Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Review: So Bright a Hope by Amber Lynn Perry




So Bright a Hope
By Amber Lynn Perry
Daughters of His Kingdom #5
Independently published, 2018


Summary

When Caroline Whitney receives word that the brother she thought was dead is in fact a prisoner of war, she is frantic to rescue him. On the way to find help, she hides from the Redcoats, but is quickly discovered by a rugged British soldier who claims she must go with him, or be tried for espionage. The world would tell her this man is the enemy, but the veiled secrets in her captor’s eyes reveal he is more than he seems. If she fails to trust, more could be endangered than her life—her heart is bound to be broken a second time.

As a double agent in the service of Washington, British Captain James Higley must keep his true convictions a secret or face being killed as a traitor. On his newest mission, he discovers a courageous woman hiding in a barn, and is forced to capture her, or both their lives will be in jeopardy. When she offers her compliance in exchange for help in finding her brother, he accepts, despite his inner warnings. He must keep his distance from this alluring Patriot, or risk revealing not only his identity, but the true feelings of his heart.

Amazon


My thoughts

Amber Lynn Perry has set her Daughters of His Kingdom series in my favorite historical era, that of the American Revolution. Not only will these stories capture your interest and entertain, but they will cause you to reflect on the values of freedom and liberty, as well as the sacrifice of brave men and women who fought for those values.

So Bright a Hope is rich in historical detail, as is Perry’s passion for this time period. I couldn’t help but be drawn to both lead characters – Captain James Higley of the British military, a man of honor, courage, and skill who is much more than he seems; and Caroline, a Patriot determined to get to her prisoner-of-war brother. Romance fans will love the chemistry between these two.

Greene says he does not believe in ghosts...
Let us change his mind.”
- James

The pace is swift, with plenty of suspense, intrigue, adventure and drama. While I might wish for the absence of the Redcoat Greene, a cunning and evil villain, he is essential to the story. But there’s also inspiration, humor, and a steady thread of hope. The author has created many memorable characters throughout the series and I especially loved how they were all connected. There’s some great twists in this story, followed by a very satisfying conclusion.

Recommended to all who enjoy early American history.

I received a copy of this book through JustRead Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

_________________________


A Pacific Northwest native, Amber Lynn Perry lives in Washington state with her husband and two daughters. She studied humanities at Portland State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree focused on art history. As a homeschooling mom, Amber spends much of her time teaching everything from Shakespeare to science.

When she isn’t crafting with her kids, making dinner or driving to dance classes, Amber is either reading or writing about her favorite time in American history. The Revolutionary era has captured her imagination from the time she was in middle school. Through her books, Amber hopes to not only give readers a glimpse into the past, but to instill in them a lasting love of liberty.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: The Marine's Return by Rula Sinara


On Tour with Prism Book Tours


The Marine's Return
(From Kenya, with Love #6)
By Rula Sinara
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
January 1st 2019 by Harlequin Heartwarming

He can’t be her hero…

But he made a promise to keep her safe

Wounded marine Chad Corallis just wants to be left alone. Until he discovers his best friend’s very pregnant widow is in danger. A dedicated nurse, she refuses to leave her Serengeti medical clinic when it’s threatened by poachers. Chad is honor-bound to protect her, but who will save him from falling for his best friend’s wife?




My Thoughts

Rula Sinara’s From Kenya, with Love series has accomplished something that very few writers are able to achieve … introduced me to a land that I knew very little about, having usually avoided books with this setting, and made me not only fall in love with its vast beauty, but care deeply about its wildlife and people. Compelling and emotionally gripping, The Marine’s Return concludes the epic six-book series that will live on in my memory and that I highly recommend.

Romance fans will be delighted with Chad and Lexi’s story, but The Marine’s Return is so much more than a typical romance. Sinara’s writing flows easily across the page, conveys rich and vivid characters and scenes, and captured me emotionally from the first page. This story focuses on two humanitarian efforts – providing much-needed medical services to outlying villages in the Serengeti and exposing the crime of poaching for the cruel, terroristic act that it is.

There’s also a complexity to the characters that makes them so real and appealing. In an effort to carry on her deceased husband’s legacy, Lexi secures a nursing job at Hope’s clinic. Chad, who lives with physical, mental, and emotional scars from Afghanistan – and also considers himself responsible for the death of Lexi’s husband – reluctantly agrees to help with clinic security until a wounded poacher is captured. I especially connected with Chad emotionally and gained a deeper appreciation for our wounded heroes.

I really can’t say enough about this story and the whole series. Each story can stand alone, but reading the series in order provides greater continuity for characters and needs of the region. While I hate to leave Kenya, I greatly anticipate Sinara’s new Turtleback Beach series that begins in June of 2019.

