Monday, November 27, 2023

Of Jasmine and Roses

 

About the Book:

Orphaned as a child, Anna Beasley was raised alongside her titled cousin in the high Society of the ton. But part-Indian Anna knows better than anyone that appearances trump social grace, even to those who raised her. After the loss of both her inheritance and her adoptive family’s support, work as a governess seems to be Anna’s only path forward . . . until she meets a man who is completely unattainable, and she feels seen and accepted for the first time.

Aspiring politician William Thaxton had no intention of falling in love with a governess. But from his first embarrassing encounter with Anna, he knew she was exceptional. As William gets to know Anna better, he can’t help falling in love with her, despite the infuriating stumbling block that her social status presents. As they navigate intolerance, cruelty, and William’s own ambitions, William and Anna must prove that love knows no boundaries and that the heart doesn’t play by Society’s rules.



My Review: 


Anna Beasley is living in an era where British society does not approve of people that are of mixed race. Unfortunately for her, Anna has an English mother and an Indian father. I thought Anna was quite brave and forgiving as she must endure the cruel comments of men and women about her heritage. As she finds herself as a governess and not knowing where she belongs, she is a very lonely and isolated young woman. That is, until a guest of the family, William Thaxton, becomes acquainted with her.

The author has done a great job of addressing prejudice through this story. The reactions of the house guests and Anna’s family show the various attitudes of those who are in society. I felt the sting of some of those remarks and was glad she was able to say something about her treatment.

Anna and William are unique since they both must choose to go against what society sees as proper. I am glad they had the courage to follow their hearts. This would be a good choice for a book club if you are interested in having some great conversations about prejudice. This is a clean historical romance and can be for readers of all ages.

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

Saturday, November 18, 2023

To Spark a Match

About the Book: 

After five unsuccessful Seasons on the marriage mart, Miss Adelaide Duveen has resigned herself to the notion that she’s destined to remain a spinster forever--a rather dismal prospect, but one that will allow her to concentrate on her darling cats and books. However, when she inadvertently stumbles upon Mr. Gideon Abbott engaged in a clandestine activity during a dinner party, Adelaide finds herself thrust into a world of intrigue that resembles the plots in the spy novels she devours.

Former intelligence agent Gideon Abbott feels responsible for Adelaide after society threatens to banish her because of the distraction she caused to save his investigation. Hoping to return the favor, he turns to a good friend--and one of high society’s leaders--to take Adelaide in hand and turn her fashionable. When danger surrounds them and Adelaide finds herself a target of the criminals in Gideon’s case, the spark of love between them threatens to be quenched for good--along with their lives.


My Review: 

If you are ever in a bad mood and want to read something to get you out of your funk, books by author Jen Turano are sure to help! From the opening scene of Adelaide Duveen’s embarrassing showing of her embroidered unmentionables at a crowded ballroom, I was laughing at the craziness of it all. I couldn’t wait to see what other faux pas would happen to her. Adelaide is an oddity in the elite society of New England. She finds herself in hazardous situations; wears unusual clothing; is a bluestocking; hangs out in an old bookstore, and has an uncanny mind for observation and details. One of her latest reads was about spies and she is certain that she would make a good one herself! Gideon Abbott is intrigued and also a bit wary of Adelaide. Besides having to rescue her from harmful situations, she is able to deduce things that he wants to keep a secret. Including the fact that he is more than the accounting co-owner he claims to be. Charged with helping a friend and looking for a link to crimes that are taking place throughout the city, Gideon has no idea how Adelaide ends up right in the middle of it. I was laughing at how she could turn things around so Gideon ended up suggesting things he never would’ve allowed if it was anyone but her. There are so many things to love about this story! Charming characters, cats, wardrobe malfunctions, and with a mystery to solve this is a book that checks all of the boxes for a terrific story. I enthusiastically recommend this second book in the Matchmaker series for readers of all ages. You can read this as a standalone if you like. I was given a copy of this book from the publisher as part of the Austenprose book tour. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Revenge

 

About the Book

Book: Revenge: The Winslows of Texas

Author: Tamara. G. Cooper

Genre: Romantic Suspense (Christian)

Release Date: May 7, 2023

Aaron’s life shatters in the aftermath of his best friend’s sudden, bizarre death. He firmly believes her demise was no mere accident, as the authorities ruled, but a cold-blooded murder. Driven to the brink of despair by the relentless media shadowing his every move, accusing him of causing her death, he needs a place to hide. Salvation dawns in an unexpected inheritance — the dense, sprawling wilderness of his great aunt’s East Texas estate. There, he discovers another surprise: his first love recently moved back to the area. She intrigued him at fourteen; she completely captivates him at twenty-six.

The discovery of a woman’s body on his property is chillingly timed on the grim anniversary of his friend’s death, shaking Aaron to his core. He realizes the bloodthirsty killer has delivered a disturbingly personal message to him: You cannot hide from me. Suddenly, his secluded sanctuary is exposed, a beacon for the merciless media relentlessly searching for him. He fortifies his estate, transforming it into a fortress against what he understands now is an inevitable attack. The murderer’s tightening noose of fear threatens to ensnare him. Outsmarting this ruthless predator has become a deadly game of chess, where every move could be his last.

 My Review: 

Aaron Winslow feels like his life is ruined and happiness will never be something he will enjoy. Trying to run from his grief, pain, and the media, he hides himself on the property that his Great Aunt Dottie has left to him.

I enjoyed the mystery, suspense, and the characters who lived on Dottie’s property and in the nearby town. They were so good to give him the space he needed to heal, but at the same time looked out for him and helped him when he needed it the most. I liked the faith element and the peace that Aaron came to experience. I did feel that the mystery wrapped up very quickly, and I’d like to have had a couple of clues to who was behind the strange goings on at the estate.

I was given a copy of the book through Celebrate Lit. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.
 
Click here to get your copy!

 About the Author

Tamara G. Cooper is a Texas-based author who finds inspiration in the simple things in life: hiking, camping, fishing, and long walks with her family that end in a picnic. She lives in a small town in East Texas with her husband, her youngest of five sons, and four dogs. Tamara loves writing suspense/mystery stories with just a touch of romance.

 

 More from Tamara

I’m an East Texan, through and through. You should hear me talk! There is no mistaking that I’m from Texas. So, one day, I was wondering: what would it be like if a New Yorker moved to East Texas? Better yet, let’s make him a billionaire New Yorker who wants nothing to do with “rednecks” but is forced to move to Texas. What would motivate him to move there, especially when he’s made it very clear that he wants nothing to do with Texas or Texans? 

 Running for his life would work. Suddenly, he needs a place to hide. The people after him know of his other homes and have them staked out. So, where could he go? His great-aunt Dottie dies and wills her 6,000-acre estate in East Texas to him. Perfect! It sets him up nicely where he doesn’t want to be. And to add icing to this Texas cake? His first love at fourteen recently moved back to the area where he’d met her on one of his family’s rare visits with Aunt Dottie.  

 But life doesn’t settle down for him. Of course, it doesn’t, right?  

And that’s how this book came about. I love Aaron. Every day, I couldn’t wait to get back to him and his story. He has so much to give and doesn’t even know it. As one of the “walking wounded,” he’s going to discover what really matters in life, but it’s not going to be easy for him.  

One thing that’s somewhat different about me as a writer is that I don’t outline my books. I sit at my computer and let the characters tell me their stories. Sounds a little weird, doesn’t it? But it works for me. They take me in all kinds of directions! When the first draft is finished, I consider it my “outline.” Now, the fun begins with editing!  

I love writing. I love storytelling. “Revenge” is one of my favorite stories and, yes, I fell a little bit in love with Aaron. I hope you do, too. 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 15

Book Looks by Lisa, November 16

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 17 (Author Interview)

The Lofty Pages, November 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18

Texas Book-aholic, November 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 21

Blogging With Carol, November 22

Cover Lover Book Review, November 23

For Him and My Family, November 24

Artistic Nobody, November 25 (Author Interview)

Exploring the Written Word, November 25

Pause for Tales, November 26

Because I said so, November 27

Lights in a Dark World, November 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tamara is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a 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/28eeb/revenge-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

A Christmas at Jekyll Island Club

 

About the Book

Book: A Christmas at Jekyll Island Club

Author: Blossom Turner

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: October 24, 2023

She was born into privilege yet yearns for freedom. Dare she risk it all for love?

Though spunky Savannah Ensworth was born into wealth and privilege, she longs for the freedom allotted to men. Marriage is the very last thing on her to-do list. As the sole heir to her father’s fortune, she’s in no hurry to turn the freedom that comes with wealth over to a husband.

Bored and restless, she arrives for yet another mind-numbing winter season at the Jekyll Island Millionaire’s Club. There is nothing new under the sun…or so she thinks until she meets Joseph Bennett, the visiting reverend.

As sparks fly, a forbidden attraction grows. But will their very different lives snuff out any hope of a future? And is she ready to give up the freedom she’s always desired for a love that could cost her everything?

Click here to get your copy!

 My Review: 

Socialite Savannah Ensworth, and Reverend Joseph Bennett couldn’t come from more diverse backgrounds. But, love knows no bounds and as they get to know each other they will need to decide what is the best thing they can do for each other. 


I enjoyed the bold faith that Joseph had and his willingness to share it with the vacationers and Savannah. Since this was a novella, there was not a lot of opportunity for the romance to be gradual, which I would have enjoyed. I thought Savannah was a courageous young woman as she follows her heart and God’d leading. 


The descriptions of the beautiful island made it seem idyllic, and a place I would enjoy visiting. This is the fifth book in the Romance at the Gilded Age Resorts, but can be read as a standalone since the only thing each book has in common is the era and setting of a resort. Readers of all ages will enjoy this early 1900’s era story.


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

About the Author

Blossom Turner Blossom Turner is an award-winning romance author and a hopeless romantic at heart. She believes all story should give the reader significant entertainment value but also relatable life struggles with hope sprinkled throughout. Her desire is to leave the reader with a yearning to live for Christ on a deeper level, or at the very least, create a hunger to seek for more.

She lives in a four-season playground in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with gardening at the top of her enjoyment list. She has a passion for women’s ministry but having coffee and sharing God’s hope with a hurting soul trump all. She has two grown children and lives with her
husband, David, of forty years and their Shepherd/Bernese cross, Lacey. Blossom loves to hear from her readers. Visit her at https://blossomturner.com (Link to website.)

 

 More from Blossom

An island owned by millionaires…do you want to visit?

From my first glimpse of the Marshes of Glynn to that step out of my car onto soil that used to be trod by the world’s wealthiest, my interest was piqued. A book series blossomed inside my head. The 2,906 mile trek from my home in Kelowna, BC to Jekyll Island, Georgia, was worth every hard-earned penny.

The history of Jekyll Island is fascinating from the indigenous people to the arrival of Spanish explorers in 1510 who named the Island, Isla De Ballenas (Whale Island), onward to the English occupation during the Colonial Era in 1733 (where it was renamed Jekyll Island) through the plantation Era. But it really gets interesting during the Club Era where fifty-three members purchased shares with the goal to market the island as a winter retreat for the extremely wealthy. It was a raging success. The clubhouse was officially opened in January of 1888 and the island became an exclusive club to many of the world’s wealthiest families. One could visit by invitation only. This “Millionaires’ Hideaway” became the place some of the most powerful American financiers could relax in prestigious undisturbed isolation. During its peak, the claim was made that its’ members controlled one-sixth of the world’s wealth.

This story takes place in the midst of the Club Era which lasted from 1888 to 1942 before the island was sold back to the state of Georgia. The island, the Club House, the mansion-like cottages, including the flora and fauna have been meticulously researched to bring authenticity to this story. I hope I have done a good job of setting you in that place and time, so you can visualize, hear, smell, and be touched by the lives of the people that long ago walked upon that soil.

Today, there is a causeway built through the beautiful Marshes of Glynn so visitors can access the Island from the mainland by car. It is a popular tourist destination. I would highly recommend a trip to this Golden Isles barrier island.

The historical district has been painstakingly restored and the Club House stands in all its original glory. From the variety of beaches to a photographer’s heaven on Driftwood beach, to the miles of bike trails, salt marshes and abundant wildlife this island is deemed one of the 50 most beautiful small towns in America. I could see why when I visited.

If you have not yet had the pleasure, I hope you will someday have the opportunity to step upon the soil where millionaires trod and bask in the same sunshine they did. Perhaps have high tea in the Club House or ride a bicycle on the hard packed shores of the very beaches they enjoyed. For we are all God’s beautiful creations. He sees not our money, our status, or our family connections…He sees our heart.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, November 1

Splashes of Joy, November 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 2

lakesidelivingsite, November 3

Exploring the Written Word, November 3

Lighthouse Academy Blog, November 4 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 5

Blossoms and Blessings, November 5

Blogging With Carol, November 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 7

Pause for Tales, November 7

Book Looks by Lisa, November 8

Cover Lover Book Review, November 9

Connie’s History Classroom, November 9

Simple Harvest Reads, November 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, November 11

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 12

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 13 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, November 13

She Lives To Read, November 14

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Blossom is giving away the grand prize 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/28b2a/a-christmas-at-jekyl-island-club-celebration-tour-giveaway


Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Garden of the Midnights

About the Book

Book: Garden of the Midnights

Author: Hannah Linder

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Release Date: October, 2023

Danger Lurks at Rosenleigh Manor

Enjoy another Gothic Style Regency from Hannah Linder.

The accidents are not a matter of chance. They are deliberate. As English gentleman William Kensley becomes aware of the danger at Rosenleigh, he pleads for truth from the only man he can trust—until that man is murdered.

As the secrets unfold into scandal, William’s world is tipped into destitution—leaving him penniless and alone. His only comfort is in the constant love of Isabella Gresham, but even that has been threatened. When a hidden foe arises from their acquaintances and imperils Isabella’s life, will William be the only one willing to rescue her? And even if he saves Isabella from her captors, will he still have to forsake her heart?

Click here to get your copy!

  My Review:

Secrets from the past, forbidden love, greed and murder, this book had me skipping sleep and reading way into the night. I just could not put the book down! The twists and turns of events kept me guessing as to what might happen next.


Isabella and William were both well written, flawed characters who we see their reactions to life’s circumstances. Through their difficulties they grow and become better people. The theme of forgiveness that runs throughout the story added depth to the plot and to the characters. Some chose to let the go of the past and its hurts, while others let it destroy them. 


Things to love about this book: 

walks on the beach

star gazing

enjoying the small things

“doing sunshine”

faith

vile villains

love wins


I have read all of Hannah Linder’s fictional works and each one is fabulous. It is difficult to wait for the next book to be published, and I almost wish that I had learned about her books a few years into the future so I could binge read them. :) I highly recommend this book for mature readers who like historical tales, Charles Dickens-like characters, and seeing characters wrestle with their faith and have it tested and proven.


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

About the Author

Hannah Linder resides in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. Represented by Books & Such, she writes Regency romantic suspense novels. She is a double 2021 Selah Award winner, a 2022 Selah Award finalist, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Hannah is a Graphic Design Associates Degree graduate who specializes in professional book cover design. She designs for both traditional publishing houses and individual authors, including New York Times, USA Today, and International bestsellers. She is also a local photographer and a self-portrait photographer. When Hannah is not writing, she enjoys playing her instruments—piano, guitar, and ukulele—songwriting, painting still life, walking in the rain, and sitting on the front porch of her 1800s farmhouse. To follow her journey, visit hannahlinderbooks.com.

 More from Hannah

Sometimes, the things we say we’ll never do are exactly the things we find ourselves doing.

Back when I was still wearing two braids and walking around barefoot everywhere, I told myself I would never make a speech. Never. But by the time high school graduation came along, despite a thousand firm declarations that I wouldn’t, my mother shook her head. “I think you should do it,” she said—and because mothers are usually right, I did.

Granted, I read the speech off a folded sheet of copy paper because I was too nervous to face the crowd. And my knees were jelly. And I stood off-centered on the stage instead of behind the pulpit like anyone else.

But I did it.

For the rest of my life, I’ll look back and remember what it felt like. Standing on the stage, reading my heart, hearing the sniffles and glancing up to see tears glistening in the eyes of endless people I love.

That was special. Mother was right.

Want to know another thing I said I would never do? Re-write a novel. I’ve heard the stories all my life. The author second guesses their own ability and burns their manuscript. Then, years later, they rewrite the story that echoes through the ages as a classic. Or the novelist loses their entire document to a computer crash, so with a blank page and a blinking cursor, they start anew.

I never thought that was something I could do.

I never wanted to.

If I ever lost a novel or was prompted to start over, I would abandon ship and try for a different vessel. Anyway, that’s what I told myself.

Garden of the Midnights was the story I wrote many years ago when I was younger, when I knew less about manors and England and history. I made mistakes. I broke writing rules. I did too little research and too much overwriting…but it had my soul. Somehow, it was alive. The characters breathed. The tears in their pillow, the aches in their throat, became a part of who I was and what I felt.

This was the one. The story I loved most.

But the edits and the mistakes and the problems overwhelmed me. Like the fearful girl in braids who refused to make a speech, I wanted to throw in the towel and say with even more defiance, “I will never re-write a novel. Never.”

But Mother knew what was needed. She knew the story was too much a part of me to tuck away in some drawer, forgotten and dusty, unread by anyone. So she nodded her head and said, “I think you should do it.”

I didn’t want to.

I was afraid because it wasn’t easy.

But because mothers are usually right, I did. Now, Garden of the Midnights is ready. My heart is still tangled in all the words, all the twists, all the secrets—but this time more, because the book has yet another part of me. The part that was fearful. The part that was too close to quitting. The part that finished anyway.

For the rest of my life, I’ll look back and be thankful. When someone writes me a note that they enjoyed the book, or gets a whimsical tone to their voice when they talk about a scene, or looks up from the pages with tears shimmering in their eyes.

That will be special. Mother was right.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 28

Melissa’s Bookshelf, October 28

Texas Book-aholic, October 29

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, October 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 30

An Author’s Take, October 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 31

Mary Hake, October 31

Book Looks by Lisa, November 1

Alena Mentink, November 1

Connie’s History Classroom, November 2

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 3

Sylvan Musings, November 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 4 (Author Interview)

To Everything There Is A Season, November 4

Blogging With Carol, November 5

For Him and My Family, November 5

Betti Mace, November 6

Live.Love.Read., November 6

Wishful Endings, November 7

Cover Lover Book Review, November 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, November 8

Holly’s Book Corner, November 8

Splashes of Joy, November 9

Labor Not in Vain, November 9

Pause for Tales, November 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Hannah is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a print 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/28978/garden-of-the-midnights-celebration-tour-giveaway

Mortal Queens

  About the Book Book:  Mortal Queens Author:  Victoria McCombs Genre:  YA Fae Fantasy Release Date:  February 6, 2023 They vanish without a...