have no choice but to trust each other. But in the west, trust is hard won, and it's hard to grow anything...especially love.

Copper for the Countess is Book 2 in the Hearts of Arizona Series, but it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone romance.


Monday, January 3, 2022

Life Flight


The opening scene of medical helicopter pilot Penny Carlton having to make an emergency landing on a mountain was intense and that level of suspense did not let up for most of the book.  Penny is extremely resourceful, intelligent,  and trained in self-defense which helps her in the situations in which she finds herself.  Bad guys beware!

With Penny and FBI agent Holt Satterfield trying to capture a serial killer the story twists, loops and rolls, and keeps you guessing until the end. Darius Rabor and his copycat fan were creepy and truly evil.  Rabor’s unstable nature and mind made me jumpy and anxious for Penny who was his ultimate goal. How and when would he capture her? How was she going to escape? 

The relationship that develops between Penny and Holt a result of the events  they experience leads you to believe that you will see more of them in the future. Sharing family secrets is not an easy thing, but Penny and Holt’s relationship will be so much stronger as a result of doing it. I can see them working on more cases together in the future.

TW: corpses and creepy crime scenes

Thank you to the publisher and author for a copy of the book. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Never Leave Me

“One thing was becoming clear: although the water could bring healing, it could also bring death.”

Ellen and Harrison have both drunk vials filled with miracle working water from the Tree of Life and are healed. This should be a good thing, right?  Who gets the limited amount of water?  What if others found out about it and wanted to use it for ill? 

This highly charged, exciting adventure was hard to put down. There were so many noble and selfless characters throughout the story that made the book come alive.  I thought the story from the 1300’s was developed more than the present day story, but it was necessary since this was an intricate part of the plot.  This is the second book in the Waters of Time series and you will need to read the first book, Come Back to Me, in order to understand the story. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an electronic copy of the book. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Book: 

In the last stages of a genetic disease, Ellen Creighton has decided to live out her remaining days at the estate of her longtime friend Harrison Burlington. Harrison cares deeply for Ellen, but as a wheelchair-bound paraplegic, he's never allowed himself to get serious in a relationship. However, he's desperately trying to save her by finding the holy water that is believed to heal any disease.

When he locates two flasks, Ellen refuses to drink one of them because she believes the holy water killed her sister and father. In an effort to convince her to take it, Harrison ingests the contents first, and when Ellen witnesses the effects, she can no longer deny the power of the substance in the bottles. Dangerous criminals are also seeking the holy water, and Ellen soon learns they will go to any lengths to get the powerful drug--including sending her back into the past to find it for them.

Bestselling and award-winning author Jody Hedlund plunges you into the swiftly flowing river of history in a race against the clock in this breathtaking, emotional second Waters of Time story.

A Mark of Grace

  About the Book Book:  A Mark of Grace Author:  Kimberley Woodhouse Genre:  Historical Fiction Release date:  January 3, 2023 When everythi...