Handsome appearance counts for naught unless matched by good character and actions.
That’s the firm opinion of not-so-meek minister’s daughter Lavinia Ellison. So even though all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the newly returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she is not impressed. If a man won’t take his responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him, he deserves no respect from her. In Lavinia’s pretty, gray eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother–who stole the most important person in Livvie’s world.
Nicholas is weighed down by his own guilt and responsibility, by the pain his careless brother caused, and by the legacy of war he’s just left. This quick visit home to St. Hampton Heath will be just long enough to ease a small part of that burden. Asking him to bother with the lives of the villagers when there’s already a bailiff on the job is simply too much to expect.
That is, until the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. With her angelic voice in his head, he may even be beginning to care. But his isn’t the only heart that needs to change.
These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society’s opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.
If you’re a fan of Regency romance, you’ll love The Elusive Miss Ellison. It has it all – inter-class attraction, a poor village in need of attention, a faith journey by one unaware, slanderous gossip by the wealthy, drama, tragedy, and more. I think Miller’s book would attract even those unfamiliar with this time period because of the great drama and repartee that lies within these pages.
I loved the descriptions. From ball gowns to wild blossoms by the roadway, Miller set the backdrop to each scene well. I could picture how it must look and loved the extra oomph that gave to the story.
Nicholas is a very complex character. With much tragedy in his past and unwanted responsibility now sitting on his shoulders, he struggles to deal with it all, and yet he comes across as a now-honorable man, at least most of the time. I found myself wanting him to fare well even when he wasn’t behaving well, and yet you could see the man that he could be.
The best element to Miller’s writing, though, was the way that she wrote subtle mysteries into the story. This wasn’t an ordinary historical romance; she fed you small pieces of backstory at unexpected times, often when you hadn’t been sure there was even more to tell. I loved the way that more kept coming just when I wanted it.
There are more books coming soon in the Regency Brides series – I can’t wait to read them.
I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity. All opinions are my own.
Dani Pettrey’s latest is out, and it’s a winner ….
Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright–and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.
Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead–and the photographer insists he didn’t take the shot. Worse, her friend can’t be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.
Pettrey’s latest work in the Chesapeake Valor series is an action-packed winner! If you enjoy romantic stories that keep you on the edge of your seat, then Still Life is most definitely for you. Between the danger that Avery faces as she tries to find her friend, the romantic tension between her and Parker, and morbid photos that keep popping up of dead beauties, you won’t be able to put Still Life down.
Avery is a fascinating main character to me. With her rough background and gritty determination to overcome it, Avery’s journey to healing and love is a page-turner. With Parker’s fun Irish accent, who wouldn’t be enthralled?
I enjoyed the ties Pettrey created between Avery’s past and her present, between the art world and the real one. As my daughter and I enjoy playing with our cameras and trying to get the ‘perfect’ shot – though only of things like flowers and butterflies – reading about real photographers and their work was a fascinating angle of the story.
Pettrey excels at building suspense, and part of that is the way that she adds suspects to the list and then sorts through them. She keeps you guessing for much of the story while she drips details into your brain. I was a good two-thirds of the way through the story before I had even a hope of pinpointing who the killer was, and even then I wasn’t sure I was right. I love when an author can keep me guessing ’til the end!
If you’re a fan of Christian suspense fiction, hurry and get your hands on a copy of Still Life. You won’t regret it.
I received a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Four years after a tragic mission decimated his career and his team, Cole “Tox” Russell is persona non grata to the United States. And that’s fine–he just wants to be left alone. But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.
Partnered with FBI agent Kasey Cortes, Tox has to pull together a team to begin a globe-spanning search for answers–and a cure. As their quest leads them from continent to continent, it slowly becomes clear they’re not just fighting a plague–but battling against an ancient secret society whose true goals remain hidden.
With time running out and opposition growing on every side, the key to everything may rest in an antique codex, the Crown of Jerusalem–but will Tox and his team be able to trust each other enough to break this century-spanning conspiracy of silence?
Conspiracy of Silence is the fastest paced thriller I’ve read in years! I couldn’t put it down. It’s a winner on so many levels – the growth and redemption of Tox, the Biblical artifact mystery, and the team that travels the world trying to save it.
I love that mix. The combination of military action, good-versus-evil, and Biblical artifacts coming to light is exciting. It’s like reading a paper version of the best kind of action-adventure movie, and if you’re a lover of books, what could be better?
The depth of character to Tox is exhilarating. He’s a military man through-and-through, but the faith, regrets, and love interests add multiple facets to his character that make him a wonderful leading man. You can’t help but cheer for him on all levels even when things are going his way.
There is a prequel novella to this story. It’s short but maintains the same high-octane level as this book. It’s not necessary to read that story before this one, but it will help you to understand the attitudes of the characters in the early chapters.
This is the first Kendig book I’ve read, but it won’t be the last. I loved this story. If you’re a fan of Joel C. Rosenberg or other realistic action-adventure stories, you’ll definitely want to read Conspiracy of Silence.
I received a free copy of Conspiracy of Silence. All opinions expressed here are my own.
After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.
When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?
With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.
Jocelyn Green has penned an epic new adventure saga in The Mark of the King. A fantastic and dramatic look at life in the French Louisiana colony in the early 1720s, I couldn’t put it down.
There were so many aspects of history that Green wrote into this book that I was completely unaware even existed; I didn’t realize that any part of North America was ever forcibly populated by criminals; that there were wars between the French and the local Native Americans long prior to the well-known French and Indian War; that New Orleans was a planned city, and much, much more. Knowing that these true historical facts formed the basis of this story made it even more exciting.
Not that it wasn’t on its own. Life was hard in New Orleans, and Julianne faced more than any one woman should ever have to endure. I constantly wondered at her persistence and diligence, because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have her outlook if I lived in her circumstances. The humidity and mosquitos alone would have done me in! Her faith and character are to be admired and can teach much.
I loved Green’s smooth writing style, too. Each time I thought I had something figured out, due to words that stood out or perceived foreshadowing, the story swung into a new direction. I never saw it coming, but the transitioning was smooth, and the details made it all fit perfectly as events unfolded. That can’t be easy to do, but it makes for a fabulous story.
If you’re a fan of historical fiction of any kind, definitely give Green’s The Mark of the King a try.
I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity. All opinions are my own.
About Pursuing Gold: With his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis. With only a newly-minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner’s daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter’s forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue gold on behalf of their business, as they learn to pursue their heavenly Father to find hope and peace.
Simmons has sketched a tale of deceit, loss, and love in the midst of the chaos of the Civil War. I’ve never before thought about how banks survived during wartime before the FDIC was backing them, but Simmons examines that reality in great detail in this new story.
I’ve always wondered about the details of how our country converted from metal coinage to paper money, and that idea is discussed a bit in the book. I enjoyed reading about the Peter’s struggle to grow from his book education to becoming a wise business owner, especially during such a turbulent time.
Simmons’ writing style is a bit more abrupt than I’m used to; there were many transitions between settings and characters, and while it may not be more than other stories, the distinct labeling made it feel like many. Those transitions often came on the heels of a revelation or announcement for the main character of that section, and those big ideas were followed with little information about how that character felt. I think that including those emotions, whether directly or indirectly, fills out the story; however, after a few chapters, I adjusted to Simmons’ style and enjoyed the story greatly.
While I felt I could point out the guilty culprit with some certainty throughout the story, I was never sure how the crime was being accomplished. In the end, Simmons surprised me completely. I wasn’t completely wrong about the guilty party, but the motivation came completely out of left field. It’s a great thing when the author can keep me guessing until the very moment that the ending is revealed!
Simmons chose a very unique angle when creating this story. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, you should definitely give Pursuing Gold a try.
Cynthia L Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She has taught for over thirty years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. She’s a columnist for Leading Hearts Magazine and she directs Atlanta Christian Writing Conference. Cyndi has a heart for encouraging women in today’s crazy, upside-down world. She loves history and peppers her speaking and teaching with fascinating vignettes from the past. Her first book, “Struggles and Triumphs,” was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the Year. She co-founded Homeschool Answers and hosts Heart of the Matter Radio.
Find out more about Cynthia at http://clsimmons.com.
I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy, North Carolina, with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible.
The big-city lawyer has no interest in his late, estranged grandparents or the dilapidated mansion he just acquired. After his high-profile divorce, he should be avoiding perky reporters, too. But Jami Carlisle is honest, funny, and undeniably appealing.
After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore—much like its handsome, commitment-phobic heir. Thanks to her digging, the pieces of Grant’s fraught family history are gradually fitting into place, but also upending all his old beliefs.
The two draw closer as they share their dreams, until misread signals and misunderstandings begin to test their trust. But in the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there’s healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what’s needed to finally guide him home…
Post puts North Carolina’s best foot forward in this new, fairytale romance. With the North Carolina mountains creating both a vivid and exciting backdrop for Trust My Heart, there’s always a new adventure around the corner. I love the way that Post exploited the natural beauty of the mountains and pulled the setting so strongly into the story.
Jami was an exciting character, too. Her friendliness and courage in face of adversity make her my favorite kind of leading lady. Grant’s not such a bad leading man, though, either. With a few glaring flaws but the sincerity and drive to overcome them, I appreciate his willingness to make major life changes.
The supporting cast of characters really made the story. Bernie’s antics were just hilarious, and Jami’s friends made great back-up people. I’d love to read their stories, too. With such colorful characters in the background and a strong setting, Trust My Heart puts me in mind of the Mitford books. If you love Jan Karon’s work, definitely give Trust My Heart a try.
From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special-events decorating company, Carol J. Post’s résumé reads as if she hasn’t yet decided what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love of writing. She started as a child composing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles for religious and children’s publications. Now she pens fun, fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense stories. Her books have been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book award and selected as an RT Top Pick. When Carol isn’t writing, she enjoys sailing, hiking, camping—almost anything outdoors. She also plays the piano and sings with her music-minister husband. Their two grown daughters and their grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all her nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund.
Join Carol in celebrating the release of Trust My Heart by entering to win her $75 Cozy Cash Giveaway.
One grand prize winner will receive:
- A copy of Trust My Heart
- A $75 Visa cash card
- A basket full of goodies made in North Carolina to keep you cozy in the cooler fall weather
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 23. The winner will be announced November 28 on Carol’s blog.
Recently I had the chance to read not one, but three books by a favorite author. How excited was I? I got to read these three books:
In FINDING FATHER CHRISTMAS, Miranda Carson’s search for her father leads her unexpectedly to London with only a few feeble clues as to who he might be. Immediately welcomed into a family that doesn’t recognize her, and whom she’s quickly coming to love, she faces a terrible decision. Should she reveal her true identity and destroy their idyllic image of her father? Or should she carry the truth home with her to San Francisco and remain alone in this world? Whatever choice she makes during this London Christmas will forever change the future for both herself and the family she can’t bear to leave.
In ENGAGING FATHER CHRISTMAS Miranda Carson can’t wait to return to England for Christmas and to be with her boyfriend, Ian. She has spent a lifetime yearning for a place to call home, and she’s sure Carlton Heath will be it, especially when a hinted-at engagement ring slips into the conversation. But Miranda’s high hopes for a jolly Christmas with the small circle of people she has come to love are toppled when Ian’s father is hospitalized and the matriarch of the Whitcombe family withholds her blessing from Miranda. Questions run rampant in Miranda’s mind about whether she really belongs in this cheery corner of the world. Then, when her true identity threatens all her relationships in unanticipated ways, Miranda is certain all is lost. And yet . . . maybe Father Christmas has special gifts in store for her after all.
A year-and-a-half ago, Anna flew from Minnesota to Carlton Heath to attend the wedding of her cousin, Ian, to an American woman named Miranda. The beautiful event ended with Anna receiving an unexpected, unforgettable kiss from groomsman Peter. Now Anna is delighted to be invited back for Christmas with her family, dreams of romance dancing in her head. But when she finally sees him again, Peter insists his only interest in Anna is as a friend. Anna is hurt, and becomes even more confused when Peter takes her on a romantic tour of London. Is Anna’s heart misleading her, or is there a reason Peter is denying what he feels?
Robin Jones Gunn knocked it out of the park with the Father Christmas stories. They’ll fill the most Bah, humbug reader with hope of love this Christmas season. The three stories are connected by setting and a few background characters, and they provide a delightful backdrop that will keep the reader coming back for that alone. I fell in love with the town of Carlton Heath and would love to see such a place myself – and I’ve never really wished to visit England.
Miranda and Anna, the American female leads, are sweet. While their personalities aren’t alike, the way that they’re welcomed by the residents of Carlton Heath and the way that they respond are somehow both sweet and innocent, even when the circumstances of the story aren’t. I love the wisdom that Gunn imbues into every element of the story and the faith journey that she sends her characters on.
If you step back and think about it, the odds of any part of these stories coming true is extremely unlikely, but Gunn writes with such sweet conviction that they are completely believable. I loved the impending, suspenseful romance of each story and the life lessons that are contained in each.
The Father Christmas books are moving to the top of my favorite Christmas stories list. I love the serious view of love with the lighthearted touches scattered throughout the story and will reread these over and over. The biggest downfall is that I don’t have cable, because I would have loved to watch the Father Christmas movie that debuted recently. If you have the chance, check it out!
I received a free copy of these books from FaithWords. The opinions expressed are my own.
Michael Phillips Continues His Sweeping Shetland Islands Saga with The Cottage
When Loni Ford is informed that she has inherited property in the Shetland Islands, she laughs. She wants nothing more than to sell it and be done with it. But when she arrives in the North Sea enclave, she is stunned to find that “the Cottage” is not at all what she expected, nor is David Tulloch, the man most of the islanders believe to be the rightful heir.
The locals could hardly be more surprised that the heir is a woman–and an American. Loni, in turn, finds the islanders quaint and a bit behind the times. Expecting David to be as provincial as the rest of his clan, she discovers that there is far more to the man than meets the eye. And there is something about the peaceful atmosphere of the place–and the character of its most prominent citizen–that soon gets under her skin.
Beneath the peaceful surface, however, change is threatening the island of Whale’s Reef. David’s cousin Hardy Tulloch, whose claim to the inheritance now in Loni’s hands was backed by oil investors, has not been deterred in his aim to control the island. But his co-conspirators have plans of their own, plans that put Loni’s very life in danger.
I enjoyed Michael Phillips’ first Secrets of the Shetlands novel, but he knocked it out of the park with The Cottage! I couldn’t put this sequel down. With the cast established and the location well painted, Phillips jumps right in with the suspense and intrigue.
I loved the faith journey that Loni went on in this story. She learns and grows a great deal, not only about herself, but also about what she believes. I like her take on friendships, on relationships, and her willingness to do the right thing even when it’s hard. She’s a loveable main character and I was fascinated with her persona.
While the island itself was beautiful, it was the culture that caught my attention in this story. I loved the history of the island, the way that the interactions between various people affected people’s attitudes and circumstances. The flipping between the old stories and the new ones are some of my favorite vehicles for sharing that kind of history, and Phillips did an excellent job of using it here.
I couldn’t put The Cottage down. I read it as fast as possible, in a single sitting, in a single day. I couldn’t wait to find out the outcome of the island’s economy, Loni’s inheritance, and the love that blooms throughout its pages. If you’re a fan of deep and meaningful stories with real people and exciting cultures, you should definitely read The Cottage.
I received a free copy of this book. The opinions are my own.