Sunday, December 31, 2023

How to Plot a Payback


About the Book: 

He crossed an ocean, and it still wasn’t enough to escape his lifelong nemesis. Now he has to work with her.

Successful screenwriter Finn Masters just landed his dream job writing for Neighbors, one of Hollywood’s highest-rated, longest-running sitcoms. The only downside? It will put him back in proximity of the show’s universally adored, optimistic, altruistic star, Lavender Rhodes, who has been inadvertently ruining his life since they were school chums in England. But she doesn’t even know she destroyed his acting career and wrecked his relationship with the love of his life.

He’s not about to let this woman yank yet another dream out from under his feet. In fact, he realizes he’s been given the ideal opportunity to plot his payback: spinning her character in shocking new directions.

What could go wrong? Only everything. As Finn’s not-so-brilliant plot backfires one scene after the next, catching him in the blasts, he’s forced to think about this impossible, infuriating... and maybe even lovable woman in an entirely new light.

My Review: 

I love Melissa Ferguson’s stories as she has a way of making me laugh while at the same time bringing truth. Screenwriter Finn Masters has a nemesis, Lavender Rhodes. He feels she has been the cause of so many things that have gone wrong in his life (an accident; his acting career; a romantic relationship). Things finally go his way when he lands a job writing episodes for the TV sitcom where Lavender is the star. There are so many ways he can make her life miserable. Holding on to past wrongs or choosing to forgive makes all the difference in the lives of Finn and Lavender. There’s a lesson to be learned here and the comedic way in which it is presented isn’t preachy in the least. I loved seeing the moment when Finn realizes that Lavender is not the enemy. She is truly a loving and kind person that sees the good in life. I highly recommend reading this book. Some (but not all) things I loved: Grumpy/sunshine Chickens Dogs Shared secrets Senior community night The kiss You’ve Got Mail vibes The power of forgiveness I received this book through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Peasant King

 About the Book: 

Jemmah has always thought of herself as perfectly ordinary . . . until she faces extraordinary circumstances.

When her mother, the Persian king’s famous senior scribe, is kidnapped, Jemmah and her sister must sneak undetected into enemy territory to rescue her. But infiltrating their adversary’s lands proves easier than escaping them. Fleeing through dangerous mountain passes, their survival depends on the skills of a stranger they free from prison: a mysterious prince named Asher.

Asher is not who the world believes he is. Despite his royal blood, he has had to climb his way out of poverty to forge success from nothing. A manufacturer of some of the best weaponry in the East, Asher has only one goal: to destroy his father. But following his escape from prison, Asher is irresistibly drawn to Jemmah, unaware that she guards her own secret.

Jemmah must convince Asher to give up everything he has worked for, all for the sake of a higher purpose he’s not sure he believes in. The fate of the Persian empire—and possibly the Judean people—hang in the balance and in the persuasive power of one ordinary woman.

My Review: 

I really enjoyed the Biblical fiction that author Tessa Afshar has written. The details, dialogues, and descriptionsnthat she has written made me feel as though I was part of the adventures. I never really thought about how events, small and great, had to have been in place in order for Cyrus to succeed against innumerable odds.

I highly recommend this book for a glimpse into what happened to Cyrus and the Jewish captives. There is a great love story too of Jemmah and Asher. This is the second book in the series, and while it can be read as a standalone, I'd recommend you read the first book for a richer experience and background knowledge.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Calling on the Matchmaker

About the Book: 

Haunted by the death of her sister, Finola Shanahan has resolved that she's not worthy of a family of her own and commits to spending her days caring for immigrants in the slums. Unwilling to consider marriage, Finola has perfected the ability to sabotage the relationships her parents arrange for her. At wit's end, her father calls upon the local Irish matchmaker, who pairs her with successful wagonmaker Riley Rafferty. After her usual tricks fail, Finola quickly realizes she can't outsmart or outwit the dashing, determined, and daring man.

A candidate in the St. Louis mayoral election, Riley is confident a union with the wealthy Shanahan family will help solidify his chances of winning--and even more assured he and Finola can make a difference together. When a cholera outbreak begins to take St. Louis by storm, they must navigate a burgeoning attraction and growing danger testing all they know about love and sacrifice.

My Review: 

Finola is bound and determined to become a nun. Maybe if she makes it her vocation she will be able to assuage her guilt. Her parents have promised that if this last suitor the matchmaker has brought for her to meet (the 13th one!) does not work out, she may be free to enter the convent. She is confident that she will be successful, but she has yet to meet Riley Rafferty.

Riley has things in his past too, including a miserable marriage and mistakes he hopes not to repeat. It’s only by a promise he has made to his father does he consider remarrying. Little does he realize that the young lady he saved from a carriage mishap is the same one that Bellamy the matchmaker has chosen for him.

Finola and Riley were the perfect couple and truly complemented each other. They both saw needs and were quick to help wherever they could. The conflicts they had in their relationship made me wonder how they were ever going to work things out. It was a good thing that Bellamy the matchmaker was more clever than either one of them to help them navigate their courtship. I really loved his ingenious schemes and can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.

Things I loved:
Saint Riley and his heroic deeds
The stable incident
Bellamy the matchmaker
Things that Riley hates list
The Shanahan clan
Ice skating date
Letting go of the past

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, NetGalley, and AustenProse. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author: 

Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of over fifty novels and is the winner of numerous awards. Jody lives in Michigan with her husband, busy family, and five spoiled cats. She writes sweet historical novels with plenty of sizzle. 

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Something Borrowed


About the Book: 

Forsaking all others…

Gage Trembath is getting married. He is the only one who knows it, but the statement is true, nonetheless. The woman he had once loved has been married elsewhere for a time, and he can put off his own marriage no longer. The woman he has chosen to marry, without love, is sensible, quiet, musical, and amenable, which should enable him to have a good marriage and a content life. That is all he wants now, and Honora Berkeley makes the most sense.

Honora cannot believe that a handsome and wealthy man like Gage has any interest at all in marrying her, even without love. She certainly has very little to recommend her, but escaping her life of criticism and abandonment is something she cannot resist. But what about the woman Gage had once loved? The one who was perfect for him and the one who made him determined to abandon love? Are his feelings for her truly gone? Will Honora ever have his affection along with his respect?

Is a convenient, sensible marriage what Gage wants? Or will his capacity for love reignite under Honora’s influence? 

My Review: 

Gage, a very tenderhearted man, was in the habit of rescuing animals. So, it only makes sense that extends that type of compassion and he offers to marry Honora and take her away from her truly terrible parents. They did not see her value and only wanted to be rid of her. I don’t think Gage thought he was rescuing her, but he truly did. It was a tender love story as Gage and Honora find that their marriage was more than just one of convenience. They both come to appreciate and love each other. 

Favorite Gage quotes to Honora:

“You don’t have to be anything for anyone other than yourself.” 

“You are my home, Nora." 

While I loved reading about Honora and Gage’s developing relationship, I did feel the pacing was a bit too slow for me. It was the first book that I have read in the series, so I think I may have missed some background that would have made this feel more like a reunion of old friends and a continuation of the other books.

*verbal abuse, mild swearing

I received this book from AustenProse Book Tours. I was not expected to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

A Winter by the Sea


About the Book: 

When the Duke and Duchess of Kent rent neighboring Woolbrook Cottage for the winter, the Summers sisters are called upon to host three of the royal couple's male staff in their seaside house. But they soon realize they've invited mysterious secrets and the sweet possibility of romance into their home.

Meanwhile, Emily Summers approaches a local publisher in hopes of fulfilling her dream of becoming an author. When he turns her down, his dashing competitor promises to consider her novel if she will first write a new Sidmouth guidebook for him. Emily accepts and begins researching with the help of the Duke of Kent's handsome private secretary. But a surprise visitor from her past shows up at Sea View, leaving Emily torn between the desires she used to hold dear and her budding dreams for the future.

My Review: 

The blending of fiction with fact is masterfully crafted by Julie Klassen, one of my favorite authors, to create an English seaside town that I would love to visit and be tempted to stay there permanently. The visit of the Royal family was so realistic that I found myself wondering what was actual fact in the story. I wanted to skip to the historical notes at the end, but I showed some self control and waited until I finished reading the book.

I felt a range of emotions (hope, joy, sadness, loss, fear) as Emily Summer, her sisters, and her mother must face the past, decide what to do about the future, and live in the present. Emily was blessed to have her sister and mother as her sounding boards and help with navigating her feelings. There were two suitors, so which man would she choose? 

This is the second book in the series, and I would recommend you read the first book so that you can appreciate what has transpired up until now. Three of Emily’s sisters have stories that need to be told, so I am anticipating great things to happen in the third book. I highly recommend this if you love historical fiction, romance, and/or women’s fiction. 

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and Austen Prose book tours. I wasn’t required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Knowing You


About the Book

Book: Knowing You

Author: Tracie Peterson

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: November 7, 2023

Could a captivating art exhibit hold the key to truth—and love?

Budding artist May Parker is captivated by the Japanese exhibits at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and longs to know more about her mother’s heritage—which her mother refuses to speak of because of the heartache she left behind in Japan. Wanting to experience more of the exhibits, May works as a Camera Girl–but her curiosity leads her into danger when a suit of samurai armor becomes the target of an elusive art forger.

After ten years apart, May is reunited with her childhood friend Lee Munro, a police detective assigned to keep a watchful eye on the exposition. Their friendship immediately begins to blossom with hints of something more, but when they become entangled in a dangerous heist involving the samurai armor and their love is threatened, can they overcome the odds against them?

My Review: 

I was intrigued when I read the description of a story about the Yukon Pacific Exposition; May Parker, one of the Camera Girls; Lee Munro, a police detective, and a Japanese exhibit of a samurai suit of armor. This proposed to be an interesting tale, and it certainly was.

May Parker was my favorite character in the book. She is such a forgiving, resilient young lady as she encounters all types of people who judge her unfairly because she is Amerasian. She was an example throughout the book of seeing beyond people’s prejudice. She counted on her faith to help her pardon people and keep a joyful attitude.

I loved the atmosphere of the Yukon Pacific Expo with its sites and sounds. I could imagine being a part of the crowd viewing the exhibits. I loved Lee Munro’s part as the detective who must see that the samurai suit is safely returned to Japan. While this is the third book in the Pictures of the Heart series, it can be read as a standalone. This would be a great book to read and discuss with a friend.

I was given a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley and Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Click here to get your copy!

 About the Author

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling author of more than 100 novels, both historical and contemporary, with more than 6 million copies sold. She has won the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award and the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Her avid research resonates in her many bestselling series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.





More from Tracie

Knowing You is book three in the Pictures of the Heart series. This series has proven to be a lot of fun for readers, as well as for me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the research and chance to share this tidbit of history.

In the summer of 1909, Seattle was finally able to debut The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition – often affectionately called the AYP.  The AYP was set up with amusement park rides, vendors, concerts, and all things typical of a fair.  It was also designed to showcase various details about life in Alaska, the Yukon, and a variety of Pacific Islands. The latter included Hawaii, the Philippines, and Japan as well as others.  When I started looking into the various displays, I came across the building they put together for the Japan Building. They spoke of the various displays that the building held and how photographs and other pieces of memorabilia told of Japan’s history.  It was a fascinating set up and I couldn’t help but think it might be fun to have a heroine who was part Japanese.

I mapped out the story studying various aspects of Japanese history, talking to folks who knew more than I did on the topic and reading (a lot) on things like the Samurai and their armor, the Satsuma Rebellion, and the language and Kanji. I learned so much and tried to weave some of the most interesting bits into the storyline. I kept thinking about the fact that most people in the United States in 1909 probably didn’t even know where Japan was, much less anything about their history. There was, after all, no Internet.

Another fascinating thing about the AYP was the fact that it was set on the campus of the University of Washington.  The AYP groomed the grounds and put in beautiful fountains and over 50,000 flowering plants. They built several permanent buildings for the University of Washington and strictly adhered to their policy of no-liquor on campus. This was unusual because all the other fairs and expositions had allowed alcohol.  Nevertheless, from June until October the fair saw nearly four million visitors, and from all reports, they had an amazing time.

I hope you’ll enjoy your journey with me to the AYP!

Tracie Peterson

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid reader, December 4

Book Looks by Lisa, December 4

lakesidelivingsite, December 5

Lighthouse Academy Blog, December 6 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 6

Texas Book-aholic, December 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 8

Exploring the Written Word, December 8

Cover Lover Book Review, December 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 10

Blossoms and Blessings, December 10

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 11

Blogging With Carol, December 12

For Him and My Family, December 12

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

Mary Hake, December 13

Holly’s Book Corner, December 14

Paula’s Pad of Inspiration, December 14

Splashes of Joy, December 15

Min Reads and Reviews, December 15

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 16

Pause for Tales, December 16

Lily’s Corner, December 17

Lights in a Dark World, December 17


To celebrate her tour, Tracie is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Amazon gift card and one paperback set of the Pictures of the Heart series (Remember Me, Finding Us, Knowing You)!!

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

Rocky Mountain Journey

About the Book Book:  Rocky Mountain Journey (Sisters of the Rockies: Book 3) Author:  Misty M. Beller Genre:  Christian Historical Romance ...