Castle of Refuge by Melanie Dickerson Review

Synopsis:

Audrey is a viscount’s daughter who has suffered her sister Maris’s cruel, jealous behavior all her life. An act of malice led their father to send Maris to a convent, but Audrey was still left with scars. Three years later, Audrey’s father is determined to marry off his damaged daughter, and Maris is returning. Desperate, Audrey sneaks away.

However, life outside her home is dangerous, and she soon finds herself attacked, injured, and in dire straits. She is taken in at Dericott Castle to be nursed back to health. While there, she decides to keep her identity a secret and work as a servant in the castle. But she doesn’t count on falling in love with the young and handsome Lord Dericott, who lost his arm several months earlier.

Meanwhile, Edwin—Lord Dericott—is curious about the new, well-educated servant’s identity. When the man Audrey’s father wanted her to marry comes looking for her, each must make a life-changing decision about what to believe and whether or not love is truly worth trusting.

In this Ugly Duckling retelling, New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson brilliantly crafts a high-stakes, encouraging tale about the power of love.

My Thoughts:

This series just gets better and better! I read A Court of Swans before picking this one up and I would recommend that one be read before this one. The author does a good job in explaining what happened before this book but it’s nice to see it all unfold.

This story was my favorite of the Dickerson books that I’ve read. I loved that there was a villainous character in the story and several nail biting moments of suspense.

The atmosphere is rich and the time period is one that I always find fascinating to read about…living in a time of earls, dukes, knights, and kings…so different from what we experience now.

The pacing was steady and I found myself flying through the pages. I definitely recommend this series!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion. 

My Rating:

A Mother’s Promise by K.D. Alden Review

A MOTHER’S PROMISE BY K.D. ALDEN

Publication Date: January 19, 2021
Forever/Grand Central
Paperback & eBook; 384 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Based on the true story behind a landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision, K.D. Alden’s debut is a rich and moving story of one woman’s courage and strength at a pivotal point in America’s history.

Virginia, 1927. A chance to have a family. That’s all Ruth Ann Riley wants. But because she was unwed and pregnant, she was sent away and her baby given to another woman. Now they’re trying to take Ruth Ann’s right to have another child. But she can’t stand the thought of never seeing little Annabel’s face again, never snuggling up to her warmth or watching her blue eyes crinkle with laughter. Good thing she has a plan.

All the rich and fancy folks may call her feeble-minded, but Ruth Ann is smarter than any of them have bargained for. Because no matter how high the odds are stacked against her, she is going to overcome the scandals in her past and get her child back—and along the way, she just may find unexpected friendships and the possibility of love in the most unlikely of places.

A Mother’s Promise is a powerful, heart-wrenching, ultimately uplifting novel about the bonds of family and one woman’s courage in the face of adversity. K.D. Alden brings history to life with rich storytelling and deep emotion.“―V.S. Alexander, author of The Magdalen Girls

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | HUDSON | INDIEBOUND | POWELL’S | TARGET | WALMART


My Thoughts

This book took me through a range of emotions. It is difficult to believe that this story is based on something that happened in history and that forced sterilization is still legal and occurring today (along with other forms of eugenics that are even worse).

The story takes place in the Virginia Colony for Epileptics and Feeble Minded and focuses on Ruth Ann, a young lady who is living in the institution because she became pregnant out of wedlock. The doctor at the colony informs her that she will be having an operation so that she can “no longer breed”. Some of the things that the doctor said about the people at the institution were so vile and wicked, they turned my stomach.

This book is written extremely well and I stayed up way past my bedtime on a work night to finish it because I had to know how it would end. Because it is based on true accounts, the ending is not as satisfying as I would have liked (but reality usually isn’t).

This ranks in my top 5 favorite books of 2021. The characters were rich, the writing was very strong and the author described the scenes in a way that I felt like I was right beside Ruth Ann in the institution.

I highly recommend this book, not only is it an extremely interesting read, it also raises a lot of moral questions and could prompt many discussions.

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Rating

About the Author

K.D. Alden is the pseudonym of an award-winning author who has written more than twenty novels in various genres. She has been the recipient of the Maggie Award, the Book Buyer’s Best Award, and an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. A Mother’s Promise is her first historical novel.

K.D. is a graduate of Smith College, grew up in Austin, Texas, and resides in South Florida with her husband and two rescue greyhounds.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 17
Review at Nursebookie
Excerpt at Books, Ramblings, and Tea

Tuesday, May 18
Review at Booking With Janelle

Wednesday, May 19
Review at Amanda in PA

Thursday, May 20
Review at Niki Loves to Read

Friday, May 21
Interview at Jathan and Heather

Tuesday, May 25
Interview at Books & Benches

Friday, May 28
Review at Two Bookish Babes

Giveaway

Enter to win a $25 Gift Card to Amazon or Target!

