A Castaway in Cornwall

It is 1812, and Laura Callaway feels like a castaway in Cornwall, where she lives with her uncle and his somewhat disapproving wife. Missing her parents, who are presumed dead, Laura has found solace and purpose in searching the shores after shipwrecks. She finds and collects lost belongings and attempts to return them to the families of their departed owners. She does this under the disapproving eye of the Wreckers, men who try to seize and sell the cargo of wrecked ships, despite laws to the contrary. When a stranger is washed ashore, the Wreckers want to kill him, but Laura saves him too. However, she begins to have questions as more lost items turn up. Can this stranger be trusted?

This is a wonderful, well-researched book by Julie Klassen. The laws and practices surrounding wrecked ships of the time were fascinating. Klassen also provides tidbits of Cornish history, mythology, and practices at the beginning of each chapter. The characters sometimes converse in the old Cornish language. Legendary wrecker Tom Parsons is a major character in this novel, and the Napoleonic wars play a part. The romance is well written, and there is a Christian theme of forgiveness throughout the book.

As always, Julie Klassen transports the reader directly into the time period and setting, and we leave not only with a great story, but having gained new knowledge of that time and place. I would recommend this to any fan of historical fiction and romance.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

UPDATE: A Castaway in Cornwall comes out today, December 1, 2020!

Buy the Book on Amazon

Link to Julie Klassen’s website

Link to my Goodreads review

Tennessee Mountain Sunrise

Once again I am thankful for the beauty of the Tennessee Mountains in which I live, and the Appalachian Mountains in general. Here is the beautiful sunrise I was greeted with this morning. Some of the pictures below almost look like a fire instead of a sunrise. I realize once again how blessed I am to live in the mountains.

Doesn’t this look like a fire? It’s just a beautiful mountain sunrise.

I took all these pictures from the same spot in my front yard, but with very different perspectives.

This inspires me to recommend books about the Appalachian Mountains. Of course Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, but also a lesser known book, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk. This book is about the first woman to walk the entire Appalachian Trail, and she happened to be a 67-year-old grandmother! This is a “can’t miss story.” I loved Bear in the Back Seat, about Kim DeLozier, a Smoky Mountain park ranger for over 30 years. My favorite fictional book about the Mountains has to be Christy, by Catherine Marshall, because it’s a close look at the Mountain people in the early 20th century. I also love Adriana Trigiani’s Big Stone Gap series, which is set in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia in more contemporary times, and includes 8 books. And of course there are so many more. What books about the Appalachian Mountains do you like? Please comment below.

And I must leave you with a photo of my absolute favorite place in the the world, my “happy place,” Deep Creek, which is a part of the Smoky Mountains National Park, but is located in Bryson City, NC, which also happens to be my Mom’s hometown and the place to which I will retire in 3 years. This is where I go when I want to feel complete peace. The waterfall photo directly below is from the Bryson City, NC Facebook Page. The rest of the photos were taken at Deep Creek by Doug DeMoss.

Photo by Doug DeMoss
Photo by Doug DeMoss
Photo by Doug DeMoss

Have a blessed Sunday!

SPOTLIGHT: Great Books on Kindle Unlimited

This is a Saturday series I’ve started where I recommend great books I’ve read on Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Unlimited members can read these books at no additional charge for a monthly fee, and there are gems out there, this book being one of them, that make it an even greater value.

FRAN, THE SECOND TIME AROUND

“Fran, the Second Time Around” by Amy L. Bernstein is the story of a young girl, just starting high school, who has switched to a new school. There are hints around the reason that Fran switched schools, and it is clear that something traumatic and horrible has happened to her. The first half of the book speaks of Fran’s new life and how she is adjusting to her new school, new friends, and “the second time around.” The second half of the book begins to peel away the layers of what happened to her and slowly reveals the devastating event.

This book was extremely well written by Amy L. Bernstein. I could see inside Fran’s world and literally feel the heartache she was experiencing. It was so real that her grief became my grief. The picture that is painted of a young girl desperately trying to stumble forward in a world that is moving along without her is so genuine and raw that I want to applaud the author for her efforts. I highly recommend this book to anyone, young adults or older, who has dealt with heartache, devastating loss, guilt, or grief, or anyone who just wants to discover a very talented author.

I picked this book up on Kindle Unlimited, where it is free for all KU members. I definitely recommend you check it out.

Link to the book on Amazon

Link to the Amy L. Bernstein’s website

Link to My Goodreads Review

Duffy the Christmassy Dragon

by Kate Noble

This book is adorable! This cute, captivating, illustrated children’s book tells the delightful story of how Duffy the Dragon helped Santa and his reindeer save Christmas. The illustrations are so colorful and well done, and the story is written as a fun kid’s poem. 

Here is one of the colorful and imaginative illustrations of Duffy the Dragon.

I loved this book and I can’t wait to read it to my five-year-old grandson. You can’t get any higher praise than that.  The book can be obtained on Amazon Canada or on the Author’s website. Both links are below. I live in the US, but still had the option of purchasing it on Amazon Canada. Instead, I ordered the book from the author’s website, where she offers personalized dedications. She is also working on more Duffy books.

I received a free digital copy via Netgalley. I loved it so much I purchased a hard copy. My review is voluntary.

Link to The Author’s Duffy the Dragon website

Link to the book on Amazon Canada

Christmas With The Ops Room Girls

Christmas season is near, and the Christmas reviews are here! Expect to see a lot of them pop up the next few weeks. Below is Christmas with the Ops Room Girls, about a group of WAAFs during WWII. Historical Fiction and Christmas all in one. Enjoy!

Christmas With The Ops Room Girls is the second in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force series by Vicki Beeby. May, a member of the WAAF during World War II, witnesses two evacuee children being separated and feels powerless to do anything. Meanwhile, Jess has volunteered her to play Prince Charming in a Christmas Pantomime. She is also getting uncomfortably close to Peter while dealing with memories from her past. She struggles to find the confidence and strength to handle all of these developments.

This book can be read separately, but characters from the first book show up midway through, so reading the first book would be helpful. This isn’t quite a cozy mystery, but there are mysteries to be solved and a slight crime subplot.

Overall, I found this book to be heartwarming and fun, and I would definitely recommend this series.

I received a free copy of this book from Canelo and Netgalley. My review is voluntary

Link to the book on Amazon

Vicki Beeby’s Facebook Page

Link to my Goodreads Review



			

Spotlight: Kindle Unlimited

Every Saturday starting today I will turn my spotlight on great books that Kindle Unlimited members can get at no additional charge. My first spotlight is on Arriving Through Time by Heather L. Barksdale. This is a young adult Time Travel adventure. This book can be picked up at no additional charge by Kindle Unlimited members.

Arriving through Time by Heather L. Barksdale is a Young Adult time travel novel. Lizzie has been through a family tragedy and is having a tough time, but she is supported by her two best friends, Sam and Jeremy. They are currently navigating high school life and dealing with bullies Gary and Tiffany. Then a class project has Lizzie wondering about her ancestors, and a school trip ends with the three friends hurtling through time, along with their bullies and Lizzie’s secret crush. Although at first it appears to be a freak occurrence, the time travel seems very designed, as all of the teens begin to meet long dead ancestors.

What I loved about this story is that it combined time travel fiction and genealogy, two of my favorite pastimes, and it did this in a clever way. A class project and a DNA test have brought questions about Lizzie’s ancestors to the surface, and unexpected time travel gives her a chance to get answers. This book reminds us that our ancestors were living, breathing, people, not just names on a family tree. They blazed the way for us, good and bad, and everything they did enabled us to be alive today. We also learn something along the way as we visit people and places that are important to American history.

I loved the way time took the six travelers to locations that were pertinent to all of them and their ancestors and gave them both answers and surprises. I find that in my own genealogy research. 

If you are a fan of young adult novels, time travel, genealogy, and/or historical fiction, you will enjoy this book. I received a free copy of this book from the author. I also picked up a copy on Amazon, where Kindle Unlimited members can read it for free. My review is voluntary. 

Link to the book on Amazon:  

Link to Heather L. Barksdale’s website:  

Link to my review on Goodreads (Like and follow if you are so inclined)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather L. Barksdale has been a physical therapist, a researcher, a military brat, and now a novelist.  She has also traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia seeking adventure.  She is an avid fan of historical fiction and calls upon her adventures as inspiration for her stories.  It was one such adventure that inspired her to write Arriving Through Time. She and her husband share their home in Jacksonville, Florida where she is currently writing the sequel to continue the story of Lizzie and her friends.

Your Words

This poetry book is accompanied by beautiful photographs and primarily speaks to the author’s thoughts about the current pandemic, struggles in life, and her relationship with God. There are also some lovely story poems about nature. Although I enjoyed all of the poems, I was less interested in the ones about the pandemic, just because we hear so much about it in the news daily. However, I know others will feel differently about that. I was more interested in the poems about nature and relationship with God. The author shares her feelings honestly and with emotion.

The poem Power in Life spoke to me. It asks the question: “How can life go on when I’ve just experienced this crushing loss?” Having lost my Mom this year, I definitely can relate to that. I also enjoyed “A Life With You, Now and in Eternity.” This is about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins.

The photographs are well done and are a great companion to the poems.

The author’s style is warm and embracing, and she shares her faith in a loving way. I would read her poetry again.

I picked this book up on Kindle Unlimited, where members can get a digital copy for free. I also received a free copy of the print book from the author. My opinions are voluntary and are my own.

This Kindle version of this book is also available for free to everyone on Amazon from November 19th to November 21st.

Link to Your Words on Amazon

Dabbling in Poetry

I used to write poetry when I was a kid, although I had no idea of any rules or rhythm. I am thinking about getting back into it again. Below is a poem I wrote years ago in my first year of community college. I always remembered it because it’s about what might happen right after you die. I had to write a sonnet in iambic pentameter and that’s what I came up with. I have no idea if it’s any good or not, but I’m definitely interested in learning a lot more about poetry. It seems very simple to me many years later, but I’m curious to see what I could come up with now.

After

My name was Nancy when I woke today
But now I am a vapor in the air
When I got on the train I was okay
Now blackened fragments scatter everywhere

I’m floating, watching high above the mess
Somebody pulls a cloth over my form
A preacher kneels, and cries, and starts to bless
I suddenly feel cold, but very warm.

The mountains beckon me, but with a wish
I’m roaming through them, married to the sky.
The moon hangs gold, like butter on my dish.
The things I always wondered, I know why.

When I got on the train, I was okay.
But now I am complete in every way.

The Nothing Girl

Jenny, orphaned as a young girl, goes to live with her aunt and uncle. She has a pronounced stutter and is set aside as an afterthought by the family. While contemplating suicide at a young age, she is suddenly visited by a giant golden horse, and here Jenny’s life actually begins.

This is so well written. The characters just jump off the page, especially Jenny, Russell, and Thomas. Jenny, ignored all her life, begins helping Russell, who has been jilted by the love of his life, renovate his farmhouse. Nudged along by her faithful companion Thomas, the giant golden horse, Jenny begins to live again. There is a wonderful cast of characters, and of course there are pitfalls along the way, and the brilliant Jodi Taylor once again makes us laugh and cry as we cheer Jenny on.

I recommend this for anyone who enjoys a magical, heartwarming story.

Link to The Nothing Girl on Amazon

Link to Signed Copies of The Nothing Girl on Jodi Taylor’s Website

Link to my Goodreads Review: (Like and Follow if you are so inclined)

Joy to the World

Oh how I love everything written by Jodi Taylor! This short story in the Frogmorton Farm series is no exception. You will laugh and cry.

There is a serious message in this short story about online predators, but there is also love, Joy, and a golden horse. Joy feels unappreciated and unloved by her father, Russell, and she feels her mother Jenny is weak and clueless. Her only friend is Tommy, a girl she met online. And that’s where the trouble starts…

I would suggest starting with the first book in this series, The Nothing Girl, so you will know the whole story of Jenny, Thomas, Russell, and more. In The Nothing Girl, Jenny is an orphaned girl who has a pronounced stutter. She lives a loveless life with her coldhearted aunt and uncle, until the arrival of a giant golden horse. This series is heartfelt and addictive. I love it so much that I want to go live at Frogmorton Farm.

I listened to the audiobook version of this story, read by Lucy Price-Lewis, who does a great job, especially with the voice of Thomas.

Since I am a huge fan of Jodi Taylor’s, I also recommend you read The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, about an organization of hilarious time-traveling historians, and The Time Police, a spinoff of that. Everything Jodi Taylor writes is amazing.

Link to the story on Amazon

Link to Jodi Taylor’s Website

Link to my review on Goodreads