Thursday, February 2, 2023

A Winter at the White Queen Review with Celebrate Lit

 


About the Book

Book: A Winter at the White Queen

Author: Denise Weimer

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: January 3, 2023

In the world of the wealthy, things are never quite as they appear.

Ellie Hastings is tired of playing social gatekeeper—and poor-relation companion—to her Gibson Girl of a cousin. But her aunt insists Ellie lift her nose out of her detective novel long enough to help gauge the eligibility of bachelors during the winter social season at Florida’s Hotel Belleview. She finds plenty that’s mysterious about the suave, aloof Philadelphia inventor, Lewis Thornton. Why does he keep sneaking around the hotel? Does he have a secret sweetheart? And what is his connection to the evasive Mr. Gaspachi, slated to perform at Washington’s Birthday Ball?

Ellie’s comical sleuthing ought to put Lewis out, but the diffident way her family treats her smashes a hole in his normal reserve. When Florence Hastings’s diamond necklace goes missing, Ellie’s keen mind threatens to uncover not only Lewis’s secrets, but give him back hope for love.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

North Georgia native Denise Weimer has authored a dozen traditionally published novels and a number of novellas—historical and contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and time slip. Having served three years as managing editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ two historical imprints, as well as a freelance editor, she’s helped other authors reach their publishing dreams. A wife and mother of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.

 

More from Denise

Enter the Age of Wonder …   

I like to think of the time period between the Gilded Age and WWI as the Age of Wonder. New ideas and inventions swept society in waves while those who wanted to preserve the old ways tried in vain to hold back the tide. Opportunity and advancement flowed as railroads and communications linked America’s coasts, motorcars allowed individual freedom of travel, and companies flourished following Reconstruction.

 

My goal was to capture this excitement and promise in A Winter at the White Queen. You follow my heroine, Ellie, and her uncle and his family for their fashionable winter 1910 season at the Hotel Belleview in Clearwater, Florida. Ellie is more than “the poor relation companion” to her younger cousin Ava. She’s also a trusted friend, and like the heroines in her female detective novels, a budding sleuth—sniffing out promising matrimonial candidates for Ava at the bequest of Aunt Florence. Little does she expect to stumble into her own romance—and a mystery surrounding a certain intriguing entrepreneur.

 

Ellie Hastings is tired of playing social gatekeeper—and poor-relation companion—to her Gibson Girl of a cousin. But her aunt insists Ellie lift her nose out of her detective novel long enough to help gauge the eligibility of bachelors during the winter social season at Florida’s Hotel Belleview. She finds plenty that’s mysterious about the suave, aloof Philadelphia inventor, Lewis Thornton. Why does he keep sneaking around the hotel? Does he have a secret sweetheart? And what is his connection to the evasive Mr. Gaspachi, slated to perform at Washington’s Birthday Ball?

Ellie’s comical sleuthing ought to put Lewis out, but the diffident way her family treats her smashes a hole in his normal reserve. But when Florence Hastings’ diamond necklace goes missing, Ellie’s keen mind threatens to uncover not only Lewis’s secrets, but give him back hope for love.

Lewis’s work allowed me to sprinkle White Queen with clever inventions that spark Ellie’s curious nature. Among them are:

 

Temperature-compensated balance wheels, which Lewis invented as a teen. The backstory of how he sold his invention to the railroad, allowing them to synchronize all their watches, provides an unexpected link to uncover between Lewis and Ellie.

 

The cinématographe, patterned after Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope but intended by the Lumière brothers to show films to a wider audience. Used in the show at Washington’s Birthday Ball to end the season, the cinématographe aids in the culmination of the mystery of Florence’s missing diamond necklace.

 

The magical orange tree, which not only blossomed but appeared to grow actual oranges, was a real mechanical invention featured at Ava’s birthday party by The Great Gaspachi.

 

The Hydro-Vacu. I couldn’t resist including this titter-worthy, real-life machine, used, of course, by the appearance-conscious Aunt Florence. After applying a bleaching cold cream or “tissue food” to ensure plump cheeks, the massaging “Depurator” was rotated slowly over the face. How long until that idea makes a comeback?

