More Of Our Readers’ Favorites of 2021 #Bestof2021

Below are more favorites chosen by our readers as their favorite books of 2021. The link to buy each book can be found by clicking on the cover.

YOUNG ADULT

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family is taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then: her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in the face of mounting evidence that he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

This is the first book in the Juche series. There are a total of three books available right now, with a fourth coming in May. Click on the cover to find purchase information for the whole series.

Jack Monroe and his friends have been volunteered to help out at Saint Nicholas’ Farms to start off their Christmas vacation. They quickly discover that they’ve been selected to not only help decorate the Christmas tree for a big ceremony but also to foil the plans of a secret organization known as the Shadows.

Despite having his own adventure, Jack is summoned once again to witness the life of Niko Monroe, who is clinging to the hope that he can find his friends, save his family, and free the Faithful from the tyrannical reign of President Julius Arrigo.

Join Niko and his companions – Maia, Rafe, Wiley, and Flick – as they travel the State of Ariel, defy state officials out to stop them, and lead a new generation of the Faithful to unravel Arrigo’s insidious conspiracy to destroy Ariel and the neighboring nation of Jakkobah in unending war.
Is there hope for the Faithful?

ROMANCE

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before her daughter was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get ‘to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.

Maya Jackson has worked for a renowned New York City bridal gown brand for years and dreams of becoming Head Designer. She has the talent, she just needs a chance to showcase her unique style. Due to an illness, she’s always prioritized her career over her personal life until Maya’s father fractures his hip and she returns to Charleston, SC. While home for only a few months, she’s thrilled to find an opportunity at the local bridal gown boutique, never expecting sparks to fly with its owner…

A military veteran and widowed father, Derek Sullivan hopes to save Always a Bride from bankruptcy in order to preserve the legacy of his family. He also wants to reconnect with his estranged, twelve-year-old daughter, who is still recovering from the loss of her mother. The last thing he needs is a relationship with a beautiful, smart, complicated woman who will be leaving soon.

When Derek begins to fall for the lovely Maya, he knows there’s no future. But destiny has its own plans, and these two lonely people with big hearts discover that coming home to love is the best gift life can give.

NONFICTION

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni offers a remarkable insight into the lives of Afghan women both before and after Taliban’s rise to power. The reader is caught up in the day-to-day lives of women like Sharifa, Latifa and Marzia, sharing their problems, dramas, the tears and the laughter: whether enjoying a good gossip over tea and fresh nan, dealing with a husband’s desertion, battling to save the life of a one-year-old opium addict or learning how to deliver babies safely.
Mary Smith spent several years in Afghanistan working on a health project for women and children in both remote rural areas and in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Given the opportunity to participate more fully than most other foreigners in the lives of the women, many of whom became close friends, she has been able to present this unique portrayal of Afghan women – a portrayal very different from the one most often presented by the media.

The undertow of the Great Depression becomes poignantly personal as we experience the travails of Leora and Clabe Wilson, a displaced Iowa farm family. Gritty determination fuels this family’s journey of loss and hope, a reflection of what many American families endured during those challenging times.

In this true story the Wilsons slowly slide into unemployment and poverty. Leora must find ways to keep her dreams alive while making a haven for her flock of seven children in one run-down house after another.

Philosophers and mystics ponder the mystery of these flashes. Pamela Wight writes about life flashes in her short stories that include family and friends, love and life’s challenges. Wight’s “Flash Memoir” promotes the belief that we all share sparks of the extraordinary that occur in our everyday life. Each short story is true and brings a smile of recognition to her readers: that life transports and enthralls us in all its confusing, amusing, challenging, and astonishing ways. Each story is light-hearted and short – like a flash – but be prepared for a page-turner that keeps you in your seat, smiling.


