Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cover Reveal for VEINS OF GOLD by Charlie N. Holmberg

Cover Reveal for VEINS OF GOLD by Charlie N. Holmberg

Release date: July 17, 2018

A new historical fantasy novel from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg:


Desperate to save her siblings from poverty, a young woman discovers magic fueled by gold . . . and a love for the man who wields it.

Abandoned by their father for the gold rush, Gentry and her siblings labor to survive alone in the inhospitable west. When bizarre natural disasters begin wreaking havoc on the land, Gentry discovers a world of magic. Desperate for help, she accepts aid from a mysterious stranger.

Winn not only sees the magic, but controls its hunger by feeding it gold—the very thing Gentry’s father left to acquire. But the earth’s unrest only grows worse, and Gentry’s fear leads her to a terrible choice: marry a wealthy man she does not love, or trust in Winn’s unpredictable power to save her family.

Other Books by Charlie N. Holmberg:
The Paper Magician
The Glass Magician
The Master Magician
The Plastic Magician
Followed by Frost
Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet
The Fifth Doll

Amazon pre-order link for VEINS OF GOLD:

Goodreads link for VEINS OF GOLD:

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Lacemaker

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

Lady Elisabeth "Liberty" Lawson, the daughter of a staunch Tory is engaged (not very happily) to one of her father's associates, Miles Roth. She misses her mother, whose support of the Patriot cause led her husband to ship her off to England. When many Tories flee Williamsburg, Liberty is still at home when her townhouse is raided and most of the servants flee. While her fiancé bows out of their betrothal, his cousin, Patriot Noble Rynallt can't turn his back on the young woman. Although the world as she has known it is falling apart, as she tries to find a place for herself as a lacemaker, Liberty finds herself drawn to Noble and to his cause, even as her father demands that she aid him and the Tories.

Laura Frantz's stories are beautifully crafted, and this book is no exception. The details make it so you feel like you're right there with the characters. Noble was pretty dreamy, with his quiet strength and goodness, and Liberty's story, as she must decide what she believes and who she is loyal to, was engaging and well-told. I think this is my favorite of Laura Frantz's books! 4.5 stars.

I read a copy via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Lions of Little Rock

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

In 1958, the high schools in Little Rock, Arkansas are closed in attempt to prevent desegregation. Twelve-year-old Marlee still attends her junior high, and her father, a teacher who seems in favor of desegregation, still has his job. However, Marlee's mother, who is supposed to teach at a high school and whose position on segregation Marlee's not really sure of, reports to an empty classroom, and her sister Judy is eventually sent to live with their grandmother so she can attend school. At school, Marlee, who doesn't talk to anyone outside her family meets a new girl, Liz, who befriends her and helps her start to find her voice. However, when another classmate finds out that Liz is actually "colored," Liz has to leave school. Faced with the loss of her first real friend, Marlee starts to realize what her feelings about integration are, what friendship is worth, and that some things are worth speaking up for.

I loved this book. I loved Marlee and seeing her growth, and Liz was so smart and spunky; she was great. I loved seeing Marlee's evolving relationships with her family members, too. I loved learning more about this time in history. I'd heard about the Little Rock Nine, of course, but I don't know if I'd ever heard about the Lost Year before. I found this book to be very readable and while I found it to be so interesting just for my own reading, I wish my kids were older so I could share this book with them! This book is a great discussion book--there's a lot of stuff to talk about. This was a really powerful story.

I listened to the audiobook and I loved the narrator.

5 stars.

Friday, January 5, 2018

For Castle and Crown

For Castle and Crown by Sian Ann Bessey

When Lord Edmund returns from fighting alongside King Richard in the Crusades, he finds that his brother has died in a fire and he is now the duke. He also finds that his childhood friend, Pippa, was injured in the fire, and while she has relocated to a nearby convent to heal, Edmund finds himself hoping she won't take her vows to become a nun. As he sets about to rebuild his burned castle, Edmund also must defend his right to be duke from those who are hoping to replace him. As the dangers around them increase, Pippa realizes she's stronger than she thought and that, working with Edmund, she can contribute more than she believed.
This is my favorite of Sian Ann Bessey's books; I was really drawn into the story. I loved little details about the characters, like how Edmund is bad at dancing and Pippa is good at throwing knives. I also really liked the setting--I haven't read very many medieval stories, so it was really interesting to take a look at that time period, including the relationship the Welsh people nearby. I really liked Edmund's and Pippa's developing romance, set in the larger story, and I appreciate the fact that the conflict in the story wasn't (like so many other books) mainly about each of them believing the other could never possibly want to have a relationship. I loved seeing their loyalty and strength. This was a really enjoyable book!

 I received a free review copy. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Nobleman's Daughter

The Nobleman's Daughter by Jen Geigle Johnson

As a daughter of a duke, Lady Amanda enjoys all the comforts and privileges of being a gentleman's daughter. However, as she becomes aware of the struggles of the lower class--of their desires for better options for there lives, including education and a voice in the political system--she is sympathetic to their cause and determined to find a way that she can help. As a cover for her activities, she acts like an empty-headed flirt at society events. Nathaniel, the son of a duke, is all too happy to flirt with her--and she's drawn to him while simultaneously worried that he's nothing more than the rake he pretends to be, one who will never understand her desire to help the common people. Nathaniel has Amanda's father's permission to court her, and he is fascinated by the glimpses he gets of her real self, as he is deeply involved in the fight for freedom. However, he doesn't think he can show Amanda his true loyalties--but if he doesn't, she might never accept him as a suitor.

I don't particularly like this cover, and the I don't like the title. Why do so many books refer to women in relation to some man? That's annoying in general but particularly in this case where Amanda longs for freedom and she's very much her own person and doesn't need to be referred to by her relationship to her father. Other than those two things, though, I really enjoyed the book. I thought the plot was so interesting and fresh--while I enjoy traditional Regency stories, I really liked the look at the class structure, the desire for freedom, and the Peterloo massacre (which I'd never even heard of before). I love it when a historical romance introduces me to a new aspect of history, and this one definitely delivered on that.

I received a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

4 stars.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Ashes on the Moor

Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden

After the death of most of her family, Evangeline's aunt brings her to Smeatley, a factory town totally different from her previous home. Raised in the upper class, Evangeline now must work as a schoolteacher--despite having no experience and barely understanding the Yorkshire accent--if she is to prove herself worthy of the inheritance her grandfather has saved for her and, more importantly, to be reunited with her sister Lucy, who has been sent away to attend school elsewhere. Evangeline's aunt is cruel to her, refusing to acknowledge that they are related, constantly critical of all of Evangeline's efforts, and reluctant to give Evangeline anything that might help her succeed. Irish brick mason Dermot is the only other person she knows, and while he initially seems reluctant to speak to her any more than necessary, he comes to be her dearest friend and biggest support. Dermot's son, Ronan, is different from other children and Dermot is worried about how he'll do at school, but Evangeline seems to understand his needs and he thrives under her attention. As Evangeline tries to do her best for her students, she finds herself clashing with school administrators and must decide how to move forward if the school inspector demands she change her teaching style to the detriment of her students. Changing her style could help her efforts to be reunited with Lucy, but they could also alienate all of the students; refusing to change could cost her her job and force her to leave Smetley--and Dermot.

I absolutely loved this book. Sarah Eden is fantastic at writing snappy dialogue and incorporating humor, and I laughed so many times at Dermot's and Evangeline's interactions. Eden also does a great job at developing her characters, and I loved not only the main characters but also secondary characters. I really enjoyed the look at Victorian England and the working class--it was really interesting to learn about issues such as mill workers' housing and factory conditions in the context of the story. I also really enjoyed reading about the dialect differences and how the people of Smetley's language wasn't considered "proper" and how it was difficult for children to learn to read English that was spelled so differently from their own dialect. That was just a really interesting addition to the story--the type of addition that makes this book stand out from other historical romances. The romance is sweet, the characters are terrific, and I loved everything about the book. I've loved Sarah Eden's Regency books, but I'm excited about her venture into the Victorian Era and hope she'll be writing more books in this time period!

I read a copy via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage (Tales from Ivy Hill #2)
By Julie Klassen

After her father's death and the transfer of his estate to a male relative, Nicholas Ashford, Rachel Ashford has moved into the home of her friend Mercy Grove and Mercy's spinster aunt Matty. While she has helped with the school that Mercy and Matty run for girls, Rachel needs to find a way to support herself. With the encouragement of her friends as well as other women in the town, Rachel decides to open a subscription library with books she inherited from her father and donated books from the townspeople. As she works to get her library up and running, Rachel stumbles upon a couple of mysteries that she sets out to solve--and finds that doing so brings her in close contact with the man who broke her heart years ago. Mercy Grove wants nothing more than to expand her school; she loves her girls and her work. When the great-grandfather of one of her pupils wants to make her the child's guardian, Mercy happily accepts. However, when she tells her parents the news, they come to visit--bringing a potential suitor with them. While he might suit her in some ways, Mercy finds herself more interested in the carpenter who donated his services to install shelves in Rachel's library...but she doesn't think he returns her regard. She must figure out which path is the right one for her. Things are running well at Jane Bell's inn, and James Drake, who is establishing an inn of his own nearby, is attentive and charming, but she wonders what his true motives are and finds herself longing for the company of a different man--but she doesn't know if she'll ever see him again. I thought this book was charming. I wish I could jump into the story and visit Ivy Hill and all the characters. Ivy Hill just seems so charming, and I'm just in love with the delightful setting. I also loved the characters; I was swept up in their stories and really wanted to see how things would play out for them. I felt like they were well-developed and it was easy to empathize with their worries and fears. I will say I wish there had been more of a resolution for one character in particular--but that is just a reflection of how much I enjoyed the book, not a criticism of the way it was written. I can't wait for the third book in the series! I actually like this series more than any of Julie Klassen's other books. I read a copy via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.