Saturday, July 14, 2018

Mary Bennet's Untold Story Now Written by Katherine J Chen in Mary B

Mary B: A Novel: An Untold Story of Pride and Prejudice by [Chen, Katherine J.]As an avid fan of Jane Austen's books, I was eager to read this untold story of Mary Bennett by Katherine J. Chen.

In Pride and Prejudice we see Mary as that difficult middle daughter who possesses none of the beauty of her elder sisters. Nor is there the spunk found in her excitable younger sisters who seem to find nothing but mischief and the desire to be courted by anyone sporting regimental reds.

This story brings a new twist to Mary's personality as the men we've come to admire in the original seem to look past her plain looks and personality to see the real Mary and her potential.  Even Mr. Collins' plight has had a new light shed upon his toady personality as the author digs deeper into his background and odious behavior in seeking a wife.

Jane Austin's Mary, a well read young woman who seeks no dance partners nor special ribbons to adorn her plain looks is the same Mary Bennet in Mary B. The difference is that in Mary B, we get more than a superficial glimpse into this young woman's life.  If you find you haven't had your fill of the Bennet family, you will probably enjoy adding this book to your collection.  It is written in the style faithful to Pride and Prejudice.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Historical Romance Set on the Shirley Plantation!

Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance

Good news!  I enjoy Carrie Fancett Pagels historical fiction so when she shared that Return to Shirley Plantation  was being released in audio book format I was pleased.  

 This novella is set on the historical Shirley Plantation, a beautiful contrast to the pain the soldiers endured.  Historical fiction is one genre  that i find intriguing and compels me to look a little deeper into the time and place of many books.

The Civil War was a tumultuous time for  our country and for our hero Matthew Scott especially!  Far from home and wearing a uniform whose cause he did not support was difficult.  He was an actor not a soldier.  However, had he not been thrust into the gray uniform of the confederacy he never would have met the one woman who captured his heart.  

Angelina Rose was meant to be up north by now where freedom beckoned. She couldn't seem to get away from Shirley Plantation though she had had the opportunity.  Time, chance and a bit of faith intervened or she never would have met Matthew Scott who needed her care among the injured.  There was something different about him and it took others on the plantation to help put the pieces together.  This was not a clear case of an injured soldier falling for a beautiful nursemaid. 

Audio books are another way for authors to get their stories out to readers who may not have a chance to experience their books.  I first enjoyed listening while traveling but found it is a wonderful companion to many of the every day tasks I do around the house or garden and even when I am working on my hobbies.  

I recommend Return to Shirley Plantation for anyone who enjoys novellas and historical fiction.  Congratulations to Carrie Fancett Pagels on her first audio book!  I hope it will be the first of many.

...from the Publisher....

Abducted against his will, theater manager Matthew Scott is conscripted into the Confederate army because of his Copperhead senator father’s political leanings. Injured at Malvern Hill, Matthew is taken by the Union army to Shirley Plantation in Virginia, where he is tended by seamstress Angelina Rose, a freed slave. 
Given an opportunity to leave the South and start a new life for herself, Angelina remained for the sake of her sister’s orphaned twins, who are still enslaved. 
Matthew must use his acting skills to to remain safe. Will his return to Shirley Plantation settle a mystery concerning his father’s past? And will Matthew find the family for which he longs?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Captured Bride On Tour With Celebrate Lit!

About the Book

 Title: The Captured Bride
Author: Michelle Griep
Release Date: June 1, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
A war-torn countryside is no place for a lady—but Mercy Lytton is a lady like none other. Raised amongst the Mohawks, she straddles two cultures, yet each are united in one cause . . . to defeat the French. Born with a rare gift of unusually keen eyesight, she is chosen as a scout to accompany a team of men on a dangerous mission. Yet it is not her life that is threatened. It is her heart.
Condemned as a traitor, Elias Dubois faces the gallows. At the last minute, he’s offered his freedom if he consents to accompany a stolen shipment of French gold to a nearby fort—but he’s the one they stole it from in the first place. It turns out that the real thief is the beguiling woman, Mercy Lytton, for she steals his every waking thought.
Can love survive divided loyalties in a backcountry wilderness?

 my thoughts....

What an interesting time in our history!  Native scout Mercy Lytton was so courageous scouting in dangerous territory.  Author Michelle Griep wrote The Capture Bride as part of the Daughters of the Mayflower series. Each book is written by a different author.  I am happy to say that each book can be read as a standalone.

Mercy's skills as a tracker rival any man.  She is an independent woman, comfortable with her skills and not willing to suffer alongside any ineptness. She is not excited, then, to be traveling with a traitor such as Elias and is keen to be rid of him at the end of the journey.  The journey, however, does not go at all as planned.  As I read this book I was surprised at the twists in the plot.

I have read several works written by Michelle Griep and appreciate her attention to detail.  Historical fiction is an important genre for our culture.  This one, set during the French & Indian War is enjoyable and adventurous, with a touch of romance.

Thank you for stopping by. I received my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  My thoughts are entirely my own.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle

A Visit to Fort Niagara

Whether you’re a history buff or don’t have a clue what the French and Indian War was about, there’s a destination in upstate New York that’s fun to visit for the whole family . . .
My husband and I made the trek to this living history site last summer. I had no idea what to expect, other than what was advertised as a “reenactment camp.” For those who don’t know, this is when volunteers who adore history come together to present a particular event, such as a battle. These people usually choose a real person from the era upon whom they fashion their modern day persona. They dress, speak, eat and live as that person might have. Here I am with some of my new friends:
Generally around the 4th of July, the 1759 Battle of Fort Niagara is recreated in a 3-day extravaganza of soldiers, muskets, canons and an entire market place to peruse selling period-related items.
Some of the things that surprised me about stepping back into the mid-eighteenth century were:
  • How much smoke muskets kick out

  • Once the battle begins, it’s hard to see who is your enemy or ally

  • Canons are really loud

  • Everything wasn’t as black and white as it seems in pictures—gowns and uniforms were very colorful

What makes this event so spectacular is that they take the entire 20 day siege and condense it into 3 days. If you visit every day, you’ll see and experience exactly what happened. You’ll be there to see the British, Colonial regulars and Iroquois allies sneak out of the tree line to shoot at some French soldiers who were pigeon hunting just outside the fort. You’ll hear the war whoops and barrage of angry French epithets roaring on the air. You’ll even get a chance to taste some of their food as you wander around inside the French Encampment set up inside the fort walls.
To experience a bit of the danger, sights and sounds of what Mercy and Elias lived through in The Captured Bride, Fort Niagara really is a fantastic place to visit.

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, June 9

Genesis 5020, June 11
Bakerkella, June 11
Among the Reads, June 13
Book by Book, June 13
Splashes of Joy, June 14
Artistic Nobody, June 14 (Spotlight)
Pause for Tales, June 15
Mary Hake, June 15
Bigreadersite, June 15
Simple Harvest Reads, June 16 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Novels corner, June 17
Kathleen Denly, June 18
Remembrancy, June 18
Mommynificent, June 20
Carpe Diem, June 22


To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of

a signed copy of The Captured Bride and a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale: A Novel by [Hannah, Kristin]
The Nightingale

 Recently my neighbor and I were discussing audio books.  She had just listened to The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah and suggested I might like it.  When I got home I purchased my own copy from Audible.  I found myself riveted to this  amazing story of two courageous French sisters fighting WWII on their own turf. One for the resistance and one at home in her village while German soldiers were billeted in her home. What a compelling story showing that even though the men were off fighting in battle, there were battles waged at home fought by wives and family.  

