Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Review: Tailor Made by Annette Lyon


https://amzn.to/2momfF8

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Two people. An impossible task. A traitor in their midst.

Sofi’s mother desperately needs medicine, and Sofi will do anything to get it—including a one-month stay at the Brunberg mansion in Helsinki, the capitol. There she’ll spend her days at the Kangas Tailor Shop, knitting silk stockings and other items from sunup to sundown for the biggest wedding of the decade. If she can do it, Sofi will have the ability to get the medicine her mother needs, with money to spare.

But Sofi’s safe world of knitting needles and thread is turned upside down when she finds herself in the middle of political intrigue. Antti, tailor and owner of the shop, Sofi uncover a plot to sabotage the Brunberg daughter’s wedding and threaten to bring Russia’s fist onto the Grand Duchy, removing the Finns’ self-governance, and possibly lead the countries into war.

As Sofi and Antti work together to save their country, she can’t help falling in love with the unassuming and attractive head tailor, though she knows she can’t have him. Her country and her family need her, and when her job is done, she’ll go home to Porvoo, never to see him again.

As they race to stop the traitor, the battle in her heart intensifies, and she fears that the victor won’t be love.


My Review

I don't think I've ever read a book set in Finland, so I especially enjoyed learning a bit about their history with Sweden and Russia through the political intrigue and social customs woven into the story. There is a definite feeling of pressure as Sofi works to the bone to provide for her brother and sick mother, as well as the impossible deadline given to Antti to fulfill the clothing order for the royal wedding. Sofi is the type of character I find it easy to like- self-sacrificing, hard-working, intelligent, and optimistic. She gives hope and solutions to Antti when he is at his wit's end and they make a great team. The treasonous plot to derail the wedding added an element of suspense and the determination of Sofi and Antti to defend their country proved their loyalty and brought about the happily ever after they didn't dare hope for.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)


Review: An Unwelcome Suitor by Ashtyn Newbold


https://amzn.to/2nlBRcp

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Falling in love with her sister's suitor had never been part of her plan.

After losing her parents, Elizabeth Watts and her two sisters are taken under the care of their great-aunt, who has promised them her estate upon her death. From a young age, however, Elizabeth has learned not to expect to keep things that can be taken away. An unforeseen change in the will reveals that Elizabeth and her sisters may have the estate, but only if the eldest weds Dr. Luke Pembroke, their great-aunt’s beloved physician, who needs the estate just as desperately as they do.

Knowing her sister to be in love with another, Elizabeth is appalled when she begins courting Dr. Pembroke, intent to sacrifice her own happiness. Nothing if not determined, Elizabeth makes plans to sabotage the courtship. With her schemes underway, she quickly learns that her sister’s suitor is nothing if not clever—nothing except, perhaps, handsome, kind, and infuriatingly charming. When the feelings between them become impossible to ignore, Elizabeth discovers that love has a scheme all its own, and it might just be the most determined of all.


My Review

This was a fun Regency story with Elizabeth's scheming and the misadventures that result. She has a good sense of humor when things go wrong for the most part, although she is determined to see her older sister marry for love and just doesn't give up. She has some character growth as her eyes are opened to the real circumstances of people she has judged prematurely, and I liked her more as the book went on and she developed some depth and humility. Luke is patient with Elizabeth's antics but doesn't let her get away with them and finds them entertaining as well as frustrating. They start out as enemies, then turn to frenemies, and their relationship continues along the natural path to friends and more. I just had to keep reading to see how the complex situation of inheriting the estate would turn out!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



An Unwelcome Suitor is part of the ENTANGLED INHERITANCE series, a set of stand-alone regency romance novels. Look for the complete collection of stories by these incredible authors:



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A Provision for Love by Heather Chapman
 

https://amzn.to/2NowdS6

His Unexpected Heiress by Sally Britton 


The Rivals of Rosennor Hall by Rebecca Connolly

 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Book Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Sojourner by Janalyn Voigt #SojournerTour

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

https://amzn.to/2Mat1IJSojourner
(Tales of Faeraven #3)
By Janalyn Voigt
Fantasy, Christian Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 322 Pages
November 1st 2019 by Pelican Book Group

Mara didn't know her parents were living a lie.

After learning a secret that causes Mara to question her heritage, she runs to Torindan, the High Hold of Faeraven, to seek the truth. What the innkeeper’s daughter doesn't know is that Rand, the mysterious tracker she’s hired to guide her through the wilderness, has been sent on an errand that puts her life at risk.

Helping Mara furthers Rand's purposes, but he doesn't count on his emotions interfering.

With Faeraven on the brink of war, Rand is faced with a life-altering choice, Mara is torn between escape and learning the truth, and the future hangs in the balance.

Will Mara be heir to the Faeraven throne? Can Rand escape the terrors of the dungeon?

As Torindan and Pilaer prepare for battle, anything can happen.

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Excerpt


(The heroine of Sojourner returns to the inn after seeing a poisonous lizard by the river.)
“Mara!” A tousle-haired stable hand called to her.
She waved to Hael, and he grinned in return. A sudden lift of heart sent her to meet him before he could leave the stableyard. It was an old game, one they’d played since she could remember.
Hael slowed his pace, grinning. He’d taken to letting her win of late. She arched her brow to tell him she knew this, but a smile tugged her lips. “I suppose Mam looks for me already.”
“That she does.” He ducked his head, an unruly brown lock escaping his cap.
“I shouldn’t keep her waiting, but I need to find Da.” She swept a glance to the inn yard, where insects turned lazy spirals in the air.
“Your father be in the common room. What’s amiss?”
“I saw a grillon at the river.”
His brows met in a scowl. “Did you take harm?”
“Of course not. I know to be careful.”
He tapped her under the chin, a smile warming his brown eyes. “A grillon can bite even the careful.”
“If grillons did not fear people, more would die from their bites.”
“Don’t grillons prefer the bog? I’ve never seen one in the cove before this.”
Da and Hael always returned from cutting turf for the fire in the bog lands with tales of the strange creatures they found. Last summer, Da had brought home a grillon trapped in a jar. Mam had been none too pleased about that. He’d explained that he meant to take Mara along next time and wanted to warn her about the grillons. Mam made him promise to put an end to the grillon, but had it somehow escaped?
“Sometimes they stray. Don’t be afraid. I’ll search him out for you.”
He’d never gazed at her with such a soft look on his face before. What did it mean?



Other Books in the Series


About the Author


Janalyn Voigt is a writer and professional speaker with a photography habit and a passion for travel. Her unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and fantasy creates worlds of beauty and danger for readers. Tales of Faeraven, her epic fantasy series beginning with DawnSinger, carries readers into a land only imagined in dreams. She is represented by Sarah Joy Freese of Wordserve Literary.


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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Review: Mercer's Belles (Timeless Western Collection) by Heather B. Moore, Teri Harman, Linda Carroll-Bradd


https://amzn.to/2mbeUJ3

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

When Mr. Mercer sends out a call for single women to travel to Seattle for teaching positions and the potential of forming marriages, 45 answer his call, becoming Mercer's Belles.

The following collection is based on based on true events during the 1860s:


ONE DANCE by Heather B. Moore
When Harriet Silverman arrives in Seattle for a fresh start and a new teaching position, the last person she expects is to meet is a fisherman who seems to be every place she turns. As she gets to know Caleb Munns, Harriet discovers they are a perfect match--for friendship. They both have solid reasons for not pursuing marriage. But as their paths continue to cross, Harriet begins to see a completely different future than she imagined.

A JOURNEY TO LOVE by Teri Harman
Cora, a nurse and surgeon's assistant who learned her skills during the war, joins Mercer's expedition in hopes of finding a job in the West. She's a widow and does not want to marry again. When she meets Albert, a surgeon who is traveling on board the Continental, she finds herself intrigued. Yet, Albert's determined to open his own practice in Seattle, make it a success, and has no plans to look for a wife. But the more time Cora and Albert spend together on the voyage, the more they are drawn to each other.

A FARAWAY LIFE by Linda Carroll-Bradd
Teacher Sorcha Geraghty yearns for a fresh start after the death of her beau and a factory accident maimed her hand. Asa Mercer’s call for teachers for Washington Territory provides a new opportunity, and she joins his ocean-going expedition. Upon arrival, she learns of the expectation for the women to become wives to the many bachelors. Sorcha needs a new plan and fast. Logging manager Lang Ingemar wants a teacher to provide basic English instruction to his Swedish-speaking crew and keep them out of trouble when they go to Seattle. When he convinces Miss Geraghty to relocate to the logging camp, he has no idea the ways his life will be changed.