 

As fun and whimsical as A Winter at the White Queen may be, our characters have some real growth to do … if they can get past the social expectations and masks, the suspicions and past hurts. I hope you’ll brighten your winter days by joining them at the White Queen.

Blog Stops

Book Looks by Lisa, January 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 20

An Author’s Take, January 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 21

deb’s Book Review, January 22

Christina’s Corner, January 22

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 23

Connie’s History Classroom, January 24

Betti Mace, January 25

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 25

Texas Book-aholic, January 26

Paula’s Pad of Inspiration, January 26

Bigreadersite, January 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 28 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, January 28

Cover Lover Book Review, January 29

Holly’s Book Corner, January 29

Rebecca Tews, January 30

Blogging With Carol, January 30

Back Porch Reads, January 31

Simple Harvest Reads, January 31 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, February 1

Blossoms and Blessings, February 1

Pause for Tales, February 2

To Everything There Is A Season, February 2

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Denise is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Enter HERE


My Thoughts

 This book has a beautiful cover! I was really curious about this story because of the setting and the time period. The book starts out rather entertaining as Miss Ellie tries to figure out a certain gentleman. The book takes the reader on an adventure that is unexpected. I enjoyed some of the dialogue and was interested in the mystery aspect but this was a slow read for me. The first part of the book had me hooked but by middle it was a struggle for me to be totally invested. The historical aspect was interesting and many people will love this book it just wasn't my favorite. It is a pretty short read and if you enjoy history and a twinge of mystery you might love this story! I do look forward to reading more by this author! 


Three Stars. 


" I received this book from the publisher for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Everything Is Just Beginning Review



About the Book

Michael Sullivan is a talented lyricist and a decent guitarist, but since he was kicked out of his band (and his apartment), he's not sure he'll ever get a record deal. Living with his loser uncle in a beat-up trailer and working a dead-end job, Michael has little reason to hope for a better future. Until the invitation for a swanky New Year's Eve party shows up in the mailbox. It's for his uncle, with whom he shares his name, but his uncle is going out of town . . .

On the effervescent night of December 31, 1989--as the Berlin Wall is coming down, the Soviet Union is inching toward democracy, and anything seems possible--Michael will cross paths with the accomplished and enigmatic young heir to a fading musical dynasty, forever altering both of their futures.

Award-winning novelist Erin Bartels enchants with this story of two lonely souls who have exactly what the other one needs--if they could simply turn their focus from what is ending to what is just beginning. (Goodreads)





My Thoughts

I was intrigued by this story idea. Erin Bartels tends to write very unique stories and this was no exception. She took a lot of time to write about music and really set the stage for the time period that this book is written. The first few chapters held my interest as I was curious where Michael would find himself. After that I struggled a bit to be completely captivated by this story. Not much happens within the pages and the story line moves terribly slow. There is friendship and unique family relationships that I thought well written but aside from that this was not the book for me. I am sure many will enjoy this story!

Three stars. 

"I received this book from Revell for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review." 












Monday, January 23, 2023

The Heir's Predicament Review with Celebrate Lit


 

About the Book

Book: The Heir’s Predicament

Author: Lorri Dudley

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: January 10, 2023

 

He controls the answers to her past and future, but she threatens his inheritance and his heart.

Maggie Prescott may not know her real name, the circumstances of her birth, or her father’s identity, but based on a song her shipwrecked birthmother taught her before she died, Maggie’s certain the answers lie on the island of Antigua. Unbeknownst to her beloved adopted family, she sends her maid to finishing school in her stead and convinces her uncle, Captain Anthony Middleton, to sail her to the Leeward Islands. Time is of the essence to discover her heritage before the next family gathering exposes her duplicity.

Lord Samuel Fredrick Harcourt Granville was groomed to inherit the Cardon title and lands, but the possession of his father’s temper has put Samuel’s future in jeopardy. After discovering his fiancée cavorting with his so-called friend, the ensuing altercation lands Samuel in court before of the House of Lords. As an example, for all aristocratic sons to quell their hedonistic living, the House of Lords banishes Samuel to the island of Antigua until he can prove he’s worthy of his privileged birth.

