Monday, June 18, 2018

BLOG TOUR: The Heart of Thornewell by Anita Stansfield


ABOUT THE BOOK

What should have been a grand adventure in Africa ends in heartbreak for Enid Hawthorne, following her husband's untimely death. Bereft, the young widow bravely boards a ship for home with precious cargo—her unborn child. She hopes to find refuge in England in the only place she can—Thornewell Hall, the estate of her late husband's family. But upon her arrival, she finds a bleak home in the depths of mourning. It is clear that hers is not the only tragedy, but Enid is unprepared for the hostility that meets her arrival.

Sebastian, Earl of Thornewell, is grief-stricken following the loss of his wife and child. The news that his brother is dead is simply more than he can take—and he knows who is to blame: his sister-in-law, Enid. So when she arrives on his doorstep, seeking asylum, he does his duty in allowing her to stay—and nothing more. Yet fate has other plans, and as they face joys and trials alongside each other, their broken hearts begin to heal. But there is a cloud over their future, for Enid harbors a secret that may drive them apart forever.

REVIEW

Anita Stansfield has a gift for writing stories full of emotion.  The characters in this book certainly experience a wide range of emotions.  Enid Hawthorne is a young, pregnant missionary's wife who has just lost her husband to disease.  But she has no time to grieve as she must make her way back to England from Africa.  She's not sure her husband's brother, the Earl of Thornewell will welcome her, he didn't like her before, but she has no where else to go as her own family disowned her years before.  But she isn't prepared for what she finds.  Thornewell is full of grief as well as the mistress died after childbirth just a few months earlier.

But grief is just the beginning of the roller coaster of emotions that both Enid and Sebastian, the Earl of Thornewell experience as they both struggle to cope with the loss of their spouses.  There is blame and anger and confusion.  Neither intended to fall in love with the other but they can't help themselves, but Sebastian's stubborn determination to blame Enid for his brother's death (without hearing about what happened) puts a wall between them that may not be climbable.

I enjoyed reading this, but frankly there were a number of occasions when I seriously wanted to let Sebastian have it because he was being so unfair and unkind to Enid.  I cheered Enid on when she stood up for herself and refused to let Sebastian get away with his behavior.  Stansfield has written another tender love story that takes both the characters and the reader on a journey through the challenges of life.

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Loving Lieutenant Lancaster by Sarah M. Eden


ABOUT THE BOOK

Orphaned as a child, Arabella Hampton was the unwanted and unloved charge of a cruel aunt and neglectful uncle. The only light in her young life was the kindness of the Jonquil family, and she clung to the childish dream of someday living with them at Lampton Park. Now, years later, that opportunity is presented to Arabella in a most unexpected way: she is to be the lady’s companion to the dowager countess. As she takes up residence at the estate, the young woman soon finds that life at the Park is far more complicated than she imagined. The lines of her position are blurred, and she is neither family nor servant. So when the countess plans a grand house party, Arabella is content to hide in the shadows. But one gentleman sees her there.

Lieutenant Linus Lancaster has retired from the navy and is not looking for love, especially when he finds himself entangled in his sisters’ scheme to trap him into finding a wife at a house party at Lampton Park. Yet amid the festivities, he’s impossibly drawn to the dowager’s quiet companion, Arabella. Their regard for each other is undeniable, but they are haunted by their pasts. Can the two find a way to bridge their worlds?

REVIEW

As always, I was thrilled to read this new Sarah Eden book.  I've really developed an attachment to the Lancaster and Jonquil families and for the two to come together in this book made me really want to read the book.  And I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  This story revolves around the romance between Linus Lancaster (the brother of Persephone, Athena, and Daphne), recently retired naval officer, and Arabella Hampton, the Dowager Lady Lampton's new companion.  Arabella grew up next door to the Jonquils and thought of the Jonquil brothers' father as her own after she was orphaned.  The poor treatment she received from her own relatives lead her to want to be part of the Jonquil family.  After her father figure died, Arabella's hope for a better life faded a bit, until she's asked to be the companion to the Dowager Lady Lampton.  But she's not sure what her position in the family is and so does her best to stay quietly out of the way.

But when Linus arrives with his sister, the Duchess of Kielder and the rest of his relatives for a house party hosted by the current Lord Lampton (Philip Jonquil), he notices Arabella despite her efforts to remain in the background.  Linus is struggling himself to discover where he belongs in relation to his family and his newfound role as the male head of the family and the family's Shropshire holdings.  He's still grieving the loss of his older brother, Evander and is reluctant to become a landowner. 

As Linus and Arabella get to know each other, they find comfort in the other's kindness and understanding.  And a growing affection between the two interferes with Linus's sister's matchmaking plans.  Additionally, Linus has been asked to help keep the Dangerous Duke of Kielder from injuring their host, Lord Lampton, so Linus has plenty to keep him busy.  Especially when sickness invades the household, and Arabella's relatives arrive to torment her.