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Prism Book Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Other Books in the Series



About the Author


National and USA Today Bestselling author Rula Sinara lives in rural Virginia with her family and crazy but endearing pets. She loves organic gardening, attracting wildlife to her yard, planting trees, raising backyard chickens and drinking more coffee than she'll ever admit to. Rula's writing has earned her a National Readers Choice Award and HOLT Medallion Award of Merit, among other honors. You can discover more about Rula at her blog A Writer’s Rush, on Twitter, on Facebook as RulaSinaraAuthor or on her website www.RulaSinara.com, where you can also sign up for her newsletter.

Tour Giveaway


1 WINNER WILL RECEIVE:
- Autographed print copies of the first three books of the ‘From Kenya, With Love’ series – The Promise of Rain, After the Silence and Through the Storm.
- A set of three, 15x15in canvas tote bags featuring the first 3 covers of the ‘From Kenya, With Love’ series.
- A 12x18 Harlequin Heartwarming tote bag
- A ‘Teenie Beanie Baby’ (TY trademark) elephant named ‘Peanut’
- Bookmarks

Open internationally
Ends February 6, 2019

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: A Murderous Marriage by Alyssa Maxwell




A Murderous Marriage
By Alyssa Maxwell
A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery #4
Kensington, 2019


Summary

Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, are preparing for a wedding, but it may not be the happy occasion everyone hopes for . . .

Since the Great War, some family fortunes have suffered, including those of the Renshaws. Despite being the granddaughter of an earl, Julia Renshaw is under pressure to marry for money—and has settled for Gilbert Townsend, a viscount and a wealthy industrialist. He is decades older than Julia, and it’s clear to her sister Phoebe—and to Eva, who has been like a surrogate mother to the girls—that this is not a love match. Nevertheless, the wedding takes place—and in a hurry.

At the reception aboard the groom’s yacht, there appears to be tension between Gil and several guests: his best man, a fellow veteran of the Boer War; his grouchy spinster sister; and his current heir, a nervous young cousin named Ernest. The bride is also less than pleased when she discovers that her honeymoon will be more crowded than expected—with Gil’s pretty secretary, among others, coming along.

That very night, Julia pounds on her sister’s door, brandishing a bandaged hand and reporting a hot-tempered outburst on her new husband’s part. Julia is feeling doubt and regret about her hasty decision, but returns to the boat. Then the next morning, before the yacht can depart the harbor, Gil’s body is found in the water below—and Phoebe and Eva must discover who pushed him over . . . before the Renshaws’ social standing is irreparably stained by Julia’s arrest for his murder . . .

Amazon – B&N  – Kobo – GooglePlay


My thoughts

A talented new-to-me author and a period drama set in 1920s England equals many hours spent in enjoyable reading for me. The atmospheric Isle of Wright setting, lords and ladies galore, impoverished estates, arranged marriages … these elements and more combine in a murder mystery by Alyssa Maxwell that I thoroughly enjoyed. The story is well written, clean, and far more complex than the average cozy mystery. I might have understood more about recurring characters had I read the previous books, but A Murderous Marriage easily stands alone.

Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, are intriguing and likeable characters. In book #4 of A Lady and a Lady’s Maid series, both of these ladies use their respective positions in society to investigate murder by asking questions and often simply listening. Phoebe, who wanted to attend university and study law, is caring and intelligent, with life goals beyond society’s expectations for the role of a woman. Eva is smart and loyal, and I enjoyed the relationship between these two.

Family itself – family bonds and responsibility – feature prominently in A Murderous Marriage, and the story opens with the oldest Renshaw daughter preparing to marry in order to save their family estate. But it was more about legacy than in merely preserving Foxwood Hall, for the family “needed to contribute in some way to the world, and to the good of England, if the Renshaw family were to maintain any standing or dignity within society.” The relationships between the Renshaw siblings provides lots of depth – from the strain between Phoebe and Julia, to the young brother, Fox, who takes some getting used to.

Julia becomes both a bride and a widow within 24 hours, setting events in motion that go back to the recent World War I years. The murderer isn’t obvious and the suspects are plenteous, including the husband’s secretary, “a haughty package of conceit and control.” Subtle romantic elements add richness to the story, and I hope we see many more Phoebe and Eva stories.

Recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

_________________________


Alyssa Maxwell knew from an early age that she wanted to be a novelist. Growing up in New England and traveling to Great Britain fueled a passion for history, while a love of puzzles of all kinds drew her to the mystery genre.