Blog Tour and Book Review: The Lady and Her Quill

*Book Review at the bottom of the page

The Lady and Her Quill by Ruth A. Casie

Publication Date: November 16, 2021 DragonBlade Publishing Genre: Historical Romance Series: The Ladies of Sommer by the Sea, Book 1     Her mind kept telling her to stop loving him, but her heart couldn’t let him go. Renowned author Lady Alicia Hartley has lost her muse after a bad review. She blames it all on the author JC Melrose. A chance encounter with a handsome, witty Justin Caulfield has her heart racing, and her muse seemingly back. Is he her savior or her worst nightmare? He didn’t see the turbulent ocean. He was too busy dealing with a different tempest. The recently retired Captain Justin Caulfield is facing his own demons. As gifted author JC Melrose, his stories honor men who died at the hand of one man. His only focus is to avenge their deaths, that is until he meets and falls in love with Lady Alicia. The two authors take on a writing challenge to determine the better writer. While researching the story, she is captured by Justin’s nemesis. Can Lady Alicia turn this mystery into an award-winning story? Can Justin save his own real-life heroine? Can they both overcome their own challenges for a happily ever after?

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Hi – I’m Ruth A. Casie and I write historical and contemporary romance. You might be wondering what I’m about. Sit back and let me tell you. I’m happiest when I’m telling stories either chatting in a group or writing them down. I love to put my hero and heroine in tough situations and dare them to work it out—together, always together. They haven’t disappointed. Oh, they complain but in the end their love and relationships are stronger than ever. My stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. They will keep you turning the pages until the end. I hope my books become your favorite adventures.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Instagram | Newsletter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 29 Guest Post at Novels Alive Excerpt at A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog Tuesday, November 30 Excerpt at Bookworlder Review at Anna’s Book Blog Wednesday, December 1 Review at Bonnie Reads and Writes Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit Thursday, December 2 Excerpt at Triquetra Reviews Review at Gwendalyn’s Books Friday, December 3 Review at Novels Alive Excerpt at SplendeurCaisse Review at With A Book In Our Hands

Giveaway

US Giveaway (2 winners): $10 Amazon Gift Card + signed paperback for any book in Ruth’s backlist (winner’s choice). UK Giveaway (2 winners): eBook of any book in Ruth’s backlist (winner’s choice). The giveaway ends on December 3rd. You must be 18 or older to enter. The Lady and Her Quill https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js

BOOK REVIEW

This first book in The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea series is a great start to what promises to be an enjoyable and intriguing series. The premise drew me in right away. Two authors, a man and a woman in London, 1814, are told in a review that they could each benefit from the other’s writing. While Lady Alicia Hartley writes romances, Justin Caulfield writes about adventure and war under the name JC Melrose. When they collaborate on a story, they find both their genres coming to life, not just on the page but in the real world. This is a romantic adventure with slow-building suspense that readers will enjoy. This is definitely a historical romance, but there is also a case of hidden identity that reminds me a little of the contemporary movie “You’ve Got Mail.” The cast of characters is well-developed and the story is engaging. Fans of historical romance and slow-burning suspense will enjoy this mashup of both. I received a free copy of this book via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Blog Tour and Spotlight: Snow Kissed Proposals

Snow-Kissed Proposals

A snowy Victorian ChristmasTwo festive short stories!

In The Christmas Runaway by Jenni Fletcher: willful, independent heiress, Fiona MacKay, impulsively runs away to a remote Scottish tower where she’s trapped in the snow with equally headstrong, deliciously dishevelled Angus Drummond.

In Their Snowbound Reunion by Elisabeth Hobbes: fifteen years ago, Amy Munroe and Anthony Matthews were cruelly parted, and each blames the other. When Amy becomes Anthony’s new housekeeper, their passion is reawakened!

Purchase Link

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Jenni Fletcher

Jenni Fletcher is the award-winning author of 15 historical romances. She has been nominated for 4 RoNA Awards and won the Libertà Books Shorter Romantic Novel Award in 2020. She lives in Yorkshire with her family and can be contacted via Twitter @JenniAuthor.

Elisabeth Hobbes

Elisabeth’s writing career began when she finished in third place in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest in 2013.  She was offered a two-book contract and consequently had to admit secret writing was why the house was such a tip.  She is the author of numerous historical romances with Harlequin Mills & Boon covering the Medieval period to Victorian England, and a Second World War romantic historical with One More Chapter. She lives in Cheshire because the car broke down there in 1999 and she never left.

Social Media Links

@JenniAuthor

https://www.facebook.com/JenniFletcherAuthor

@ElisabethHobbes

https://www.facebook.com/ElisabethHobbes

Book Review: Mistletoe Christmas

This is my review of Mistletoe Christmas, which I spotlighted a few days ago on this blog.

Mistletoe Christmas is an anthology consisting of four stories, all set in England, 1815, and evolving around the Duke of Greystoke’s Annual Christmas Revelry, always the most sought after party invitation of the season. The stories are written by four different authors, Eloisa James, Christi Caldwell, Janna MacGregor, and Erica Ridley. 

All four stories transport us to Regency England at Christmas time. There are some sex scenes, for those who wish to avoid them.

In A Mistletoe Kiss, by Eloisa James, the main character, Cressida, is the long-suffering victim of her abusive father, the Duke of Greystoke, who has used her for years to plan his famous Revelry. Cressida’s growth as a person and evolving ability to see her true self and gain some confidence was well done. The romance with Elias was a little over the top as he suddenly and instantly fell in love with her although he’d known her for years. It was a touch unbelievable, but overall it was a very nice romance. 4 stars.

Wishing Under The Mistletoe by Christi Caldwell brings a little of “A Christmas Carol” vibe. Isabelle and Cyrus’s relationship ended because he became completely wrapped up in the idea of amassing a fortune, supposedly for her. Ten years later, they meet again at the Revelry and sparks are still flying. This is the story of how an “Ebenezer Scrooge” type of character has a chance to get his lost love back. I found it a satisfying Christmas story. 5 stars.

Compromise Under the Mistletoe by Janna MacGregor is the story of a marriage torn apart. Caroline and Stephen are reunited at the Christmas Revelry. They are only together because they have to pretend to be a happy couple for the Duke so Caroline can gain access to her trust fund. I found this to be a bit much. The reason for reuniting was to get money, and the reason they broke up in the first place was because Caroline wasn’t getting enough attention. It all seemed simple and selfish, and not in any way based on a real marriage. 2.5 stars.

Mischief and Mistletoe by Erica Ridley is the well done story of Miss Louisa Harcourt, who is told by her mother that the Revelry is her last chance to find a husband. Determined to make her mother happy. Louisa entertains her less than ideal marriage candidates, although her real desire is to write and publish poetry. When she meets Ewan, a fellow poet, at the Revelry, she faces a choice between happiness and duty. I really enjoyed this one as it showcased a woman with interests and ambitions other than marriage. 5 stars.

Overall, this anthology earns four stars. It transports us to the Christmas season. 

I received a free copy of this book from Avon Books via Netgalley. My review is voluntary. 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Eloisa James, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, wrote her first novel after graduating from Harvard, but alas, it was rejected by every possible publisher. After she got an MPhil from Oxford, a PhD from Yale, and a job as a Shakespeare professor, she tried again, with much greater success. In 2013 she won a Rita Award for Best Romance Novella. She teaches Shakespeare in the English department at Fordham University in New York. She is the mother of two children and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight.

Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She is the author of The Bad Luck Bride. She credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever-after world of romance novels. Janna writes stories where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and lives in Kansas City with her very own dashing rogue, and two smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pugs. She loves to hear from readers.

Christi Caldwell is the USA Today bestselling author of more than ten series, including Lost Lords of London, Sinful Brides, The Wicked Wallflowers, and Heart of a Duke. She blames novelist Judith McNaught for luring her into the world of historical romance. When Christi was at the University of Connecticut, she began writing her own tales of love–ones where even the most perfect heroes and heroines had imperfections. She learned to enjoy torturing her couples before they earned their well-deserved happily ever after. Christi lives in Southern Connecticut, where she spends her time writing, chasing after her son, and taking care of her twin princesses-in-training. Fans who want to keep up with the latest news and information can sign up for her newsletter at www.ChristiCaldwell.com.

Erica Ridley is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty historical romance novels. Her popular series include the Dukes of War, Rogues to Riches, and Magic and Mayhem.

BUY LINKS

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Book Promo and Excerpt: Mistletoe Christmas

It’s that time of the year when Christmas books are coming out! It’s my favorite time to be a reviewer because I often get a peek at them first. This is an anthology of four Christmas stories by different best-selling authors, all surrounding the Duke of Greystoke’s annual Christmas Revelry. Make sure and check out the excerpt below. My review will be posted separately on Sunday.

The Duke of Greystoke’s Christmas Revelry is famous throughout the British Isles for its plays, dancing, magical grotto… not to mention scandals leading to the marriage licenses he hands out like confetti.

But not everyone welcomes a visit from Cupid.

Lady Cressida, the duke’s daughter, is too busy managing the entertainments—and besides, her own father has called her dowdy. Her cousin, Lady Isabelle Wilkshire, is directing Cinderella and has no interest in marriage. Lady Caroline Whitmore is already (unhappily) married; the fact that she and her estranged husband have to pretend to be together just makes her dread the party all the more. But not as much as Miss Louisa Harcourt, whose mother bluntly tells her that this is her last chance to escape the horrors of being an old maid.

A house party so large that mothers lose track of their charges leads to a delightful, seductive quartet of stories that you will savor for the Season!

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Eloisa James, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, wrote her first novel after graduating from Harvard, but alas, it was rejected by every possible publisher. After she got an MPhil from Oxford, a PhD from Yale, and a job as a Shakespeare professor, she tried again, with much greater success. In 2013 she won a Rita Award for Best Romance Novella. She teaches Shakespeare in the English department at Fordham University in New York. She is the mother of two children and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight.

Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She is the author of The Bad Luck Bride. She credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever-after world of romance novels. Janna writes stories where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and lives in Kansas City with her very own dashing rogue, and two smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pugs. She loves to hear from readers.

Christi Caldwell is the USA Today bestselling author of more than ten series, including Lost Lords of London, Sinful Brides, The Wicked Wallflowers, and Heart of a Duke. She blames novelist Judith McNaught for luring her into the world of historical romance. When Christi was at the University of Connecticut, she began writing her own tales of love–ones where even the most perfect heroes and heroines had imperfections. She learned to enjoy torturing her couples before they earned their well-deserved happily ever after. Christi lives in Southern Connecticut, where she spends her time writing, chasing after her son, and taking care of her twin princesses-in-training. Fans who want to keep up with the latest news and information can sign up for her newsletter at www.ChristiCaldwell.com.

Erica Ridley is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty historical romance novels. Her popular series include the Dukes of War, Rogues to Riches, and Magic and Mayhem.

BOOK EXCERPT

EXCERPT from “A Mistletoe Kiss” by Eloisa James

Prologue

Lady Elizabeth Childe to her American cousin, Mrs. Sarah Darby

November 25, 1815

My dearest Sarah,

I’m so thrilled to tell you that after years of hoping, Lord Childe and I have finally received an invitation to the Duke of Greystoke’s Revelry! ’Tis a magnificent Christmastide house party featuring every amusement and wonder. I’ve heard there are plays, dancing, a magical grotto . . . His Grace has a genius for bringing together the finest in England: the aristocracy mingles with artists, politicians, commoners—even journalists and opera dancers!

As you can imagine, such a Revelry does lend itself to scandalous behavior. For mothers, though, it’s as important as the Season: a girl who has failed to attract a husband might find success in its less formal atmosphere. We shan’t discover the other names on the guest list until it is printed in the Morning Chronicle.

My husband grumps that Greystoke thinks too highly of his party, but the Revelry has been labeled a cornerstone of British society. Now that the duke is on his deathbed, though, no one knows what will happen next year. If this is to be the final gathering, I’ve no doubt it will be a Revelry to remember.

LINKS TO BUY

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BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE

Book Review: Pursuing Miss Hall

Hertfordshire, England, 1812. Margaret “Meg” Hall has missed her first London season due to serious illness, but now that she has recovered, she is back on the “marriage market.” Her mother decides to have a house party and invite three eligible men, one of whom is a viscount. Meg knows she is expected to marry well, and she intends to do so. However, her best friend, Nathan, has also been invited. Nathan has no desire to see Meg married off to someone else, but he is not the best prospect and has never declared his love for her. Will Meg choose love or duty?

This is a charming novella that transports us to a Regency-era house party with all its customs and propriety. The point of view shifts between Meg and Nathan as they struggle to deal with their feelings. In the midst of picnics, dances, and garden strolls, Nathan’s angst and Meg’s confusion are well portrayed. The plot is timeless, as two friends struggle between what they want to do and what society tells them they ought to do. This is a pleasant and endearing love story that Regency romance fans will enjoy.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Historical Novels Review Magazine, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Thornell

Karen Thornell grew up reading when she should have been sleeping, but it wasn’t until 2019 that she started writing. Tired of ending books and saying ‘goodbye’ to beloved characters, she wondered what it would be like to have her own characters that lived in her head always. It was probably a mark of sleep deprivation that she wanted people living in her head, but the idea was planted regardless. 

Karen lives in Utah with her husband and kids. When not writing contemporary or regency romance, she spends her free time doing endless loads of laundry, playing board games, and, yes, talking to those characters in her head.

BUY PURSUING MISS HALL ON AMAZON

Book Blast/Promo: The Rake of Hearts

*Not a book review

The Rake of Hearts by Emily Windsor

Publication Date: August 23, 2021
Senara Press Ltd

Series: A Lady to Suit, Book 2
Genre: Regency Romance

When the heart is afire…
By his own admission, Lord Ernest Brook is a rake. With sapphire gaze, sinfully handsome looks and a duke for a brother, the pleasures of London have come with ease…apart from one.
Ever since the gauntlet of her first wintry dismissal was thrown, the widowed Hebe Lock has stirred his deepest desires, but just what would it take to woo such a woman?

Sparks will fly.
Hebe Locke has vowed to never again fall for a scoundrel after her brief marriage to one left her broken and haunted.
Now she finds comfort with paintbrush and canvas, but as a female artist in a male world, commissions are as rare as a ballroom without rakes.

A castle of enchantment.
As the heat of late summer warms the land, an ancient, moated castle plays host to a widow and a rake, both concealing passions contrary to their reputations.
But as Lord Ernest awakens Hebe’s desire and thaws her frozen emotions, can she hold true to her vow?
Or can this rake win the one heart he yearns for?

Sensual Regency romance with warmth and wit, this tale also includes a disreputable aunt with a secondary love story, Cotswold country fairs, sinful masquerades and…a goat.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

A Lady to Suit Series

1 – The Duke of Diamonds – Out now!
2 – The Rake of Hearts – Out now!
3 – The Earl of Spades – Coming soon
4 – The Prince of Clubs – Coming soon

Praise

“Five gleaming stars for this amazing Regency romance.” -Bookbub Reviewer

If you love historical romance, you can’t do without this wonderful book.” -Goodreads Reviewer

“This is a beautiful historical romance where our author paints a picture just as well with her words as our heroine with her sketches.” -Bookbub Reviewer

“A little masterpiece.” -Bookbub Reviewer

About the Author

Emily Windsor grew up in the north of England on a diet of historical romance and strong tea.

Unfortunately, you couldn’t study Regency slang, so she did the next best thing and gained a degree in Classics and History instead. This ‘led’ to an eight-year stint in engineering.

Having left city life, she now lives in a dilapidated farmhouse where her days are spent writing, fixing the leaky roof, battling the endless vegetation and finding pictures of well-tied cravats.

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Book Blast Schedule

Friday, August 27
Novels Alive
Bonnie Reads and Writes
What Is That Book About
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Saturday, August 28
Pursuing Stacie
Passages to the Past
Reading is My Remedy
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Sunday, August 29
Coffee and Ink
Saynab Reads Books
The Cozy Book Blog
CelticLady’s Reviews

Giveaway

Enter to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card & an eBook of The Rake of Hearts!

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on August 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Rake of Hearts

Book Review: Along A Storied Trail

Tansy Calhoun loves her job as a Kentucky packhorse librarian during the Great Depression. At the same time, she longs for the kind of romance she finds in the books she reads. When a handsome writer comes to town, she dreams she may have found it at last. But is love actually closer than she thinks? Perdita Sweet has lived in the Kentucky mountains a long time and has become as hardened as the rocky soil.   As someone who has loved and lost, she thinks she can see the best choice for Tansy.  But will Tansy listen?

This is enjoyable Christian fiction about a pack horse librarian, one of the many during the Depression who brought books to those who were living in poor and hard-to-reach mountain areas. I appreciated the fact that Tansy not only brought books to people in need, but she also spent time reading to those who couldn’t read. The trials of living in isolated mountain communities are shown, but also evident is the closeness of the people in those communities. Through the life-hardened Perdita, we learn how God can open your heart by giving you the opportunity to help others. Along a Storied Trail is a heartwarming romance with strong Christian themes of reaching out to others in need and trusting God’s plan.  Fans of Christian historical romance will enjoy this captivating tale.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Revell, for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. An award winning author, she’s published many books for both adults and young adults. Her books cover several genres from historical to small town family stories to cozy mysteries (mysteries published with author name A.H. Gabhart). Her ideas are sparked by events in Kentucky history and by experiences in her own family. Her first Shaker novel, The Outsider, was a finalist for the ECPA Christian Fiction Book of the Year. Love Comes Home won the Selah Book of the Year award, and These Healing Hills was the Faith, Hope & Love Readers’ Choice Women’s Fiction Book of the Year. 

Ann lives on a Kentucky farm not far from where she was born. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. Ann enjoys hiking on her farm with her grandkids and her dogs, Frankie and Marley. See more about her books at her website or join the conversation on her Facebook page.

BUY LINKS

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Blog Tour and Book Review–The Girl In The Picture

*Book Review Near the Bottom of the Page

BOOK DESCRIPTION

As the newspaper clipping falls from the cardboard box Tegan takes in the woman in the picture: her chestnut hair, her eyes full of laughter, the way she nestles against the man beside her. And as she reads the words in the article, Tegan almost stops breathing. Was coming here a terrible mistake?

When Tegan’s family is torn apart by a terrible tragedy, she runs away in search of somewhere to keep safe from the past that haunts her, and the painful secrets she’s never told anyone. Arriving in Copper Canyon, Colorado, where wooden storefronts line the quiet streets and no-one knows her name, Tegan breathes easy for the first time in years. And when she grows close with Jack, another lost soul who won’t talk about his home, it seems she’s found the perfect companion to explore the mountain landscapes with.

But just as Tegan starts to think maybe safety isn’t a place, it’s a person, she notices the box of photos and newspaper clippings that Jack takes everywhere in the trunk of his car. Who is the woman in every frame? And why does she look so familiar…?

Tegan knows the only way to protect herself, and keep her dark family history locked away, is to discover more about the woman in Jack’s photos. But when she does, will the truth help her build a new life, or will it send her running once more?

An absolutely unforgettable and breathtaking novel about love, loss, and the secrets we’re all hiding. Perfect for fans of Kerry Fisher, Diane Chamberlain, and Kerry Lonsdale.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melissa Wiesner


Melissa Wiesner is a night-owl who began writing novels about five years ago when her early-to-bed family retired for the evening. In 2019, she won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Award in the Mainstream Fiction Category for her first novel. Melissa holds two Master’s Degrees in Public Health and Community Agency Counseling. Her day job is in Social Work where she often encounters people knocked down by hard times but who pick themselves up and keep going, just like the characters of her novels. Melissa lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her charming husband and two adorable children.

FIND MELISSA ON SOCIAL MEDIA

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BOOK REVIEW

If there is ever a book that is going to speak to me, it will be one about a road trip. I’ve been the queen of road trips many times in my past, so this book was like another trip into memories of my own as I read it. The best books remind you of scenes from your own life, and this one does that for me. The main theme of this book is home. Tegan is searching for a home for herself and her brother. Jack is desperately trying to get back to his family home as he flees horrific memories from his past. Thrown together unexpectedly, they are an unlikely pair. Tegan, abandoned as a child, grew up wanting to be a writer. Jack is a wealthy attorney who is somewhat over-protected by his family. On the road, they grow from annoyance to acceptance to friendship and more. They also find there are lessons they can learn from each other and adventures they can take together.

I loved the fact that we are immediately thrown into Tegan’s life in a dramatic way at the start of the book, and by the time she meets Jack, you will find your heart already racing. The meeting with Jack is a collision of coincidences that starts an unforgettable journey. The road itself becomes almost a character in the story, as some of the situations they encounter can only occur on a long-distance highway adventure. The differences in their lives and personalities help build strength, as Tegan encourages Jack to sway from his well-planned path, and Jack convinces Tegan to use a little more caution. The Girl In The Picture is an emotional and inspirational story of heartbreak, adventure, letting go, and the search for home. It was a beautiful read.

I received a free copy of this novel via the publisher, Bookouture. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

BUY LINKS

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MY AMAZON REVIEW (“HELPFUL” VOTES APPRECIATED)

Blog Tour, Q&A, and Book Review: Scandal’s Deception

*Book Review and Q&A at the bottom of the page

Scandal’s Deception by Pamela Gibson

Publication Date: July 21, 2021 Soul Mate Publishing, LLC Series: Scandal Series, Book 4 Genre: Regency Historical Romance     Jane Stafford, raised in America, is shocked to learn she is a wealthy heiress, her late father was an earl, and her English mother is alive. Anxious to meet the woman she long-thought dead, she travels to London, only to be whisked away by her sinfully handsome guardian to a remote estate to be “schooled” in the ways of the ton. Gilbert Carmichael, Lord Ralston, chafes at having to make a rebellious young heiress acceptable to society, especially one who is impetuous and blatantly democratic. Because the instruction she needs is more than deportment and dancing. It’s also about how to spot a rake who might woo her for her fortune. When Ralston learns his ward is to be used as a pawn in an elaborate scheme involving a secret impersonation, he will move heaven and earth to keep her safe. Because proximity has brought the uncomfortable knowledge that his interest may be more than duty—it just might be love.

About the Author

Author of eight books on California history and sixteen romance novels, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who now lives in the Nevada desert. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in public administration, but her passion is and always has been writing. Having spent three years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of Ralph, her Siamese rescue cat. If you want to learn more about her activities go to https://www.pamelagibsonwrites.com and sign up for her blog and quarterly newsletter. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, and Goodreads.

BOOK REVIEW

Upon the death of her beloved father, Jane, an American, learns she is an heiress, her father was an earl, and her mother is still alive and living in England. Her home in America is sold and Jane is sent to England to her mother. However, upon arrival, she is told she will be under the tutelage of her guardian, Lord Ralston, learning the ways of “The ton,” so she can fit into society. Then she finds out she has a twin sister.

This is a compelling Regency romance with plenty of action. There are mild sex scenes and language. Jane’s anguish upon losing her father and her home and being forced to go to another country is well portrayed. The villain is a definitely a “rakish rogue,” who gets away with some shocking behavior, but since he is highly placed in society, I feel this is believable. Jane’s mother is haughty, remote, and manipulative, and I would have liked to have seen more of her in the book. I don’t think the twin sister’s character is as well developed, but we will learn more about her in an upcoming book in the series, Scandal’s Redemption. Jane is delightful, as she is a skilled and intelligent young woman, and no fainting Regency flower. She is described by Lord Ralston as “having the education of a young male,” which would have been quite unusual at the time.

Scandal’s Deception is filled with adventure and intrigue, and fans of Regency romances will enjoy this story of a misfit thrust into an unfamiliar world. As a warning, there is an attempted rape in this novel.

I received a free copy of this book via HistFic Virtual Book Tours. My review is voluntary.

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Q&A WITH AUTHOR PAMELA GIBSON

I’m excited to provide a Q&A I did with the author of Scandal’s Deception, Pamela Gibson. She gave us some GREAT answers, and I want to thank her again for participating in this interview.

Hi Pamela.  To start off, tell us a little bit more about yourself.  Where are you from, what do you like to do in your spare time, and what inspired you to start writing?

Hi Bonnie. Thanks for having me today. 

I was born and raised in San Juan Capistrano, a small town on the California coast. At its heart was a famous Franciscan Mission.  I was allowed to roam freely inside the mission grounds as a child. The town was small and everybody knew everyone.  I made up a lot of stories while hanging around that Mission, especially after my little brother died of leukemia. I think my love of story-telling began as an escape, but expanded into an avocation.  I can certainly trace my interest in history to that time and it is still with me today.

In college I majored in history, but I didn’t go into teaching. Instead, I became a newspaper reporter, writing about “current history” every day. In my spare time I researched the past and eventually published eight history books covering localized subjects. When I married a man who liked to “mess about in boats” my spare time was spent on a sailboat racing crew, and over time we transitioned to power boats. My greatest boating adventure was a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot trawler which took eight months. We actually circumnavigated the eastern third of the United States and parts of Canada via oceans, lakes, rivers, and canals.

Needless to say there was lots of time to read and I’d always wanted to write a novel, so I began writing fiction on the boat. Now that our boating adventures are over and my husband and I are retired, I write at home. 

What was the inspiration behind Scandal’s Deception?

I’d always wanted to write a “fish out of water” story and while I write contemporary and historical novels, I decided putting this type of character in my Regency series would be a good challenge. I remembered the old film, The Parent Trap, about twins who were separated by their divorced parents at birth, who meet at a camp, and decide to trade places. This book doesn’t go quite that far, but my American twin’s father dies and she discovers he had many secrets, including a wife still living. When she’s sent to her mother in England, her guardian takes it upon himself to prepare her for life as the daughter of an earl, a life full of rules. 

This was the perfect scenario for my “fish out of water” trope because the two countries had been at war and life for my heroine in Maryland had been completely different from the life of her twin sister. It created unusual conflicts and allowed for a good learning curve for my heroine. 

What message or information would you like us to take away after reading the book?

Books should have themes and this one’s is about believing in yourself. My heroine goes through a great deal of upheaval, has to learn a whole set of rules she finds silly, becomes attached to the sister she never knew she had, and resents the woman who doesn’t act like a mother should. Later in the book, when she undergoes a difficult situation and has to use her wits and her strength of will to outwit a villain, she constantly has to trust her instincts to get her through it all.  In an early chapter she remembers her best friend’s advice: Everything comes right if you believe in yourself. She recalls this at the end of the book when indeed, everything has, and she is about to get her happily ever after.

Who are your favorite authors?  Which books do you constantly re-read?

My list is endless when it comes to favorite authors, but I adore Mary Balogh because of the feelings she can evoke in her readers. I also admire Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Beverly Jenkins, and Sarah MacLean. I admit to not re-reading books because there are too many books I haven’t read, and I also have a list of authors that are auto-buys who do not necessarily write historical romance. These are Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Susanna Kearsley, Karen White, Nora Roberts both as herself and J.D. Robb, and Jayne Ann Krentz.

I also like John Lescroat (cop and courtroom thrillers), and Randy Wayne White (sailing thrillers). I could go on and on but I won’t.

We have a lot of new authors who follow my blog.  What would be your advice to new authors who need motivation to finish their book?

Before I began writing fiction, I joined a writer’s group (Romance Writers of America), took online classes, and read craft books. All this was good preparation. My best advice though, is keep writing, even if you only have time for one paragraph or one page a day. If you can afford it, once you have a perfect first five pages and at least three or four chapters, enter a contest for unpublished writers. Choose one that give feedback. If the comments are consistent, pay attention. If  not, shrug them off unless you tend to agree. I found my current publisher through one of these contests. Also, it’s best to have the book finished.  The field is pretty crowded these days and a publisher may not want to wait.

If you decide to self-publish, you must hire a professional editor to review your manuscript. I cannot stress this enough. You’d be surprised at what you miss, even after reading through a book several times. 

Finally, be like my heroine in Scandal’s Deception. Believe in yourself.

Could you tell us a little about your other work?

I mentioned I spent several years as a newspaper reporter, then I went back to college, got a master’s degree and worked in city governments that had the council-manager form of government, retiring as a City Manager. That’s when I began to write full time. I have a contemporary series called Love in the Wine Country, based on characters in my own family as well as people I met while living in Sonoma, California. There are six books in this family saga covering the lives of the Reynoso cousins—three girls, three boys—who work in the wine industry. There are also five novellas set in a Sonoma coastal town with some overlapping characters.

My other historical series is Mission Belles, going back to my first love, California history. Two books are in this series, set in California just before the gold rush, when it was still part of Mexico and about to go to war with the U.S.  

Scandal’s Deception is the fourth book in the Regency series, with lots of familiar characters in each book. I’ve tried to create a world so there can be more books in this series. Scandal’s Redemption, the other twin’s book, will be released next spring.

Thanks so much, Pamela, for taking the time to answer our questions, and we look forward to reading more of your work.