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.






Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Review: The Rancher Takes a Bride by Brenda Minton



My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing



Synopsis

His Secret Daughter

Duke Martin is a father! The former army medic is stunned when old love Oregon Jeffries tells him the news. Given his troubled past, the hardworking rancher and diner owner understands why Oregon kept his daughter a secret for twelve years. But now Duke desperately wants to make up for lost time. As he sets out to be a true father to Lilly, he soon realizes his feelings for Oregon are growing stronger. When Oregon's health falters, he's ready to care for her and prove that he's worthy of her love. Could this be Duke's second chance with the woman he never should have let get away?


My Review

I'm not a big fan of the secret baby trope, but I think the author did this one right! The story jumps right into action with a car accident, and we learn about the characters along the way through their thoughts and reactions. I just loved each of them and especially the chemistry that flares between Duke and Oregon. It's interesting how they were simply neighbors and acquaintances until Lily's injury provides the impetus to change everything. Duke warms up to the idea of having a daughter and family quickly, and it's Oregon that struggles to adjust to having another adult in her daughter's life. She's so independent and there is a theme of having faith that God is aware of us and our circumstances, that we are not alone, even when we feel that way. Duke learns to turn back to God as he finds support from Oregon in coping with his post-traumatic stress symptoms. I loved how the community and Duke's family embraces Oregon and Lilly and draws them in. It was a really feel-good story!

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 Martin's Crossing series . . .



Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Review: Mischief, Mayhem, and Marriage by Rebecca Connolly


My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing



Synopsis

One good scandal deserves another...

Lady Alexandrina Lawson has never minded her widowhood. After the disaster that was her first marriage, she found it rather enjoyable, despite the pity she received. What the public saw as devoted mourning to a respected man was, in fact, a complete disinterest in participating in anything Society could offer her ever again. When an invitation to a cousin's London event proves disastrous for Alexandrina, her reputation, and that of her child, her choice becomes simple: rescue or ruin.

Enter Taft Debenham, Earl of Harwood.

Taft could not have less interest in Lady Lawson or her cold manner, but neither could he stand by and let her suffer a forced marriage to a drunken idiot. Sacrificing himself on the altar of Society, thinking how his own reputation might benefit, he provides a rather clever solution: marry the woman himself, and claim outrage for the offenses against her. Over the protests of his bride, and those of his own sanity, Taft begins the greatest scheme he could ever imagine. Nothing surprises him more than beginning to discover that his wife has a heart beneath her icy exterior.

And that he would do almost anything to claim it.

Mischief, Mayhem, and Marriage is a sweet Regency romance and can be read as a stand-alone or as the sequel to Rebecca Connolly’s previous novel, The Rivals of Rosennor Hall.

It is also part of the Supposed Scandal series.


My Review

This author has the wonderful skill of writing characters that come to life with mannerisms and personality! I loved Taft and Alix together, and they way they choose to get used to each other, with open honesty and hope for the future. Their relationship becomes unexpectedly fun! All the small moments build into a strong friendship and romance as they find compromises and support each other. I think my favorite moments were when Taft realizes that he wants to be a father and Alix sees how amazing of a father he will be with her son. A perfectly delightful marriage of convenience with witty banter and lovely romance!

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.

Don't miss the other books in the Supposed Scandal series . . .




Review: Wagon Train Reunion by Linda Ford



My rating: 2 stars / It was okay



Synopsis

Second-Chance Courtship

Abigail Black had no choice but to break Ben Hewitt's heart years ago. Her parents had picked another, wealthier groom. Now widowed and destitute, she's desperate to leave her old life behind. The wagon-train journey to Oregon is full of dangers, but she'll face anything--even Ben--for a fresh start.

Ben knows better than to trust Abby again. Between her family's snobbery and his family's protectiveness, avoiding her should be easy. Yet he's still moved by Abby's sweetness and beauty…along with a sadness and strength he never noticed in her before. Forgiving past wrongs would be a struggle--but the hardest struggle would be letting Abby go once more.

Journey West: Romance and adventure await three siblings on the Oregon Trail 

My Review

I typically enjoy wagon train stories- I love the pioneering spirit of those who crossed the plains in search of new opportunities. The characters in this book are strong, but conflicted. Ben is one of the leaders of the wagon train, but finds himself distracted by his former love and her family. He rehashes over and over again in his mind why she rejected him and how he is over her and needs to avoid her. His sister Rachel worries about him being hurt by Abby again- and is extremely repetitive on this point. Abby seems to know her own mind but feels guilt over her twin brother's death, and punishes herself by bowing to her tyrant mother's demands. She constantly thinks about her regret for rejecting Ben and obeying her mother to marry for money, only to discover the cruelty of her husband. I liked the characters, but the repetition of their thoughts and narrative bogged down the pace and made me lose interest.

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.