Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Return of Devotion - My Review

Kristi Ann Hunter’s newest book, A Return of Devotion, is the second story in the Haven Manor series, yet there is also a novella which precedes the series entitled A Search for Refuge.  This latest book though follows the life of Daphne Blakemoor who lives in Marlborough, England.  After an unexpected interruption hits her life, Daphne tries to pick up the remaining pieces of her world while doing her best not to hurt those around her. 

Daphne never imagined her life would be what it is at present.  Memories of secrets and scandal beckon to her at every moment of the day, and all she can do to prevent these feelings is to try and hide her shame.  She never wants to relive the past; therefore, she does her best to help others—in an effort to heal and cover her mistakes.  Daphne knows her agenda cannot last forever, but she vows to do what she can each and every day.  Her biggest fear is that one day someone will uncover one of her greatest and most precious parts of herself.  However, with each passing day, she tries to shield and protect that particular chapter. 

Lord Chemsford intends to make Haven Manor his refuge from the bitter world.  He is now the Marquis, and while residing at the manor, he hopes to complete his business dealings, since living in London is not an option at the moment.  As he enters his new home though, William is greeted by a very odd woman—a Mrs. Brightmoore.  This so-called housekeeper does not seem to know her place, and William cannot figure her out.  He knows she is hiding something, but what?  And will he ever truly understand her?  William does not want to dismiss her, but he cannot have a servant treat him as she does—only time will tell. 

Hunter writes the most interesting books, because they are from the past.  If you enjoy historical pieces—specifically regency—then you will love her books.  I recommend checking out her other stories as well while also remembering to read the Haven Manor series.  Happy reading! 

*Check out my review of Kristi's book entitled An Elegant Facade.  

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the author for my copy.

Daphne Blakemoor was perfectly happy living in her own secluded world for twelve years. She had everything she needed—loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes on, and the new marquis has an undeniable connection to her past, everything she's come to rely upon is threatened.

William, Marquis of Chemsford's main goal in life is to be the exact opposite of his father. Starting a new life in the peace and quiet of the country sounds perfect until his housekeeper turns his life upside down.

They've spent their lives hiding from the past. Can they find the courage to face their deepest wounds and, perhaps, find a new path for the future together?

Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. Her debut novel, A Noble Masquerade, is a RITA double finalist.  She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. 

Find her online at:  WebsiteTwitterInstagram, and Goodreads

Friday, February 22, 2019

First Line Fridays

Since I am reading A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter, I thought I would share the opening line from the first book in the series.  I love reading all books, but I especially enjoy reading books when they are part of a series.  It is always nice to learn more about various characters in new books--instead of the tale ending in book one.  Be watching for my review of A Return to Devotion, which I will post next week! 

Also, I am so excited to celebrate the four year anniversary of Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen!  Make sure you enter the book giveaway!  Happy reading friends! 

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  A Search for Refuge   
by Kristi Ann Hunter 

And the first line is...

Marlborough, England 

"Margaretta had used the word desperate many times in her life, but she'd never truly known the meaning until she stood in the open door of a mail coach, clutching an eight-month-old letter and praying that someone in this minuscule market town would know where the writer had gone when she moved on."  

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 

Book Giveaway!

As promised, I am so excited to announce my anniversary giveaway!  Earlier in the month, I told you that this month marks four years for my blog.  Thank you so much for all of your support and readership these last four years, and I look forward to writing more posts about what
we love--books! Happy reading friends! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Friday, February 15, 2019

First Line Fridays

Happy Valentine's Day!  I have always loved this time of the year--everything is pink and red, and people give you chocolate.  :)  So in honor of the month of love, I thought I would highlight one of my favorite books that pertains to the art of romance, Sense and Sensibility.  What classic literature are you reading this month?  Happy reading!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  Sense and Sensibility  
by Jane Austen 

And the first line is...

"The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex.  Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park, in the centre of their property, where, for many generations, they had lived in so respectable a manner as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance."  

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 


Innocence Lost - Spotlight Book Tour

Innocence Lost by Sherilyn Decter

Publication Date: February 21, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 339 Pages
Series: Bootleggers’ Chronicles Series, Book One
Genre: Historical Fiction/Crime/Women's Fiction

In a city of bootleggers and crime, one woman must rely on a long-dead lawman to hunt down justice… Philadelphia, 1924. Maggie Barnes doesn’t have much left. After the death of her husband, she finds herself all alone to care for her young son and look after their rundown house. As if that weren’t bad enough, Prohibition has turned her neighborhood into a bootlegger’s playground. To keep the shoddy roof over their heads, she has no choice but to take on boarders with questionable ties.

When her son’s friend disappears, Maggie suspects the worst. And local politicians and police don’t seem to have any interest in an investigation. With a child’s life on the line, Maggie takes the case and risks angering the enemy living right under her nose.  Maggie’s one advantage may be her new found friend: the ghost of a Victorian-era cop. With his help, can she find justice in a lawless city?

Innocence Lost is the first novel in the Bootleggers’ Chronicles, a series of historical fiction tales. If you like headstrong heroines, Prohibition-era criminal underworlds, and just a touch of the paranormal, then you’ll love Sherilyn Decter’s gripping tale.

Available on Amazon

Sherilyn Decter is a writer, researcher, and lover of historical fiction. Her work is set in the Roaring Twenties and if you like feisty and determined heroines, complex cover-ups, Prohibition stories about criminal underworlds, police and political corruption, then you’re going to love Sherilyn’s grand gangster tales.

For more information, please visit Sherilyn Decter's website. You can also find her on FacebookInstagram, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Although she’s still a young woman, time and fate have scoured away much of Peggy’s youthfulness. The shock of losing Jack, the crushing burden of never having enough money, the strain of raising Tommy on her own, and the relentless anxiety about the future have dulled sparkling eyes and carved deep worry lines into her forehead. Bouncing ringlets have been squeezed into a practical knot at the nape of her neck, and traitorous threads of gray are starting to appear. She’ll go gray early, like many of the women in her family. Today, Jack would be hard-pressed to find the carefree scamp of a girl he had married seven years ago.

Peggy pulls her threadbare cardigan tighter. The last four years following Jack’s death have been difficult. They’d had only three years together before he died. She’d been a coy sweetheart, a young bride, a young mother, and then suddenly a young widow, but grief and hard times have taken their toll.

What she wouldn’t do to see Jack’s smile. He was always in good spirits; nothing ever got him down. But if she’s being honest, he’s not in her thoughts as much as he should be. There are many days when worry and exhaustion drive everything but the harsh day-to-day reality from her mind. Thank goodness for Tommy, who’s the spitting image of Jack.

And thank goodness she has the house. She and Jack had jumped at the first house they could afford, especially with the baby on the way. They hadn’t thought about the false economy of what a cheap purchase price might actually cost them. The ongoing maintenance and repairs on their cut-rate house—albeit a large house—were ruining her now. And they certainly hadn’t thought that it would be just her left holding the bills. Thank goodness she owns it free and clear; one more bill would be the end of her.

Friday, February 15 Review at Passages to the Past Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen Saturday, February 16 Review at Pursuing Stacie Excerpt at Bookish Rantings Review at A Chick Who Reads Sunday, February 17 Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages Guest Post at Jennifer Silverwood's Blog Monday, February 18 Review at 100 Pages a Day Excerpt at Old Timey Books Feature at What Is That Book About Tuesday, February 19 Review at Peppermint Ph.D. Review at Reader then Blogger Wednesday, February 20 Interview at The Old Shelter Guest Post at Let Them Read Books Thursday, February 21 Review at Macsbooks Review at The Old Shelter Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots Friday, February 22 Review at A Book Geek Review at Coffee and Ink Review at CelticLady's Reviews Excerpt at Spellbound by History

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two prize packs of a copy of the book, a set of Paper Dolls, and a Jazz Age Fashion Coloring Book! To enter, please use the Gleam form below:

Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open internationally. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Author Interview and New Book Release - Kaitlin Covel

Josie Chadwick dreams of marrying for love in Cornwall, England, but with her father's debt threatening to destroy all she holds dear, her romantic options are dwindling. When her elder sister Delia is disowned, Josie finds herself heiress of Chadwick Park, torn between dreams and duty. After sacrificing her heart to atone for Delia's sin, Josie clings to the hope she will learn to love a distant husband, whom she fears is incapable of requiting her affection.

Charles Radcliffe's heart has been scarred and hardened by rejection. He fears hurting his new bride, but his fears of betrayal and rejection are stronger, making it impossible for him to trust her love―let alone the love of her God. 
As Josie and Charles face their new life together, ominous events warn of dark family secrets that could shatter them both. More than a loveless marriage is at stake if they cannot stand as one. Will they learn to trust God and each other before it's too late?

Kaitlin Covel has a thirst for adventure much like the heroines of her stories. She is an old-fashioned romantic, and if she could time travel to any historical period, it would be the Regency Era. Here in the 21st century, she is a certified Nutritional Therapy Technician, but writing is her passion, whether it's fiction or non-fiction. She has honed her craft since childhood, benefiting from the insights of other writers through professional writing associations such as the Jerry Jenkins Writer’s Guild and Hope*writers

She lives with her family in Maine, where she enjoys teaching the teen Sunday school class at her church. Her favorite things are family, books, history, chocolate, music, the ocean, and strong cups of tea.

For more information, please visit Kaitlin's website. You can also find her on TwitterInstagram, and Goodreads. 

1. I love that your book Atoning for Ashes is set in England!  I always say, the best books are set in England.  What inspired you to use a British setting?   

I think classic literature inspired me to use a British setting for my debut novel, especially books by Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and Elizabeth Gaskell. I also really enjoy British period drama. My fingers were just itching to use such delightful British accents in character dialogue! 

2. Congratulations on your first novel!  What advice would you give other authors entering the publishing world?  

Believe in your God-given ability and talent as a writer! If you know writing is your calling, don’t let any obstacle hold you back whether it is time, money, confidence, resources, or something else! Feed the spark of inspiration burning deep inside and find a way to make your dream a reality. Take writing classes, join a critique group, write multiple short stories and novels, never stop reading, get a membership to ACFW, ask lots of questions, and believe in the power of your pen to tell a story no one else can tell! 

3. As a child, the library was one of my favorite places too--now I just buy all my books. :)  What are some of your favorite novels?  

I collect old books, and I truly enjoy classic literature. My favorite genre has always been Historical Fiction. It is difficult to narrow down my favorite novels, but I’ll give it a try: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, Lorna Doone by Richard Blackmoore, Pearl Maiden by H. Rider Haggard, Lysbeth by H. Rider Haggard, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna D. Politano, The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright, Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, The Lightkeeper’s Daughter by Colleen Coble, Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron,The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen, and The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green(Of course, this list could go on and on!) 

4. Literary history is one of my favorite genres to read, but is it difficult to write and research different eras?  

I didn’t find the research difficult once I found some good resources, but I did find it difficult to maintain an accurate cultural and historical perspective into the era as I wrote Atoning for Ashes. A woman’s station in life was much more restricted during the Regency Era, and the “independent” mindset so many women have today was taboo in Regency England.

5. Keeping Christ at the center of your writing is wonderful--what writing process and tips do you use in order to make this possible?  

That’s a great question! I prayerfully seek the Lord concerning which theme He would have me to incorporate in each story. Once I feel led to go with a certain theme, I do a word study in the Bible based on the theme. Then I narrow the list of verses down to the theme verse I want to highlight in my novel. I also try to seamlessly weave the message throughout the main characters’ dialogue and growth as an individual throughout the story so that it doesn’t come across as “preachy”. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

First Line Fridays

Happy Friday everyone!  How is your week going?  Mine started out lovely--check out my author interview on The Engrafted Word--and then it ended with getting a cold.  I know the weather is to blame.  One day it is 30 degrees, and the next it is 60 degrees.  These crazy temperatures continue to flip-flop too--no wonder people keep getting sick.  I hope you are well where you are though, and if not, have a large cup of tea and curl up with a good book.  Happy reading! 

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  Westward Hearts 
by Melody Carlson 

And the first line is...

December 1856

"Elizabeth Martin sat up and blinked in the pitchy darkness.  What had disturbed her dreamless slumber?"  

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Quote for the Day

"She longed for the carefree days where she was allowed to play in the gardens at their family estate with her sister-and Lord Dunkirk. She also longed for the simplicity of life-and the lack of responsibilities and regulations which came with being an adult."

Friday, February 1, 2019

First Line Fridays

Happy February everyone!  Valentine's Day is upon us, and the wintry month of January is in the past.  However, it is still freezing cold where I am, and I know most of the country is enduring frigid temperatures and snow.  Thankfully, reading is in an inside activity, and there is nothing better than having a cup of tea with a book in hand.  :)  Happy reading friends and stay warm!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  Beauty and the Baron   
by Joanna Barker 

And the first line is...

"Rose Sinclair prided herself on being an excellent walker." 

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating!