Vying for the Viscount by Kristi Ann Hunter

Hudson Stildon, having grown up in India for protection, travels to England after his grandfather’s death to take control of his title and estate.  Although a lot of things in England are unfamiliar to him, he is more than comfortable around horses and is thrilled with the stables on the estate.  However, he is at a loss as to what exactly he needs to do to race and breed these horses, and is particularly ignorant about running the estate.  His neighbor, Bianca Snowley, has been exercising Hudson’s estate horses for years and is always thrilled to escape the annoyances of her stepmother and seek refuge among the horses.  When Hudson returns from overseas to manage the stables, he and Bianca form a friendship.  He realizes she has the social skills necessary to maneuver through society and he has the horses she dearly loves, so they strike a deal—she will help him survive society if he will let her continue to work the horses.  As their friendship continues to grow, Hudson begins to wonder if what he has been searching for has been right under his nose the whole time.

I loved this first book in a fantastic new series!  I love the stories of friendships that develop into something more, so I greatly enjoyed the romance in this novel.  I liked that the author did not rush the romance, but made it believable and enjoyable to read.  I also really liked the characters—they are full of spunk and personality and easily likable and relatable.  The writing is well done and makes it easy to get immersed into the story.  I found myself chuckling on more than more occasion at the banter and internal dialogues of the characters.  There are a few interesting twists to the plot that do not make it predictable.  I liked the historical setting and was interested in the details of the horses in the story.  Overall, I greatly enjoyed this novel and am eagerly anticipating the next one in the series!  I highly recommend this novel!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

In 1928, Pippa Ripley is trying to figure out where she fits—rejected as a baby from the circus due to her deformed leg but not quite fitting into the suffocating glamour of her adoptive parents’ lifestyle.  She is intrigued by secretive messages delivered to her from the “Watchman,” a shadowy figure that she thinks may know more about her birth.  However, when circus worker Jake warns Pippa that this Watchman may responsible for the deaths of young females—including his own sister—Pippa begins to wonder if the Watchman is looking out for her or marking her as his next victim.  Meanwhile, in modern times, Chandler Faulk has recently purchased the old circus depot with plans to renovate it into a center for boutique shops, highlighting the glory days of the circus.  But when mysterious events being occurring, and the local townspeople question whether it is the work of ghosts of the murdered victims of the Watchman, Chandler starts to question whether she can handle the stress of digging into haunting secrets better left unexplored.

Wow!  This book drew me in from the very first page, the whispers of ghosts and secrets rising from the pages and pulling me into the story with ease.  Jaime Jo Wright is a master at split-time novels, and I love reading how the two storylines start as complex separate stories that eventually merge into a beautiful connection with similar themes.  I particularly loved the characters in this novel, as both Pippa and Chandler are seeking where they belong and their purpose in their worlds. I was humbled by Jaime Jo Wright’s inclusion of an autoimmune disorder in one of her characters, knowing that she herself struggles with the same disease, demonstrating that she is willing to be vulnerable as an author in order to connect with her readers.  The strange occurrences in the story have you questioning whether some of the events are really due to ghosts!  I stayed up until after 2am to finish this book because the tale drew me in and would not let me put the book down until I discovered what happened to the characters!  Just when I thought I had figured out the villains, there was another twist in the story that kept me guessing!  This story made me cry as I grew to love the characters, gasp as I was surprised by twists and turns, and snuggle deeper under my blanket as I fervently looked over my shoulder for Patty’s ghost.  I was intrigued by the history of the circus and appreciated the author’s details of circus life.  The spiritual themes of trusting God and allowing Him to be your ultimate identity were artfully woven in the story among the roar of the lions, the swishing of the elephant’s tail, and the whispers of the Watchman.  I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

These Nameless Things by Shawn Smucker

Dan barely escapes a brutal attack on a mountain, but his brother is left behind.  Due to difficulty remember details of his assault, Dan waits with other survivors, desperate for news of those still captured. A wounded woman suddenly appears just as Dan’s memories are starting to come back.  Despite the danger, Dan risks everything to save those he loves.

Shawn Smucker has a unique writing voice, bringing forth the suspense in this speculative fictional story. I liked how I was drawn into the story and got lost in the narrative, as I wanted to find answers and conclusions. The ending is satisfying after the intensity of the novel.  I would not classify this as a light-hearted read, as the action and suspense can get almost eerie at times.  It does make for a thrilling book, however!  The themes of forgiveness and redemption are compelling, and the author does a great job crafting the allegorical aspect of the story.  I did enjoy this book and would recommend it to those who enjoy the action of speculative fiction!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Flight Risk by Cara Putman

Savannah Daniels has trouble trusting after the betrayal of her ex-husband, and she is relieved when she is finally able to move on, build her law practice, and be a good aunt to her niece.  However, chaos once again enters her life when journalist Jett Glover exposes an international sex-trafficking scandal and those near to her become involved. Jett was simply hoping to exposure the truth, but as he witnesses the hurt that results from his article, he begins to wonder if perhaps he acted too rashly.  As Jett attempts to sort fact from fiction, he hopes Savannah can forgive him in order to help him solve the facts before it is too late.

