Friday, April 5, 2019

The Governess of Penwythe Hall

The Governess of Penwythe Hall (Cornwall #1)
By Sarah E. Ladd

After her husband's death, Cordelia Greythorne left Cornwall, warned by her in-laws never to return, and obtained a position as a governess. For three years she has worked for the Tretheway family, and when the children are left orphans, she knows they need her to stay with them and provide a constant, loving force in their lives. However, their uncle Jac, their new guardian, lives in Cornwall, and staying with the children means returning to the area she's been avoiding.

Jac Trethewey is busy trying to revitalize his estate, Penwythe Hall, hoping that if he can get the apple orchards to flourish, the estate can thrive as well. When his estranged brother's five children and their governess arrive at Penwythe Hall, he knows he will take them in but he doesn't know how to make things work. What he does come to quickly realize is that Delia is more than the average governess--she is the one holding the family together and he wants to support her as much as she supports everyone else. And yet, there are rumors about her and secrets that make his new situation even more complicated than it first appeared.

I loved this book. It's easily my favorite of Sarah E. Ladd's books (all of which I've read and enjoyed) and one of the best books I've read in 2019. I was just so pulled into the story; I loved impulsive Jac who wants to do right by his nieces and nephews, and strong, good Delia who just works so hard to care for the children. I found the plot to be engaging and moving. The romance was slow-building and sweet, and I wouldn't have minded if there'd been a little more of the book that took place after their feelings were revealed, but all in all, it was a lovely book that I highly recommend.
5 stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

No Ocean Too Wide

No Ocean Too Wide (McAlister Family #1)
By Carrie Turansky

Laura McAlister is working as a lady's maid while her mother does sewing for a shop owner, trying to make ends meet and care for her three younger children. When Laura gets word that her mother is ill and hospitalized, she heads home to London only to find that her siblings have been sent to a children's home. When she goes to get them back, that is more complicated than she anticipated as Garth, Katie, and Grace have actually been sent to Canada as part of England's orphan emigration program.

Andrew Frasier, the heir to the estate where Laura was employed, is a solicitor who, along with his partner, is working on investigating the emigration program for the British government. While he has long admired the program and its leaders, Laura's story brings to light problems with its management. He promises to help Laura find her siblings and get them back--but will he be able to keep that promise?

This was a really engaging, interesting story. At times it was actually painful to read (the parts written from Katie's perspective, in particular) because it felt so real. This is a really fascinating piece of historical fiction, with some gentle romance that makes it all the better. I wouldn't have minded a bit more romance, but all in all, it was very well done and definitely makes me want to continue the series to find out what is next for the McAlister family.

4.5 stars.

I read an ARC provider by the publisher, WaterBrook & Multnomah, via #NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower
By Nancy Campbell Allen

Hazel Hughes enjoys her work healing alongside Dr. Sam MacInnes and is grateful for his friendship and kindness, even as she wishes that a romantic relationship with him were possible. But she knows she's not his equal socially, and so she contents herself with work and learning. Her life takes a drastic turn, however, when Dravor Pretescu, a Romanian count, comes to London, finds Hazel, and tells her that she is his niece and has a twin sister who is gravely ill and needs Hazel's help. Hazel has long had visions of her twin, without understanding what they mean, and while she senses something isn't quite right with the count, she also can't leave her sister to suffer.
When Hazel agrees to travel to Romania, there's no way Sam is going to let her go without him. He trusts the count even less than Hazel does, and as he and Hazel work together to try to figure out his secrets, he finds his underlying attraction to Hazel growing even more; she's beautiful and intelligent and his perfect match--but if they're going to have a shot at a future together, first they have to save her sister--and possibly themselves.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters--Sam and Hazel are both smart, capable people who understand the value of knowledge and learning. (Maybe it's the former librarian in me, but I loved their many forays to the library!) I liked seeing how they worked together and depended on and trusted each other.
The pacing was really good and the story moved steadily. This is an interesting mix of genres--romance, steampunk, fantasy, mystery, etc.--but it works well. I'm not really a steampunk fan, but I've enjoyed this series because it focuses on the characters and plot with the steampunk elements complimenting the story, not overwhelming it. I did feel like the ending was a little quick--at 93% finished, I was really worried there was going to be a cliffhanger ending because it didn't seem like it could wrap well in the remaining pages. It did have a good ending but it was a little rushed. Although this is the third book in a series, I think it can be read as a stand-alone.

4 stars.

I read an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Expected publication date: August 6, 2019

Monday, March 18, 2019

A Guarded Heart

A Guarded Heart
By Heidi Kimball

Three years ago, Eleanor Hayward fell for Edmund Fletcher and thought he cared for her, too. However, he broke her heart and then scandal rocked her family, leaving Eleanor shunned by society and isolated. When her cousins reach out to her, indicating that they want to help her reenter society, Eleanor accepts and goes to their estate, never imagining that Edmund has inherited a neighboring estate and she will run into him time and time again, breaking her heart all over again.

Edmund Fletcher has spent the past three years getting over the woman who betrayed him, and he's less than pleased to keep running into her. He wants to put her out of his heart and mind once and for all and plans to move forward with asking another woman to marry him, but when he finds out what really happened three years before, letting go is made much harder.

This was a very enjoyable story. The plot was really engaging, and the characters were realistic and well-developed. This was very well written, particularly the characters' emotions. I also really liked how the book started off by alternating between the present and the three years prior; I liked being able to see what had happened between Eleanor and Edmund and not just get a summary of it thrown in somewhere.
4 stars.

 I read an ARC via #NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Daughters of Northern Shores

Daughters of Northen Shores (Blackbird Mountain #2)
By Joanne Bischof

Norgaard fled his beloved home on Blackbird Mountain after attacking his brother Thor's beloved, Aven, and has spent the past four years working on sailing crews around the Atlantic. Running away hasn't made it possible for him to forget what he has done, though, and the time comes for him to stop running and try to make amends. Returning home, however, will be the most difficult thing he's ever done, as it means owning up to what he has done and trying to regain the trust that he has shattered. When he returns, he finds Thor and Aven wed and expecting a child--but Thor is also deathly ill and their enemies, the Sorrels, have made it clear that they're ready for a fight to end their longstanding feud. While the family doesn't exactly welcome Haakon with open arms, they need his strength and expertise to protect their home and one another.

Ah! I love Joanne Bischof's writing style. It flows so well, with wonderful descriptions and great word choices. I also love her characters, with flaws right alongside their strengths. These characters just capture your heart--from Thor, with his deafness and his strength and his tenderness, to Haakon with his wildness that can't quite overshadow that deep-down goodness, to Aven who loves fiercely and faces life with such courage--and you just can't help but root for them and be swept up in their stories. I loved the first book in this series, and I"m glad to be able to emphatically state that this book is just as lovely and enjoyable to read. One of the best of 2019! 5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Monumental Love Blog Tour and Giveaway!





Book Description:
Roxelle McCann is eager to meet the family of her best friend, so she takes a mini-vacation to the Navajo Nation. Roxelle expects to find out more about Navajo language and customs and to be awed by the beauty of Monument Valley. She does not expect to find love among the monuments. The man she meets offers both a surprising possible future and a tender reminder of the past.

My review:
Although this a novella and kinda short by nature, the author packs a lot in, including Roxelle's backstory, her current appreciation for the Navajo lands and culture, and the dynamics of making a relationship work. This is a clean read that can be read in less than an hour, so it's a great choice for those who want a quick escape. It was a lot of fun to read--and totally makes me want to go see Monument Valley! 4 stars.
I read an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

About the author:
Susan Aylworth loves books, poems, plays, words in almost all polite forms, and good raspberry jam. Her first book, started when she was nine, "was a rip-off of Black Beauty. I wrote eight whole pages." For her fifth grade career day, she stated her ambition to become "a rich and famous author." Decades later, she is pleased to have achieved the 'author' part of that goal. A former university professor, she enjoys researching backgrounds and careers for her novels. "It's one way to live many lives all at once." Servant to two spoiled cats, she lives in northern California with her writer husband, Roger. She wishes the kids would visit more often. Susan loves "travel, great music, and hearing from readers." Reach her at susan.aylworth.author@gmail.com, post on her wall at: www.facebook.com/Susan.Aylworth.Authoror follow her @SusanAylworth. "If you enjoy my books, please tell everyone you know: friends, relatives, neighbors, the person who delivers your mail, people you meet in line in the grocery store, everyone!" She welcomes ideas for new books and characters.