She and her husband reside in Florida, where she loves to watch BBC productions, sip tea in the afternoons, and delve into the past. You can learn more about Alyssa and her books at www.alyssamaxwell.com.

Twitter  Facebook – Webpage – GoodReads – Mailing List


GIVEAWAY



Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Spotlight + Tour GIVEAWAY: The Scroll


The Scroll blog tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Scroll by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Scroll  
Author: Miriam Feinberg Vamosh  
Publisher: The Toby Press  
Genre: Historical Fiction  
Release Date: January 19, 2019 (re-issue) 

The Scroll is a multi-generational historical novel about the survivors of Masada. It draws from an authentic archaeological find: the divorce document of a woman named Miriam.  

This fictionalized version of Miriam's story begins in the year 73 CE on Masada's final horrific day, where enemies within and without bring about the downfall of the last Jewish fortress. Its survivors are forced to choose between nation and family, and finally, between life and death. Will they learn the lessons of Masada's downfall?  

Although it tells of events that took place two millennia ago, The Scroll sheds extraordinary light on the complexities of modern Israeli society and the dilemmas faced by Israel and its leaders today.  

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon


EXCERPT:

15 Nissan (April) 73 CE

...The sizzling flames extinguished life after life, while Miriam remained rooted to the ground in helpless fascination with the scene...

      As men and buildings undulated in the searing heat, Miriam caught a glimpse of Elazar darting among the warriors. He was shouting at some, dragging others away from their hapless attempts to put out the blaze or to pull a comrade from its grasp. A group of men was detaching itself from the inferno.
      Miriam could guess what was happening the moment she saw Elazar’s most trusted lieutenants, wait for each other, surround him and stride off toward the synagogue. These were the men, she thought grimly, who would plunge readily after Elazar into the abyss of self-destruction that was his vision of freedom.
      As soon as they disappeared from view, Miriam raced down the path that connected her quarters with the apartments on the far side of the breach and beyond them, to the synagogue. Unwittingly, she had already begun to play the part Elazar had devised for her: court historian in a kingdom of 900 ghosts.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

miriam-feinberg-vamosh-272x300

Miriam Feinberg Vamosh was born in Trenton, New Jersey and has lived in Israel for over four decades. She is the author of the best-selling Daily Life at the Time of Jesus, which has been translated into 32 languages. She is also the author of Women at the Time of the Bible, Food at the Time of the Bible, Teach it to Your Children, How Kids Lived in Bible Days, and with Eva Marie Everson, she wrote the award-winning Reflections of God’s Holy Land, a Personal Journey Through Israel. Her historical novel, The Scroll, is a moving saga about the survivors of Masada and their descendants over three generations, and is based on a real archaeological find.

CONNECT WITH MIRIAM: website | Facebook



the scroll blog tour giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will win
  • a print copy of The Scroll
  • a variety of teas from Israel
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 21, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm January 28, 2019. Open internationally except where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: An Alaskan Proposal


On Tour with Prism Book Tours


An Alaskan Proposal
(Northern Lights #4)

By Beth Carpenter
Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
January 1st 2010 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Can he teach her survival skills—

without endangering his heart?

When Sabrina Bell taps Leith Jordan for a crash course in conquering the great Alaskan outdoors, he figures he’s on safe ground. They’re polar opposites and his spectacular home state’s just a pit stop for the hotshot fashionista. So no one’s more surprised than Leith when he starts falling for her. Now he’s a man with a plan: get Sabrina to fall in love with Alaska…and, hopefully, with him.

GoodreadsAmazonB&NHarlequinKoboiBooks




My Thoughts

It was the Alaskan setting of this series that initially drew me to it, and it’s Beth Carpenter’s smooth writing, warm characters, and creative storytelling that keep me coming back to her books. Northern Lights is a great series of stories with connected characters that you get to revisit, although each story stands alone. The stories are clean and I’ve greatly enjoyed each one.

First of all, the setting is fabulous, and I love visiting Alaska through the author’s eyes. From vast landscapes, to local places and outdoor activities, to special events like fishing for king salmon, Carpenter creates a vivid sense of place and imparts some fascinating tidbits of information at the same time.

Another strength is rich characterization, with Leith and Sabrina being warm, talented, caring, and so very real. Both had been hurt in the past and were wary of romantic relationships. I made Leith’s initial mistake in thinking that Sabrina was superficial at first, for “he suspected her biggest talent was looking good” – but a world of complexity slowly unfolds. Because of Sabrina’s past, she had “discovered that security was an illusion. That counting on someone else for love and support was a gamble.”

All he had to do was teach her a few basic camping skills.
How hard could that be?

