Saturday, September 25, 2021

A Seaside Summer by Josi S. Kilpack, Martha Keyes, Heather B. Moore book review

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A Seaside Summer

Summer on the seaside . . . a perfect place for romance.

Join us for three novellas in one collection:

The New Countess by Josi S. Kilpack
Diane knows why the earl asked her to marry him; he needed a mother for his daughter, an heir for his title, and a hostess to assist with his position in Parliament. With two sons of her own, and no security to speak of, she never thought twice about accepting his proposal. Summering at his holiday cottage at the sea was meant to be reward for a busy first year as the new countess, and a time for her to rest before their baby is born. She is expecting lazy days on the beach with the children, simple meals, and keeping her own schedule. When the earl surprises her with a visit, she does her best not to resent the intrusion. When she learns that he came for the sole purpose of being with her and getting to know her better, she realizes that perhaps this marriage can be more than she expected. Is she ready for him to know her and love her and explore this new possibility together? She wants to be, but it is not an easy thing to let go of expectations and open up to an entirely new way of life.

Mishaps and Memories by Martha Keyes
Judith Jardine’s one chance at a brilliant match is doomed from the start when she is ignored and then mocked by the ton’s most sought-after gentleman. Under a gloomy cloud of failure, Judith is exiled to a seaside cottage to spend the summer helping her sister—and living a life far below the one she experienced for her week in Brighton. When she discovers the man responsible for her misfortune unconscious on the beach, she heeds her better impulses and has him brought to the cottage to be seen to. But James Carlisle has no recollection of who he is, what happened to him, or how he has wronged her, and Judith sees the opportunity to teach him a valuable lesson—unless the deception and her feelings get the best of her first.

Moonlight Summer by Heather B. Moore
Oscar Rosewell’s life is not lacking in many things even though he lives on the fringes of society due to his father’s ruined reputation. He’s sworn off having any personal relationships with ton members—his only interest lies in keeping his business thriving. He’s content with his day-to-day anonymity, and business keeps his heart from getting exposed. It’s safer that way. Until Oscar meets Miss Dorothea Atkinson. A woman capturing his interest is a rare thing, but Miss Atkinson is nearly engaged to a man of her parents’ choosing. Would it be wrong to wish for something to go terribly wrong between the couple? Soon, Oscar learns that wishing can become a reality, but often, the price is an even heavier thing to pay.

Timeless Regency Collections:

From the publisher of the USA TODAY bestselling & #1 Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology series in Regency Romance: A Seaside Summer is a Timeless Romance Anthology® book

Timeless Romance Anthology® is a registered trademark of Mirror Press, LLC

My review: 6.75/10


 The New Countess by Josi S. Kilpack
A sweet (and more realistic) story about a marriage of convenience. Diane is juggling responsibilities and expectations in a fairly new marriage. I loved the Earl's tentative pursuit of her and how they ultimately bond. So sweet.

Mishaps and Memories by Martha Keyes
A light and humorous read.

Moonlight Summer by Heather B. Moore
I had mixed feelings about this one. Some things I just did not find believable (the mother and stepfather's reaction to the truth for example), but it didn't bother me as much as it usually does. I like reading about people choosing to the do the difficult but right thing. I liked the supporting characters, warts and all. <spoiler> I loved that Dottie ultimately put her family first, choosing to obey her parents... and that there was divine intervention (in my opinion). </spoiler>

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Heart's Charge (Hanger's Horsemen #2) by Karen Witemeyer book review


The Heart's Charge

(Hanger's Horsemen #2)

For years they've been nomads for justice, but a final mission may just lead their hearts home.

Members of the legendary Hanger's Horsemen, Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks arrive in Llano County, Texas, to deliver a steed, never expecting they'd help deliver a baby as well. Left with an infant to care for, they head to a nearby foundling home, where Mark encounters the woman he nearly married a decade ago.

After failing at love, Katherine Palmer has dedicated her life to caring for children, teaming up with Eliza Southerland to start Harmony House. Eliza understands the pain of not fitting society's mold, being illegitimate and of mixed ancestry. Yet those are the very attributes that lead her to minister to outcast children. The taciturn Jonah intrigues her by defying all her stereotypes of men, but there are secrets behind his eyes—ghosts from wars past and others still being waged.