This book was full of past-faced action and suspense!  The story contained lots of unpredictable twists and turns that kept the plot interesting.  I liked Savannah a lot, but Jett was definitely someone it took time to like. I thought the author did a good job of handling sensitive subjects of human trafficking and alcoholism.  Some of the characters from Cara Putman’s Hidden Justice series make an appearance in this book, but I do not think that you have to read that series first to enjoy this novel.  Overall, this novel is an enjoyable suspense book and I recommend it to those who like romantic suspense!

I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from Netgalley and Thomas Nelson Publishers. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

The Socialite by J’nell Ciesielski

Kat Whitford is content with the luxurious lifestyle and comfort provided by her Nazi boyfriend. However, when her family requests that she find and take care of her wayward sister Ellie, she is determined to help her sister.  Her father pays Barrett Anderson a hefty sum to watch over the two girls, but Barrett has a secret of his own, training resistance fighters in a basement in Nazi occupied Paris.  As their fragile trust begins to unfold, Kat and Barrett are faced with dangers neither one of them ever comprehended.

I was intrigued by the premise of this book because I have read numerous fictional novels about the resistance fighters of WWII, but it was interesting to get a glimpse into the glamorous lifestyle of the Nazi officers.  The characters are captivating and their stories are interesting, making it easy to want to keep reading to explore them further.  I like how they grow and change and particularly how Kat develops courage and determination during the story.  I thought the author did a good job of creating a fictional story that seemed real to me, like it could have actually happened during that time period.  The history is well researched and incorporated!  Portions of the middle of the book were a little slow and I didn’t love Ellie’s character, but I think this story is well written and worth the read.  I recommend it to those who love historical fiction!

I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from Netgalley and Thomas Nelson Publishing.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Selah by Lisa T. Bergren

Selah Banning has had a unique upbringing, growing up on the West Indies island of Nevis in 1770s.  As the Revolutionary War gains momentum in the United States, Selah’s abolitionist views become even more controversial. She finds an ally in Jedediah Reed, a Methodist preacher with a call to serve the slaves of Nevis.  Although their opinions draw them together, there are other circumstances that may tear them apart.

I have enjoyed this series! I do recommend that you read the stories in order to fully understand the characters.  I liked that I was once again transported to the islands with their colorful scenery, easily imagined based on the author’s descriptions.  I enjoyed reading about Selah a lot and appreciated her love for the slaves and her compassionate heart.  I could tell that Jedediah has a good heart, but I wish he had a bit more gumption.  The villain in the story was easy to hate.  I appreciated the attention that the author paid to the cruelties of slavery, and I thought that she did a good job communicating the horrors without being too graphic.  I felt like the ending of the book did not wrap up the story and it almost seems like there should be another in the series.  Overall, however, I enjoyed the book and have liked this series!

I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from Netgalley and Bethany House Publishers. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Colors of Truth by Tamera Alexander

Catriona O’Toole emigrates from Ireland with her sister Nora just days before the Battle of Franklin in 1866, looking for her younger brother, Ryan.  An operative in the United States Secret Service Agency, Wade Cunningham is searching for counterfeiters and the evidence is pointing to Catriona.  However, he has trouble believing the clues as he is drawn to Catriona.  Meanwhile, Catriona is focused on finding Ryan, worried that he may be among the mass grave of bodies in the field following on the deadliest battles of the Civil War.

I love how Tamera Alexander takes real history and real places (in this case, the Carnton home) and writes fictional characters that highlight the time period.  Her research is impeccable!  It is easy to be transported to the time period and to visualize the battlefields and smell the gunpowder.  Tamera Alexander brings honor and respect to the history in such a powerful way.  I found myself easily drawn to the characters and their growth throughout the story.  I loved Catriona and her spunky spirit and fierce independence.  I had no trouble connecting with her, her sister, and Wade and becoming invested in their story.  I have truly loved this series and greatly enjoyed this book.  I do not think the series has to be read in order, but the first two books have both been excellent.  I highly recommend this novel!

I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from Netgalley and Thomas Nelson publishing. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Celebrate Lit Tour – The Sugar Baron’s Ring by Lorri Dudley

About the Book

Book:  The Sugar Baron’s Ring

Author: Lorri Dudley

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: June 23, 2020

A ring is her only tie to a distant homeland, until a marooned Englishman anchors her heart.

Hannah Rose Barrington is the island misfit. Orphaned at a young age, Hannah struggles to provide for her future, while her guardian, a weak-hearted island drunk, bleeds Hannah of her father’s inheritance. Caught between the classes of elite planters and white beggars, Hannah yearns to find a place to belong.

University life has never been Bradlee Granville’s forte. His only hope to graduate is to impress his professors by documenting his travels. After claiming unforeseeable circumstances, he delays his final exams and sets out early on his Grand Tour. However, when his ship wrecks off the coast of the Leeward Islands, Bradlee is left without means to return to England, a mounting deadline, and ruined journals.

When Hannah rescues passengers from a ship breaking apart in the bay, she’s unexpectedly drawn to the witty charm of one of the men. Helping him settle into island life will be a pleasure. However, as creditors, like sharks, begin to circle and her guardian’s desperation becomes life threatening, Hannah finds herself in need of rescue. Will Bradlee look past her pitiful situation to see who she truly is—the sugar baron’s daughter?

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

The Sugar Baron’s Ring is the third book in the Leeward Island series. My heroine is caught between social classes as the daughter of a sugar baron and an impoverished white beggar since her guardian sold her inheritance to pay his debts. To generate the feeling of being a misfit, I delved back to those awkward years of middle and high school, where we often struggle to discover where we belong. Before my senior year, my family and I moved to New England for a job change. I’d had a great group of friends at my old school, but at my new school, I was a stranger—an outsider—trying to find acceptance, much like Hannah.

Bradlee, the hero, on the other hand, was fashioned in a completely different manner. At my house, the slang terms “bruh” and “noob” are tossed around by my three boys, along with constant fraternal teasing. A lot of their sarcastic wit and camaraderie are portrayed through Bradlee and his grand tour companion, Colin. Their light-hearted banter depicts the tight bonds of a deep relationship where faults may be mocked, but offenses are overlooked, and if ever in trouble, they have each other’s backs. Hannah is drawn to Bradlee, craving a similar connection but loses her heart to him in the process.

The first opening scene came about because my family loves Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. After binge-watching practically every episode, I knew my hero and heroine would meet under the duress of a shiny, steel-gray fin plowing through the water. (Queue the Jaws theme song.) However, our resourceful heroine contains the strength to rescue the hero as opposed to the other way around.

All these things, being a misfit, teasing, and shark attacks, playout in a grander scheme to show how God never leaves us nor forsakes us. He’s laying out the pieces of our happily-ever-after while developing our character and purpose. The Sugar Baron’s Ring demonstrates how God’s light shines bright even in the darkness.

To learn more, check out my website at lorridudley.com or click here to watch The Sugar Baron’s Ring book trailerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWRQr3drZY8&feature=youtu.be

My Thoughts

This has been a great series!  I have enjoyed each of the strong female leads in the novels and Hannah, the heroine in this third book, might be one of my favorites so far!  I like her quiet, independent spirit; her kind, generous nature; and her sweet, compassionate care.  The spiritual truth of trusting God to take a bad situation and turn it around for good was evident throughout the story.  The setting, on the Nevis Island, was easy to picture as the author did a good job describing the humid heat and chattering monkeys.  There are some family secrets and twists to the plot that keep it interesting.  Overall, I enjoyed this story and look forward to the next one in the series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Wild Heart Books and Celebrate Lit.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, June 23

A Baker’s Perspective, June 23

For Him and My Family, June 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 24

Texas Book-aholic, June 25

Genesis 5020, June 25

Daysong Reflections, June 25

Inklings and notions, June 26

Rebecca Tews, June 26

Betti Mace, June 27

Remembrancy, June 27

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 28

deb’s Book Review, June 28

For the Love of Literature, June 29

Britt Reads Fiction, June 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 29

Kat’s Corner Books, June 30

She Lives To Read, June 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 1

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, July 1

Reading Is My SuperPower, July 2

Emily Yager, July 2

Pause for Tales, July 2

KarenSueHadley, July 3

Books, Life, and Christ, July 3

Blossoms and Blessings, July 4

Read Review Rejoice, July 4

Artistic Nobody, July 5 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Batya’s Bits, July 5

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, July 6

Hallie Reads, July 6

Life of Literature, July 6

And now… a 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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fcd4/the-sugar-baron-s-ring-celebration-tour-giveaway

Celebrate Lit Tour – The Green Dress by Liz Tolsma

About the Book

Book:  The Green Dress

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release Date: June 2020

Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend

Book 6 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

When Harriet Peters came to Boston in 1882, the Robinson family took her in like one of their own, and Harriet became closer to Lizzie Robinson than her own siblings. Now, four years later, Lizzie is deathly sick, failing quickly just like several others in her family have done over the past few years. How can so many in one family die from the same mysterious illness? Harriet doesn’t have answers, but she is determined to help the family, bringing in a new-to-the-neighborhood doctor, Michael Wheaton.
As Harriet and Michael close in on the answer, putting their own lives at risk, can the cause be found before anyone else dies?

