Thursday, October 31, 2019

Review: The Duke's Second Chance by Jen Geigle Johnson

To Purchase
About:

Second chances often come from surprising places. Will the Duke find another chance at love when everything seems to be combining against him? 

Gerald feels as though he’s lost everything when his wife takes her last breath. Amelia’s world turns upside down when the Duke of Granbury steps into her tea shop and leaves with her heart. But when a secret from Amelia’s past unveils possibilities, will the duke get a second chance at love from an unexpected source?Buy this first book in a Regency romance series for a taste of deep loyal friendship, beautiful second chances, and the path to heal a heart.

Look for the other books in the series:The Earl's Winning WagerHer Lady's Whims and FanciesSuitors for the Proper MissPining for Lord LockhartThe Foibles and Follies of Miss Grace

My Thoughts:

What happens when your life takes an unexpected and tragic change in direction? Gerald, Duke of Granbury, has just lost his beloved wife and now is left with a broken heart, dreams, and an infant son to raise. This was a very sad beginning to the book. The Duke's grief and hurt was palpable and he obviously should not have been making any kind of major descions in his grief.

Enter a happenstance meeting with a shop girl, Amelia and a soul deep connection forms.

This story almost felt like two different stories, Gerald's and Amelia's, as each needed to work out in their own lives complications and feelings that have arisen due to their meeting. Not only that, but each also had to deal with unexpected circumstances and news that neither could have foreseen coming.

This is a happily ever after story with a sad beginning and some learning in the middle. It is a nice start to the new series, Lords for the Sisters of Sussex.

I received an e-copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Excerpt and Giveaway: The Art of Rivers by Janet W. Ferguson

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Art of Rivers
(Coastal Hearts #3)
By Janet W. Ferguson
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 299 Pages
June 30th 2019 by Southern Sun Press LLC

​Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible scars—those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the loss of her fiancé during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancé. When she stumbles upon recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own healing.

After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.

Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.

(Affiliate links included.)
GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository
Also available through KindleUnlimited.


Excerpt:

“Coop, you look like the kid on the front of a Sour Warheads package.” Davis laid his brush aside, walked over, and held out his arms, a goofy grin covering his face. “Does someone need a hug?”

“Don’t even start with your shenanigans.” Yeah, they offered hugs at times, but Davis was messing with him.

“Let’s go outside and chew the fat a minute. My first layer of paint is drying, and I want this one to be my masterpiece.” Davis motioned with his head toward the door.

Was Davis having issues, or would the powwow be about tonight’s incident? “Kev, you all right for a few?” Cooper called.

“Not going anywhere. Take your time.” Kevin’s brows rose as he pointed a gaze on Blake, whose head bobbed, fighting sleep.

“All right. Let’s talk.” Cooper led Davis out the door onto the small porch behind the gallery. “What’s happening?”

“So tonight was a little bit of scary town, right?” After pulling a pack of gum from his pocket, Davis popped a couple of pieces in his mouth.

“You shaken up?” Davis didn’t look it.

“Nah, not me. But your little woman seemed to be.” He blew a bubble the size of a Ping-Pong ball, then popped it. “I don’t mean to get up in your grill or break man-code, but you got eyes for that Rivers girl. It’s as obvious as a dead skunk on a highway, and I’m worried. Is she in recovery?”

Nice. What a gross metaphor. And the attraction was that obvious? “She’s not.” Cooper shot Davis a hard look. “Remember when I asked your opinion? Yeah, me neither.”

“Oh, is this one of those never-miss-an-opportunity-to-keep-my-mouth-shut things?” He crossed his eyes and gave a sideways grin.

A hearty laugh tumbled out of Cooper. He’d been a tad hard on Davis. The guy was just doing what he’d been taught to do. Be honest. Ask difficult questions. “Sorry. You’re on track. It’s just that Rivers isn’t what you think.” He raked his fingers through his hair. “Between you and me—and Kev and Gabby, of course—Rivers was Jordan’s fiancée. She inherited the gallery and came to sell it.”

“Whoa. I did not see that one coming.” His head bobbed. “Harsh news about the gallery, and you have a thing for her too. Your cousin’s—”

“Shut up, dude.” Cooper massaged his temples as if it would do any good. “I never said I had a thing for her.”

“Didn’t have to, but I’ll keep that part between me and the Big Man Upstairs when I pray for your gooey-eyed self.” He clucked his tongue and mumbled under his breath, “But it’s as obvious as a dead sku—”

“Enough with the skunk.” Cooper looked up. Please don’t let it be that obvious to Rivers. He’d need to come to terms with his attraction before he messed things up big-time.