 The storyline dictates suspense and since it is the narrator's job to be the voice of the author I was pleased that it was superbly done by Polly Stone.  To say an audio book is a page turner is not quite the same. However, listening to just one more half hour is what I found myself doing the past few nights.   I recommend this book with 5 stars overall for both the story and performance!   

...Publisher's Synopsis....

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

France 1939
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious 18-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.
With courage, grace and powerful insight, best-selling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France - a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Reviewing: Cottage By The Sea By Debbie Macomber

Cottage by the Sea: A Novel
Annie Marlow has been through the worst. Rocked by tragedy, she heads to the one place that makes her happy: Oceanside in the Pacific Northwest, the destination of many family vacations when Annie was a teenager.
Once there, Annie begins to restore her broken spirit, thanks in part to the folks she meets: a local painter, Keaton, whose large frame is equal to his big heart—and who helps Annie fix up her rental cottage by the sea; Mellie, the reclusive, prickly landlord Annie is determined to befriend; and Britt, a teenager with a terrible secret. But it is Keaton to whom Annie feels most drawn. His quiet, peaceful nature offers her both comfort and reprieve from her grief, and the two begin to grow closer.

Then events threaten to undo the idyll Annie has come to enjoy. And when the opportunity of a lifetime lands in her lap, she is torn between the excitement of a new journey toward success and the safe and secure arms of the haven—and the man—she’s come to call home.
In this heartwarming tale, Annie finds that the surest way to fix what is damaged within is to help others rise above their pain and find a way to heal.

....My thoughts...

Debbie Macomber definitely has another gem with Cottage By the Sea, and I predict it will be a best-seller. Imagine the worst that can happen to your life. What to do you do and where do you go to heal?  I find being near the water to be a balm and so does Annie Marlow. The pieces begin to fit together for her in this small town. 

The characters in the book are very engaging and complex. They definitely drew me in because each one had their own story within this story.  

The coastal setting is more than just a backdrop for the story. I can nearly hear the waves crashing while Lennon, Keaton's dog runs chasing his stick.  It is a moment such as this that Annie and Keaton meet.  Keaton is an intriguing, yet quiet man who magically links everyone together.  It is through Keaton that so many of the good things come to play for our characters.  I keep hitting the back button lest I give away the whole story.  It is times like this I wish I was in a book club, tea in hand and discussing the promise of this book.  I recommend this book with 5 stars to anyone who enjoys Debbie Macomber's style and a connection to the ocean. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Find Time to Read....The Hawaiian Discovery

An Amish woman in Hawaii?  What an idea! I was drawn to this new installment from writing team Wanda Brunstetter and her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter.  

...from the Publisher...

An Amish Woman Finds Love in Hawaii
Ellen Lambright mourned when her best friend, Mandy, moved from Indiana to Hawaii. But now Ellen has received the Amish church’s permission to go to Hawaii and help Mandy through challenging times. Rob Smith works on the Williams family’s organic farm, far from his past mistakes and burning regrets. When Ellen befriends Rob, the attraction is mutual, but her commitment to the Amish faith stands between them. Could a heartfelt discovery lead to forgiveness, reunion, and love? Or is Ellen’s destiny waiting for her in Indiana? thoughts...

Ellen Lambright is the woman you want in your corner when tragedy strikes your family!  She went to great lengths to do what she could to make life smoother for Mandy and her family.  Rob worked alongside Ellen to keep Ken & Mandy's business going and developed a good friendship.  Although drawn to Rob, there was a bit of mystery about him that made her a little uneasy.  Adding to that was the fact that he was not Amish and because of that, she knew that she couldn't allow more than a working relationship with him.  Ellen's commitment to her faith was admirable if not difficult.   Then there is Rob, who is attracted to Ellen.  Would she consider him if she knew about his past?  

The Hawaiian Discovery is Book 2 in the Hawaiian Series.  Somehow I missed The Hawaiian Quilt but The Hawaiian Discovery can easily stand alone.  I recommend this book to fans of Wanda and Jean Brunstetter's books.  The setting in Hawaii is just in time for summer reading lists.  

Monday, June 4, 2018

Reviewing: By The Book By Julia Sonneborn

...notes from the cover...

By the Book: A Book Club Recommendation! by [Sonneborn, Julia]An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.

Anne Corey is about to get schooled.

An English professor in California, she’s determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president.

Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.

Funny, smart, and full of heart, this modern ode to Jane Austen’s classic explores what happens when we run into the demons of our past...and when they turn out not to be so bad, after all. thoughts...

If you like Jane Austen, you may enjoy this retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen.  I enjoyed picking out Lady Russell, Captain Wentworth, and of course, Anne Elliott.  Other characters were less obvious but the story was engaging.  

Adam Martinez is the hot new president of  Fairfax College.  Anne Corey nearly choked on her wine when she discovered that Adam was her former fiance.  The characters were engaging and the story was lively.  Anne's family definitely rejected Adam when he was a college student who didn't seem to have the bright future they expected for Anne.  Anne, for her part, tried to please her advisor and mentor Professor Russell, who was the catalyst for Anne's moving away from love to finding herself alone. Now, years later his CV was proof of his wonderful accomplishments that led to the top spot at the college.

Adam is just as caring as Frederick Wentworth was and stayed in the background while Anne was trifled with by Rick, the famous writer whose schemes just winnowed away throughout the story.  He was just what I would have expected and he was a good stand in for young Mr. Elliott of Persuasion fame.   In the end, amid distractions like Larry, Anne's friend and colleague, the story unfolded to provide Adam his due.  He was a handsome, worthwhile hero who deserves to get the girl!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Reviewing: The Road Home by Beverly Lewis

...notes from the back cover....

"As the sun began to rise, Lena Rose leaned against the cool pane of the bus window and gazed out at the familiar landscape of her life. I'm leaving my family and everything I know behind. She sighed, trying to keep her composure.
Grieving the death of her Amish parents and the separation from her nine close-knit siblings, Lena Rose Schwartz consoles herself that her new life in Lancaster County won't be forever. Surely someday soon she will return to her beloved Michigan settlement, including her beau. But even as she holds on to hope for a reunion with those she loves most, she discovers that Lancaster holds charms of its own. Will she find the courage to open her heart to other possibilities?" thoughts...

The Road Home by celebrated author Beverly Lewis was even better than I expected.  The story was easy to get into and hard to put down.  Lena Rose Schwartz is an amazing young woman who has a special gift of giving to others without hopes of anything in return.  She spreads joy in surprising places even through the pain of losing her parents and a long distance separation from her younger brothers and sisters.  

She was welcomed so warmly into the home of her father's second cousin Harley and his wife Mimi.  She soon felt like a member of their own family.  Her talents as a seamstress helped Mimi with her home sewing business.  People in her new community soon became attached to her as she touched their lives with unselfish kindness. It wasn't long before she caught the eye of handsome cabinet maker Arden Mast.  A relationship with him was not in her plans. She was determined to return to her family in Michigan as soon as a door opened to make that possible  Arden knew his home and family were in Pennsylvania and didn't plan to leave them.  She knew a friendship with him was safe.  

Yet even with the happy circumstance of being reunited with her family and her responsibilities towards them she felt as though she left part of her heart in Pennsylvania.  Oh I can't say how it ends but this is a good story you may just want to read twice!  I heartily recommend this book.  

I received my copy of The Road Home from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review but my thoughts are mine.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Announcing the Winner of Together Forever Giveaway!

We have a winner!

What could be better than purchasing a copy of the latest book by your favorite author?  Why winning a copy, of course.....

Congratulations to Kay Garrett, who won of a copy of Together Forever by Jody Hedlund!  I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

Watch your mailbox Kay and thank you for being a loyal reader of my blog!  Stay tuned all summer long as I give away more books by our favorite Christian fiction authors!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Together Forever On Tour With Celebrate Lit Plus A Sweet Giveaway!

About the Book

 Title: Together Forever, Orphan Train Book 2
Author: Jody Hedlund
Genre: Inspirational historical romance
Release Date: May, 2018
Determined to find her lost younger sister, Marianne Neumann takes a job as a placing agent with the Children’s Aid Society in 1858 New York. She not only hopes to offer children a better life, but prays she’ll be able to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train so they can finally be reunited.
Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing-out trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children, firm but tender and friendly. Underneath his charm and handsome looks, though, seems to linger a grief that won’t go away–and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden.
As the two team up, placing orphans in the small railroad towns of Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.

Click here to purchase your copy!

my thoughts....

I waited for nearly a year to read this book.  When I finished reading With You Always , book 1 in this series I knew there was more to the story.  The book is captivating enough that it has stayed with me for quite some time. Together Forever is Marianne Neumann's story.  A story of her courageous search for younger sister Sophie, who was last seen boarding one of the trains.  If only she could find Sophie, she would feel like she hadn't let her family down.  Along the way, she put her heart into working with the children under her charge, helping them adjust to starting a new life.  Along the way she couldn't help but get attached to them.

In a way, she, too was starting a new life.  She had never done anything remotely similar to guiding these children on the train.  It helped that she was assigned with handsome Drew Brady, who had more experience.  They worked well together and their friendship grew.  They both found their faith tested and a resilience beyond measure as a tragic situation occurred and they learned they could rely on one another.

I loved this book for the characters who were so well developed they transported this reader onto that clickety-clackety train full of eager, excited and frightened children.  It would be wonderful if the ride on the train was an easy trip but that is not how the real world works.  It is what we do with situations we are given that make up the difference in the end.  I give this book 5 well-deserved stars.

Thank you for stopping by. I received my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  My thoughts are entirely my own.

About the Author

Jody Hedlund is the author of over a dozen novels, including Love Unexpected, Captured by Love, Unending Devotion, The Preacher’s Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog at

Guest Post from Jody Hedlund

30,000 Abandoned Children
By Jody Hedlund
Imagine a city where 30,000 abandoned and homeless children live on the streets.
Sounds like something from a futuristic dystopian novel, doesn’t it? Or something that might happen after a war or apocalypse or major disaster, right?
This exact thing actually happened in the 1850’s. And the city was New York City.
It’s hard to believe, but an estimated 30,000 homeless children roamed the dirty city streets and alleys of New York City.
30,000. Children. Let that sink in for a minute. That’s the size of a town.
Historians look back on that time and try to make sense what led to such horrific conditions for children. Of course, the influx of immigrants was at an all time high. Jobs and housing were scarce. Diseases were rampant. Hunger and poverty became a norm. (Orphan Train Depot)

As more and more people became aware of the enormous problem within the crowded slums, courageous heroes rose up and attempted to do their part to make a difference.
While we may not always agree with the methods that were used to save the thousands of homeless children, we can admire the men and women who could no longer sit idly by.
The Children’s Aid Society was started by Charles Loring Brace as one such attempt to help the hordes of homeless children. His “Emigration Plan” is better known today by the term “Orphan Trains.”

My latest series tackles various elements of the orphan train movement. Together Forever, releasing in May, highlights the placing agents, those devoted people who rode the trains with the orphans. The agents spent weeks and months on the road caring for the children, all the while trying to place them in loving homes.
(If you’d like to try out the series, start with my FREE novella, An Awakened Heart.)
Like the brave men and women who came before us, may we always strive to do our part to make a difference!

Blog Stops

By The Book, May 22
Genesis 5020, May 23
Radiant Light, May 26
Mary Hake, May 27
Carpe Diem, May 27
Simple Harvest Reads, May 28 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Bigreadersite, May 30
Vicky Sluiter, June 2


To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!