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

More from Liz

We’ve all been there—started a letter or an email or even a list, didn’t like what we had, crossed it out or hit the delete button, and tried again. Now imagine that happening when you’re writing a novel.

That’s what occurred with The Green Dress. Finding the perfect place to start a novel can be tricky, but when you’re trying to balance fact with fiction, it’s even harder. I needed the fictional heroine, Harriet Peters, to have a good reason to come into contact with and become close to the factual Robinson family. And I needed for the hero, Michael Wheaton, to meet Harriet early on. So I dove into the story. Five chapters later, the hero and heroine hadn’t yet met. The book wasn’t working.

I scrapped those chapters and started at a different point. At first, it seemed to be going better. I was happy. Until I got to the fifth chapter, when I realized again that the book wasn’t working. Frankly, it was boring. So those ended up in the virtual trash bin. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking on my deadline. I was desperate to find the right starting point, at a place with high tension. Finally, I had an “aha” moment, and the story flowed from there. That’s how the first five chapters (and the rest of The Green Dress) came to be.

—Liz Tolsma

My Thoughts

The premise of this book caught my attention and my interest was further peaked with the first few chapters! The story has mystery and a uniqueness that is interesting to read.  I liked the characters in the book and it did not take long for me to wonder what was going to happen to them next.  There is some suspense as the danger increases in the novel.  I thought the story was well written and well paced and it seems the author did her research!  I think the novel was further enhanced by the fact that it is based on a true story!  I liked reading this book and look forward to more in the series!I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, June 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 26

deb’s Book Review, June 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 26

A Reader’s Brain, June 27

Rebecca Tews, June 27

For Him and My Family, June 27

Texas Book-aholic, June 28

Back Porch Reads, June 28

Inklings and notions, June 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 29

Genesis 5020, June 29

Emily Yager, June 29

Christian Bookaholic, June 30

Robin’s Nest, June 30

To Everything There is A Season, June 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 30

Blogging With Carol, July 1

Bigreadersite, July 1

Read Review Rejoice, July 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 2

Life of Literature, July 2

Connie’s History Classroom, July 2

Betti Mace, July 3

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 3

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3

Stories By Gina, July 3

For the Love of Literature, July 4

Remembrancy, July 4

Reviewingbooksplusmore, July 4

Godly Book Reviews, July 5

Splashes of Joy, July 5

Vicky Sluiter, July 5

Older & Smarter?, July 6

Through the Fire Blogs, July 6

Daysong Reflections, July 6

amandainpa, July 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 7

Pause for Tales , July 7

Just the Write Escape, July 7

Hallie Reads, July 8

Where Faith and Books Meet, July 8

Blossoms and Blessings, July 8

Spoken from the Heart, July 9

With a Joyful Noise, July 9

Artistic Nobody, July 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

And now… a giveaway!

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of 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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fcd8/the-green-dress-celebration-tour-giveaway

Thanks for stopping by!

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes

Set the Stars Alight book cover

Thanks to treasured memories of her father’s stories as a child, Lucy Clairmont has a wild imagination, so when she finds an artifact under the floorboards of her London flat, her interest is immediately peaked.  She enlists the help of her childhood friend and now forensic astronomer, Dashel, and together they dig into the past of a mysterious estate on the East Sussex coast.  Two hundred years earlier, a wealthy young boy becomes entangled in a war that leads to love and sacrifice.  As the two stories intertwine over time, the characters seek redemption and peace.

Slide1

Oh my goodness!  This story is beautifully told, the settings, history, and characters coming alive with each sentence.  I love Amanda Dyke’s writing and her unique ability to pull readers into the novel with such ease.  I don’t think I have ever highlighted so many great quotes in one book! I cried in the first chapter (and several chapters thereafter!) as the characters became so authentic to me almost immediately.  I love their achingly realistic backgrounds, their human-like flaws, and their genuine growth in the story.  I also really enjoyed the creativity of the storyline and the way the plot flowed together and eventually connected several unique pieces.  There are so many layers in the novel and I was easily lost in the tale late into the night as I unpacked its storyline.  The spiritual themes and truths are deep and applicable. I loved this book so much and it will definitely be in one of my top reads this year!  I highly recommend this novel and cannot wait to see what this author pens next!

Slide2

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.