Check it out here:
Goodreads
Amazon *If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can snag this for FREE!

Connect with Susan here:
Facebook author page
Twitter
Website

Visit the other blogs on the blog tour:
Feb 25: Katie’s Clean Book Collection / Peggy Urry Writer
Feb 26: Mel’s Shelves / Getting Your Read On
Feb 27: Wishful Endings / Bookworm Lisa
Feb 28: Heidi Reads / The Bibliophile Files
March 1: Literary Time Out / My Book a Day / Books are Sanity / Singing Librarian Books


And finally, enter to win a copy of the ebook here:
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Friday, February 22, 2019

Blog Tour and Giveaway for Just in Time: The Rescue Begins in Delaware




The Rescue Begins in Delaware (Just in Time Book 1)
By Cheri Pray Earl and Carol Lynch Williams

Premise:
Dover, Delaware 1776: George and Gracie need to rescue their parents. Instead, they find themselves time-traveling into the middle of the American Revolution. Not only that, but one of the twins changes into an animal with each time travel. This time Gracie is a horse. They end up helping Caesar Rodney make his famous ride into Philadelphia to vote “yes” for the Declaration of Independence. But time is running out to rescue their parents.  

My thoughts:
This was a fun book to read; although I read it by myself, I can easily see this book being one my children will enjoy in next year or two. I particularly liked the historical information--I'd never learned about Caesar Rodney's hurried ride from Delaware to Philadelphia, so that was interesting to learn a little about him and his efforts to support American independence. I think my kids will find that interesting but also be really pulled in to the time travel and mystery elements of the story. Good start to a series; I look forward to reading the rest of the books.

I read a copy provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

About the Authors: Cheri Pray Earl graduated with her master's degree in creative writing from Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1995 and has taught creative writing and literature courses for the BYU Honors Program and the English Department for more than 25 years. She was awarded BYU Honors Professor of the Year in 2005 which she brags about every chance she gets. Cheri writes the middle-grade novel series, Just In Time, with Carol Lynch Williams and published a non-fiction children’s book for American Girl in 2009, co-authored with the late Rick Walton. But in real life she writes young adult and adult novels. She won her first real writing contest, the Utah Original Writing Competition, in 1994 for her YA novel, Flat Like Me, and took Honorable Mention in 1997 for her YA novel, The Swan. She’s currently working on an adult mystery novel and a contemporary adult novel. Cheri’s most recent children’s book, Mr. Dietsche, is a middle-grade novel based on her childhood in Dodge City, Kansas that her agent, Steve Fraser from JDLIT, is this very minute shopping around. That’s Secret Agent Steve. See more of Cheri's stories at dustingforfingerprints.wordpress.com 

 Carol Lynch Williams is the author of more than 30 books for middle grade and young adult readers. Her novels include The Chosen One, Never that Far, Messenger and Never Said. Her most recent book is the novelization of the movie Once I Was a Beehive. Carol has an MFA from Vermont College in Writing for Children and Young Adults and teaches creative writing at BYU. She runs Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, a week-long writing conference for the not-faint-of-heart writer (www.wifyr.com). As well she is a mentor for those who want to write for kids and teens. Her best creative effort, however, are her five daughters.

Find the book here:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43895093-george-and-gracie-just-in-time
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rescue-Begins-Delaware-Just-Time-ebook/dp/B07ML8WJBD/

Connect with authors here:

Twitter Cheri Pray Earl 
 Twitter Carol Lynch Williams 

Check out the blog tour here:
Feb 19: Min Reads and Reviews
Feb 20: LDS Writer Mom
Feb 21: My Book a Day


And finally, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway