“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Jane Austen and Tea? Yes please!--"Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility" Review by Hillary Manton Lodge

I was so excited when I first heard about this book!  I am a huge Jane Austen fan.  My husband's go-to gift for me is Jane Austen paraphernalia.  Plus I am a big tea drinker.  To top it off my favorite of Jane Austen's works (at the moment) is "Sense and Sensibility," and "Jane of Austin" is a retelling of that book.  Even though I don't normally read a lot of contemporary novels, I knew I would love this one, which I did!

 "Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility" by Hillary Manton Lodge is a modern day retelling of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility."  I loved seeing the parallels between the two books as I was reading.  Ms. Lodge also includes nods to some of Austen's other works, which any "Janeite" will appreciate.  The main character, Jane, correlates to the character of Marianne from the original “Sense and Sensibility.”  It is really fascinating to see this story told from Jane's perspective, whereas in the original, it is mostly told from her sister’s perspective.  Jane is very witty and sarcastic.  The story sometimes switches to the perspective of Callum, one of our heroes.  A lot of people don't like these characters in the original "Sense and Sensibility."  I think Ms. Lodge gives readers a fresh take on the story by offering things from their points of view and fleshing out their characters a bit more.  I was certainly rooting for these two characters in the story!

 Another element of the story that makes it very interesting and unique is the tea.  The main characters make tea and own a tea shop.  There are recipes throughout the book that correlate with the story and what the characters are making.  I really enjoy hearing about the tea making process, specifically how the main character harvests the leaves and makes the different blends.  Tea making is a real art.  The quotes at the beginning of most of the chapters were also a fun addition.

 Content and Rating: I give this book 4.5 stars.  It is a clean read.  I would specifically recommend this book to fans of Jane Austen, retellings, and women's fiction. 

 Click here for more info and to purchase the book: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/books/538834/jane-of-austin-by-hillary-manton-lodge/

About the Author:

Hillary Manton Lodge is the author of Plain Jayne, a Carol Award Finalist, and Simply Sara, an ECPA bestselling book. A graduate of the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism, Hillary discovered the world of cuisine during her internship at Northwest Palate magazine. A storyteller at heart, in her free time she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, watching foreign films, and exploring new walking trails. She and her husband live in Portland, Oregon.  Click here for more info on the author. 

Author Website: http://www.hillarymantonlodge.com/

 Click here to read the first chapter

I want to thank Hillary Manton Lodge, Waterbrook Press, and Blogging for Books for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"Freedom's Price" Review by Christine Johnson--A Book Filled with Mystery and Secrets!

"Freedom's Price" by Christine Johnson surprised me--in a good way! I am unfamiliar with Ms. Johnson’s other work, but after reading “Freedom’s Price”, the third book in her “Keys of Promise” series, I now really want to go back and read the first two books! I always have lower expectations going into a book that I don't know much about, so I was very happy when I enjoyed this so much!

Even though this is the third book in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. You do meet some characters from past books, and seeing tidbits of these character's stories left me intrigued and wanting more. The history in this book is great and I loved learning about this time period in the Southern United States in 1856. I find the story regarding the wreckers and wrecking licenses fascinating. I didn't know there are such things as "wrecking licenses" and have always have seen wrecking in other books as an illegal activity. There are also a lot of nautical and boat references and I can tell the author knows her way around a ship. It is fascinating to see the differences in the customs and social statuses between the British and Americans (our heroine, Catherine, is from Britain and travels to the Southern United States) and to see slavery from Catherine's viewpoint (as slavery is already outlawed in Great Britain). I always enjoy learning about history while reading an enjoyable story!

 I also think the characters are very relatable and Catherine is a strong female protagonist. The story switches back and forth between Catherine and Tom's (our hero) points of view. When Catherine is left alone due to hard circumstances, she doesn't take the easy way out by marrying for comfort and money. Instead, she decides to join her mother's family in America (she hasn't had contact with this family for many years and doesn't even know how they will receive her). I admire how she sacrifices the small amount of money she receives from her inheritance to give to her tenants, as they will be losing their jobs and she wants to make sure they are taken care of. Catherine and Tom both have a strong faith. I love how they pray and talk about trusting in God and His plan. Tom quotes Scripture when he's in a tough situation and doesn't know what to do, asking for God's direction. There's also some great verbal sparring between Catherine and Tom that keeps me smiling!

 This story left me pleasantly surprised. I love the concept of a run-down plantation surrounded by mystery and secrets!

 Link to purchase this book: http://amzn.to/2sZFrKA

 Link to Christine Johnson's website: http://www.christineelizabethjohnson.com/

 Content and Rating: I give this story 4 out of 5 stars. It is a clean read.

 I want to thank Christine Johnson and Revell for the complimentary advanced copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

An Adventure Filled Next Installment to the Ashford Chronicles!--"True As Fate" Review by Laurie Alice Eakes

Goodreads Blurb:  Lady Chloe Ashford detests going to balls, loathes social pretense, and finds the very idea of hunting for a husband obscene. But she has an even more scandalous secret: she once helped an American—the enemy—escape from Dartmoor Prison. Now it’s three years later, and Ross Trenerry is back—and in trouble again. So is her traitorous heart. He doesn’t know she’s the one responsible for sending him to a second prison, and she has no intention of telling him.
A former privateer, Ross’s legendary luck has finally run out. Only one woman lies between him and freedom. He desperately needs Chloe’s help to prove he hasn’t committed treason, but he’s distracted by the passion that flares between them.
They set out on a cross-country adventure together to prove Ross’s innocence, but peril soon dogs their heels. As they race to reach their appointed rendezvous on time, they must fight their growing attraction and focus on discovering who is behind this deadly plot. Will they finally admit their love and put the pieces together before it’s too late?
 My Review:  I have been reading books by this author for many years and always look forward to her next book releasing. The first book in the "Ashford Chronicles," "My Enemy, My Heart" is very exciting and left me wanting more. I looked forward to Chloe's story! This book, "True as Fate," is the second book in the series and takes the reader on quite the adventure!
"True as Fate" tells the story of Chloe, the sister of the main character from the first book in the series. I would definitely recommend reading the series in order.  The story is told from two different points of view. Chloe's view is the main focus, but once in a while the author switches to Ross's point of view (Chloe’s love interest and the other main character). This story of Ross and Chloe and their adventures together is full of rich historical detail and descriptions. Ms. Eakes obviously knows a lot about the Regency time period. She adds little tidbits here and there to really make you feel like you are transported back in time. She does use some terms that readers not familiar with the Regency era may not know, but they are used in a context where one can get the gist of what Ms. Eakes is talking about (e.g. blunderbuss and attaché). She also has a scene on a boat with a lot of ship and nautical terms that history buffs will really appreciate.
The main characters in this book are supporting characters in "My Enemy, My Heart." It is also fun to see the two main characters from "My Enemy, My Heart" make an appearance and have a roll in Ross and Chloe's story. Chloe, our heroine, is a strong female character who defies the norms of society. She loves adventure and can hold her own with any man. She drags a man to safety with the armed enemy in pursuit, escapes out of a window and climbs across a roof with an untreated wound, and she often carries a pistol. She's not afraid to help Ross even if it puts her in danger and knows it will possibly ruin her reputation.
This book is filled with mystery and adventure, privateers and possible traitors on every side. Who is guilty and who is innocent? It is an exciting read filled with secrets and travel across breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. I especially enjoy how many chapters end in cliffhangers or intense moments. It has great characters.
Finally, I would want some of my readers to be aware that this book would be on the edgier side, content wise. I did highly enjoy it and would recommend to those who love the Regency time period and history buffs.
 My Rating and Content:  I give this book 4.5 stars. It is a clean read per say, but does have some more "edgy" content. As stated above, I truly enjoyed this novel!
Link to Laurie Alice Eakes's website: http://lauriealiceeakes.com/

I want to thank Laurie Alice Eakes and Waterfall Press for the complimentary advanced copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"Where Rainbows End" by AnneMarie Brear Book Blast!


Where Rainbows End by AnneMarie Brear

Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Choc Lit
eBook; ASIN: B071P7KBH6

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Romance/Western
Can she hold on to her dreams…?
It’s 1850 and the Noble family have travelled to the other side of the world to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England.
Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plan for an outback farm reality, although her ambition is frowned upon by a society that has very set ideas about a woman’s place…
Pippa learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush, sometimes with devastating consequences. And when unfortunate circumstance leads to Pippa tending the farm alone, it is the friendship of neighbouring estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through.
Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa’s dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family’s land, even if it means losing everything else…
“A compelling story of a headstrong woman who defies the traditional female role and forages a successful life through hard work and a strong vision. Excellent descriptions of the outback and the hardships of life in Australia in the 1850’s.” – Amazon Review

You can purchase Where Rainbows End in eBook via:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chapters | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo

About the Author

AnneMarie has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination of what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, genealogy, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate – not always in that order!
AnneMarie grew up in Australia but now lives in the UK.
For more information please visit AnneMarie Brear’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, May 29

Tuesday, May 30

Wednesday, May 31

Thursday, June 1

Friday, June 2

Saturday, June 3

Sunday, June 4

Monday, June 5

Tuesday, June 6

Wednesday, June 7

Thursday, June 8

Friday, June 9