I enjoyed all the different aspects of the story.  Not least of which was getting to know Linus and Arabella.  But I was also thrilled to meet up with characters from the past that I love.  I found the interactions between Lord Lampton and the Duke of Kielder particularly entertaining (especially since Philip is deliberately going out of his way to annoy the Duke).  There are also hints about future stories that I found intriguing.  I can't wait to read future stories about both these families.

GIVEAWAY

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Scarlet by Jen Geigle Johnson


ABOUT THE BOOK

The roads in and out of Paris are heavily guarded, but the dead have easy passage out of the city. A ragged old woman transports the coffins of the most recent victims of the guillotine and is waved on unimpeded. Later, the same crone watches five French aristocrats step out of the coffins unscathed. not beheaded, but spirited away to safety by that most elusive of spies: the Pimpernel. Or, as she's known in polite society, Lady Scarlet Cavendish.

When not assuming her secret identity as a hero of the French Revolution, Scarlet presents herself as a fashionable, featherbrained young widow flitting about London. In truth, this facade is merely a diversion designed to conceal her clandestine work in France. Among members of the doomed French aristocracy, the Pimpernel is renowned for her bravery and cunning. But when tasked with rescuing handsome Comte Matteo Durand, she faces an unprecedented challenge: she is falling in love with the man. If ever there was a time to keep her head, it is now—because in a world brimming with intrigue, she is not the only one harboring secrets. And if Scarlet doesn't take care, Madame la Guillotine may finally catch up with the Pimpernel...

REVIEW

The Scarlet Pimpernel has long been one of my favorite books.  The cleverness of the main character as well as his courage make him someone I can easily cheer for, not so much Marguerite at first but she too proves herself.  This book takes the original story and flip flops it so that the Pimpernel is a woman with a painful past determined to make up for that past by saving as many lives from Madame la Guillotine as possible.  Falling in love doesn't come into her plans anywhere, but life doesn't follow even the best laid plans.  And Lady Scarlet must decide if she can trust her heart or only her cunning in her most daring plan of all: rescuing Marie Antoinette, former Queen of France.
Johnson has done a fine job here, keeping some of the fun details from the original story while adding her own personal touch in the characters and plot twists.

GIVEAWAY

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Everything She Wants by Sarah Alva


ABOUT THE BOOK

Lucy Kappal can't figure out why she doesn't want to marry her sometimes-boyfriend, Charles. After all, he's perfect on paper: a returned missionary, elders quorum president, a professor at BYU. Instead of giving Charles an answer to his unexpected marriage proposal, she boards the next flight to London only to fall at the feet of the handsome pilot. The encounter leaves her heart pounding in a way it never has with Charles, and she becomes even more smitten when she sees the pilot again at her hotel.

Emerson James in London to deposit the last of his mother's ashes in Kensington Gardens. And after a fifteen-year absence, he is attempting to return to the Church as a way to find peace with his mother's death. But the Church's culture feels foreign, and he's about to give up on ever becoming a "good Mormon" when he meets Lucy in the hotel lobby.

Lucy and Emerson's new friendship opens their worlds to new possibilities and leaves them wanting more. But Lucy is torn over her feelings for Charles, and Emerson isn't sure how committed he can be to the Church, even knowing how important it is to Lucy. Inevitably, the realities of life force them apart. If given a second chance, will they have the courage to risk everything for a once-in-a-lifetime love?

REVIEW

Coming soon!  Hopefully my life slows down soon as well!

GIVEAWAY

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TOUR SCHEDULE

*May 4th: http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com, http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com


 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

BLOG TOUR: Love Unexpected by G.G. Vandagriff

LOVE UNEXPECTED
by G.G. Vandagriff

ABOUT THE BOOK


When the widowed Lady Marianne Deveridge is invited to spend the season in London with her friend Lady Penelope Wellingham, she has no idea that Penny and Beau have another guest: Captain Ernest Saunders, Beau’s brother. Matchmaking is definitely afoot. However, after having been married to wandering explorer, Marianne has no intention of becoming involved with a wandering sea captain.

Her first sight of Captain Saunders in all his robust masculinity brings every one of her senses to attention. She knows then that her resolve will be difficult to keep.

Almost immediately upon making the captain’s acquaintance, Marianne becomes the focus of a mysterious villain who is devising a horse racing fraud. What has she seen to endanger a deadly felon? She has no idea.

Captain Saunders makes it his business to keep Marianne safe, and the two of them are brought closer by their investigation into the dark side of horse racing. Still, she thinks she is managing to resist his charms.

It is not until her very survival is at stake that she realizes how interwoven their lives have become. Will her heart ever recover once she watches another ship put out to sea?

REVIEW

Coming Soon!

