The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden

The Spice King book cover

Botanist Annabelle Larkin is determined to secure a permanent job at the Smithsonian in Washington to help provide for her sister.  Her boss at her current, temporary job asks Annabelle to research the elusive Gray Delacroix and his private plant collection that he has accumulated during years of international travel.  Gray is a secluded person and not at all amendable to the curious and snoopy nature of Annabelle.  However, Gray is intrigued by Annabelle’s positive and bright personality.  Yet Annabelle is soon forced to make a much more difficult decision, one that causes her to choose between loyalty to her country and the start of a friendship with a man she has grown to admire.

I love the characters in Elizabeth Camden’s novels because they always have a perfect blend of spirited banter and complex romance.  Like her other female characters, this book also has a strong lead female that is intelligent, ambitious, and ahead of her time.  Annabelle is fiercely loyal to her family and does not let anything stop her from her goal.  However, that does not mean she is perfect and some of her actions have consequences that affect her relationships in very real ways, causing the romantic conflict I have come to enjoy in Elizabeth Camden’s books.  This novel also contains a fascinating time of history as well as an interesting peek into the topic of the purity of the food supply, a unique subject at the turn of the century.  There was even incorporation of some of the tension of America’s relationship with Cuba.  I really enjoyed reading about this part of history.  The themes of forgiveness and mercy were integrated seamlessly.  I truly enjoyed every part of this story and greatly look forward to the other books in the series!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers/Elizabeth Camden in exchange for an honest review.

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Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano

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Raina Bretton is certain that her life will amount to nothing except working as a collector and restorer of rags in London’s East End in 1871.  So when a handsome stranger offers her a glittering opportunity to enjoy a position at a mysterious abbey, she is excited about the adventure. However, she soon realizes that beneath the impressive wealth at the abbey, secrets abound in the darker, hidden rooms.  As Raina explores the secrets further, danger creeps in and traps her in its clutches, causing her to question everything she’s ever known.

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Wow!  I have started and edited this review several times since finishing the book because I do not think that words can adequately express how much I loved this book!  Joanna Davidson Politano has a rare talent and a true gift for writing.  She crafts plots that contain unexpected twists and turns, creating a complex storyline that draws you, as the reader, into its mystery and will not let you go (even when are reading well into the wee hours of the morning and are terribly tired the next day!).  She also incorporates such intricately deep themes that resonate with you and cause you to reflect and apply them to your own life (how does she do that??).  I particularly loved the theme of identity in this book and finding the core of who God made you to be.  This story has additional themes of mercy and grace and renewing what was once broken into something beautiful.  I loved the characters and Joanna’s ability to develop them so deeply in just a few hundred pages.  I found myself crying with Raina more than once.  I was completely absorbed in the book from the beginning to the end, oblivious to the laundry and chores awaiting me at home.  I adored the romance in the book and it made my romantic heart go pitter-patter with their aching affection and absolutely adorable way of communicating their love through classic book quotes.  The scenes are vividly painted with rich descriptions that make it easy to visualize the scenes.  The ending wraps up beautifully without every detail working out perfectly, which makes it believable.  (Is it possible to actually miss the characters when you finish a book?  Because I did).  If I could describe this book in one word, it would be… captivating!  I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, but I instead of wasting your time by rambling, instead I encourage you to just go and buy a copy of this book!  I know you will fall in love with it, like I did!  There are not enough stars to rate this book, in my opinion. It is one of my favorite reads of all time and I cannot wait to see what Joanna writes next!

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Joanna at a local book signing while reading this book and I can attest to the fact that she is one of the sweetest, most genuine authors. I think it made me love her writing even more!  Here is a picture of us together (she is on the right).  Thank you for signing all of your books for me, Joanna!

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I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Celebrate Lit – State of Lies by Siri Mitchell

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About the Book

Book: State of Lies

Author: Siri Mitchell

Genre: Suspense

Release Date: August 13, 2019

State of liesMonths after her husband, Sean, is killed by a hit-and-run driver, physicist Georgie Brennan discovers he lied to her about where he had been going that day. A cryptic notebook, a missing computer, and strange noises under her house soon have her questioning everything she thought she knew.

With her job hanging by a thread, her son struggling to cope with his father’s death, and her four-star general father up for confirmation as the next Secretary of Defense, Georgie quickly finds herself tangled in a political intrigue that has no clear agenda and dozens of likely villains. Only one thing is clear: someone wants her dead too.

The more she digs for the truth, the fewer people she can trust.

Not her friends.

Not her parents.

Maybe not even herself.

Click here to grab your copy.

About the Author

SIRI-MITCHELL_headshotSiri Mitchell is the author of 14 novels. She has also written 2 novels under the pseudonym of Iris Anthony. She graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and has worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri is a big fan of the semi-colon but thinks the Oxford comma is irritatingly redundant. Visit her online at sirimitchell.com; Facebook: SiriMitchell; Twitter: @SiriMitchell.

More from Siri

A Sense of Place

I’m so excited about the release of State of Lies! Among the many reasons for my excitement is the fact that I set the story in my own home town: Arlington, VA. Here are some things you might not know about Arlington:

  1. Arlington was originally included within the borders of Washington, DC.
  2. Arlington isn’t actually a city – it’s a county. We’re the smallest self-governing county in the nation.
  3. Arlington regularly takes the top spot as the most educated place in the country.
  4. Arlington LOVES books. I count at least a dozen different little libraries in my neighborhood alone.
  5. Our region often has a hurricane warning or two every hurricane season. Can you guess where I’ve seen the longest lines when people start to make last-minute preparations? It’s not the grocery store; it’s not the hardware store. It’s the library! (Why wouldn’t you stock up on books too?)
  6. We host Arlington National Cemetery, the Iwo Jima Marine Corps War Memorial, and the Pentagon.
  7. We are home to the very first Five Guys hamburger joint location.
  8. We are also home to the headquarters of over a dozen national agencies as well as organizations like Rosetta Stone and Nestlé.
  9. People who attended our high schools include Sandra Bullock, Warren Beatty, Shirley MacLaine, Katie Couric, and Patch Adams.
  10. The thing I love most about Arlington? Its people. Countless government contractors members of the federal workforce live here. I number them among my friends and neighbors. I’ve never met a group more dedicated, more informed, or more determined to put their expertise to good use. And guess what? My heroine, Georgie Brennan, is one of them!

The Pentagon and Washington, DC

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 20

Among the Reads, August 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 20

Blogging With Carol, August 21

CarpeDiem, August 21

Josephine Anne Writes, August 21

Fiction Aficionado, August 22

All-of-a-kind Mom, August 22

Genesis 5020, August 22

Andrea Christenson, August 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 23

Pause for Tales, August 23

Through the Fire Blogs, August 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 24

Inspired by fiction, August 25

Because I said so and other adventures in parenting. , August 25

Adventures of a Traveler’s Wife, August 25

For Him and My Family, August 26

Rebekah Jones, August 26

Betti Mace, August 26

As He Leads is Joy, August 27

Wishful Endings, August 27

Reflections From My Bookshelves, August 27

Moments, August 28

Mary Hake, August 28

Remembrancy, August 28

Just the Write Escape, August 29

Simple Harvest Reads, August 29

Hallie Reads, August 30

Bigreadersite , August 30

Living Life Free in Christ, August 30

Connect in Fiction, August 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 31

Texas Book-aholic, August 31

janicesbookreviews, September 1

A Reader’s Brain, September 1

Inklings and notions , September 1

Life of Literature, September 2

Real World Bible Study, September 2

My Thoughts

What a thrilling book! I have always loved Siri Mitchell’s historical novels, so it was so much fun to read her latest suspense story. The writing is very well done, which allows you as the reader to easily devour the book.  I could not put it down!  There were definitely twists and turns that I did not expect, especially one pretty large reveal that caught me completely by surprise.  I also appreciate the amount of research that the author put into the novel with regards to the character’s job as a physicist and the political climate that serves as a backdrop to the story.  I do no think the Christian message was strong in this novel, but it is certainly still a clean story.  I really enjoyed this book overall and recommend it!

Evermore by Jody Hedlund

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On her twentieth birthday, a mysterious visitor tells Lady Adelaide that she is actually the lost princess and true heir to Mercia’s throne.  Lady Adelaide does not feel ready to become queen and fight the cruel King Ethelwulf, who killed her parents and stole the kingdom years ago. King Ethelwulf will stop at nothing to capture Adelaide, keep his kingdom intact, and attempt to take the key she holds to the lost ancient treasure.  As he sends his best guards to hunt down Adelaide, she turns to trusted friends and advisors to help her escape the clutches of King Ethelwulf and save her beloved country.

I loved this story!  I highly recommend that you read the novella (Always, #0.5 in the series) preceding this book as it gives details about the background of Adelaide and her role as heir to Mercia’s throne.  This story then picks up years later and allows us to keep reading about grown Adelaide and her compassionate heart, wise ruling, and strong spirit.  I could not put the book down!  Adelaide is not the wimpy female waiting for her knight in shining armor—she can fight better than most men and has a brave and strong soul! The series may be marketed to young adults but I can attest to the fact that the stories will grab you no matter your age.  With daring knights, beautiful princesses, and picturesque kingdoms, it will not take long for you to be pulled into the story.  There is depth to the romance and characters.  I really enjoyed the plot, which had moments that made me cry and moments that made me smile, and I cannot wait for the next book in the series!  I most highly recommend it!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Vow of Justice by Lynette Eason

Vow of Justice book cover

FBI Special Agent Lincoln St. John is not sure that he can recover from the death of the woman he loves, Allison Radcliffe.  He is determined to make sure that those who killed her pay for their sins.  But when he discovers that Allison is alive, he suddenly finds himself unsure whether to be happy or angry.  Yet the danger is not over yet, and he and Allison need to unravel the mystery before it is too late.

This series has been full of great action and suspense!  This final installment has awesome twists and turns and a chilling villain that makes your skin crawl and you cheer when justice is finally delivered!  The romance is realistic and gets put through the wringer throughout the story.  I really liked Allison, too!  She has a great heart and is a strong, independent female.  There are lose ties to earlier stories in this series, but you can also read this novel as a stand-alone.  The action is very fast-paced and keeps the story constantly moving.  I definitely recommend this series!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson

A Glitter of Gold book cover

Anne Norris is thrilled when she finds evidence of a shipwreck off the coast of Tybee Island as her recent move to Savannah, Georgia, is not panning out as she expected and she could use the money.  She turns to Carter Hale, a local museum director, for confirmation about her findings. Along the way, she realizes that she has to trust Carter, a task she is not certain her heart can handle.

This book has great characters and an intriguing plot!  Anne really captured me with her backstory and I found myself feeling her emotions throughout the novel.  This created a sweet romance with depth.  The plot is creative with stories of pirates and a mystery surrounding the lost treasure. At times, I thought the story moved a little bit slow but overall I enjoyed the novel.  The ending has a satisfying conclusion to the story.  I have enjoyed this series and recommend this book!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Deadly Intentions by Lisa Harris

Deadly Intentions book cover

Caitlyn Lindsey becomes suspicious that someone is killing her fellow team members when three of them die within months and now she barely survived a hit and run.  She turns to Detective Josh Solomon with her theories. Initially skeptical, Josh soon cannot discount Caitlyn’s fears.  As he teams with Caitlyn to finds answers, Josh realizes that they are going to need to solve this mystery before it is too late.

Suspense, mystery, and romance, this book has it all!  The action throughout the entire story keeps the plot moving.  The romance is sprinkled among the action and has depth as one of the characters struggles with past trauma.  I like how this author always incorporates Christian principles in her books, too, that are easy to connect with and speak to me as a reader. It definitely did not take long to read this book as I was eagerly anticipating the nail-biting conclusion.  I recommend this book to all lovers of romantic suspense!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.