On the island, Samuel works to rein in his temper and revive a dying sugar plantation. Still, his return to England and all his efforts are threatened when a mysterious woman breaks into his island home, claiming to be the true heiress of the sugar plantation. Guilt, resentment, and fresh yearnings sizzle under the island sun as Maggie’s search uncovers a much greater treasure than either of them expected.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

 

Lorri Dudley has been a finalist in numerous writing contests and has a master’s degree in Psychology. She lives in Ashland, Massachusetts with her husband and three teenage sons, where writing romance allows her an escape from her testosterone filled household. Find her online at www.lorridudley.com.

 

More from Lorri

Maggie first appeared in The Captain’s Quest as the feral child shipwrecked on a deserted island. Readers fell in love with her character and emailed me, hoping to learn more of her story. It didn’t take much coaxing for my imagination to delve into how a child, who’d lived outdoors and struggled with daily survival, would adapt to Regency England’s intricate social conventions of the le bon ton as a grown woman.

 

Like Maggie, my grandfather and mother-in-law were both adopted. Each felt a disconnection from their roots and a natural yearning to fill a void by learning their origins. The thriving industry of Ancestry.com and 23-and-Me exists due to this pervasive desire to understand one’s background. Understandably, Maggie longs for answers, but the guilt of being disloyal to the family who accepted her into their loving home temps her to fabricate a lie and cover up her journey to the island of Antigua.

 

Another driving force for Maggie is that in Regency England, questionable heritage could hinder an adopted child from marrying within the upper social ranks. Unknown lineage could taint noble bloodlines, and many aristocrats wouldn’t dare align their families with someone of uncertain origins. Maggie’s marriage prospects would have been limited unless she uncovered her past. She’d have been considered too risky to wed among the gentry but raised too highborn to marry within the lower classes.

 

The Heir’s Predicament is the last installment of the Leeward Island series, and I will miss immersing myself in the rich cultural history of the Caribbean. I loved exploring different isles and island-hopping with readers through various settings. The island of Antigua, where The Heir’s Predicament is set, boasts of ninety-five miles of scalloped coastlines, white and pink sand beaches, a tropical but arid climate, windmills and plantations, and a sugar and spice history complete with Caribs and pirates. Island tensions create a lively setting and weave their way into the characters’ stories, for instance, the push and pull between the island’s calming beauty and battering storms, water abounding but not much of it drinkable, a laid-back culture of hearty survivors, and a legacy of slavery versus colonization.

 

The journey, however, isn’t over, my next series will take place in the rolling hills and quaint towns of England’s Cotswold, but there’s hope of a Windward Island series in the future.

 

To learn more, check out my website at lorridudley.com, or watch The Heir’s Predicament book trailer by clicking here: The Heir’s Predicament book trailer.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 11

lakesidelivingsite, January 11

Book Looks by Lisa, January 12

Sylvan Musing, January 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 13

She Lives To Read, January 14

Paula’s Pad of Inspiration, January 14

Cover Lover Book Review, January 15

deb’s Book Review, January 15

Texas Book-aholic, January 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 17

Betti Mace, January 18

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 18

Connie’s History Classroom, January 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 20

Holly’s Book Corner, January 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 21

Life of Literature, January 22

Simple Harvest Reads, January 22 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, January 23

To Everything There Is A Season, January 23

Pause for Tales, January 24

Mary Hake, January 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lorri is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon Gift Card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

GIVEAWAY

 

My Thoughts

 This is the sixth book in the series and I have enjoyed most all of them. You do not have to read them in order as they can all be read as stand alone books. It is so fun to read stories set on an island during this time period it is like a breath of fresh air. In this story we have a feisty Maggie who is determined to figure out who her birth father is and more about her mother. It is all wrapped up in mystery and tied to the island. Right from the start there is action and while ridiculous circumstances ensue it is most entertaining. I enjoyed the different characters and I really loved the journal entries at the start of each chapter. That really added to the whole book. This isn't my favorite book in the series but it was still fun! 

I recommend reading this series. It is fun, different, and full of heart. 


Four stars.

" I received this book from Wild Heart Books for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."

Shattered Reflection Review

 

About the Book

Book: Shattered Reflection

Author: Madisyn Carlin

Genre: New Adult Christian Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling

Release date: December 21, 2022

Can hope be found for four shattered souls?

Princess Nordica Icerri’s crown will be purchased with blood—her blood. Now the sole heir to the throne, she is determined to be the queen the Snowlands deserve, but that comes with a price: a numbed heart and soul. Only when she meets kidnapped physician Loren Alocer does Nordica allow herself to hope she can become queen without completely losing herself. But not everyone wants what’s best for the Snowlands, and Nordica’s upcoming rule is compromised at every turn. Can the criminal physician—and his faith—thaw Nordica’s heart, or is she destined to be the heartless queen she is being forced to become?

War shattered not only Breac Finson’s heart, but his faith as well. Tired of fighting, Breac only wants to be left alone, but his efforts are for naught when a friend calls in a favor. He soon finds himself in an unexpected alliance with Layree Alocer, a woman determined to find her wrongfully-kidnapped brother at all costs. Can a broken soldier help right a wrong—and find his faith again in the process?

Sides must be chosen and loyalties will be tested as a new war approaches. Can broken lives be mended in time to help save the Snowlands, or is evil already too deeply embedded?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Madisyn Carlin is a Christian, homeschool graduate, blogger, voracious bookdragon, and author. When not spending time with her family or trekking through the mountains, she weaves tales of redemption, faith, and action.

Want to connect? https://linktr.ee/madisyncarlin

 

More from Madisyn

What comes to your mind when you think about fairytale retellings? Is it Disney’s 1950 retelling of Cinderella? Glittery swirls of magic? Talking animals? Pretty gowns? Or, perhaps, frying pans or a sassy dragon?

 

My interest regarding fairytales was first piqued when I was young. Though I was only three, I distinctly remember riding in the car and flipping through the three-story fairytale collection my mom just purchased for me. I couldn’t read, but the bright colors and abundance of animals entranced me. Now I not only read fairytales, I write retellings of them.

 

Why, though? Aren’t fairytales just fun stories that sometimes impart a lesson?

 

No. Fairytales are much more than that. The majority of fairytales contain deep, important lessons the authors or culture of that time wanted their readers and listeners to learn from. Fairytales offer encouragement, hope, and include gentle reminders about doing the right thing even when we don’t want to.

 

Take, for instance, The Snow Queen, which is the fairytale I modeled Shattered Reflection after. In The Snow Queen, the forefront themes are loyalty and perseverance. No matter what trials the female protagonist endures, she pushes on with the mindset that rescuing her best friend is worth the effort and pain.

 

Aside from being rich in wry humor, breathtaking scenic descriptions and worldbuilding, and interesting characters, The Snow Queen contains faith and reminds readers that our ultimate source of strength is God—not ourselves.

 

This is what I wanted to emulate in Shattered Reflection. This story—with its broken characters, tattered kingdoms, and insidious antagonists—contains plenty of faith amidst pain, questions, and wounded hearts. I wanted to illustrate that, no matter what we’re going through, God is in control and nothing and no one ever slips from His grasp.

 

What is Shattered Reflection?

Title: Shattered Reflection
Series: The Shattered Lands | Book One
Genre: NA Christian Fantasy
Subgenre: Fairytale retelling (The Snow Queen)
POVS: 5
Ages: Appropriate for ages 15+ due to non-graphic violence
Core Themes: Salvation, Loyalty, and Forgiveness

 

Shattered Reflection is a Christian fairytale retelling which incorporates heavy faith elements, numerous action scenes, clean romance, and plenty of evil villains.

 

Content Warning:
SR1 contains heavy topics, although none are described in a gratuitous and gory manner. There is also a lot of violence, so I do not recommend this book for anyone younger than fifteen. If you are older than fifteen and are easily bothered by such content, then this probably is not the book for you.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, January 22

To Everything There Is A Season, January 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 24

Cover Lover Book Review, January 25

deb’s Book Review, January 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 26

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 28

Literature Approved, January 28

Denise L. Barela, January 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 30

Blogging With Carol, January 31

Through the Fire Blogs, February 1

Pause for Tales, February 2

For Him and My Family, February 3

Rebecca Tews, February 4

Holly’s Book Corner, February 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Madisyn is giving away the grand prize package of one autographed paperback copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

GIVEAWAY


My Thoughts

This book holds a lot of action from multiple perspectives. I was interested in the setting and the story line but to be honest this book didn't completely grab me like I had hoped it would. I know many others really loved this book from start to finish but I really had to make myself finish reading this one. There is some violence but it wasn't too gory in my opinion. Layree and Breac held most of my attention throughout the book though. There is a lot of back and forth and you really have to be paying attention as this isn't a light happy read. Those that enjoy Fairytales or re told tales might very well enjoy this story. It was a good idea for a book it just wasn't my favorite. 