Other Books in the Series


And coming January 2020...


About the Author


Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a cat that allows them to share the space.


Tour Schedule


Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive a $10 Chick-fil-A gift card and signed copies of the first two books in the series, Magnolia Storms and Falling for Grace
US only
Ends November 6, 2019

Grab Our Button!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Mission Hollywood by Michelle Keener


About the Book


Book: Mission Hollywood
Author: Michelle Keener
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 16, 2019

What could possibly go wrong?

Movie star Ben Prescott arrives back in Hollywood after causing a scandal with his ex-girlfriend in Rome. Chased through the airport by paparazzi, he jumps into a limo hoping for a quick getaway. Instead he finds Lily Shaw, a pastor’s daughter and preschool teacher. When the paparazzi capture a photo of the two of them together, Ben’s agent demands that he do whatever it takes to keep the story from hitting the gossip pages . . . even volunteer to work at Lily’s church.

Sparks fly as the movie star and the pastor’s daughter work side by side. When Lily accompanies Ben to the premiere of his latest movie, Hollywood takes notice. Under intense media scrutiny and pressure from the movie industry, Ben must risk his career to follow his heart, but Lily wants the one thing he doesn’t have, faith.

Mission Hollywood is an inspirational story about love, faith, and second chances.   

Click here to get your copy!





My Thoughts: 

This story was part rom-com, with its meet-cute and sweet romance around the banter. But there is much more beneath the surface of this tale than what one would normally expect from a rom-com. It was interesting watching the worlds of this celebrity and preacher's daughter collide, and hope they could sort out the collateral damage. Even as the hero begins to see a new side of the faith he walked away from as a child, and the heroine begins to see a life bigger than the small piece she has chosen for herself.

Usually, in romances, I like either the hero or the heroine a lot more than the other one, but I have to say I liked them both about equal in this one. She was so good, and yet not perfect. And he was just so lovable. They were so cute together, too.

It kind of reminded me of the movie The Resurrection of Gavin Stone in a good way, and if you like either celebrity or pastor's kids romances, you'll be sure to like this.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.



Reviewed by Jes


About the Author


Michelle Keener is a wife, mom, and the author of three books. She lives in Southern California with her retired Marine husband, their two children, and one spoiled dog. When she isn’t writing, she is busy homeschooling, teaching creative writing workshops, or baking something involving chocolate. 

Michelle loves to hear from readers and you can usually find her on Twitter @MKeenerWrites or at her website www.MichelleKeener.com  

More from Michelle

Why Hollywood? That’s a great question!

Of all the places I could have set a Christian romance novel, why pick Hollywood?

It isn’t exactly the first place that pops into your mind when you think Christian romance, right? The truth is I spent four years of my life trying to become an actress. I was a theatre major in the Los Angeles area and I spent a lot of time in Hollywood. I’ve been down Hollywood Boulevard, visited casting offices, and gone to open-call auditions. In those years, I saw the good and the bad of the movie industry. I saw dreams shattered and hearts broken under the glamourous lights of the Sunset Strip. Years later, when I started thinking about writing a Christian romance, I knew Hollywood was the perfect setting to tell the story of God’s unchanging, never-ending love for us.

Mission Hollywood isn’t just one love story, it’s two. The romance between Ben and Lily is definitely swoon-worthy, but there is also the story of how much God loves us. I hope you enjoy Mission Hollywood…it’s only the beginning of the story for the Shaw Family. Book two is coming in February!

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, October 24
Sara Jane Jacobs, October 24
Maureen’s Musings, October 25
Moments, October 27
Pause for Tales, October 29
She Lives To Read, October 29
Older & Smarter?, October 30
Blessed & Bookish, October 30
Godly Book Reviews, November 1
Back Porch Reads, November 2
Texas Book-aholic, November 3
Quiet Quilter, November 4
janicesbookreviews, November 5
A Reader’s Brain, November 6

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a Red Carpet Collection, which includes a signed paperback copy of Mission Hollywood, a custom Pura Vida bracelet in red carpet colors, a signed and numbered print of the original painting “Redemption” by artist Charlotte Lauder, a vintage-Hollywood style postcard, a bookmark, and a magnet!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Review: Keeping Her Close by Carol Ross

About:

Hired to protect her

…unable to resist her

The job sounds simple: teach a businessman’s daughter how to stay safe. But former navy SEAL turned bodyguard Kyle Frasier has a personal motive, too. Harper Jansen is his late best friend’s fiancée. Loyalty demands he protect her, not that Harper looks in need of rescuing. In fact, it’s Kyle who needs help—balancing duty with his desire to build a life with the one woman he shouldn’t want…



My Thoughts:

This book was a sweet romance (note, it was just romance- not romantic suspense despite the hero being a body guard) between a free-spirited millionaire's daughter turned photographer and a straight-laced, stoic former Navy SEAL turned security consultant. Further complications arise from the fact that she's his late best friend's ex-fiancé; the late best friend he is even now trying to investigate the death of. On top of it all, he has relationship issues, and she has trust issues... And she’s the one person who can tell him about her ex-fiance, but it’s not something she can straight-out tell him.

There were two aspects of the story that stood out more than the others. One was the adorable banter between the survivor-minded hero and the much more spontaneous heroine, as he tried so hard to teach her how to be safe. The other best aspect was his family, and their unique dynamics, with his in-laws as close as blood relations. An all-around pleasant story.

I received a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Reviewed by Jes

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Review: Always Look Twice by Elizabeth Goddard

To Purchase
About:


Justice lies just on the other side of fearAt the advice of her therapist, Harper Reynolds has traded her job as a crime scene photographer for a more peaceful life taking photographs of the natural world. But her hopes for a life surrounded by the serenity of the outdoors are dashed when she inadvertently captures a murder being committed. She flees the scene in fear--and loses the camera.

Former Green Beret Heath McKade, a reserve deputy in an understaffed county, has been called in to protect Harper, a childhood friend he is surprised to see back in the area. When Harper learns that the sheriff's department can't find any evidence of the murder she witnessed, she is determined to do what she can to see that justice is done. What neither Harper nor Heath could know is how many explosive secrets from the past will be exposed--or how deeply they will fall for each other.


"A twisting tale of romance, self-doubt, bravery, and mystery."--
Interviews and Reviews"I was hooked from the very first page."--Write-Read-Life

My Thoughts:


As I read this book I realized more and more that I should have read the first book first. Not because this book can't be read as a standalone. But because I wanted to know more about this world and the McKades.

But I did certainly enjoy Heath and Harper's story. I have to say that I very much did not expect the twist that the plot took. At the beginning it appeared to be going one way, and I will add that it also seemed like just about every suspense book that I had ever read. But then about 50 pages in BAM! It got verrry interesting. Also the villain? I have mixed feelings. He is extremely unique, and I both hate him and like him. Also I guessed wrong who it was and I am very disappointed in myself because come on I had a 50% chance.

Also the excerpt for the next book? O.o

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Reviewed by Nicki


About the Author:

Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling author of more than 40 books, including Never Let Go, Always Look Twice, and the Carol Award-winning The Camera Never Lies. Her Mountain Cove series books have been finalists in the Daphne du Maurier...
Continue reading about Elizabeth Goddard

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Weekend Briefing: Release Party!

Tales from Parallel Worlds has released. Check out all the excitement on Jes Drew's site:

https://agencyofbooksandspies.blogspot.com/2019/10/release-party.html



Review and Author Video: The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron


About the Book


Book: The Painted Castle
Author: Kristy Cambron
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: October 15, 2019

Bestselling author Kristy Cambron concludes the Lost Castle novels with this sweeping tale of art and secrets long buried in England.

It was supposed to be a one-week job: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Kiera Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mysteries surrounding the old English manor and the enigmatic art thief who’s employed her stir more questions than answers. Then, Kiera finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin-a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria.

Set in three time periods-the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day-The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith, family, and stories that are generations in the making.


Click here to grab your copy.


My Thoughts:


I have enjoyed all of the castle books in the Lost Castle series, and I am somewhat astonished at how well all three of the timeline stories fit together to form one seamless story arc in each book.

The present day story is little sister, Keira Foley's story. She is reeling from an upset in her career and has gone back home, only to be searched out by a complete stranger who needs her art historian work to help him on quite a large project at an abandoned castle and estate. Keira is a bit suspicious and guarded as the project is hush, hush. She is also not sure she wants to work with a rumored art thief, American Emory Scott, who is most intent on having her on his team.

Not only do we have the present day story, but we also are treated to two historical ones as well. One is set during World War 2 at this estate and about  widowed lady of the manor, Amelia. Amelia is set on making her home a safe haven for the children who have been sent to be in her care. She also has a surprise group of American pilots that show up to stay as well due to overcrowding at the base. In all of the chaos of the war, this group of people form bonds and become a makeshift family. And Amelia begins to care very much for this Captain Wyatt who's future is so unsure.

The other story centers around Elizabeth Meade (1842), who witnessed the murder of her father when she was a young girl. Now being pushed by her mother to make a match with a certain viscount to keep them from anymore ruin, Elizabeth finds herself possibly face to face with her father's murderer. Already made up in her mind, Elizabeth plans to take revenge herself. Not only that but her fiancé has a very famous art friend who paints royalty and Elizabeth is an aspiring artist herself.

All of these stories were page turners, and I know as with the previous books, that they are all connected. And they are all so well told that I did not know which one was my favorite, but each chapter change brought us to another time. I highly recommend this series. This book was very hard to put down and do real life and castles are one of my favorite things. 

I was provided a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author


KRISTY CAMBRON is an award-winning author of historical fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She’s a Women’s Ministry Leader at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, and a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10Library Journal Reviews’ Best BooksRT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation, working with such companies as the Disney Institute, IBM/Kenexa, and Gallup. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.   


More from Kristy

About The Painted Castle A war-torn estate holding its secrets close. A lost library bricked off from the world. And a portrait-maker’s unknown masterpiece of a Queen named Victoria… What stories do they long to tell? 

It was supposed to be a one-week snatch-and-grab: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Kiera Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mystery of an old English manor, a crumbling beekeeper’s cottage, and a library that had long ago been sealed off brick by brick, all stir more questions than answers. What begins as a novice assignment instead peels back layers, lulling Keira into the depths of the estate’s long-forgotten history. 

Despite questions swirling around the enigmatic, rumored art thief who’s employed her, Keira finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin—a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria… 


1842— In order to salvage what’s left of her family’s shaky circumstances, artist Elizabeth Meade knows her duty must be to marry well. But she hopes looks can be deceiving enough to hide her true motives behind a congenial smile and gain entry into the ballrooms of England’s noble elite. Instead of husband-hunting, Elizabeth searches for the one thing that’s seared to her memory—the eyes of her father’s killer, whom she unwittingly sketched one snowy night in Piccadilly ten years before. She never expects to find answers tucked away in the countryside at Parham Hill, in the form of a portrait-maker who could help her artist dreams come true, if only she could forget the highwayman she’s hunted for the last decade—the estate-owner who unwittingly selects her as his betrothed…

1942—When the 390th Bomb Group arrives at Amelia Woods’ Parham Hill Estate, the American flyboys bring playing cards, B-17 “flying fortresses”, and enough bravado to believe they can triumph over Hitler just by staring him down. Amelia isn’t certain, and she’s unwilling to compromise the safety and security in a carefully-crafted world she’s built for the dozens of London-evacuated children left in her charge. But with Anderson shelters buried in the gardens and an Allied airfield a stone’s throw away, Amelia may have no choice but to wait out the war under blackouts and bombs, and accept help from the captain who offers it—even if it means risking all she has left of her late husband’s memory… 

From the streets of Piccadilly and the lavish halls of Buckingham Palace to the countryside surrounding Framlingham Castle, a warn-torn estate, a hidden library, and the lost portrait of a queen come together to write the final chapter in the Lost Castle series. Set in three time periods—the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day—The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith and the family we fight for, of risk and reward, and the artful crafting of a story that can be generations in the making… yet still change everything about a single life.




Blog Stops

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 15
The Power of Words, October 15
The Avid Reader, October 16
Betti Mace, October 16
Fiction Aficionado, October 17
AndreaChristenson, October 18
She Lives to Read, October 18
Bloging With Carol, October 18
Back Porch Reads , October 19
KarenSueHadley, October 20
Livin’ Lit, October 20
A Reader’s Brain, October 20
Genesis 5020, October 21
Worthy2Read, October 21
Life of Literature, October 21
janicesbookreviews, October 22
Older & Smarter?, October 23
Mia Reads Blog, October 23
The Becca Files, October 23
Daysong Reflections, October 24
Connect in Fiction, October 24
Texas Book-aholic, October 24
Moments, October 25
Pause for Tales, October 26
Lis Loves Reading, October 26
Hallie Reads, October 26
Remembrancy, October 28
Batya’s Bits, October 28
Leona J. Atkinson, October 28

My Thoughts on The Way Back by Heidi Chiavaroli

  About: Young love means everything . . . until it leaves you with nothing. The summer before her senior year of high school, Laney Jacobs...