The chemistry and banter between Leith and Sabrina make for great reading, and the humor is delightful. The camping trip scenes in the beginning are downright funny, and as for the nickname Explosion Girl … just read the book to find out! And be sure to notice the shadows in the tent on the cover. That’s the two precious dogs, Tal and Boomer. I may be a cat person, but these two stole my heart – as well as the show.

There’s also a serious note that I loved, a good life lesson about finding your purpose in life. Sabrina’s design skills that have lain dormant come into their own, and Leith left a previous career to become a survival trainer. This is just a great series that I wish could go on and on, for there’s many more stories to tell. Maybe the story of Leith’s sister, Volta, will be next?

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Prism Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.



Other Books in the Series



About the Author


Once upon a time ...

when Beth Carpenter was a little girl, she read everything she could get her hands on, and entertained herself on the school bus by making up stories in her head. Not a lot has changed. She's still consuming books like M&Ms, and spends her days creating happily-ever-afters for her imaginary friends.

She lives in Alaska and Arizona with her husband and an aggressively affectionate fifty-pound lap dog. She loves to hear from readers.
Tour Schedule

January 21st:
Launch
Baroness Book Trove
It's All About the Romance
Reading Is My SuperPower
January 22nd:
underneath the covers
Book by Book
Mythical Books
The Power of Words
January 23rd:
Reading On The Edge
Declarations of a Fangirl
Thoughts of a Blonde
Hearts & Scribbles
E-Romance News
January 24th:
Rockin' Book Reviews
Kimber Li
Heidi Reads...
My Life Loves and Passion
January 25th:
Becky on Books
Remembrancy
Locks, Hooks and Books
EmpowerMoms
January 26th:
Grand Finale



Tour Giveaway


1 winner will receive a book tote, a print copy of A GIFT HORSE by Beth Carpenter, and a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Prize open to US continental residents - If winner doesn’t have a US mailing address, the alternate prize is a $25 Amazon card and two e-books (A GIFT HORSE and THE ALASKAN CATCH).

Ends January 30, 2019


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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: Sarah's Search for Treasure by Bertha Schwartz


the searchers series banner

Welcome to the circulating blog tour and giveaway for The Searchers series of middle grade historical fiction by Bertha Schwartz, hosted by JustRead tours!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Sarah's Search for Treasure (Searchers #3)
Author: Bertha Schwartz
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: December 1, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction

It’s 1849, and when Sarah’s papa and brother strike out for gold, she is stuck at home to help take care of the family and farm. This task quickly turns dangerous as the Gold Rush rises in frenzy around them. Neighbors abandon their livestock and the family must fend off half-started miners ready to steal everything they have. Sarah decides to turn her circumstances into a business—feeding the miners in exchange for gold and labor.

Sarah’s ingenuity and leadership are tested as she faces thieves, mysteries, and violent miners. Trouble closes in on all sides, and Sarah must make tough decisions on her own.

Soon Sarah learns that true treasure is not always gold, and that the greatest adventures can happen without even leaving home.

PURCHASE: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Ambassador


MY THOUGHTS

Sarah’s Search for Treasure concludes an excellent faith-based adventure series for middle grade readers, one that not only entertains, but provides opportunities for discussion and the learning of important life lessons. Each story covers different historical elements of the 1800s and would work well for personal reading or in an educational setting.

Sarah’s Search for Treasure focuses on California’s Gold Rush years and its impact on Sarah and her family – a wife and five children left behind while the father and oldest son are gone for eight months in their quest for gold. There’s danger and adventure, with some hard topics lightly touched upon – such as alcohol, thievery, lying, prostitution. I loved the focus on the home front during this time, especially the humorous situation of neighbors leaving their animals with Sarah’s family as they left. Fourteen-year-old Sarah steps up to the responsibility placed on her and is simply delightful in her diligence, courage and creativity.

This story gives a good glimpse at human nature regarding wealth, a situation that brings out both good and bad characteristics. Faith is woven throughout, with some inspirational life changes along the way – and most importantly, the realization of what true treasure is.

Recommended to middle-grade readers and their families.

I received a copy of this book through JustRead Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

 
BOOKS IN THIS SERIES





ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bertha Schwartz is a Swiss Amish transplant to the beautiful farmland of Nappanee, Indiana. She loves spending time with family and friends, including fifty-two nieces and nephews. Her hobbies include scrapbooking, sewing, and reading. Raised near the lovely Swiss city of Berne, Indiana, Swiss is her mother-language. Languages and different dialects are a special interest of hers.



the searchers series giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive:
  • a set of all 3 books in The Searchers series (US only)
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 9, 2019 and lasts through 11:59pm February 4, 2019. Void where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.



Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops - and remember to visit the tour each week for more posts.
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