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


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.


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.


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, where you can also sign up for her newsletter.

Tour Giveaway

- 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


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.


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

Twitter  Facebook – Webpage – GoodReads – Mailing List


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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.


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:
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
Locks, Hooks and Books
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!


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


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.



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


(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.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: Murder of Ravens by Paty Jager

Murder of Ravens
By Paty Jager
Gabriel Hawke #1
Windtree Press, 2019


The ancient Indian art of tracking is his greatest strength…

And also his biggest weakness.

Fish and Wildlife State Trooper Gabriel Hawke believes he’s chasing poachers. However, he comes upon a wildlife biologist standing over a body that is wearing a wolf tracking collar.

He uses master tracker skills taught to him by his Nez Perce grandfather to follow clues on the mountain. Paper trails and the whisper of rumors in the rural community where he works, draw Hawke to a conclusion that he finds bitter.

Arresting his brother-in-law ended his marriage, could solving this murder ruin a friendship?


My thoughts

Murder of Ravens is a fresh and unique mystery by new-to-me author Paty Jager. This traditional mystery, book #1 in a new series, has good character depth and features a strong Native American character. I can’t explain why, but from the time I read my first Tony Hillerman novel many years ago, I’ve been drawn to mysteries with Native American lead characters, and there’s not a lot to choose from. I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written story and am eager to read more of Jager’s writing.

Murder of Raven’s Gabriel Hawke – a Nez Perce/ Cayuse American Indian – is well-drawn, smart, and likeable. I found his gift for tracking fascinating. This skill that his grandfather taught him is a natural fit for his job as an Oregon Fish and Wildlife State Trooper. In a time where most investigations rely on CSI-type science, Gabriel’s keen awareness of his surroundings and attention to detail are refreshing. In fact, when it comes to technology, his digital camera, radio, and cell phone are all that he uses while on duty.

Another interesting facet to Gabriel’s character is that, in the not-too-distant past, his marriage fell apart because he had to arrest his brother-in-law, and a similar situation threatens to come into play here. I also liked how, rather than being all about the murder’s identity, the focus is more on the way things come together at the end, with a surprise or two along the way.

I thoroughly enjoyed Murder of Ravens – some mild profanity being the only negative – and hope for many more books in this series. I also hope to read Jager’s highly-rated Shandra Higheagle series.


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


Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 35 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them, along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her Shandra Higheagle mystery series has been a runner-up in the RONE Award Mystery category, and a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier.