Friday, November 17, 2017

Blog Tour: For Castle and Crown by Sian Ann Bessey

Reviews * Giveaway
For Castle and Crown by Sian Ann Bessey

Book Description:

After years spent fighting alongside King Richard in the crusades, Lord Edmund of Hawksford is finally returning to his ancestral home. But far from a joyful reunion, what awaits him is devastation. His elder brother is dead, killed in a tragic fire at Hawksford Castle—and the title of duke now falls to Edmund.

When he strives to rebuild the fire-scarred castle, Edmund learns that his was not the only life the fire shattered: his childhood friend Lady Phillipa survived the flames that took Edmund’s brother, but badly burned, she has hidden herself away from those she loves. Yet as the pair renews their acquaintance, they find that their affection runs deep—perhaps even deeper than they’d ever realized.

As Edmund and Pippa begin to question whether the fire was truly an accident, they must discover the truth of the past before they can plan for their future. While coming perilously close to the answers they seek, Edmund and Pippa find themselves at the mercy of a dangerous foe who will stop at nothing to lay claim on Hawksford—and he will destroy any who stand in his way.

Tarah's Review:

I love a good medieval story. It always strikes me that about how different it is concerning the rules for women compared to regency times.

I found that the book jumped around a little bit. We start with Edmund with King Richard, and after everything goes black (and things look pretty dire for him) he all of a sudden is home and free to start his life. It's all explained in the book, but I do feel we were just sort of left hanging there.

I was entertained the entire book. I found the characters to be well written and the story to progress at a great pace, not to mention it was just a good story to be told.  It was a pretty easy fast read and I can see myself reading it over again and again.

Andrea's Review:

It's been quite awhile since I've read a book set in medieval times. I feel like most of what I know about the time period I learned from movies, and I kept thinking about Disney’s Robin Hood. This novel wasn't silly like that cartoon, but it sort of made me smile when the thoughts came to mind.

I was drawn in by the action of King Richard and his knights being attacked. My attention held as I was introduced to Phillipa. Her situation was so sad, having been burned in a fire while trying to save others. She felt like there was no place for her at the castle anymore, and went to live in a convent. I liked the relationships she formed there, and the love she was shown by her father and the others in her life (although initially she didn't want to see anyone besides the nuns and her father).

My attention waned somewhat as the story went on. I can't put my finger on why, but I wasn’t driven to finish as quickly as I hoped. Things did get pretty exciting near the end though, with some intense situations, and it had a nice ending.

Rorie's Review:

First off, how gorgeous is the dress on the cover of this book? I love that shade of blue, and the cut and fit of the dress. I would totally wear that!

Now to the story. I have enjoyed Sian's other books that I've read, and I enjoyed this one too, but it did start out a little too slow for me. It seemed like it took a whole lot of time for things to start happening. Once they did though, I couldn't put the book down! I'm not admitting to anything, but I may or may not have been late to things a time or two because I needed to read "just one more page!"

My heart ached for Pippa and the horror she went through. It was especially sad that she felt the need to hide herself away, thinking she would no longer be welcome at the castle.

Even though they had been separated for a few years, Edmund and Pippa's friendship seemed like it started up right where it left off. I think the most heartwarming part of the book was when Edmund went to talk to Pippa after he found out where she was.

Throughout the story, I kept picturing scenes from the Disney version of Robin Hood, due to the frequent mention of King Richard and Prince John, and I had the "Little John and Robin Hood, runnin' through the forest" song going through my mind through the whole book. :-)

Tour Schedule:

*Nov. 13th:,
*Nov. 14th:
*Nov. 15th:,, ,
*Nov. 16th:,,
*Nov. 17th:,,,

Tour Giveaway:

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Title: For Castle and Crown
Author: Sian Ann Bessey
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: November 2017
ISBN: 1524404357
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Book Review: Happily Ever After Collection

Happily Ever After

Book Description:

Six brand new fairy tale romance novellas by Jessica Day George, Julie Wright, Sarah M. Eden, Julie Daines, Heather B. Moore, and Annette Lyon.

MAIL-ORDER PRINCESS by Jessica Day George: Elise flees her small kingdom and arrives in the New World with only her two trunks and seven swans—her seven brothers to be exact. But Elise will do anything to get her brothers away from their cruel stepmother’s curse, even if it means accepting the long-distance marriage proposal to a former count turned farmer.

THE MILLER’S DAUGHTER by Julie Wright: When Isa meets Thomas Rumple, she is quickly infatuated with his good looks and natural charm, until she learns his true identity. Due to a wild claim by her insufferable father, Isa’s life is threatened by the king if she can’t spin a room full of straw into gold, and Thomas may be the only one who can save her.

THE PEBBLED PATH by Sarah M. Eden: Deep in the heart of a mysterious forest, Gretel trades her freedom to save her beloved father from the spell of an evil enchantress. Even attempting to escape would cost her father his life. Gretel’s determination to fulfill her promise wavers when she meets Hansel, a young man who captures her heart. For, she loves him too dearly to put his life in danger, and he loves her too much to simply leave her to her fate.

BLACK FERN by Julie Daines: Rós is desperate to find work in order to care for her ailing father and younger sisters. She applies to the mysterious owner of a crumbling castle and is soon swept up in dark secrets. Unsure if the owner of the castle is man or beast, Rós determines to help him at all cost. She soon discovers that the cost may be too great, even for her.

SCARLET by Heather B. Moore: When Scarlet needs to fetch a healing tonic on the night when the wolves are at their most dangerous, she has no choice but to apply to her nemesis, August, for help. He agrees to help her, but they encounter a pack of wolves that put up a fierce fight, marking Scarlet as their newly targeted prey.

SO RARE A POWER by Annette Lyon: Stella knows she’s taking a risk each time she meets Patrick in the rose garden that they’ve cultivated together. And no matter how much her mother will disapprove of their relationship, Stella can’t deny her feelings for him. When the Snow Queen steals away Patrick to drain him of his powers of creating beauty and life, Stella must decide what she’s willing to risk to rescue him.


This is a great collection of fairy tale retellings by a very talented group of authors. I'm appreciating novellas more and more, and they are perfect for fairy tales.

I really liked the take most of the stories had on the fairy tales. It's hard to pick a favorite-it's a toss up between The Miller's Daughter (Rumpelstiltskin) and Black Fern (Beauty and the Beast).

Full disclosure-I was not familiar with all of the fairy tales being retold. That didn't bother me with Mail-Order Princess (apparently that is a retelling of a fairy tale called The Wild Swans). While it was a new-to-me fairy tale, it was entertaining and engaging. I got held up with So Rare a Power. I kept thinking about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and I couldn't figure out how that related to the other stories. I mentioned it to my sister and she told me it was a retelling of The Snow Queen (think Disney's "Frozen").  That might help going into it.

Overall, I thought this was a very creative collection. It was a fast read, and I can see myself reading some of these stories again.

Title: Happily Ever After
Authors: Jessica Day George, Julie Wright, Sarah M. Eden, Julie Daines, Heather B. Moore, Annette Lyon
Publisher: Mirror Press
Published: October 2017
ASIN: B075855VPW
Source: I received an eCopy from eBooks for Review in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Book Review: The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

Book Description:

Two girls separated by race form an unbreakable bond during the tumultuous integration of Little Rock schools in 1958

Twelve-year-old Marlee doesn't have many friends until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is bold and brave, and always knows the right thing to say, especially to Sally, the resident mean girl. Liz even helps Marlee overcome her greatest fear - speaking, which Marlee never does outside her family.

But then Liz is gone, replaced by the rumor that she was a Negro girl passing as white. But Marlee decides that doesn't matter. Liz is her best friend. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are willing to take on integration and the dangers their friendship could bring to both their families.


This is the selection for my book club this month, and I was able to download the audio book through my library. It was a quick listen while I worked that I really enjoyed. The added bonus was that I also learned quite a bit.

Years ago in a U.S. History class I learned about The Little Rock Nine from 1957 (although I didn't remember those brave students being given that title-I just remember them trying to integrate into a previously all-white school and the hatred and problems that ensued). I didn't know that the following school year in an effort to prevent integration all the public high schools in Little Rock were closed. It is such a sad time in history.

"Passing" was something new to me as well. The book described it as a black person with really light skin and straight hair trying to pass as being white for better education and opportunities. But, they have to give up their family and friends, and if they are discovered the consequences are severe.

Marlee was an excellent main character. Seeing her come out of her shell and become much more comfortable with speaking in front of and to others was inspiring. She made a difference and I loved how she was able to see that the color of a person's skin didn't matter. And, her journey helped others see this as well.

This was a very good book that I'd encourage my kids to read.

Title: The Lions of Little Rock
Author: Kristin Levine
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Published: January 2012
ISBN: 039925644X
Source: Library

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle

Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Review: Falling for a Duke by Rebecca Connolly, Nichole Van, and Janelle Daniels

Falling for a Duke by Rebecca Connolly, Nichole Van, and Janelle Daniels

Book Description:

From the publisher of the USA TODAY bestselling & #1 Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology series in Clean & Wholesome Romance, comes FALLING FOR A DUKE.

Three brand new Regency Romance novellas by Rebecca Connolly, Nichole Van, and Janelle Daniels

ON THE DUKE’S ERRAND by Rebecca Connolly. Lord David Chambers has one goal—to put his father’s Scotland estate to rights. Even if it means leaving in the middle of the London Season and avoiding the matchmakers. As the second son of a duke, David looks forward to facing the wilds of Scotland, and trying to make something of himself and prove his worth to his father. But David’s not prepared for the censure he receives from the local Scottish gentry, especially Ceana Shaw, the baronet’s daughter who not only mistakes him for the duke himself, she seems determined to think the worst of David.

VINGT-ET-UN | TWENTY-ONE by Nichole Van. Eliza Mail had found the perfect place to live out her days as a young widow, away from the pain of her past and lost love. Seemingly by chance, Eliza’s childhood neighbor, Liam Trebor, Duke of Chawton, comes to her village for a visit. Eliza hasn’t seen Liam in over five years, and his presence panics her. Will he reveal what he knows to her friends and neighbors, destroying her current life? Eliza must avoid Liam at all costs, but he seems equally determined to flush her out of hiding. What happens if Eliza’s past does not stay where it belongs . . . in her past?

I KISSED A DUKE by Janelle Daniels. Madeline Maybury will do anything to be invited into the inner circles of the ton. She takes on a challenge from a high society lady to kiss the Duke of Hargrave. When she finds Ethan alone and explains that she needs to kiss him, instead of turning her away, he’s amused. He also obliges. Madeline believes she can report back and achieve all of her ambitions. Instead, she’s given an even greater task. Once she accomplishes it, she realizes that the Duke of Hargrave is a very different man than she expected, and she’s in grave danger of falling in love.


Falling for a Duke is an entertaining collection of novellas-perfect for when you don't have a lot of time to sit down and read a full-length novel. I can see myself pulling this up again to read when I'm stuck waiting somewhere (and also just for fun at any time I want to read).

On the Duke's Errand is a cute story. I liked Cenna’s spunk (I had a hard time pronouncing her name right-that was a distraction even though the book mentioned a couple of times how to do it-it just wasn’t natural with the spelling so different from the pronunciation).

David and Cenna were great characters. I liked their interactions and their sweet romance.

I think it had one swear word

Vingt-et-Un/Twenty-One was also a very cute story. I enjoyed the flashbacks that told the reader the story of Eliza and Liam, and the surprise that came out near the end about Robert.

It was a sweet story that even though it was short, was well told. The end was funny being told from Mrs Finchley and Mrs Young’s eyes.

I really liked I Kissed a Duke.  It was a fast read that I couldn’t wait to see if things would turn out the way I wanted them to. Madeline and Ethan were perfect for each other. I liked that they brought out good things in each other. The way they met made for a very entertaining story. I liked that they weren’t set on fitting the molds they were born into.

Title: Falling for a Duke
Authors: Rebecca Connolly, Nichole Van, and Janelle Daniels
Publisher: Mirror Press
Published: September 2017
ASIN: B073T4F86B
Source: I received an eCopy from eBooks for Review in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Sunday, November 12, 2017


Spotlight * Giveaway
A Revolutionary Story: The Road to Revolution

Mission Statement:

We at Freedom Factor have a passion for our American Heritage and want to share it with the world. The United States Constitution is the centerpiece of this heritage. What makes America unique in world history is the emphasis on local government and written Constitutions. Written Constitutions mark “a momentous advance in civilization and it is especially interesting as being peculiarly American.” To keep our civilization advancing we are asking you to do three simple things: READ the U.S. Constitution, get to KNOW it better, and SHARE it with others.


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Friday, November 10, 2017

Blog Tour: The Nobleman's Daughter by Jen Geigle Johnson

Reviews * Giveaway
The Nobleman's Daughter by Jen Geigle Johnson

Book Description:

England, 1819

While British high society primps and plays, the impoverished citizens of London languish. But there are those fighting for the freedom of common citizens—including two members of the aristocracy who secretly champion revolution. In the drawing rooms of the upper class, Lady Amanda and Lord Nathaniel flirt and tease with the best of them as she pretends to win every heart in London for sport, and he, to conquer them. But in truth, their flirtation is merely a façade designed to keep their clandestine actions hidden from the ton— and from each other. When Nathaniel presents himself as a potential suitor, the attraction between the two is undeniable—but the faces they portray to the world are not enough to win each other's hearts. 

While their crusade for London's poor unites them more deeply than they could imagine, Amanda and Nathaniel struggle to trust one another with their true ideals and identities. But when the call to action leads Amanda into the path of danger, she can only hope that Nathaniel will see through her frivolous pretense. Because now, only the aid of the suitor she loves most—but trusts least—can save her.

Rorie's Review:

I've been reading Regency books for a few years now, and they've become my favorite genre. That being said, even though I knew about (and was bothered by) the huge discrepancy in the way the rich live vs. the way the "common" people live, I had never heard of the revolt and unrest that happened around this time. It was interesting learning more about it, and I was horrified at what happened at the St. Peter's Field rally.

I really enjoyed the first half of this story, but my interest kind of petered out at the end, and I can't quite put my finger on why. I don't know if it became too rushed or what happened, but I just didn't enjoy the ending.

This book has made me very interested in finding out more of the revolt and unrest that happened in that time period. Even though this book wasn't my favorite, I would still read more from this author.

Andrea's Review:

I was very intrigued by the political atmosphere portrayed in this novel. I am familiar with the revolt against the nobles in France, but this is the first story I've read that addressed wide scale protests by commoners in England. I appreciate a book that has me thinking about it afterward, and creates a desire to research more about what happened.

I read the first part of The Nobleman's Daughter fairly quickly, but got held up by the dialogue and pace in the second half. I don't think I really connected to the characters.

I try not to judge a book by its cover, but that can be a challenge. My extreme dislike of the cover may have somewhat tainted my enjoyment of the story.

I don't see myself reading this again, but I am grateful that my eyes were opened to a period in history that I would like to learn more about.

Tarah's Review:

To begin, let's face it. The cover of The Nobleman's Daughter just isn't all that great. I can see why they picked each aspect of it, I see how it fits the book (which I appreciate, I hate when the cover doesn't match the book), but it just isn't something I would pick up off the shelf because it caught my eye. In fact, I probably wouldn't pick it up just because of it's cover. I know, shallow, narrow-minded and all that. But it's true.

What an interesting time frame though. Maybe I just haven't been reading the right books, but this uprising in England is quite new to me. I was always under the impression that the war sort of made all the changes because of necessity. It was super nice ot get a little more insight to that time frame.

I will say that Amanda was not my favorite character, and her relationship with Nathaniel seemed based more off physical attraction than anything else. In fact, it drove me nuts when she thinks he doesn't see her as anything more than a child but then gives in and kisses him (which didn't really fit the settings the kisses took place my mind anyway).

It was an entertaining and thought provoking read though. I'm curious what my book-loving friends will say about it.

Tour Schedule:

*Nov. 6th:,
*Nov. 7th:,,
*Nov. 8th:,,
*Nov. 9th:,,
*Nov. 10th:,

Tour Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway The Nobleman's Daughter
Author: Jen Geigle Johnson
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: November 2017
ISBN: 1524404292
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Rescued Hearts by Hope Toler Dougherty

Rescued Hearts
Book Description:

Children’s clothing designer Mary Wade Kimball’s soft spot for animals leads to a hostage situation when she spots a briar- entangled kitten in front of an abandoned house. Beaten, bound, and gagged by the two thugs inside, Mary Wade loses hope for escape when a third villain returns with supplies.

Discovering the kidnapped woman ratchets the complications for undercover agent Brett Davis. Weighing the difference of ruining his three months’ investigation against the woman’s safety, Brett forsakes his mission and helps her escape, the bent-on-revenge brutes following behind.

When Mary Wade’s safety is threatened once more, Brett rescues her again. This time, her personal safety isn’t the only thing in jeopardy. Her heart is endangered as well.

Cozy up this fall with Hope's new book and enter to win a Kindle Fire!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Rescued Hearts
  • A Kindle Fire 7
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 13. The winner will be announced November 14 on the Litfuse blog.

Book Review:

I will admit that the story started out really rough for me. The dialogue wasn't really on point, and I started to wonder if it was independently published. A lot of the beginning of this book seemed forced and didn't flow well. That either changed half way through the book, or I was taken in by the story and able to ignore it. By the end of the book I enjoyed what I read, but getting there took a little bit for me.

Mary Wade wasn't my favorite character ever, but Brett and his grandma were pretty good. Especially his grandma. She was awesome. Bretts motivations aren't always clear, but it was an entertaining read so I was able to gloss over that.

Content wise I was a little surprised by the attempted rape, and the end scene where Mary Wade becomes a skank to save everyone. There was a little more detail that I was expecting to be in a book like this. Still technically clean, but hands and bodies are going where they shouldn't be going.

Honestly, I'm not sure if I'd read this again. I'll keep it on my bookshelf for awhile and see if the mood ever strikes me.

Rescued Hearts
 Title: Rescued Hearts
Author: Hope Toler Dougherty
Publisher: Mantle Rock Publishing
Published: September 2017
ISBN: 9781945094231
Source: I received a copy from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.