Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Review: The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper Basham



My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing



Synopsis

To escape a forced marriage, Cora Taylor travels from England to the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of her brother, who is working as a teacher in a mission school. She hopes to find a place where her nursing skills and independent ideas will be accepted and appreciated, but nothing prepares her for the wild mixture of isolation, community, brokenness, and hope within these mountains…or in the person of Jeb McAdams.
 
Returning from the devastation of World War I emotionally damaged, Jeb McAdams struggles against the rampant mountain alcoholism to soothe his nightmares. It’s easy to hide within the mountains, or it was, before Cora Taylor arrives. Now, she seems to show up at every turn, bringing her ideas, curiosity, and beautiful eyes with her. Their mutual understanding of the costs of war leads to an unspoken bond that develops into a hesitant friendship. 
 
As Cora turns her nursing experience and determination on establishing hygiene and education for women in the Appalachian community while also attempting to rescue Jeb from his own ghosts, Cora and Jeb’s partnership turns into a project of celebrating the gifts within Appalachia. But when the past sweeps back into their lives and an outbreak of scarlet fever threatens the future, will Cora and Jeb find a way to work together – even if it means unplanned matrimony – or will their different lives and brokenness tear them apart?

My Review

I loved so many things about this book. I didn't quite know what to expect, and it starts with some danger and excitement which pulled me right in and immersed me in the setting. The author did a great job of showing rather than telling about the personalities of her characters, and it brought them to life in my mind as I read. Cora comes from such a different culture and landscape, and I admired that she was compassionate and accepting rather than judgemental of the differences she encountered. Jeb especially felt that as she learns about his family secrets and helps as much as she can. I loved Jeb's determination to persevere through his struggles and continue to find hope and joy in his woodworking talent and his family. Cora is a healer and she works with the interesting people she encounters to learn and serve in more ways than just the physical. The sweet romance developed naturally and I enjoyed their chemistry and the common ground they find in helping the community, even at the most unexpected times.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Review: A Daddy for Christmas by Linda Ford



My rating: 2 stars / It was okay



Synopsis

Cowboy to the Rescue

Summoned by two little girls to help their mother in distress, Blue Lyons rushes to rescue widow Clara Weston. When the cowboy discovers the fatherless family has nowhere to go, he offers them food and shelter. But widower Blue won't get too close to the needy trio. He's lost too many people he's cared for, and he isn't about to set himself up for loss again.

For Clara, any dangers she may face on the frontier are preferable to staying with her controlling father. Although she's determined to keep her independence, Blue's kindness and tenderness are hard to resist. Can two pint-size matchmakers help Clara and Blue open their guarded hearts in time for Christmas?


My Review

I was intrigued in the beginning of this story, with Blue rescuing a stubborn mother and her two precocious daughters. The character development was promising, but then slowed as Clara repeatedly refused help or only accepted if she could prove to herself that she is contributing, even when it's encroaching on Blue's work. Blue's thoughts also stalled on his guilt and remorse, not allowing himself to feel worthy of happiness. The secrecy go old as well, and I eventually lost interest in seeing how it would all play out. I think it would have helped me for there to be more connection and revealing of layers earlier on in the book.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

Check out the other books in the Christmas in Eden Valley series . . .
 


 
 
 
 
 

Review: To Save Her Child by Margaret Daley



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it



Synopsis

In Search of Her Son

When a young boy goes missing from wilderness day camp, Alaskan search and rescue worker Josiah Witherspoon is on the case. The brooding ex-marine promises to find the child and return him to his worried mother. But he doesn't know that Ella Jackson has a secret past. One that could put them all in danger. When tensions mount, Ella needs to tell Josiah the truth—but she can't set aside her fears enough to trust him. Ella and Josiah are ready to risk their lives to save her son, but will they risk their hearts, as well?

Alaskan Search and Rescue: Risking their lives to save the day


My Review

I love Alaska as a setting! There is something so vast about it. That sense brought the danger to another level when a few boys get lost in the woods with adult footprints following them. I loved learning about the search and rescue workers and their dogs. The suspense of the plot is actually broken into two phases, and it wasn't quite believable that this family would have two such similar dangerous experiences from completely unrelated sources. Overall I enjoyed the characters, and the scenes with Ella's son bonding with Josiah's dog were so heartwarming.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

Check out the other books in the Alaskan Search and Rescue series . . .
 

 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Blog Tour, Guest Post & Giveaway: The Dreaming Beauty by Anneka R. Walker

The Dreaming Beauty JustRead Blog + Review Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for The Dreaming Beauty by Anneka R. Walker, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

The Dreaming Beauty

Title: The Dreaming Beauty 
Series: Standalone follow-up to The Masked Baron 
Author: Anneka R. Walker 
Publisher: Covenant Communications 
Release Date: July 11, 2022 
Genre: Clean & Wholesome Romance / Historical / Regency / Fairy Tale 

Once upon a dream, two cursed people fell in love . . . 

 Tansy White doesn’t want to end up alone like her three aunts who raised her, but when she is betrayed by her would-be betrothed, she fears she might never change her fate. At her aunts’ suggestion, she seizes the chance to visit Rose Cottage, the country home of her late mother. For years, dreams of the cottage have haunted Tansy, and she is convinced it holds the answer to her hidden past. But after getting caught in a terrible storm, she meets a man who is just as determined as she is to learn all her secrets.

Marcus Taylor, brother to the Duke of Westmorland, is also troubled by vivid dreams. On a sleepless night, as a tempest rages outside his brother’s estate, he makes a discovery far more mysterious than any dream: a young woman, cold as ice, lies unconscious in the library, and he is sure she is the key to solving his problems. When she wakes, what begins as a shared quest for information turns into an unexpected friendship. As they piece together the fragments of their pasts, they discover a tangled web of lies, and their feelings for each other become just as entwined. But is their love as strong as their dreams . . . or their fate? 

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookBub   
 

GUEST POST FROM AUTHOR ANNEKA WALKER


I’m so excited to share with you about my experience retelling Sleeping Beauty! Let’s chat about retellings in general first so you can see why I took the direction I did.

A big portion of books or shows are retellings in some form. Some these are direct retellings, like all the many historic versions of Pride and Prejudice (trust me when I say, we can’t have too many Jane Austen adaptions). Other retellings are parodies or loosely inspired by another story. My book, The Dreaming Beauty, would be considered a fractured retelling. This means I’ve taken some familiar elements from Sleeping Beauty, but changed the plot points, creating a fresh new story. Why did I do this? I wanted my readers to find the fun Easter eggs from the fairy-tale they love but experience a new romantic adventure at the same time. The predictable elements are comforting, while the twists and unexpected scenes keep the pages turning.

Now to dive into plotting a fractured Sleeping Beauty tale. I knew I didn’t want my character asleep the entire book. I also write in a historical fiction genre, so sleeping for a hundred years wasn’t going to fly. Dreams, however, are related to sleeping and are both historical and realistic, and also give a paranormal vibe creating the fairy-tale tone I desired. I ran with this idea and the rest of the story evolved quickly in my mind. I created my own version of a worthy prince and wicked step-mother. And the doting fairies we love from the Disney adaption turned into three lovable aunts. From there, I played with other sleeping beauty elements and era-specific research until I had a something uniquely mine.

Once upon a dream, two cursed people fell in love…

You’ll have to read my story to find out what happens next!

ALSO AVAILABLE

The Masked Baron


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 
Anneka R. Walker

Anneka Walker is an award-winning author raised by a librarian and an English teacher turned judge. After being fed a steady diet of books, she decided to learn about writing. The result was a bachelor's degree in English and history. When she isn't dreaming up a happy ending for a story, she is busy living her own with her husband and adorable children.

Connect with Anneka by visiting annekawalker.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.

 


 

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card, The Dreaming Beauty, signed book plate, matching bookmark, stickers, and button!

The Dreaming Beauty JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight August 15, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on August 22, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.






Monday, August 15, 2022

Review: Protection Detail by Shirlee McCoy



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it



Synopsis

LAWMAN ON A MISSION

After a prominent senator's son is murdered, Capitol K-9 Unit captain Gavin McCord wants answers. The senator was a mentor to Gavin, and he'll stop at nothing to bring the killer to justice. With his team of elite K-9 cops and his loyal dog, Glory, at his side, Gavin discovers that a child at Cassie Danvers's nearby foster home may have witnessed the murder. He's drawn to the determined and beautiful woman, but she doesn't want him interviewing her traumatized charges. Yet trusting Gavin is the only way to stay one step ahead of the deadly gunman when Cassie becomes a target.

Capitol K-9 Unit: These lawmen solve the toughest cases with the help of their brave canine partners.


My Review

This is the first book in the Capitol K-9 Unit series, and each book in the series is written by a different Love Inspired Suspense author. I loved the setting of Washington D.C. and the surrounding area. Cassie and Gavin have something in common- they were both in the foster care system, and are both continuing to assist foster children, thanks to the influence of Congressman Jeffries. I admired Casie's devotion to her foster kids, and the way she understood how to be patient and help them in their own unique ways due to their experiences with trauma. I loved Gavin and his K-9, and the way they are so protective and determined. The suspense in the story kept me up at night! There is plenty of action as an assassin makes multiple attempts on Cassie's life, bringing the children in danger as well. The only thing that disappointed me is that the mystery is not solved in this book! It seems that it will be an overarching plot that connects all the books in the series. So I was missing the sense of closure from that, but the story did wrap up nicely with Gavin and Cassie's relationship.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

Check out the other books in the Capitol K-9 Unit series . . .






Saturday, August 13, 2022

Review: The Cowboy's Homecoming by Carolyne Aarsen



My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing



Synopsis

The Cowboy's Reunion

Seeking redemption from his troubled past, cowboy Lee Bannister returns to his Montana hometown. He's not looking for love—just to prove he's not the same reckless guy who broke Abby Newton's heart and destroyed her family. But when Abby, a magazine photographer, is assigned to cover the story of his family ranch's 150th anniversary, old feelings start to resurface. He knows Abby will never forgive him. But as they spend more time together, they begin to discover the lies that kept them apart…and that some reunions are meant to last forever.


My Review

Holy moly, what complicated dynamics! The theme of forgiveness is strong in the story and handled realistically and with grace. Lee allowed himself to be influenced by bad friends in high school and as a young adult, even when his parents urged him to stop. He paid a steep price for his rebellion, yet his humbling circumstances brought him back to the Lord. Abby's life has never been the same since the accident, and she is tired of the bitterness she can't seem to let go of. I loved the healing that took place as she and Lee are reunited, feelings and secrets were slowly revealed, and the truth brought everything full circle for their two families. An amazing story with great characters, romantic chemistry, and some twists thrown in to an interesting plot.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

Check out the other books in the Refuge Ranch series . . .
 


 
 
 

Friday, August 12, 2022

Review: Second Chance Hero by Winnie Griggs



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it



Synopsis

Winning the Widow's Heart

To help his dying sister, Nate Cooper once broke the law—and he's regretted it ever since. Now the ex-con turned saddler hopes for a new beginning in Turnabout, Texas. So when Nate saves a young widow's daughter from imminent harm, he's shocked to be called a hero.

Single mom Verity Leggett leads a safe life, avoiding danger and excitement at all costs. But her daughter's rescuer Mr. Cooper seems like a perfectly responsible—and handsome—man she can rely on. But when his secrets come to light, will Verity be able to get over his past and see Nate for the caring man he's become?

Texas Grooms: In search of their brides…


My Review

I really enjoyed this one! It had vibes of To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer, one of my favorites. Nate is starting over after leaving behind a troubled past, and Verity encourages him in finding his footing and embracing their small town. They develop a sweet friendship, even though Nate doesn't feel worthy of her, and their attraction naturally grows as well. They are both heavily involved in the church and festival music production, and the details of that slowed the pace a bit in the middle of the story. I liked the themes of forgiveness and acceptance, and the faith of the characters was woven into the storyline organically.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

Check out the other books in the Texas Grooms series . . .





Blog Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: Shoal Waters by Normandie Fischer

Shoal Waters JustRead Blog + Review Blitz 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Blitz for Shoal Waters by Normandie Fischer, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 
Shoal Waters Title: Shoal Waters 
Series: Carolina Coast Stories #6 
Author: Normandie Fischer 
Publisher: Sleepy Creek Press 
Release Date: June 14, 2022 
Genre: Inspirational/Clean Women's Fiction 

Dementia, mad gunmen, and a yearning for something more make life difficult for the Beaufort folk in this series finale. 

Georgie's mind threatens to go walkabout, and she'd better get help soon if she's to stop her daughter from taking over. Enter granddaughter, Jeminy, a songwriter from L.A., and Eric, her lawyer. 

Jeminy hates herself and is pretty sure God does, too. There’s that huge unforgiveable sin, plus the boyfriend/manager who dumped her and lost her a music deal. Her mistakes. Her fault. 

When Mother plots to tuck Nana Georgie neatly into a nursing home to gain access to Nana’s money, Jeminy hightails it out of L.A. and back to Beaufort. God may still hate her in North Carolina, but at least she’ll be on hand to protect her beloved grandmother. 

Enter Eric, the lawyer hired to help Georgie protect herself--and possibly Jeminy, too. But Eric just rescued his orphaned stepson from Social Services, and while he’s adept at legal briefs and courtroom dramas, classrooms and angry second graders are brand new territory. 

Guitar in hand, Jeminy tries to write songs to jumpstart her flagging career, but when someone threatens her life, she has to ask why. Could it have to do with the money missing from her bank accounts (and maybe her unstable ex)? If she prays for help, will God even listen to someone with her baggage? 

With the help of the Beaufort crew, a new father and a terrified musician struggle to safeguard everyone they love, but it’s going to take more than good neighbors to show each of them the true meaning of grace. 

 
 

EXCERPT


Jeminy didn’t—wouldn’t—care that her life had been reduced to a moderate savings account and the plans she now had to make. Nana’s call precipitated her decision to move out of Los Angeles, and that was no bad thing. It was past time.

This place of promise and glitter had captivated her until she’d looked more closely at its underbellies, from enclaves peopled with the untouchable elite to Skid Row’s un-helped homeless. Many of those living in between stumbled around on the verge of bankruptcy as they clawed toward access to the gated communities. Once upon a time, she’d been on the fringes of money and fame.

She didn’t—wouldn’t—care about the trappings of her big-city life she’d be leaving, not the BMW she’d thought hers, not this apartment.

…Tomorrow, it would be off with the old and on with the new, whatever that was and wherever it would take her and her guitar. A few more hours and this place would be on the way to being forgotten.  

MORE BOOKS IN THIS SERIES

Becalmed Heavy Weather Twilight Christmas Sailing out of Darkness The Sea Prayers


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 
Normandie Fischer 

Normandie Fischer had the best of several worlds: a Southern heritage, access to schooling in the DC area (which meant lots of cultural adventures), and several years of sculpture studies in Italy. It might have been better for her if she'd used all these opportunities more wisely, but it's possible that the imperfect and the unwise also add fodder for the artist and the writer.

Her life changed radically when she married the love of her life at an age when some would have said she was over the hill and way past her prime. (Clich├ęs often speak the truth, don't they?) A lifelong sailor, she was delighted to find that Michael also longed to cruise lovely waters, which is what they did from Northern CA to Mexico, spending too-few years in the incomparable Sea of Cortez. Sea Venture, their 50' ketch, is back home in North Carolina now because Normandie's mama needed care. Still, it's gorgeous there, too, and she can write from home as easily as she could on the boat. 

Her two grown children and two step-sons are handsome (or gorgeous, as the case may be), talented, and a delight. And now there's a granddaughter and grandson in the mix--woohoo! She just wishes they lived a lot closer to home.

Connect with Normandie by visiting normandiefischer.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.

 


 

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and one signed book written by Normandie Fischer (winner's choice)!

Shoal Waters JustRead Giveaway 

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight August 10, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on August 17, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.