When the Horsemen hear rumors of missing children, they stay to investigate, sticking close to Harmony House and its beautiful owners. As they work together to uncover the truth, love and danger grow hand in hand until a final sinister scheme threatens to destroy them all.

My Review: 8.5/10

 Two of the four Horsemen are back in this dual love story. I liked the change-up; having four main characters, two female/two male and yet also two black and two white was a refreshing change of pace. Ms. Witemeyer didn't shy away from hard topics like legitimacy or racism, and more so the interactions, both good and bad, were believable.

Those deeper, real life currents aside, the elements of faith in this story were well applied and the story itself was interesting.

Jonah's perspective, with his maturity, intelligence, and frank nature, was my favorite to read from. His conversation with Abner was one of my favorite parts of the book.

The only criticisms I have are that I thought Katherine was a little foolish at the end, which is a particular pebble in my shoe. I like to see smart, strong female leads and it frustrates me when they're not consistent or they make reckless decisions on emotion. And at the very end, the villains were too over the top for me.

All in all, a great read.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Meet Me Under the Kissing Bough by Josi S. Kilpack , Anneka R. Walker , Sarah L. McConkie book review

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Meet Me Under the Kissing Bough


We wish you a merry Christmas and a happily ever after! This special holiday historical romance anthology featuring three heartwarming novellas proves that no matter the obstacles, ’tis the season for love.

Meet Me under the Kissing Bough
by Josi S. Kilpack
Deborah Winfrey hasn’t had the heart to host a holiday party since her husband’s death. But this Christmas, it’s time to move forward. The festivities bring renewed life to her home, and the attentions of two very different men promise a chance at new love.

Healing Hearts for the Holidays
by Anneka R. Walker
Julia Hunt is strictly forbidden from associating with the family in the nearby manor—including the handsome younger son, Esmond, who quickly steals her heart. With Christmas around the corner, an old bundle of hidden love letters may be the key to her own happily ever after.

A Christmas Correspondence
by Sarah L. McConkie
In this novella inspired by the timeless tale A Christmas Carol, John Charleston finds himself on an unexpected journey in the company of the insufferable Lady Caroline Morleigh. But the magic of the season has a way of softening even the hardest of hearts.


-Meet Me Under the Kissing Bough
Deborah's situation is less common as she is an older woman with children that are nearly grown. I appreciated that as a mother, it was not as simple as choosing for herself; she had to consider the effects on her children and their futures. Her relationship with her mother was complicated as well. Phillip... bugged me. He was not patient with her, but it was like he expected an immediate public commitment. What was worse, he accused her of using him, not trusting him, being fickle. He tried to beg off instead of working through the problems. I didn't think Deborah did anything wrong. This was brand new, of course she was still taking it slow, exploring her feelings and weighing them against her responsibilities. They did not have an agreement in place, and again it was BRAND NEW - she didn't owe him an explanation regarding someone else's action. And while I wouldn't have handled it publicly as she did, I didn't think he could possibly find fault with her for that. I really wanted to give him a piece of my mind.

-Healing Hearts for the Holidays
It was really sad to see things had regressed since we had last seen these characters. There was some awkwardness, a fair amount of tension and a lot of rehashing things I thought had already been dealt with.

-A Christmas Correspondence
I could not stomach Caroline. She was not just rude, but relentless malicious. I have read my fair share of unlikeable characters, which are actually some of my favorite stories, but this was something else entirely. It wasn't misguided, or sticking your foot in your mouth, or like the veiled barbs of the arrogant, usually wrapped up in deceptively sweet demeanor. It wasn't absurd and humorously done. It didn't even really make sense based on the prologue. Caroline seems to tolerate her father words, not invite them into her very being. She is hurting and silently obeys to escape. He dies not long after that opening scene, so how in the world did she become such a harpy?! I also did not understand the whole letter situation. It seems like her father expected them to be delivered to her fairly soon. Why would a child need to be threatened with their inheritance? I don't know. The changes of heart for both Caroline and her father were too abrupt to be believed.

These are usually some of my favorite authors. Unfortunately I just did not connect with these stories.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

To Marry an Earl by Karen Thornell book review

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To Marry an Earl

Katherine Cartwright knows through bitter experience that true love is fiction and trust should not be bestowed easily. Now, after two unsuccessful London Seasons, her atrocious father has decided to marry her off to the highest bidder to pay for his gambling debts, ridding himself of the daughter he never wanted. A profitable deal is struck, and Kate is packed off to the home of her betrothed, an earl she has never met. Or so she believes.

When James Fenwick, the new Earl of Bowcott, learns that the girl he’s loved since childhood is being sold off like chattel, he’s determined to step in and save her. He makes an offer her father cannot refuse and insists on a proper engagement. But when Kate meets James again, her old friend cannot bring himself to admit it is him whom she is to marry. Soon, an intricate charade and a past that cannot be escaped jeopardize James’s chance at rekindling their friendship, to say nothing of winning Kate’s heart. Can love truly conquer all, or was this a match doomed
from the start?
My Review: 6/10

I had trouble relating to Kate from the first. Her situation did not seem remotely uncommon for the time: at best, a completely disinterested father, at worst, an abusive one plus a weak, submissive mother who essentially offer her to the highest bidder. That was essentially the lifestyle of the British elite, was it not? Make a match for your family that benefits them in terms of money, power, influence, land, titles, etc. I feel like a daughter's approval was rare, a love match even rarer. So I really didn't understand Kate's self-pity.

And then her childhood friend/love snags her. Who cares if they ended on bad terms? Who cares if he abandoned her? Who cares if she didn't fully trust him? She was going to be married, fast, one way or the other and she just caught the break of her life. Someone her own age, that she was attracted to, that she had a pleasant history with would fill that role. And they would have every opportunity to build something stronger and deeper than they had before. She had every reason to be filled with relief, joy and hope. To be grateful and eager. At least that's what I would have said to her had I been her friend.

Despite that, I am looking forward to checking out future books by this fairly new author. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Love and Lavender by Josi S. Kilpack book review


Love and Lavender

Hazel Stillman is a woman of rare independence and limited opportunities. Born with a clubbed foot, she was sent away as a child and, knowing her disability means a marriage is unlikely, she devoted herself to scholarship and education.

Now working as a teacher in an elite private girls’ school, she is content with the way her story has unfolded. When her uncle Elliott Mayfield presents her with the prospect of a substantial inheritance if she marries, Hazel is offended. What kind of decent man would marry for her money? Besides, she loves her freedom as a professional, respected woman. When she hears rumors of the school possibly being sold, however, she knows she must consider all her options.

Duncan Penhale has a brilliant mind and thrives on order and process. He does not expect to marry because he likes his solitary life, shared only with his beloved cat. When Elliott Mayfield, his guardian’s brother, presents him with an inheritance if he marries a woman of social standing, Duncan finds it intrusive. However, with the inheritance, he could purchase the building in which he works and run his own firm. It would take an impressive and intellectual woman to understand and love him, quirks and all.

Hazel and Duncan believe they have found a solution to both of their problems: marry one another, receive their inheritances, and then part ways to enjoy their individual paths. But when Uncle Mayfield stipulates that they must live together as husband and wife for one year before receiving their inheritances, Hazel and Duncan reluctantly agree. Over time, their marriage of convenience becomes much more appealing than they had anticipated. At the end of the full year, will they go their separate ways or could an unlikely marriage have found unsuspecting love?

My review: 10/10

 Phenomenal. This book was phenomenal. The very best in the series.

The story revolves around two characters (extremely) rarely represented in historical fiction, much less historical romance: one with a clubbed foot and one with autism. And it was SO well done.

I've always loved the Mayfield family plot line. Add to that a cast of interesting characters, complicated human relationships, relatable tension, personal growth, and changing dreams. It's a recipe for perfection.

I loved it so much that I immediately started reading it again after I finished because it was just wonderful and nothing else would do.

Can't recommend enough.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Book Excerpt: Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson

Welcome to my tour stop: excerpt from new novel Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson! I fell in love with this story ( you can read my review HERE ) so I am thrilled to be able to share an exclusive peek into this novel.