LINKS

Buy link: http://a.co/32STpYz

TOUR SCHEDULE

April 30th - Peggy Urry / Bookworm Lisa
May 1st - Min Reads and Reviews / Literary Time Out (spotlights)
May 4th - The Bibliophile Files / Katie’s Clean Book Collection

GIVEAWAY

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: A Highlander's Hidden Heart by Julie Coulter Bellon


ABOUT THE BOOK

From the Timeless Romance Singles line comes the new novella A HIGHLANDER'S HIDDEN HEART by Julie Coulter Bellon:

Despite being the daughter of a duke, shy Elizabeth Barrington becomes a target for the cruel whisperings of the ton. She would rather stay at home with her sketchbook indefinitely than give them more to gossip about, but when a dashing new earl arrives, everything changes. His Scottish brogue and easy acceptance draw her in and she finds herself falling in love. Before she can act on her feelings, however, her father promises her to a man who hides his cruel behavior behind a mask of civility. With her future at stake, Elizabeth must make a choice—do her duty or choose a love that could cost her everything.

Alec Ramsay never expected to inherit an earldom or settle in England, but he leaves behind his life in the Scottish Highlands and comes to London. After meeting his new neighbor, the beautiful and soft-spoken Lady Elizabeth, Alec can’t wait to further their acquaintance. It doesn’t take long in her company, however, for Alec to see he’s in danger of losing his heart. But when long-held prejudices rear their ugly head, Alec is caught between doing what is right and his new role as an English gentleman. Has he finally found the love he’s waited his whole life for, only to lose her in the web of unfair judgments and proper English traditions? 


JULIE'S LINKS




REVIEW
COMING SOON!

TOUR SCHEDULE


GIVEAWAY

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: My Dearest Enemy by Jennifer Moore


ABOUT THE BOOK

Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, 1812
 
Struggling alone on the family farm, Abigail Tidwell knows exactly who is to blame for her hardships: the Americans. If it weren't for their part in the war, her father and brothers would be home rather than fighting abroad. But no amount of antipathy could have prepared her for the shocking sight of a wounded American soldier on her property, a man in dire need of her help. Grudgingly, Abigail tends to the soldier's injuries and anticipates the satisfaction of turning him over to the authorities once he is healed. But fate has other plans.

Captain Emmett Prescott remembers little of the ambush on his men by a group of Shawnee Indians and even less about how he arrived in the unfamiliar barn. After being nursed back to health by beautiful, if reluctant, Abigail, Emmett would do anything to save the men he left behind—including forcibly enlisting Abigail's help. Soon, Abigail finds herself caught between two countries at war. And as her attraction for Emmett grows, her conflicted heart engages in its own silent battle. But when she is accused of treason for her actions, her survival rests in the hands of the very man she once considered her enemy.

REVIEW

While I haven't finished the book yet, I am immensely enjoying it so far.  Abigail and Emmett are both interesting characters and their attraction certainly cares a great deal of tension considering their situation (opposite sides in a war). One of the things that I enjoy most about Jennifer Moore's books is her attention to detail, everything from clothing worn to doctoring details shines through in such a fascinating way.  But it's her characters that really capture me every time I pick up one of her books.  I can't help but care about what happens to them and how.

GIVEAWAY

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TOUR SCHEDULE

*April 20th: https://brightlystreet.com/, http://gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com/, http://www.iamareader.com/, http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com/, http://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/, http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com/, http://sweetlymadejustforyou.com/blog/


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Sweet Mercy by Donald S. Smurthwaite


ABOUT THE BOOK

What do you remember, what is important, what do you simply let go, sand piling on sand, until only the important events and memories are left?

Much to the delight and good fortune of Arthur and Mary Bell, they were the proud parents of four strapping sons. Such a stroke of luck was vital to their survival on the Idaho plain, where every able-bodied young man was desperately needed to work the land. So when Mary gave birth to a baby girl, the family was befuddled. But they suffered no distress at the loss of another boy to help around the farm—they felt only absolute delight in their sweet Mercy May.

Now, a lifetime later, Mercy recounts with poignant fondness the tales of her childhood in her rugged Idaho town. Experience with the Bell family, friends, and neighbors and devastation of the Great Depression and the impact of years of war. From a dedicated farmer hit hard by despair to a good-hearted reverend to the gentle brothers who brought light during the darkest of times, each individual's story weaves a vital thread into the rich tapestry of one woman's incredible life.

REVIEW

To be honest, I wasn't really into this book at first.  It seemed kind of slow and the writing felt different.  But as I kept reading, I realized that this book isn't so much about Mercy May, although she's the main character, as it is about the community where she grew up during the Great Depression.  The story switches back and forth between the present day, where a 93-year-old Mercy May lives in a retirement community she calls a resort, and her childhood experiences of the past.  But along with telling Mercy May's story, the reader also gets to know her neighbors, her teacher, and her family.  The book really feels like the story of a time long ago when communities were full of people who actually knew and helped each other, rather than the individualistic societies of today.  As I continued to read I couldn't help but be touched by the struggles of these people on the Idaho plains.  Life was a struggle before the Great Depression, and become even more of one afterword.  But those who stayed still found a way to help each other, despite their own suffering and pain.  I couldn't help but be touched by their caring acts of kindness despite having very little themselves.  The book almost reads like a collection of short stories about the history of a hard time and place that was still home for those who lived there.

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