A Mother’s Promise Tour2

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Direct Link: https://gleam.io/competitions/Wgghu-a-mothers-promise-tour2

https://gleam.io/Wgghu/a-mothers-promise-tour2

An Appalachian Summer by Ann H. Gabhart Review

Synopsis

In 1933, most people are focused on the Great Depression but all Piper Danson can think about is how to get out of being a debutante and marrying Braxton Crandall. In an act of defiance, Piper volunteers as a frontier nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains where adventure awaits.

My Thoughts

This was a lovely story of a young lady who chooses not to follow the path set for her by her parents and instead decides to serve a community of people with limited resources.

I enjoyed the setting of the story and appreciated the author’s honesty in describing the Appalachian people. I also loved Piper, she displayed courage and fortitude that was admirable.

It was very interesting to learn about the Frontier nurses and how they helped the community. The writing was very smooth and easy to read and the story flowed well.

Overall, this was an interesting historical book that I enjoyed.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Rating

Storing Up Trouble by Jen Turano Review and Giveaway

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About the Author

Book:  Storing Up Trouble

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: May 6, 2020

Storing Up TroubleWhen Beatrix Waterbury’s train is disrupted by a heist, scientist Norman Nesbit comes to her aid. After another encounter, he is swept up in the havoc she always seems to attract—including the attention of the men trying to steal his research—and they’ll soon discover the curious way feelings can grow between two very different people in the midst of chaos.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Thoughts

I can always count on Jen Turano for fun and quirky stories with hilarious and memorable characters. This book was a delight to read. It’s the third in the American Heiresses series but it can easily be read as a standalone. This story follows Beatrix Waterbury and Norman Nesbit (how cute are those names???) in their Chicago adventures.

Beatrix was such a strong and independent character. Norman was not the typical male love interest…he was socially awkward and nerdy but so sweet and well-meaning.

I found the scenes in the department story very interesting, particularly the way the workers were treated by the “upper class”.

The subject of the women’s suffrage movement was touched upon in this book but I wish it would have had more.

There were many plot points in the story, I found it to run a bit too long towards the end (but I often feel this way with books over 300 pages).

Overall, this was a wonderful book and my favorite thus far by Jen Turano. Highly recommended!

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Turano_Jen1Jen Turano, (www.jenturano.com) a USA Today bestselling author, has written four historical romance series. She is a member of ACFW and RWA and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

 

 

 

 

More from Jen

Thank you so much for visiting me on my Celebrate Lit tour as we celebrate the release of my latest novel, “Storing Up Trouble.” I’m delighted to be here, and I reached out to my street team to help me with the questions you’ll find below. I’m hoping the answers to those questions will allow you to learn just a bit about my new book, as well as allow you to get to know me better. With that said, here we go!

 

Can you tell us a little about “Storing Up Trouble?”

I’d be delighted to tell you about my latest book. “Storing Up Trouble” is the third book in the “American Heiress” series, but you don’t need to read the first two books in that series (“Flights of Fancy” “Diamond in the Rough” to understand what’s going on. I’ve been writing my books more as stand alone stories, and “Storing Up Trouble” is no exception to that. With that said, this book centers around Miss Beatrix Waterbury and Mr. Norman Nesbit. Beatrix, unfortunately, has annoyed her mother to such an extent that she finds herself banished from New York and on her way to Chicago to spend time with her aunt, a lady Beatrix remembers as being a querulous sort. She, being Beatrix, a lady who lands herself in trouble at the most unexpected of times, soon finds herself a victim of a train heist. An unlikely hero in the form of Mr. Norman Nesbit, a gentleman with a brilliant mind but relatively few social graces, comes to her rescue, and from the moment they disembark from the train, they find themselves thrust into one escapade after another.

 

In “Storing Up Trouble,” is there a character you’d like to be friends with in real life, or better yet, a character you’d avoid at all costs?

I actually have an answer to both parts of that question. Miss Theodosia Robinson is a lady I would love to count as a friend because she’s loyal to a fault, and is a friend who’ll be there for you, no matter if you want to delve into an unusual scientific experiment, or take a jaunt to your local department store to do a bit of shopping. As for who I’d avoid at all cost – Mrs. George Blossom, who has a very small part in the story, but she’s a customer at Marshal Fields & Company who embraces an air of superiority over the sales girls, and I’ve never been one to enjoy people like that.

 

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

That’s easy. Being Dominic’s mom. He was definitely a handful when he was little, which is why he’s an only child, but it’s been incredibly rewarding to watch him grow over the years. He recently graduated from college with a degree in engineering, and seeing him land a grown up job and begin to embrace the whole adulting thing makes me prouder than any book I’ve written or other job I’ve held.

 

What was the inspiration behind “Storing Up Trouble?”

There were quite a few things that inspired me to write this book. I’d set another one of my books, “Caught by Surprise” in Chicago, and because of the research I did for that book, research I wasn’t able to fit into that story, I knew I wanted to revisit that city at some point. Beatrix Waterbury gave me the perfect excuse to travel back there. I wanted to take her out of her usual setting of NYC, so off she went to Chicago, on a train ride that definitely turned concerning. I had also picked up a few research books about Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison and I’ve been itching to create a character after those brilliant gentlemen. Norman Nesbit turned into that gentleman, although I have to admit that some of the science Nikola and Thomas used was way over my head. My son, the engineer, tried to explain it to me, but I believe at one point I might have been drooling, and not in the good way, but the bored way. That’s when Norman really began to develop because I thought it would be amusing to have a character who was passionate about his field of study, but most of the people he tried to share that passion with had no idea what he was talking about and always got a bit of a dazed expression in their eyes as he waxed on and on about double-electrical currents.

 

What fun facts did you uncover while doing research for “Storing Up Trouble” but weren’t able to fit into the story?

 

There was so much fodder for additional storylines just with the research I did on Marshal Field and his department store. Did you know that the main store in Chicago burned down doing the Great Fire of 1871 and…it burned down several times after that? Who knew? There was also a lot of drama surrounding Marshal and his partner for years, Mr. Levi Zeigler Leiter. They had different ideas about how the store should evolve, which resulted in Marshal forcing Levi to sell his shares of the company to him, at which point the store turned from  Field, Leiter, & Company to Marshal Fields Company. It was also interesting to learn that Mr. Fields was notorious for paying his workers low wages, but those workers accepted those wages because of the prestige that came with working at his store. If you worked at any other store, you were considered common, but to work at Marshal Fields was a feather in your cap, even if you weren’t earning as much as you could have earned at another store.

 

What are quirky little things you keep on your desk?

At the moment, I have one little pig with googly eyes, one cow with googly eyes, and then another small pig that a reader sent me because she really liked Matilda in “A Match of Wits” and thought this little pig she found at a store was exactly what Matilda would look like.

 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Oddly enough, no, it never crossed my mind until Dominic was in third grade and we decided to write a book together after finishing this horrible series about this bird. That book was never meant for publication, but it did have me remembering that I had, at one point in time before I became a stay-at-home-mom, enjoyed using my brain. I started experimenting with different genres and learned everything I could about the publishing industry. It took me five years to find an agent, and then she sold “A Change of Fortune” to Bethany House, and I’ve been writing for them ever since.

 

Any words of advice for aspiring writers?

I get this question a lot, and I always answer by saying “Have an honest talk with yourself about what you really want to achieve with your writing.” It’s perfectly fine to want to write because you’re interested in turning it into a career. However, with that said, a writer needs to understand that writing and publishing are two different creatures. Publishing is a daunting business, and it’ll take a lot of perseverance to find success with it. With that said, if you have raw talent and are a story teller at heart, you should write all the time and do whatever you can to learn how to improve your craft.

 

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a new series right now – “The Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency.” The first book, “To Steal a Heart” releases in November, 2020. It’s about Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who spent her childhood living on the mean streets in Five Points. She’s currently living in a boarding house on Bleeker Street in New York City, and when a fellow resident gets unjustly accused of theft, Gabriella, along with the other ladies living in the boarding house, take it upon themselves to try and clear her name. That’s the beginning of the Bleeker Street Agency, and hopefully the ladies will enjoy much success as the series continues.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope all of you get an opportunity to read “Storing Up Trouble!”

 

Wishing you all the best,

 

Jen

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, May 23

Godly Book Reviews, May 23

Robin’s Nest, May 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 24

Rebecca Tews, May 24

Texas Book-aholic, May 24

Novelscorner, May 24

Among the Reads, May 25

Inklings and notions, May 25

deb’s Book Review, May 25

Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 26

Hebrews 12 Endurance, May 26

reviewingbooksplusmore, May 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 27

Losing the Busyness, May 27

For Him and My Family, May 27

Simple Harvest Reads, May 27 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 28

Inside the Wong Mind, May 28

Mia Reads, May 29

Read Review Rejoice, May 29

Betti Mace, May 30

Breny and Books, May 30

Blogging With Carol, May 30

Life of Literature, May 31

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, May 31

Emily Yager, May 31

Splashes of Joy, May 31

The Collaborative Press, June 1

Stories By Gina, June 1

Hookmeinabook, June 1

Blessed & Bookish, June 2

Older & Smarter?, June 2

The Artist Librarian, June 2

Blossoms and Blessings, June 2

Through the Fire Blogs, June 3

Beauty in the Binding, June 3

Mary Hake, June 3

amandainpa, June 3

Wishful Endings, June 4

EmpowerMoms, June 4

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 4

Pause for Tales, June 4

KarenSueHadley, June 5

Raining Butterfly Kisses, June 5

With a Joyful Noise, June 5

Hallie Reads, June 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the the grand prize package of all three books in the American Heiresses series and a $25 Barnes & Noble eGift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/fb8f/storing-up-trouble-celebration-tour-giveaway

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain Review

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Synopsis

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

 

My Thoughts

I would have never thought a book about art restoration would be interesting but I was fascinated by this. The story is in 2 time periods and follows an artist who is making a mural for a post office in a small southern town and a woman who is tasked to restore the mural in present day. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the artist and mural and this makes for a very interesting and, at times, tense and suspenseful read.

I really enjoyed the character development and rich atmosphere described in this book. I was very interested in the history of the public murals that are described in the story so I researched them online as there is one such mural in my hometown post office. I found some very interesting information about it and was surprised to find that my town mural also had some controversy surrounding it.

I always enjoy Diane Chamberlain’s books, they have a little bit of everything and evoke many feelings and this one was no exception. I definitely recommend this story!

I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

My Rating

4 stars

 

 

The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts Blog Tour

The Bright Unknown JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts,
hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE
BOOK

HkRdUnQATitle: The Bright Unknown
Author: Elizabeth Byler Younts
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Literary Fiction
Release Date: October 22, 2019

This poignant and heartbreaking novel explores the power of resilience, the gift of friendship,
and the divine beauty to be found in the big, bright world—if only we’re willing to look.
Pennsylvania, 1940s.
The only life Brighton Friedrich has ever known is the one she has
endured within the dreary walls of Riverside Home—the rural asylum where she was born. A nurse, Joann, has educated and raised Brighton, whose mother is a patient at the hospital. But Joann has also kept vital information from Brighton—secrets that if ever revealed would illuminate Brighton’s troubling
past and the circumstances that confine her to Riverside. Brighton’s best friend is a boy she calls Angel, and as they grow up together and face the bleak future that awaits them, they determine to make a daring escape.
Nothing can prepare Brighton and Angel for life beyond Riverside’s walls. They have no legal identities, very little money, and only a few leads toward a safe place to land. As they struggle to survive in a world they’ve never seen before, they must rely on each other and the kindness of strangers—some of whom may prove more dangerous than the asylum they’ve fled.

Narrated in Elizabeth Byler Younts’s gorgeous style, The Bright Unknown is a sparkling search for answers, family, and a place to call home.

Read an excerpt to The Bright Unknown HERE

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |
Book Depository |Christianbook


ABOUT THE
AUTHOR

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Elizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience through her first book, Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl.
She is also the author of the critically
acclaimed novel, The Solace of Water
and the Promise of Sunrise series. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, her two daughters, and a small menagerie of well-loved pets.
CONNECT WITH ELIZABETH: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest


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

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*NOTE:
This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book

Book: The Yellow Lantern

Author: Angie Dicken

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release Date: August, 2019

The Yellow Lattern CoverJosephine Is Forced to Spy for Grave Robbers
Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

In Massachusetts in 1824, Josephine Clayton awakes on the table of the doctor she’s assisted all these months. She was presumed dead by all and has become the doctor’s next corpse for his medical research. Frightened, the doctor tries to kill her, but Josephine begs to be spared. A deal is struck—Josie will leave her village and work at a distant cotton mill. All the while, she’ll await her true mission—posing as a mourner to help his body snatcher procure her replacement. At the mill though, Josie is praised for her medical remedies among the mill girls, gaining attention from the handsome factory manager Braham Taylor. Yet, when Braham’s own loved one becomes the prey for the next grave robbing, Josie must make a choice that could put her dark past behind her or steal away the promise of any future at all.

What price will Josie pay for love when her secrets begin to unravel?

 

Click here to grab your copy.

My Review

This is the third book in the True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime series…books by different author that focus on various historical crimes with a fictional twist. The books are all unique to each other and can be read out of order. I’ve read the first 2 books in the series as well, and this one was my favorite so far.

This story takes place in 1824 and focuses on grave digging for the purpose of acquiring wealth as well as to experiment on bodies for medical purposes. The main character, Josie, finds herself in a very difficult predicament of being forced to assist a gravedigger in order to keep her father safe. Josie was a very endearing character and I appreciated that though she was sweet and kind, she was also assertive.

One issue I sometimes have in Christian Fiction is the presence of romances that feel forced. This book had a romance but it felt more genuine and wasn’t “instalove” that is often the case in Christian crime stories.

The author did an excellent job at setting the scene of this book. I truly felt like I was alongside the characters in 1824. There is a scene that is not very detailed but did make my stomach turn a bit (in regards to grave digging). I also enjoyed the setting of the cotton mill…seeing the lives of the women who worked in the factories was interesting.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story that I highly recommend to fans of crime stories.

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

AngieDickenAngie Dicken credits her love of story to reading British literature during life as a military kid in England. Now living in the U.S. heartland, she’s a member of ACFW, sharing about author life with her fellow Alley Cats on The Writer’s Alley blog and Facebook page. Besides writing, she is a busy mom of four and works in Adult Ministry. Angie enjoys eclectic new restaurants, authentic conversation with friends, and date nights with her Texas Aggie husband. Connect with her online at www.angiedicken.com.

 

More from Angie

Barbour’s True Colors Crime concept intrigued me from the very beginning. Being the daughter of a doctor and discovering the ties of grave robbing to the early medical profession, I was excited to dive deep into 19th century Massachusetts. Grave robbing around Boston and New York was often employed by doctors desperate for medical advancement. Men and women were both involved in the procuring of bodies for doctors. Finding these accounts led me to take took a look at the current medical remedies of the time—tinctures, elixirs, and herbal concoctions. My heroine was created in the tension of a desire to heal and the desperation of medical pursuits.

Amidst these medical ties to the historical moment of 1824, something was also shifting among women in rural areas of New England. Many women were employed by newly built cotton mills (Lowell Mill was my inspiration for the fictional Gloughton Mill in The Yellow Lantern). These working opportunities for women offered an escape from their home-bound lives and the rare chance for independence. Of course, with such industrial environments, injuries, and sometimes death, would occur. Noting the accounts of these kind of fatalities in historical articles, my research came full circle.

I found three strong threads to weave into my grave-robbing story—desperate doctors in need of research, a doctor’s assistant needing an escape from her village, and a mill, not only offering that escape, but the chance at bodies for the desperate medical community.

My heroine, Josie Clay, found life in the tangle of these threads of mills, medicine, and grave robbing—all playing out within the pages of The Yellow Lantern.

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, August 15

Seasons of Opportunities, August 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, August 15

Bigreadersite, August 16

Emily Yager, August 16

Inspired by fiction, August 16

The Christian Fiction Girl, August 17

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 17

Daysong Reflections, August 17

Retrospective Spines, August 18

Spoken from the Heart, August 18

Kathleen Denly, August 19

Through the Fire Blogs, August 19

Christian Bookaholic, August 19

Maureen’s Musings, August 20

For the Love of Literature, August 20

Simple Harvest Reads, August 21 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Godly Book Reviews, August 21

A Reader’s Brain, August 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 22

Betti Mace, August 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 22

Hallie Reads, August 23

Mary Hake, August 23

Inklings and notions, August 23

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 24

For Him and My Family, August 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, August 24

Connie’s History Classroom, August 25

Pause for Tales, August 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 26

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 26

amandainpa, August 26

Blossoms and Blessings, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 27

janicesbookreviews, August 27

Back Porch Reads, August 28

Just the Write Escape, August 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Angie is giving away a grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of each of the books in the series!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/e71c/the-yellow-lantern-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book

Book: The Pink Bonnet

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical, Suspense

Release date: June, 2019

The Pink Bonnet CoverA Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child
Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.

How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

My Thoughts

This is the second book in the True Colors Series, put out by Barbour publishing, which focus on historical stories of American Crime. Although the books are in a series, they are not connected and can be read out of order. They are written by different authors.

The topic of this book really interested me and the fact that it’s based on a true story is horrifying and sad. The story focuses on the kidnapping and sale of children to the highest bidder in Memphis Tennessee in 1933.

The author conveyed Cecile’s anguish very well, I found myself feeling extremely frustrated as I read this book and my heart broke for not only the fictional character of Cecile but also for all the real parents and children that were affected by this awful occurrence.

All of the characters were richly developed and described in a way that I could easily picture them.

There were some very difficult scenes of abuse in this book that could be triggering for some. The story is gritty, frustrating, and sad but also an important read.

I definitely recommend this one!

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

About the Author

Liz TolsmaLiz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

 

More from Liz

A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through 6 unique stories of historical romantic suspense in the exciting new True Colors series.

In book two, The Pink Bonnet, Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.

How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child? Find out in The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma.

The True Crime Behind the Story

Georgia Tann was a woman who ran an adoption agency in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1924 until 1950. It is estimated that, in that time, she kidnapped over five thousand children and sold them to the highest bidder. She even advertised the children in the newspaper, especially around the holidays. Some of the nation’s biggest celebrities adopted through Miss Tann, including Joan Crawford, Dick Powell, and June Allyson. Learn more about Georgia Tann HERE and visit www.TrueColorsCrime.com for more exclusive content.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, June 20

The Becca Files, June 20

Livin’ Lit, June 20

The Power of Words, June 21

Christian Bookaholic, June 21

Godly Book Reviews, June 21

Spoken from the Heart, June 22

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 22

For HIm and my Family, June 22

Blossoms and Blessings, June 23

Inspired by fiction, June 23

Mary Hake, June 23

Connie’s History Classroom, June 24

Moments, June 24

Simple Harvest Reads, June 24

Daysong Reflections, June 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 25

For the Love of Literature, June 25

Remembrancy, June 26

As He Leads is Joy, June 26

Emily Yager, June 26

Genesis 5020, June 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, June 27

Carla Loves to Read, June 27

Inklings and notions, June 28

Changed by Him, June 28

Bigreadersite, June 28

Through the Fire Blogs, June 28

Inspiration Clothesline, June 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 29

Pause for Tales, June 29

Hallie Reads, June 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, June 30

For the Love of Books, June 30

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 1

Texas Book-aholic, July 1

janicesbookreviews, July 2

Older & Smarter?, July 2

By The Book, July 2

A Reader’s Brain, July 3

amandainpa, July 3

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away a grand prize that includes a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Pink Bonnet!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e331/the-pink-bonnet-celebration-tour-giveaway

More than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer Review and Giveaway!

E957C194-DF30-4809-83A4-9729682C1EDE.jpeg

About the Book

Book: More Than Words Can Say

Author: Karen Witemeyer

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: May 7, 2019 More Than Words Can Say

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about, just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples. Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when she’s around him. Once vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. As trust grows between Zach and Abby, she finds she wants more than his rescue. She wants his heart.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

My Thoughts

This novel focuses on a marriage of convenience between Abigail, the owner of a bakery and Zacharias, a rough around the edges young man in 1896. I usually enjoy stories that focus on marriages of convenience because it’s enjoyable to see the couple go from acquaintances or strangers to people in love…this book was no exception.

The characters of both Zach and Abigail were some of my favorites in historical fiction. Abigail had a very sweet but assertive demeanor and her determination was admirable. I also appreciated that she was a “curvy” girl and I loved that Zach was attracted to her curves. Zach was a bit gruff on the outside due to his difficult upbringing but his gestures showed that he truly had a heart of gold. His interactions with Abigail were adorable and swoonworthy (which is a word I very rarely say in reviews!)

There was no lack of action in this story…there were many surprises and plenty of drama to keep it interesting.

My only issue with the story was the emphasis on the sexual tension between the two main characters…it was brought up too often for my taste. Realistically, it would be something on their minds but I felt that the author visited the subject too much.

Overall, I really enjoyed my first journey into a Karen Witemeyer book and I plan on journeying into others in the future!

I received this book from the publisher/ author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

Witemeyer_Karen1Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

 

More from Karen

Settings – Real or Imagined?

One of the key decisions an author has to make before she begins to write is selecting the setting for her story. And the first choice she faces is the question of whether to use a real or imagined location. Roughly half the stories I have written are set in fictional towns. The use of a fictional setting allows an author greater freedom to manipulate the environment of her characters to fit her plot. This provides a great deal of flexibility. However, there is something special about setting a story in a real place. First, readers who are familiar with that place never fail to get excited about seeing a town they recognize in print. Second, if an author can find historical photos and documents, she can add a wonderful layer of authenticity to her setting that might otherwise be missing. Third, an author may turn up fascinating tidbits when studying the history of her setting that find their way into the story and bring a flavor the author never could have supplied on her own. This was the case as I wrote More Than Words Can Say. All of the stories in my Patchwork Familyseries have been set in real places. Pecan Gap, Texas for More Than Meets the Eye, Honey Grove, Texas for More Than Words Can Say, and coming this fall we’ll travel to Gainesville, Texas for the concluding novella, More Than a Pretty Face. Researching each location brought its own unique discoveries, but I have to admit that researching the small town of Honey Grove brought this history-loving girl a special level of joy. For example, there is a legend about how the town got its name that I knew needed to be incorporated into my story. Legend has it that when Davy Crockett was on his way to join the fight at the Alamo, he stopped in a grove of trees and set up camp. There were so many bees in that in letters to family and friends, he called the place a “Honey Grove.” He carved his initials into one of the trees and intended to return and settle there after the war. Unfortunately, as we know, Crockett did not survive the Alamo and therefore did not return. One of his friends, Samuel A. Erwin, later found the grove and became the first settler in 1839. Many people recall seeing the initials carved into Crockett’s bee tree even into the early 1900s, which led me to believe that this legend was based in truth. It doesn’t play a pivotal role in my story, but if you watch for it, you’ll find it mentioned. Discovering the Honey Grove Preservation League’s websiteproved a tremendous boon. Their online historical resources are some of the best I have ever come across. Historical photos, newspaper articles, government records—it was like stepping through a time portal every time I visited. And I visited often. Thanks to the Preservation League, I was able to mention real people and places in my novel. Places like the Commercial Hotel, the home of James Gilmer that was built during my time period, Wilkins, Wood & Patteson Dry Goods, and Dora Galbraith Patteson’s millinery shop on the east side of the town square. While Zacharias Hamilton and Reuben Sinclair are completely fictitious characters, there really was a lumberyard located on the corner of Sixth Street and Rail Road. As fiction authors are wont to do, I did take a few liberties with Honey Grove’s history. To my knowledge, there was never any city ordinance banning women from owning businesses in town, which was a key plot point in More Than Words Can Say. In addition, Mayor Chester Longfellow was a complete invention of my imagination. The true mayor of Honey Grove during this time period was J.H. Smith, a man who served in that capacity from 1888-1897. He must have been a well-loved city official to hold office for nearly a decade. I paid brief homage to him by having him step back into office when my fictitious mayor resigned. I hope you enjoy stepping back in time with me into historic Honey Grove, Texas. Zach and Abigail might not have lived there in truth, but I like to believe their tale is a representation of the many amazing love stories have taken place in that sweet little town through the years.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, June 15

She Lives to Read, June 15

Real World Bible Study, June 15

Carla Loves to Read, June 15

Baker kella, June 16

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 16

EmpowerMoms, June 16

Daysong Reflections, June 16

Through the Fire Blogs, June 17

Genesis 5020, June 17

Lighthouse Academy, June 17

Bigreadersite , June 17

Among the Reads, June 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 18

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 18

For The Love of Books, June 18

C Jane Read, June 19

Inspired By Fiction, June 19

Mary Hake, June 19

Hallie Reads, June 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 20

For Him and My Family, June 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 20

Living Life Free in Christ, June 20

Connect in Fiction, June 21

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 21

Splashes of Joy, June 21

Pause for Tales, June 21

Stories By Gina , June 22

Worthy2Read, June 22

Blossoms and Blessings, June 22

Southern Gal Loves to Read, June 22

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 23

Connie’s History Classroom , June 23

Vicky Sluiter, June 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 23

Wishful Endings, June 24

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, June 24

Simple Harvest Reads, June 24 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Texas Book-aholic, June 24

A Baker’s Perspective, June 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 25

amandainpa , June 25

janicesbookreviews, June 25

Britt Reads Fiction, June 26

Quiet Quilter, June 26

Older & Smarter?, June 26

A Reader’s Brain, June 26

LifeofLiterature, June 27

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner , June 27

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, June 27

Inklings and notions, June 27

Emily Yager, June 28

Lukewarm Tea, June 28

By The Book, June 28

The Becca Files, June 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away a grand prize that includes More Than Words Can Say, More Than Meets the Eye, and a $20 Panera Bread gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e4f4/more-than-words-can-say-celebration-tour-giveaway

Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book

Book: Murder in the City of Liberty

Author: Rachel McMillan

Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical

Release Date: May 21, 2019

Murder in the City of Liberty Cover

Hamish DeLuca and Regina “Reggie” Van Buren have a new case—and this one brings the war in Europe dangerously close to home.

Determined to make a life for herself, Regina “Reggie” Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca.

Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he’s afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes that seem to link Boston to Hamish’s hometown of Toronto.

When an act of violence hits too close to home, Hamish is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever . . . even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

The setting and time period of this book were very fun to me…1940 in Boston. I loved the descriptions of the sights and sounds of the city. I haven’t read many books that take place in this time period so it was interesting to read about.

I struggled a bit with the author’s writing style. It was a bit hard for me to follow at times and she made a lot of references to “Old Hollywood” films and the book “Hunchback of Notre Dame”. I’m not well versed or interested in these things so those parts were difficult for me to get through (I’m sure that those that enjoy these things would love those segments).

The characters were all interesting…they each had many facets and their personalities were very well described and fleshed out. I appreciated that Hamish struggled with anxiety as that is still a rare thing to find in fiction these days.

I received this book to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

About the Author

McMillan RachelRachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.

 

Read the excerpt

Boston

April 19 40

There really never was a good time to drown. But this particular April had been unseasonably cold and promised spring long in coming. The slosh of the Charles River warmed by ribbons of June sun would have been preferable to the crusted sludge of leftover ice rimming the harbor, or so thought Reggie Van Buren as she bobbed up and down like a buoy.

A New Haven Van Buren ought to have perished an old, wealthy woman, tendrils of snow-white

hair falling around a satin pillow, comforted in the knowledge that she would be interred in

the family plot, her soul destined for paradise—not with water up to her nose, choking as it lapped in and out like a tide over her chattering teeth. But a New Haven Van Buren also might have had the propriety to insist upon the use of her given name and not the “Reggie” she so preferred. The Reggie she was just hearing now in a rather frantic yet familiar voice.

“Reggie!” Hamish DeLuca’s panicked voice reached into the hollow dome of her cement cave. “Reggie!”

“I was st-stupid. I s-slipped.”

She treaded poorly, her arms feeling like gelatin, her form rather lacking the swimming skills

she had learned informally alongside her family’s schooner on Regatta Day. Reggie strained to rise above the lapping water. She took turns treading and raising herself as high up on her toes as she could. Rotating and wondering why she failed to complete the ballet classes her parents enrolled her in as a child. Standing on tiptoe might have added inches to her height and allowed her to clear her mouth of the water. As it was, her calf muscles strained. She said something that came out in a series of bubbles before glugging, rising upward, and noticing for the first time how the fog from her icy breath rippled over the water. If she couldn’t understand herself,

how would he?

“S-slipped,” she said again, trying to make him out in shadow. “H-Hamish.” She tried again. Funny, usually he was the one with the stutter. Hamish DeLuca with the stutter and the bit of a handshake and that one pesky dimple and those big blue eyes. Her own eyes fluttered. Maybe she would never see him again. She would just slip under the water and rest her heavy eyelids. She blinked until a stream of torchlight buttered the dark walls, crystallizing the percolating water drips around her, and then the figure of her rescuer, whose blue eyes looked even more brilliant than usual in the eerie glow of the flashlight.

Hamish dropped to his knees. “Take my hand.”

“This didn’t turn out as I expected,” she chattered.

“Reggie, we don’t have much time.” His voice rippled as he looked frantically at her and then over to the grille she had stared at since she got into the mess, watching the water level rise and fall and rise and fall until it made her dizzy. She clung to his hand a moment.

“We should have gone with plan B.”

Hamish growled. “We didn’t even have a plan A.”

“You’re my hero, Hamish.” She patted his hand with her icy one. “It was so nice of you to come.”

“Reggie, just take my hand.”

“I’m stuck!”

“What?”

“M-my shoe.”

Hamish said something she was altogether certain she had imagined in her half-frozen and very soggy state. And then, of course, he recklessly jumped in to get her.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, June 11

Simple Harvest Reads, June 11

The Power of Words, June 12

amandainpa, June 12

As He Leads is Joy, June 13

Fiction Aficionado, June 13

Through the Fire Blogs, June 14

Carpe Diem, June 14

Mary Hake, June 15

Moments, June 15

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 16

Have A Wonderful Day, June 16

Cordially Barbara, June 17

Rebekah’s Quill, June 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 18

Hallie Reads, June 18

Bigreadersite, June 19

Connect in Fiction, June 19

Blogging With Carol, June 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 20

For Him and My Family, June 21

Remembrancy, June 21

Pause for Tales, June 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 22

Godly Book Reviews, June 23

Texas Book-aholic, June 23

janicesbookreviews, June 24

A Reader’s Brain, June 24

Inklings and notions, June 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize of both book in the series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e513/murder-in-the-city-of-liberty-celebration-tour-giveaway