Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Spotlight Tour, Guest Post, and Giveaway: A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book title: A Name Unknown
Author: Roseanna M. White
Release date: July 4, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance

She’s Out to Steal His Name.
Will He Steal Her Heart Instead?

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets—now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary’s challenge of a lifetime comes when she’s assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

As Europe moved closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown—so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, though, and both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth—about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

My Thoughts:

Coming soon...

About the Author

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Guest Post from Roseanna White

It’s always a challenge to make a historical setting authentic—especially when it’s set in a region you’ve only ever read about. As I was writing A Name Unknown, I learned so much about Cornwall—all the more when I had the opportunity to visit the gorgeous Penzance region while the book was still in edits! I quickly learned that I had far too many trees in my story, and hadn’t quite captured the uniqueness of the coastal setting. I dove into rewrites with excitement and gusto, ready to make my fictional Cornwall more like the real one.

I studied the Cornish accent, Cornish foods, typical Cornish coloring in hair and eyes. I’ve now gotten rather proficient at making pasties (beef hand pies) from scratch, I’ve special-ordered ingredients to make Cornish ginger cookies called fairings, and I’ve spent quite a lot of time listening to videos of people speaking in a Cornish accent.

Delving into this rich region and its history was a blast! And I’m so excited to get to share the culture of Cornwall—and a taste of their unique flavors—with you. In a special Celebrate Lit giveaway, I’ll be offering not only a signed copy of my book, but also some homemade ginger fairings! Here’s the recipe I used . . . after special ordering the Mixed Spice (reminiscent of pumpkin pie spice) and Golden Syrup (a thick syrup with a bit of a toffee flavor) from Amazon. 😉 (I have a gram scale so did use the weight measurements rather than volume—also, English teaspoons and tablespoons are a bit bigger than American, so I heaped them, and I turned out deliciously.)


100 grams butter, cold and diced

225 grams all-purpose flour

¼ heaping teaspoon salt

2 heaping teaspoons baking powder

2 heaping teaspoons baking soda

1 heaping teaspoon ginger

2 heaping teaspoons mixed spice

100 grams superfine (caster) sugar

4 heaping tablespoons golden syrup

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a stand mixer. Add the butter and beat until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Stir in sugar.

In a small saucepan, warm the golden syrup until it’s clarified a bit; stir into the flour mixture until a dough forms. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and put on prepared baking sheets a few inches apart.

Bake 8-10 minutes, until golden. Cool a few minutes on the trays and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Blog Stops

July 20: Genesis 5020
July 21: Pause for Tales
July 22: Bigreadersite
July 23: Vicky Sluiter
July 24: Pursuing Stacie
July 25: Live.Love.Read.
July 26: Carpe Diem
July 27: cherylbbookblog
July 27: Splashes of Joy
July 29: Karen Sue Hadley
July 31: Cafinated Reads
July 31: Artistic Nobody


To celebrate this tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of a paperback copy of A Name Unknown & 2 dozen cookies from Roseanna!!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bc0e

Review: The Cover Story by Deb Richardson-Moore

To Purchase

A bizarre hit-and-run brings Branigan Powers back to the crime-solving beat

A fatal crash involving two college students heading home for the holidays seems like an unfortunate accident. But when the surviving girl wakens, she tells a curious story of the vehicle that forced them off the road--an old-fashioned, 1950s-style hearse.

Reporter Branigan Powers delves into the mystery that takes her to the college campus and leads her into dangerous fraternity and sorority pledge parties.

Reunited with the homeless Malachi Martin, who is so adept at seeing what isn't there rather than what is, Branigan must uncover what is really going on at the college before other students are put in danger.

This second installment in the author's cozy mystery series delves into the world of newspapers and life on the streets--both of which the author knows well.

My Thoughts:

The Cover Story is a mystery novel that I enjoyed very much. This is the second in the series and even though I did not read the first the author did a good job of bringing me up to date. There is an eclectic group of characters that really brought this story to life. Since this is the first I have read in this series, I got for the first time meet the newspaper reporter/ amateur investigator Branigan Powers. I knew this story would be interesting with a heroine’s name of Branigan. And to top it off she has a homeless man by the name of Malachi that she teams up with to help her solve the crimes.

Taking place in Georgia the author touches on several subjects: homelessness and why some people may choose it, sororities at colleges, failing newspapers in the time of the internet, and a mystery to keep us on our toes along with old Southern Georgia charm. Beginning with a car accident that involved an old hearse, reading this was like watching a picture puzzle being completed.

There is some minor language and those who have read the first novel will appreciate meeting up with familiar characters. For what is called a cozy mystery- I haven’t read many- this in my opinion was an intriguing one. I enjoyed the author’s writing style and I look forward to reading more by her.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Kregel Publications. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions are my own.


Review: My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island- Maude's Mooring by Carrie Fancett Pagels

To Purchase
About the Book:

Although the Winds of Mackinac Inn has been in her mother’s family for generations, Maude Welling’s father refuses to let her run it without the guidance of a husband. So she seeks to prove her worth and independence by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel.

Undercover journalist Ben Steffans, posing as a wealthy industrialist, pursues a story about impoverished men chasing heiresses at the famed hotel.  While undercover, he becomes attracted to an intriguing maid. By an act of heroism Ben endears himself to the closed-mouthed islanders—including Maude—and he digs deep for his story.

But when scandal threatens, will the growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed?

My Thoughts:

Author Pagels newest story takes us to the beautiful Mackinac Island in the year 1895. Bicycles are all the rage when getting around town and due to the author’s poetic prose and descriptions of Mackinac Island, it sounds like the place to visit, back then and now.

This story centers on Maude Welling and the family drama that surrounds the family assets, especially their Inn, The Winds of Mackinac. This story itself starts off simply enough; Maude races to meet her fiancé as his ship comes in and instead gets the surprise of her life, he has married someone else. With such a blow, Maude shores up her heart and moves on to her greater purpose, running the Inn. Her father on the other hand, for some reason, does not believe she can run the matriarchal inn without a husband so suggests selling it. So Maude decides to prove him wrong.

Enter Detroit reporter Ben who is undercover as a rich German aristocrat due to an assignment by his boss. Supposedly trying to get information on one story, his boss sends him cryptic information that leads him to uncover what his boss really wants to find out.  Ben becomes very much enamored with Maude and begins to pursue at least a friendship with her.

Nothing and no one is as they seem in this turn of the century novel. I will say that at times I was a little bit confused with all the aliases and the fact that Maude seems to be related to everyone on the island. I was not sure of some of Maude’s motives for doing some of the things she was doing.   I was put off with her father as well and oftentimes during the story wondered what his game was. But I found that despite and probably because of these contradictory actions I could not put the novel down. I have always enjoyed author Pagels stories and the rich detail and information she puts into each novel to bring the story to life and this novel was no different. I found this to be an interesting historical light mystery.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.  The views and opinions expressed are my own.

Review: Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson

About the book:

A brave midwife. A wounded pilot. A risky secret.

In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O'Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she's taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she'll face imprisonment.

Still, something compels Nan to take in "flyboy" Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection-and an unbreakable bond.

But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband's death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?

My Thoughts:

Grounded Hearts by new to me author Jeanne M. Dickson was a World War II story that takes place in Ireland, who declared neutrality. This was the first time I had read a novel during that time period that took place on neutral grounds and I found the historical information fascinating. We have a small town/village of people that know each other very well and are oftentimes in everyone’s business and all around busy bodies.

The story focuses on midwife and widow, Nan who happens to have a knock on her door one night from the downed and injured RAF bomber pilot Dutch Whitney. Cursing the fact that she has been drawn into his struggle to escape imprisonment and more the dire need of his health, Nan does all she can on her own. I appreciated how the author showed the comradeship of women, especially when Nan had to seek outside help. The women did not just sit around in Ireland but were actually very much involved in the war effort, at least in this novel.

There are quite a few characters that make up this eccentric cast: the priest, the town drunk, and the officers of the LDF, especially the officer Finn who doesn’t know how to take no for an answer, and of course all of Nan’s close friends.

Secrets abound, especially one that lays heavy upon Nan, and there is an instant attraction between her and Dutch. I liked how the author showed the women in this era as strong and fully capable individuals even though most of the men looked at them as just weak and ogled them more than not. This novel was rich in time, place, and characterization that the country of Ireland became alive to me. This read almost like a miniseries and I think it would be a great one dealing with midwifery, small town, war and the war efforts from a neutral country and all the politics that entailed. I look forward to more from the pen of author Dickson.

I received a copy of this book for free through Litfuse Publicity. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

About the author:

Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four brothers. She credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother with her love of storytelling. Perfecting her craft, she attends many writer's conferences and over the years, she has won and finaled in numerous RWA romance writing awards including the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, The Molly, The Tara, and she was the overall contest winner of Launching A Star. Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.

Find out more about Jeanne M. at http://www.jeannemdickson.com.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Review: His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray

About the book: 

A suspenseful tale of an Amish man who will risk all to protect the woman he loves.

Mark Fisher has returned home to Hart County, determined to put the past behind him. Two years ago, after being wrongly accused of assault, he left the Amish community, though never forgot his home. When the one person who had helped him through his rough times asks for help, Mark returns. But it is pretty Waneta Cain who makes him want to stay...
Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who doesn't believe Mark is guilty of hurting anyone. However, his worldliness and tough exterior do make her uneasy. As she begins to see the real man behind all the gossip and prejudice, she wonders if he is the man for her.

Just when Mark starts to believe a new life is possible, a close friend of Neeta's is attacked. Once again, everyone in the community seems to believe he is guilty. But what hurts most is Neeta's sudden wariness around him. When another woman is hurt, a woman who is close to both Neeta and himself, Mark fears he knows the real culprit. And time is running out. Will Mark be able to find him before Neeta becomes his next victim?

Learn more and purchase a copy.

My thoughts:

His Guilt was a riveting read from the first page. Author Gray jumps right into the heart of the story and the characters of Mark Fisher and Neeta Cain. I will admit that at first I was not sure of Mark and his motives. He acted abruptly and brusquely and not until I received the story from his perspective did I even try to really like him. Like Neeta and others, I was wary of his character. However the author was able to show him and his struggles in such a light that he became a much cherished character.

This story definitely delves into a different Amish tale. Here the community is not at a peace as a young woman was beaten and murdered some years ago. Everything seems to be on the upswing and people have started to let down their guard until Mark and others who were somewhat outcasts in their Amish community return home.

There is an evil in the town as more young women fall prey to the attacker and no one is safe. There were many ways this story could have gone and the author keeps us in suspense the whole time. This was an Amish novel with twist and turns and a dark thread woven into the story that gave it an undercurrent of creepiness.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the author:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.


What others are saying: http://litfusegroup.com/author/SGray

Review: Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra Orchard


While vacationing on Martha's Vineyard, Serena Jones becomes entangled in a suspicious death with ties to an international antiquities smuggling ring. Will she find the killer before another person dies?

My Thoughts:

Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra Orchard was a slight twist from the previous two books in the series. For one thing, it was something along the lines of a murder mystery along with the art caper. The other big difference was that Serena was on vacation and her time wasn’t split between her ‘shift husband’ and her ‘house husband’ as her mother called it, but was free game to the knights-in-shining-armor who rushed to her aid. 

Lots of people complain about love triangles, but if they’re done right, they can be very interesting. As in emotional roller coasters as you hope against hope that the heroine will choose the one you’re shipping for. And Sandra Orchard definitely did a good job of showing that in this book!

Love triangle aside, the book also did a great job revealing a mystery like her previous two books, and the characters were quirky as ever. Another plus was that it was in no way preachy- but also didn’t leave out a slight spiritual thread.

Though the book might have been a bit abrupt near the end wrapping up, it was a very enjoyable read and I look forward to more Serena Jones mysteries.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Revell. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions are my own.

Reviewed by Jes

Friday, July 14, 2017

Review: A Letter from Lancaster County by Kate Lloyd

About the book:

Two sisters get a second chance at life and love

Angela---Her mother's untimely death, a struggling marriage, a strained relationship with her sister, Rose, and regrets over what might have been haunt her. Despite being a wife and mother, she feels she has little to show for her life.
Rose--Still single, she longs for a husband and children. But Angela has all that and still isn't happy. Rose wants to be closer to her older sister, but she and Angela couldn't be more different. Both strong women, will their sibling rivalry ever end?
* * *
When a letter arrives from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Angela and Rose decide to visit Aunt Silvia, their mother's Mennonite sister, in the heart of Amish country. This vacation could provide the opportunity both sisters need to sort out their issues. And yet instead of finding a new way of connecting with each other, Angela and Rose discover surprising family secrets that add to their strife and threaten Rose's romance with a new beau.
Through it all, the two sisters must find the faith necessary to face their personal problems and allow God to restore hope and healing to their hearts and relationship as only He can.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

My Thoughts:

A Letter from Lancaster County is a compelling and emotional story about two sisters, Angela and Rose. They decide to travel together to visit their Aunt Sylvia (their late mother’s sister) after she has asked them to make a visit.

These two sisters couldn’t be any more different. Angela, the oldest and considered the beauty, is in her early 40’s, married to a successful man, and has two children. Rose is in a fruitless relationship, just like all her others. Both carry scars from their pasts and wounds of dreams that have long since died. They love each other very much, but also cannot understand one another. If they were not sisters, they would not be friends at all.

As they spend time with their Aunt and each other in quiet Lancaster County, they learn some disturbing news about their mother, their own individual lives, and they both evaluate what it means to really live.

This story really put me through an emotional gauntlet and I liked how the author gave us each sister’s viewpoint every other chapter. This rounded out the story and gave us a fuller picture of their relationship. This at times can be a sad and lonely story, especially in the wake of the stubbornness of people. My take away from this story is that maybe we should not erect such tall walls around our hearts, and accept for better or for worse the heartbreak and the love that we share with others. We were made for companionship.

I received a copy of this book for free through Litfuse Publicity. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.

About the author:

Kate Lloyd is a bestselling novelist whose books include "A Portrait of Marguerite" and the Legacy of Lancaster trilogy. A native of Baltimore, she enjoys spending time with friends and family in rural Pennsylvania and is a member of the Lancaster County Mennonite Historical Society. She now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband.

Find out more about Kate at http://katelloyd.com.

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