Sunday, May 31, 2020

Review: Near the Ruins of Penharrow by Deborah M. Hathaway

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


She never should have fallen in love with the mine owner's son.

Bal maiden Gwynna Merrick is more than prepared to resume her work at the copper mine, if only to keep her family safe from destitution. But when her upper-class friend convinces Gwynna to have one final night of enjoyment, a borrowed gown and a false identity give her a small taste of the freedom she has always craved. That is, until the mine owner's handsome son arrives and threatens to reveal her identity.

Heir to his father's mine, Jack Trevethan has returned to Cornwall to help with a new venture at Wheal Favour, though he prefers spending his time gaming, drinking, and chasing women—anything to forget the memories of his past. However, when he finds the bal maiden he'd met days before now attending the ball, he cannot resist learning more about this intriguing woman.

After a disastrous first meeting, Gwynna wants nothing more than to avoid Jack, but as her work at Wheal Favour begins, she's continually thrown into his company. As Jack's flirtatious fa├žade falls, revealing the wounds of his childhood, Gwynna begins to see the real gentleman behind the rake. But rumors surrounding their relationship and Jack's past will not yield, forcing the two of them to either trust and lean on each other—or fall victim to ghosts of the past.

My Review

A lower class working girl and an uppercrust gentleman form an unlikely friendship and help each other heal from deep hurts. I loved learning about the rough lifestyle of the miners and specifically the bal maidens that work there. The grit and determination of Gwynna draws the attention of Jack, but it is her thoughtfulness and compassion that endears her to him. I struggled with him since he's selfish and thoughtless in the beginning, but Gwynna's friendship makes him wake up and realize that he doesn't want to be that person. It takes almost the entire book for him to make a genuine transition, including facing his demons and repairing his relationship with his father. All the while, Gwynna is caught up in helping those around her, even when dressing as a society lady brings her more trouble than it's worth. Her grief over her brother's recent death in the mine is a point of connection with Jack as he still struggles with the loss of his mother as a boy. The attraction that builds even as their friendship grows makes things more complicated since they are from two very different worlds, but I was happy with how it all worked out in the end. The setting is very atmospheric and I'm excited to add Cornwall to my list of future travels!

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

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

Review & Giveaway: Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl, Melissa de la Cruz

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it


Bestselling authors Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz bring us a romantic retelling of Little Women starring Jo March and her best friend, the boy next door, Theodore "Laurie" Laurence.

1869, Concord, Massachusetts: After the publication of her first novel, Jo March is shocked to discover her book of scribbles has become a bestseller, and her publisher and fans demand a sequel. While pressured into coming up with a story, she goes to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration—museums, operas, and even a once-in-a-lifetime reading by Charles Dickens himself!

But Laurie has romance on his mind, and despite her growing feelings, Jo's desire to remain independent leads her to turn down his heartfelt marriage proposal and sends the poor boy off to college heartbroken. When Laurie returns to Concord with a sophisticated new girlfriend, will Jo finally communicate her true heart's desire or lose the love of her life forever?

My Review

I love retellings of my favorite fairy tales and Austen stories, but this is the first one I've read about Little Women. I had no idea what to expect, and it was an interesting read. Jo is much younger than I expected her to be at this point in the story- they have her at seventeen, and the timeline seems a bit off from the original story. Beth has died, and Jo is a successfully published author of Little Women, but is struggling with the sequel she is contracted to write. The authors did a good job of capturing her unrest during this time of her life. It's difficult for Jo to discern what the future holds for her and her sisters, wanting things to stay as they have been, but recognizing that marriage, travel, and career will change everything. She seems scared of her growing feelings for Laurie, and that fear prevents her from embracing the progression of their relationship into something more than friendship. I found her voice to be slightly immature, especially when whining and fighting with her editor. Some chapters were told from other characters' perspectives, such as Meg (which I found myself skimming), but I appreciated being able to get inside Laurie's head. Overall it was an entertaining take on the classic, especially for readers who wished for the childhood friendship to turn to romance.

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

Pre-order Special

Win a tea tin when you pre-order JO & LAURIE (US ONLY)

Link to the promotion and submission page:

About the Authors


Margaret Stohl is a #1 New York Times bestselling nerd, world-builder, video game creator, comic book writer and festival founder.

As an award-winning young adult author, she has been published in fifty countries and thirty-two languages and has sold more than ten million books worldwide. Beautiful Creatures debuted as the Amazon #1 Teen book of the year; seven of Margaret’s books have reached bestseller lists around the world.

She has published fifteen novels and graphic novels, as well as contributed to several games and countless comics since her debut. Her last book, Cats Vs Robots: This is War, was a family affair, illustrated by her child, the artist Kay Peterson, and co-written with her husband, Lewis Peterson. It also starred three of her family’s five cats.

After Beautiful Creatures was released as a feature film from Warner Brothers and Alcon Entertainment, Margaret began working with Marvel on her bestselling Black Widow: Forever Red duology; in 2017 she began writing the ongoing Mighty Captain Marvel comic, followed by the acclaimed Life of Captain Marvel miniseries, where she established a new origin story for Carol Danvers in preparation for the theatrical debut of Brie Larson as “Captain Marvel” for the MCU. 

When not roaming the halls of Seattle game developer Bungie - where she oversees the creation of new global IPs - Margaret can often be seen at a Comicon or at one of the teen and youth book festivals she co-founded, YALLFEST (Charleston, SC) and YALLWEST (Santa Monica, CA), the largest in the country. Wherever she goes, you can find out more about her (and invariably her cats) at @mstohl on twitter or margaret_stohl on instagram or margaret_stohl on snapchat or at


She is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.


Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.


She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.


Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).


She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.


Prize: Win a copy of JO & LAURIE by Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz (US Only)

Starts: 27th May 2020

Ends: 10th June 2020

Friday, May 29, 2020

Book Tour, Review & Giveaway: Stay With Me by Becky Wade #SWMPrism

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Stay with Me
(A Misty River Romance #1)
By Becky Wade
Christian Contemporary Romance
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages
May 5th 2020 by Bethany House Publishers

Loving her is a risk he can’t afford . . . and can’t resist.

When acclaimed Bible study author Genevieve Woodward receives an anonymous letter referencing her parents’ past, she returns to her hometown in the Blue Ridge mountains to chase down her family’s secret. However, it’s Genevieve’s own secret that catches up to her when Sam Turner, owner of an historic farm, uncovers the source of shame she’s worked so hard to hide.

Sam has embraced his sorrow, his isolation, and his identity as an outsider. He’s spent years carving out both career success and peace of mind. The last thing he wants is to rent the cottage on his property to a woman whose struggles stir his worst failure back to life. Yet, can he bear to turn her away right when she needs him most?

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

5 stars / It was amazing

Ah-mazing. This author is seriously skilled at bringing out all the feels! I love that when I read a Becky Wade book I know I will emotionally connect to the characters, and that they don't have to be perfect, but their flaws make them more realistic and relatable. The strong spiritual thread leaves me feeling inspired and uplifted, and the message of redemption and forgiveness is one that everyone can appreciate. There is a perfect balance struck between the introspective angst and the lighter moments that brought a smile to my face as I read. Sam is my favorite in this one with his compassion and kindness, and I loved the way he allowed Gen to bring him out of his darkness. Some of the themes and struggles tackled are pretty heavy, but they are explored with grace that prompts self-reflection in the reader. The history of the earthquake survivors and the mystery of Gen's parents bring even more layers and depth to the story, and I'm so excited for the upcoming books in the series that will feature the Miracle Five.

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

Other Books in the Series

Take a Chance on Me
(A Misty River Romance #0.5)
By Becky Wade
Christian Contemporary Romance, Novella
ebook, 97 Pages
February 25th 2020

When baker Penelope Quinn steps in to help her brother’s family through a medical crisis, she’s forced into close proximity with charming Air Force fighter pilot Eli Price.

Penelope has one iron-clad dating rule—she does not date airmen. Months ago, she relaxed her rule with Eli and immediately lived to regret it. After a long deployment, he’s now back in Misty River and, to her dismay, she finds him just as tempting as always.

Eli’s spent months thinking about funny, feisty, creative Penelope. He once leveraged his focus and drive to become a pilot, his childhood dream. Now he's set on leveraging that same focus and drive in order to convince Penelope to give him one more chance.

This romantic prequel novella introduces readers to the quaint mountain town of Misty River and a brand-new series from Christy-winning author Becky Wade!

(Affiliate link included.)
Currently FREE

About the Author

Becky Wade is the 2018 Christy Award Book of the Year winner for True to You. She is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and moved to Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. Her humorous, heart-pounding contemporary romance novels have won three Christy Awards, the Carol Award, the INSPY Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award for Romance. Becky lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and three children.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive:
- A $100 gift card
- A paperback copy of Stay with Me
- A hand-knit scarf
- A pair of earrings
- A package of “Georgia Blues” coffee
- A package of apple oatmeal muffin mix


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Review & Giveaway: Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson #MiddlecrestAbbey #AbigailWilson #HFVBTBlogTours

Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson

Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Thomas Nelson
Paperback & eBook; 336 Pages
Genre: Historical/Regency/Christian

In this new Regency romance, Elizabeth knows she must protect her heart from the charm of her new husband, Lord Torrington. She is not, however, prepared to protect her life. When the widowed Lord Torrington agreed to spy for the crown, he never planned to impersonate a highwayman, let alone rob the wrong carriage. Stranded on the road with an unconscious young woman, he is forced to propose marriage to protect his identity and her reputation, as well as his dangerous mission. Trapped not only by her duty to her country but also by her limited options as an unwed mother, Miss Elizabeth Cantrell and her infant son are whisked away to Middlecrest Abbey by none other than the elder brother of her son’s absent father. There she is met by Torrington’s beautiful grown daughters, a vicious murderer, and an urgent hunt for the missing intelligence that could turn the war with France. Meanwhile she must convince everyone that her marriage is a genuine love match if her new husband has any hope of uncovering the enemy. Determined to keep her son’s true identity a secret, Elizabeth will need to remain one step ahead of her fragile heart, her uncertain future, and the relentless fiend bent on her new family’s ruin.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

My Review

5 stars / It was amazing

I'm so happy to have found a new author to binge-read! I loved how this had the same kind of Gothic suspense that the Lady Darby Mysteries by Anna Lee Huber have (another binge-worthy series). It's not quite as gritty, but still a wonderfully satisfying read. The characters really came to life and the suspense kept me glued to the pages. The mystery kept me guessing which is always fun, and I felt like I was part of the investigation. It must have been so frustrating back then to not have the kind of advances in technology that we have now for helping solve crimes... but it's not like they knew what they were missing. I guess it's just frustrating for the reader ;)

Elizabeth is a character that I don't think I've ever read in the genre- a lady who has a child out of wedlock but is still able to keep him and move on with her life, however different it may be. She is traveling to take a position as a housekeeper when the story begins, and Lord Torrington throws her life into a spin. I liked how Elizabeth has a maturity about her, and is neither young nor old. She's a perfect partner for Torrington as she supports him and helps the investigation by thinking and seeing things in different ways than him. The more she gets to know him, the more she realizes that he is so much more than his reputation. I really liked how he is open with Elizabeth and finds in her a confidante and friend. It was sweet watching their friendship develop into romance... although at a most inconvenient time. A strong secondary cast of characters gave the story a variety of potential suspects, and the author skillfully brought out their personalities, revealing layer by layer as Elizabeth interacts with them. There are twists and surprises, an exciting climax, and a satisfying wrapping up of all the details. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author!

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

About the Author

Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A registered nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the national parks, attending her daughter’s gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and in 2016, ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a 2017 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 26 Review at B**** Bookshelf Review at The Green Mockingbird
Wednesday, May 27 Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Thursday, May 28 Review at Gwendalyn's Books
Friday, May 29 Review at Heidi Reads... Review at Amy's Booket List
Saturday, May 30 Feature at Journey in Bookland Feature at What Is That Book About
Sunday, May 31 Review & Excerpt at Robin Loves Reading
Monday, June 1 Review at Probably at the Library Interview at Jorie Loves A Story
Tuesday, June 2 Feature at I'm All About Books Feature at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, June 3 Review at Rhodie Girl Reads Review at Rejoice in Reading
Thursday, June 4 Review at Jessica Belmont Review at A Chick Who Reads
Friday, June 5 Review at View from the Birdhouse Review at Foals, Fiction and Filigree


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 5 paperback copies of Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Paperback giveaway is open to the US only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Review: Reforming Lord Neil by Sally Britton

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


An arrogant lord cut-off by his family. A penniless widow in desperate need. In their reduced circumstances, can love save them both? 