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Mrs. Burns had arrived before the carriage and had opened the country house in preparation for their arrival. When the driver pulled up to the front door, Alexander leaped out and faced the home he loved. His staff, intact and present here in the country, stood outside awaiting their arrival.

Yeardley, upright and unsmiling but somehow not fearsome, stood nearest the carriage. Mrs. Burns stood between him and Mae, the kitchen maid who provided the cooking in addition to all the other kitchen work. Jonathan, the driver, took his place in line with the others. Alexander greeted his staff with polite warmth, as though he had not seen them only that morning.

Isabelle waited what seemed quite a long time for him to remember that he’d brought her along. Finally, at a glance from the driver, Alexander turned and reached his hand to help her out. She found her legs shaky from having sat so long trying not to let their knees touch, and she gripped his hand harder than she’d have liked as she stepped down onto the gravel drive.

Isabelle looked up at the house, pleased with its aspect. An unassuming home, larger than a cottage but smaller by far than a manor, it felt familiar. Much like her parents’ home. Like her home, but smaller. More compact. Windows faced the gently sloping lawn that led away from the front of the house and down into a small wood.

“It’s perfectly charming,” she said.

She hadn’t meant to say it. She glanced at him to see if he was offended by her appraisal.

He appeared not to have heard her. His gaze hadn’t left the house, as if the view itself were his life’s breath.

“It is good to be back here,” he said. “Thank you all for your work to open the house.”

Mrs. Burns nodded and answered him. “Mr. Osgood, you made such good time that I hadn’t expected your arrival for another hour.”

Alexander smiled at Mrs. Burns. “I couldn’t wait. I told Jonathan to push on.”

Mrs. Burns turned to Isabelle. “Mrs. Osgood, welcome to Wellsgate.”

“Right. Yes,” Alexander mumbled. “Welcome.” He cleared his throat. “I hope you can be comfortable.” All signs of his smile were gone now. “I know it does not compare to your parents’ property, but it is home to me.”

They stepped inside the house, and a warm, inviting entryway filled with light seemed to welcome them inside. A staircase to the right led up into what were likely the bedrooms, and a large, window-filled room was on the left.

Alexander cleared his throat again. “Please make yourself at home,” he said, pointing to the sitting room. “I’ll have Yeardley bring in the bags, and then Mrs. Burns can show you to your rooms. I am going up to change.”

He practically ran up the stairs, leaving Isabelle standing in the foyer. Mrs. Burns breathed out what might have been a laugh. “Give him time, Mrs. Osgood. He’ll learn.”

“What will he learn?” Isabelle asked. The possibilities of what remained unmastered seemed manifold and various.

Mrs. Burns nodded in understanding. “How to make a place for you,” she said kindly. “I am sure he’s very glad you’ve come.” She bobbed her head and stepped into a hallway.

Isabelle was not so sure Alexander was glad she’d come. How could she have such assurance when he made no point of saying so?

Isabelle stepped inside the sitting room. It was warm, lovely, and comfortable. If this room was where he thought she belonged, she could be happy here. The furnishings felt simpler than the dark and heavy tables and couches in Manchester, and the few paintings, landscapes and village scenes, evoked comfort. She walked to the large bank of windows and looked outside. A view of the stables made her wish for an afternoon of fast riding, but she dared not suggest it. Alexander had given her no reason to think that she was welcome to make plans.

As she watched out the window, she saw Alexander jogging toward the stables. He was dressed to ride, and he looked so free, so eager to get into the saddle. She battled with the pleasure of seeing him looking relaxed against the frustration of having been left behind. Did it not occur to him to ask her to join the ride? Or was he eager to be away from her? She slipped into a chair and picked up a book from the table at her elbow. Every few seconds, her eyes slipped from the page to the stables. After several minutes, she saw Alexander ride away on a handsome stallion. She felt her posture soften. He was gone, and glad to be gone. And this was her place. Inside. Alone.


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May 13           Books, Teacups & Reviews

May 13           Library of Clean Reads      

May 13           Robin Loves Reading

May 13           So Little Time   


·         #IsabelleAndAlexander, #HistoricalFiction, #VictorianRomance, #InspirationalFiction, #RebeccaAnderson, #BlogTour