Three Stars. 

" I received this book from the author for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."













Monday, January 16, 2023

A Heart Worth Stealing Review

 


 

 

About the Book

 Sowerby, England, 1802

Miss Genevieve Wilde—a magistrate’s daughter and independent heiress—is determined to meet life’s challenges all on her own, just as her late-father had taught her. So when her father’s pocket watch is stolen, she will do anything to get it back, especially when the local authorities prove incompetent.

Upon reading an advertisement in the paper, she takes a chance and contacts a thief-taker to find the watch. It’s a choice Ginny regrets when former Bow Street officer Jack Travers arrives on her doorstep. He is frustratingly flirtatious, irritatingly handsome, and entirely unpredictable, and Ginny wonders if she’ll be able to resist such a man.

But after Ginny discovers that the missing watch is just a small part of a larger, more frightening plot against her, she needs Jack’s help more than ever. To protect her home and her reputation, the two enter into a risky charade—pretending Jack is her cousin so he can begin his investigation, starting with the household staff. As they work together to unravel the mystery, Ginny finds herself falling fast for her charismatic thief-taker, leaving her heart in just as much danger as her life. (Goodreads)

 

 Releases May 2, 2023! Pre-Order Here!


My Thoughts

Oh my goodness this book was fun to read. I think Joanna Barker's writing just gets better and better with each new book. This story has wonderful unique characters and a mystery that really added to the story line. The romance is clean and Ginny and Jack are superb opposites. There are a few twists and turns that I was not expecting and I was delighted at the adventure! I think readers will be surprised at this one because it is a bit different than the typical Regency Romance and I am thankful for it! This is a must read for 2023 especially if you enjoy clean Proper Romance and Joanna Barker. Her books really fun to read and I highly recommend them! 

 

Five Stars. 

 

"I received this book from Shadow Mountain Publisher for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."







Sunday, January 15, 2023

Hearts of Steel Review

  

 

 

About the Book

Maggie Molinaro survived a hardscrabble childhood in the downtrodden streets of Manhattan to become a successful businesswoman. After a decade of sacrifice, she now owns a celebrated ice cream company, but when she offends a corrupt banker, she unwittingly sets off a series of calamities that threaten to destroy her life's work.

Liam Blackstone is a charismatic steel magnate committed to overhauling factory conditions for the steelworkers of America. Standing in his way is the same villain determined to ruin Maggie. What begins as a practical alliance to defeat a common enemy soon evolves into a romance between two wounded people determined to beat the odds.

A spiraling circle of treachery grows increasingly dangerous as Liam and Maggie risk their lives and fortune for the good of the city. It will require all their wit and ingenuity to navigate the dangerous waters ahead, but their crusade could cost them everything. (Goodreads)

 

BUY HERE

 

My Thoughts

 

Elizabeth Camden has once again taken me on adventure I won't soon forget! This is the conclusion of  The Blackstone Legacy Trilogy. If you haven't read the first two books I do highly recommend it because it gives a better backstory on how Liam got to where he is in this book. While I loved all of these books, I think this one might be my favorite. Liam's character is one that is easy to relate with and Maggie is just a great heroine. Maggie is a strong opinionated woman who can stand her ground and I really appreciated her subtle change and growth throughout the story. Camden really does her research so the history is so very interesting. I had no idea nor had I ever considered where businesses would have gotten their ice in 1902 New York City. I never thought about how important it would have been or difficult to keep things cold at that time. Considering Maggie runs an ice cream factory it became a central part of the plot. There are so many little historical details peppered throughout the book and I gleefully took it all in. I do wish that the epilogue was a tad longer and talked more about the other siblings in the family but it still wrapped up the trilogy nicely.

I highly recommend! 

Five Stars.


"I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."