Lord Neil Duncan, third son of the Marquess of Alderton, finally angers his father enough to be cut off from the family. Neil believes it is only a matter of time before he is reinstated, but time is passing slowly and he needs to eat. His so-called friends have abandoned him, no one else trusts him, and it is not until he comes upon a young widow that he finds someone who needs his help as badly as he needs hers. 

Teresa Clapham has been without a husband's provision and protection for over a year. Supporting her mother and daughter on the pittance her brother-in-law provides has required her to stretch every farthing. When Lord Neil arrives at her doorstep proposing he work for her to earn his keep, she sees possibility in the man everyone else has deemed an arrogant good-for-nothing. 

As Lord Neil works for the first time in his life, Teresa sees in him a tender heart long repressed by his family's expectations - a heart that causes her own to open once more. But her brother-in-law Frederick Clapham is less charmed by Teresa’s new servant. When Lord Neil discovers the secret Mr. Clapham has been keeping, he must decide whether to embrace the man Teresa believes him to be, or fall back on the privileged lifestyle he’s always known.

My Review

Even though Lord Neil played the villain in the first book of the series, Rescuing Lord Inglewood, in the fourth book, Engaging Sir Isaac, he started to grow on me when he proved himself a friend to Millicent. I was thrilled to learn that he'd get his own story where he is the hero! He experiences a jarring transition from total dependence on his father to complete independence- and all the responsibility that comes with it. At first glance he doesn't seem like he would be able to provide for himself, but his newfound humility combined with memories of manual labor as punishments in his youth give him the determination to be useful and no longer a freeloader. I appreciated that while he discovers the satisfaction of a hard day's work, the author realistically portrayed his mental and physical struggles as he becomes accustomed to the lifestyle of a farmhand. The compassion and friendship Teresa and her family offer are priceless to him and his self confidence grows with Teresa's belief in him and reassurances that he is a good man, that this is his true nature despite who he was before. Even with the lovely attraction that blooms between them, Teresa doesn't feel ready for a romantic relationship, especially with someone who is only a temporary presence in her life. She is still working through complicated feelings of grief for her beloved husband, who her brother-in-law claims drained her resources with a secret gambling problem. I loved the protective nature of Neil when he becomes the champion of Teresa against her brother-in-law. His character goes through a complete 180 with what he values in life and that change in perspective opens his future up wide to something he never would have imagined. A wonderful story of redemption and my new favorite villain-turned-hero!

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

Don't miss the previous books in the Inglewood series . . .

Friday, May 22, 2020

Review: What a Spinster Wants by Rebecca Connolly

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


By yon bonny Spinster... 

Lady Edith Leveson has lived her young widowhood in shadows and secrets, not even revealing the truth to family or friends. That, it seems, is no longer an option, and she must act quickly to avoid being ruined entirely and forevermore. A handsome but reserved rescuer comes to her aid just in time, and their paths begin to entwine more than either of them expected. 

Graham Hastings, Lord Radcliffe, is no hero. He isn’t brave, bold, or in any way noble, yet the striking Lady Edith seems determined to paint him so. One dance with her, and he seems unable to avoid finding her in need wherever he goes. The more involved he becomes, the more his heart begins to open, and he finds himself more than willing to become a hero. Hers.

My Review

Edith has always been a mystery in the previous books in the series, and I was glad to see her get a happy ending! She has endured abuse from her family, her husband, and now her husband's heir. She's a woman living in fear, which takes a toll. It's hard for me to understand her and what she puts up with, but thankfully she finally allows her friends and Lord Radcliffe come to her rescue. The beginning of the book was a little difficult for me to get into because of the choppy dialogue between the large group of friends, sometimes the number of characters is a bit overwhelming. I enjoyed the perspective of Graham the most since he's a pretty steady man and finds himself intrigued by Edith. They have sweet chemistry and some special moments that show their emotional connection. We get some new secondary characters to bring even more personality to the story with Graham's Aunt Eloise and niece Molly, who are both delightful, as well as Amanda Perry who joins the Spinsters as a champion for Edith. I appreciated that the setting was in both London and in the country, giving some variety and a fresh feeling midway through the story. The villain was very dastardly, and provided the impetus for Edith to move away from her self-isolation and reach out to her friends for the emotional support she needed. I'm already looking forward to the next in the series!

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

Don't miss the previous books in The Spinster Chronicles series . . .