My Review

I really enjoyed the way these authors brought history to life with memorable characters and interesting details. In all three stories the female main characters are not interested in marriage which provides some inner conflict when they develop strong feelings for the men who unexpectedly make their way into their hearts. I loved the plots of all three stories, but the first two were my favorites with the way the characters handled their circumstances and relationships. The last story involved some immature choices and overreactions which didn't seem to fit and threw me out of the story a bit. I did like the setting in the logging camp in the forest though. I appreciated that even though the stories were similar in the history of the voyage, there were differences in the occupations of the men- fisherman, doctor, and logger- and also the ladies- teacher of children, nurse surgeon, and English teacher of immigrants- which provided the needed variety. 

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Review: For the Lady of Lowena by Deborah M. Hathaway


https://amzn.to/2lJu0oR

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

She’s everything he never wanted—until she was everything he needed.

Tired of the smoke, the smog, and the spoiled females of London, Frederick Hawkins leaves the city behind and purchases an estate in Cornwall, longing to escape his mother’s meddling—and to find a wife worthy of his devotion. When he happens upon a barefooted lady asleep on the beach and rescues her from the incoming tide, he believes he has found such a woman. But first impressions can’t be trusted.

Born into wealth, Sophia Rosewall is offered everything on a silver platter. That is, until her father reveals he has lost their fortune and can now no longer fund their affluent living. Even worse, the intriguing gentleman who’d rescued Sophia on the beach is no one else but the pretentious man now taking possession of her home. Uprooted from everything she has ever known, Sophia relocates to Lowena, a small cottage at the edge of the sea. She clings to her former life, but when Society rejects her, nothing will ever be the same.

As their paths continually cross, Frederick begins to see glimmers of the carefree Sophia he’d first met on the beach, and he cannot help but hope that there is more to the woman than a love of wealth and attention. He does what he can to help her find confidence in her new life and allow her true self to shine forth, but only Sophia can stop attempting to change her circumstances, and instead, change her heart.


My Review

It's always a risk when the main character of a story is flawed in a way bordering on unlikeable, but the author skillfully played with that line to show the beautiful redemption of Sophia as her world is upended in a most humbling manner and her values and priorities shift. Frederick plays a vital role in helping her understand what's really important in life and finding purpose in her days. I was as happy as Frederick to see her true self emerge that he glimpsed that first day on the beach. She still goes through many obstacles as her confidence takes a battering and she often feels lost and adrift, hovering between the upper and lower classes. Frederick has great hopes for her and their blossoming relationship, but still struggles with trust because of experiences in his past. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this lovely book with an amazing Regency setting on the coast as Frederick and Sophia learn to reconcile their fears and grasp hold of what they most desire.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



Don't miss the other books in the Cornish Romance series . . .

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Review: The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden


https://amzn.to/2nnQRXf

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building his very successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before it spirals out of control, he returns to his ancestral home to save his brother and sister before it's too late.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?


My Review

I'm always impressed by the amount of historical detail and circumstances the author weaves into the story that I had never considered, especially at a time when more women are making their way into the workforce. It makes me excited to think about these pioneers and how they contributed to our nation. Washington D.C. is a fascinating setting and I loved seeing the city through the eyes of Annabelle. She is driven with such purpose, whether it be analyzing grain samples or persuading someone to her way of thinking. Gray is more complex, and the pair was an interesting match. I didn't sense much romantic chemistry between them, but rather a deep respect for the challenge they present each other and the unlikely friendship that blossoms. Secrets and political motivations threaten their relationship, but I admired their integrity as they navigate the obstacles they endure.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Review & Giveaway: Secrets & Suitors by Joanna Barker



https://amzn.to/2p4KsB6

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Reluctantly returning to London for yet another Season, shy Nora Hamilton has nearly given up hope that she will ever find the love match she longs for. After all, the one man she does harbor feelings for—her closest friend, James—has made it perfectly clear he views her as just that: a friend. With James traveling half a world away and Nora's father pressuring her to marry for wealth and status, Nora is forced to set aside her desire for love and accept the future she has always dreaded.
 

Until James returns unexpectedly and Nora's feelings once again rush unbearably close to the surface. Determined to save what is left of their friendship, Nora ignores her own heart and allows herself to be swept up in the London Season, soon finding herself the object of two very different gentlemen's affections. Though she should be thrilled, both men come with a glaring fault: neither is the one man who holds her heart.

But there is much more at stake than heartbreak. When long-kept secrets are laid bare, Nora must face the fears that have plagued her all her life and decide what true love is worth.


My Review

Poor Nora! I really struggled with the first part of the book because Nora feels hopeless and resigned, and the author did a great job of connecting the reader to her emotions- so I was feeling sad and frustrated as I read. Things picked up when the setting moves to London and Nora begins to develop hope for another plan for her future. I found the evolving dynamics of her family interesting and I appreciated that we got to see the more complex layers of her parents and especially her father, who is not the villain he seems to be in the beginning. Nora has a strong bond with her sister and brother, and it added a nice element to the story. Nora also evolves and grows through her experiences and she is a much stronger person for it by the end, where she refuses to let the secrets stay hidden so she can grasp the future she wants with both hands- not just who she marries, but a warm and loving family.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

About the Author

Joanna Barker was born and raised in northern California. She discovered her love for historical fiction after visiting England as an eleven-year-old, and subsequently read every Jane Austen book she could get her hands on. After graduating Brigham Young University with a degree in English, she worked as an acquisitions editor before devoting herself full-time to writing. She enjoys music, chocolate, and reading everything from romance to science fiction. She lives in Utah and is just a little crazy about her husband and two wild-but-loveable boys.

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Review: Aiming for Love by Mary Connealy


https://amzn.to/31UIzpp

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Josephine Nordegren is one of three sisters who grew up nearly wild in southwestern Colorado. She has the archery skills of Robin Hood and the curiosity of the Little Mermaid, fascinated by but locked away from the forbidden outside world--a world she's been raised to believe killed her parents. When David Warden, a rancher, brings in a herd much too close to the girls' secret home, her older sister especially is frightened, but Jo is too interested to stay away.

David's parents follow soon on his heels, escaping bandits at their ranch. David's father is wounded and needs shelter. Josephine and her sisters have the only cabin on the mountain. Do they risk stepping into the world to help those in need? Or do they remain separated but safe in the peaks of Hope Mountain?


My Review

I'm so happy for the start of a new series by Mary Connealy! I adore her down-to-earth characters, the adventure found in the remote wilderness setting, and the sweet romance that develops naturally. Jo and her sisters are an anomaly- three women surviving and thriving without any contact with the outside world. They are an interesting blend of naive and savvy, having a strong moral code instilled by their grandma and survival skills taught by their grandpa, and each girl has a different blend of caution, curiosity, and fear when it comes to their new neighbors. Jo is the most eager to associate with Dave and his family, while Ilsa is compelled by her healing skills to help with Dave's father's injuries, and Ursula fights against the new relationships the entire time (her story will be interesting to read!) Of course there are humorous misunderstandings with certain expressions the girls aren't familiar with and the two Bibles they quoted from especially had me chuckling. There is a nice blend of action, suspense, relationship-building, humor, and romance as Jo is torn between loyalty to her sisters and the way they were raised, and the comfort and love she experiences with Dave and his family. The story wraps on a satisfying note, but the conflict with the land-grabber and his hired gunmen will continue into the next book.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



The Brides of Hope Mountain series continues in March 2020 . . .

https://amzn.to/30VL3Cs


http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.bookdepository.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

After years of isolation on top of Hope Mountain, Ilsa Nordegren may finally be ready to leave. Raised to fear the world, Ilsa and her sisters never planned on coming down, but when the Warden family arrived in need, they had to help. And it may cost them everything.

Having made his fortune, Mitch Warden returned home and found the family homestead abandoned. In a land grab, a ruthless cattle baron had forced his family to escape up the mountain, and when he follows, the last thing he expects is to fall smitten to a black-haired woman who dresses like Robin Hood.

Warden is intent on helping his family reclaim their land, but doesn't realize the risks his past has brought. Dangerous men have tracked him, and rather than risk innocent lives, he's determined to end the danger. But that means a journey to the city--and when Ilsa insists on joining him, the mismatched pair suddenly find themselves on a venture they'll never forget.