Tuesday, December 5, 2017

My Review: Lady Jayne Disappears

"Too often we cut away essential elements of ourselves to fit into a mold and discover those elements were vital to who we are, and our improvements have only made us more ordinary." - Nathaniel Droll

When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death.

About the Author:
Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets.

My Review: 4 stars
I have been so looking forward to reading this debut novel by Joanna Davidson Politano!  I obviously had no idea what to expect and can happily say that I quite enjoyed it!  I was intrigued by the idea behind the story - a young woman searching for answers to finish her father’s novel and finally know the truth herself.  The story drew me in from the first and kept me up until the early hours of the morning, having to know how it was going to end!

Ms. Politano has a very unique writing style that I found very engrossing!  I’ve not often read stories that alternate between a first person perspective and another character’s observations and I have found I really enjoy it.  I knew exactly what Aurelie was thinking, while at the same time, I was anticipating the story switching to Silas’ view so I could know what his thoughts on the matter.  I relished getting to know these characters and found myself forgetting at times that they were fictional.  Aurelie is so honest and straightforward, without the air of sophistication her family clings to so thoroughly.  I did find her a bit immature at times, though based on her upbringing and the age of her character, it actually suited her.  That didn’t stop me from wanting to shake some sense into her a time or two, though.  But, I think that made her even more realistic.  She shares much deeper thoughts in conversations with Silas, and found herself simply wanting to fit in with her vapid relations.   

I also really enjoyed the mystery surrounding Lynhurst Manor and the illusive Lady Jayne.  Ms. Politano definitely kept me on my toes, with the various twists and turns, until I wasn’t at all sure what would happen next!  The ending actually really surprised me, something that doesn’t happen very often, though I had figured out one clue beforehand.  I did find the story a bit disjointed at times, losing several days between chapters, or simply a change in scenery that confused me for a few sentences.  Also, I’m no historian by any stretch of the word, but I did notice a couple things that seemed a bit out of place in the time period - mainly just some words and thoughts that seemed rather modern for the setting.  Though, I don’t believe I’ve read any other books set in England during the mid 1800s, so it could very well just be me.

Overall, I found this story to be incredibly engrossing and didn’t wanted to put it down!  With a mystery that kept me guessing and characters that became dear friends, I would highly recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction with a twist.  I also can’t want to learn more about this author’s next book!

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and check out my blog!  I so appreciate your time!  If you'd like to learn more about this book, as always, links are below!  And, if you're thinking about purchasing a copy, it's currently on sale on Christian Book for $7.49!  I think that's about it, for today.  :)

Have a lovely day!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Charming The Troublemaker giveaway and blog tour

Troublemaking never looked so good…

When Dr. Alex Murdock is demoted to a university in rural Virginia, the last thing he expects to find is a future. But country charm never looks as good as it does on Rainey Mitchell.

Rainey Mitchell doesn’t need a high-class flirt in her wounded world, but trouble and temptations wafts off the new professor as strong as his sandalwood-scented cologne.

When circumstances thrust them together to save her tutoring clinic, can the troublemaker find the hero inside and encourage the reticent Rainey to open her heart again.

You can purchase a copy here 

About the Author:

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, releases in April 2016. You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, or Instagram.

The lovely Pepper is hosting a fun giveaway to celebrate the release of her new book!  If you follow her on social media, you may have seen the various "troublemaker" photos - they all looked rather suspicious, in my opinion.  ;)
Following on in the same vein, she's got a fun giveaway going on, including a "Troublemaker" Snickers bar - highly appropriate!  Chocolate with a nutty personality! :)  She is also giving away (pictured below) a paperback copy of A Twist of Faith, a mug from Blue Ridge Parkway, one driftwood scented candle, and one mango scented candle!  

Be sure to click below to enter and leave me a comment to earn an extra 9 entries!  Also, check out the other tour stops listed to gain even more entries! 

Blog Stops:

By The Book, November 14

Just the Write Escape, November 14

Moments Dipped in Ink, November 15

Fiction Aficionado, November 16

autism mom, November 16

Inklings and Notions, November 17

Faithfully Bookish, November 18

Radiant Light, November 18

The Power of Words, November 19

Cordially Barbara, November 20

Red Headed Book Lady, November 20

Smiling Book Reviews, November 20

Kat’s Corner Books, November 21

A Greater Yes, November 21

100 Pages per Hour, November 22

Splashes of Joy, November 22

Carpe Diem, November 23

Bookworm Mama, November 23

Daysong Reflections, November 25

Rachel Scott McDaniel, November 25

Remembrancy, November 26

Karen Sue Hadley, November 27

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Out Of the Ordinary, blog tour and giveaway!

Working as a paid companion may be quite commonplace, but Miss Gertrude Cadwalader’s eccentric employer makes her job unpredictable, to say the least. She finds herself carrying out an array of highly unusual tasks, including wearing peculiar outfits and returning items the woman pilfered. But when the wealthy Mrs. Sinclair catches Gertrude sneaking around the Sinclair yacht with some of the missing items in her possession, she immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion.

Shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair is caught in the middle of a misunderstanding between his mother and Gertrude, but he can’t help coming to his friend’s defense. Even as he hopes their friendship might become something more, Harrison is unprepared for the outlandish escapades that seem to follow the lovely, anything-but-ordinary Gertrude at every turn.

You can purchase a copy here.

About the Author:
Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

My Thoughts:

Jen Turano is without a doubt one of my very favorite authors and I was so excited to start this book!  Her books are the ones I pick up on bad days when I need a smile and something to lift my spirits.  She just makes me laugh!  And I love it!  Whenever I start one of her stories, I know I’m in for an adventure and this one is certainly no exception!  She had me from the first couple pages to the turn of the final one, laughing and smiling, and falling in love with these dear quirky people.

As always, Ms. Turano had me in stitches from the very beginning!  I love her writing style, how she can take something that sounds very mundane, and make it so very humorous!  The descriptions, the wording, the historical details, the way she chooses to color in the scenes with such unique characters - I simply adore it!  And I was so glad that several of the characters from the previous book were back in this one!  I so liked Harrison from “Behind the Scenes” and have been looking forward to reading his story.  I was also quite curious to learn Gertrude and Mrs. Davenport’s stories and what they had to share surprised me!  Before I make this story sound like complete fluff, it’s not.  It does touch on some heavier topics, such as depression and struggling marriages, but holds on to much of its lighter notes even within those moments.

Harrison Sinclair is a man with no sense of style, who sees the world differently than almost everyone else.  I so enjoyed his sense of chivalry, his kindness, his desire to do what is best for Gertrude, even when he’s completely off the mark.  This story didn’t seem so much to be his, as Gertrude’s.  Though he is most definitely the “hero” in more ways than one, she is the one with the most story to tell.  I so enjoyed getting to know her, as well.  She’s also very kindhearted, though she doesn’t always see herself that way.  She’s brave and quirky, and very forthright, something that makes for some humorous conversations.  I loved seeing her come into herself more and go from seeing herself as simply “ordinary” to maybe becoming someone quite “extraordinary.”  And the ending!  I normally don’t care for endings, because it means the story is ending quite rapidly, but in this case, I’ll have to make an exception.  It was perfect!
Overall, if you’re looking for a light-hearted tale filled with laughter inducing moments and a bit of a mystery, then I would highly recommend this book!

Now, for the reason you've made it this far down the page:  Giveaway info!  To celebrate the blog tour and the release of Out Of the Ordinary, Bethany House is graciously giving away a grand prize of two of Jen's novels and a $20 Starbucks gift card!

Click the form below to enter and be sure to leave me a comment (do you have a bad day go to book/author?) to gain 9 extra entries and check out the other sites listed below for even more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks so much for stopping by!  Have a lovely day and a Happy Thanksgiving!

Blog Stops

Vicky sluiter, November 11

Bookworm Mama, November 11

cherylbbookblog, November 11

Book by Book, November 11

Lane Hill House, November 12

C Jane Read, November 12

The Power of Words, November 12

Smiling Book Reviews, November 13

Moments Dipped in Ink, November 13

Faithfully Bookish, November 14

Bigreadersite, November 14

Mommynificent, November 14

All 4 and About Books, November 14

Just the Write Escape, November 15

allofakindmom, November 15

Pause for Tales, November 16

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 16

Neverending Stories, November 17

Have A Wonderful Day, November 17

Christian Bookaholic, November 17

A Reader’s Brain, November 18

Karen Sue Hadley, November 18

The April Journal, November 18

Cafinated Reads, November 18

Bibliophile Reviews, November 19

Blogging With Carol, November 19

Mary Hake, November 19

Baker Kella, November 20

Rachel’s Back Talk, November 20

Texas Book-aholic, November 20

Joy of Reading, November 21

Remembrancy, November 21

Splashes of Joy, November 22

amandainpa, November 22

A Greater Yes, November 23

Radiant Light, November 24

Friday, November 17, 2017

My Review: Blind Spot

"Love defied logic, defied hatred, defied division." - Kate Maxwell

FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life--but isn't sure exactly what he's chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that "the wrath is coming," Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She's sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there's anyone who can help him, it's Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can't deny, and she's pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell--and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming "wrath" that could cost thousands their lives.

About the Author:
Dani Pettrey is the bestselling author of the Chesapeake Valor series and the Alaskan Courage series and winner of the 2014 Daphne du Maurier award for Inspirational Novel, the 2014 Christian Retailing's Best Award for Suspense, and the 2013 Holt Medallion for First Novel. She and her husband reside in the D.C. Metro area. She can be found online at www.danipettrey.com.

My Review: 5 stars!
This is the third book in Dani Pettrey’s Chesapeake Valor series and I have been impatiently awaiting Declan and Tanner’s book!  I have so enjoyed the other two books in the series, so of course, I had high expectations and I can happily say Blind Spot surpassed them all!  

One of my very favorite things about Ms. Pettrey’s books is how she weaves them together.  Though this book technically could be read alone, it makes so much more sense if the others are read first, and I definitely have to read the last one, now!  I love how the characters’ lives intertwine, continuing from the last book as though little time has passed.   I love the camaraderie and relationship not only between the hero and heroine, but the others in the group as well.  These four friends are always there for one another, regardless of the hour of day or what might be going on in their own lives.  This also plays out in the dual mystery, something else I greatly enjoyed.  I appreciated reading the story from several different perspectives and trying to piece together the answers with them.  It also definitely increased the suspense, having it jump from one person and mystery to another.  I do confess that there were a couple times I had a bit of trouble keeping up with everything that was going on and all of the new names!  But the author did an excellent job of connecting the dots for me and reminding me who was who, without seeming repetitive.

I definitely enjoyed getting to know Declan and Tanner better!  Their story actually starts in the first book in the series, “Cold Shot,” and has continued through this one.  I so enjoyed seeing these two stubborn people finally find their footing and decide that yes, a relationship was in the works.  There are some sweet moments between them, a couple rather steamy ones, and for sure some crazy ones as they chased a terrorist plot across the country.  Another thing I appreciate about Ms. Pettrey’s writing style is how she is able to weave a romance through a mystery plot, without having either feel neglected or overwhelmed by the other.  She strikes a fine balance between the two that has me both smiling and cheering them on as they chase the bad guys.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this story and am anxiously awaiting the fourth (and by my understanding, last) book in the series!  Especially after that cliff-hanger!

As always, thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!  I'm thinking about occasionally adding a question for discussion that pertains to the stories I'm reviewing . . . any thoughts?  Is that something you'd enjoy?  Would you take the time to answer it here, or even just mentally?  I would love some feedback!  Please and thank you!

Have a lovely day!

P.S. Purchase links are below, along with one for GoodReads, in case you'd care to add it to a shelf or something.  :)