Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The White City: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crimes by Grace Hitchcock

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: The White City: True Crimes: Historical Stories of American Crime

SERIES: True Crimes

AUTHOR: Grace Hitchcock

PUBLISHER: Barbour

PUBLISHED: March 2109

GENRE: Christian Historical Suspense

Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair
Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

 

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MY REVIEW:

It seems it is always fun to read about one great event that changed the face of Chicago, the World’s Fair of 1893. The White City by Grace Hitchcock helps to sharpen our modern focus on a time when Chicago had a “mini” city of large white stucco buildings well-lit, even at night, to house the fair. The character HH Holmes was a real criminal, detailed in another non-fiction book. White City also caused me to research how the giant Ferris Wheel looked back then. It was nothing like our modern Ferris Wheels, having glass “rooms” holding up to 60 people each! 
I thought this was the perfect vacation read, with a smattering of history, and romance, and suspense.  
I enjoyed the love triangle and truly wasn’t certain how it would turn out. 
Jude Thorpe is a new detective in Winnifred Wylde’s father’s precinct and is assigned the dubious duty of protecting Winnie from her efforts to prove her crime sightings are more than her imagination. Winnie appears attracted to him, but he has competition.  
Winnie fights off many of her aunt’s hand-picked suitors, but will Percival Covington turn out to be the perfect man? 
For myself, I was glad to see Winnie could be a reader and still be a respectable heroine. Often readers are passed over in real life as those who just don’t want to work, instead of those called to nourish an inner need. 
“He didn’t deserve to have her heart’s sloppy seconds.” Said about one of Winnie’s suitors, it hit me how applicable this is in our relationship to God. 
This was one book I would almost have liked to have seen the author write an alternate ending too. That is if she had made a few character adjustments, of course. It just seemed the book teetered on a precipice and the author had to think for a moment which way she wanted to take the action. I know I seriously considered which way I would have counseled her to take it. Indeed, that really brought me thoroughly into the tale, as if the adventure didn’t already have me there. Good point for a book club discussion. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are solely my own. 

 

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 16145482

Grace Hitchcock is the author of The White City and The Gray Chamber from Barbour Publishing. She has written multiple novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

ABOUT THE BOOK:

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AUTHOR: Jocelyn Green

TITLE: Between Two Shores

PUBLISHER, DATE: Bethany House, February 2019

GENRE: Historical Fiction

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-
fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war.

Peace appeals to Catherine but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel’s life convince her he’s in mortal danger. Against her better judgment, she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She’s risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated?

 

MY REVIEW:

I love history. I love bits of French. Combine the two into a most compelling tale of the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War), and I was caught more efficiently than a beaver or fox in a trap. Jocelyn Green unfolds her tale, Between Two Shores in alternating time swatches. Green starts when Catherine, part Mohawk, part Canadian- French, accepted by neither nation, is ten. Then, suddenly like rapids on the rushing river, the novel skips ahead to the “present time” of the narrative, 1759; then, like the river meandering and curling back on itself, retreats back to an earlier essential era, only to repeat this ebb and flow several times throughout the novel. A little truth here, a little more here, too much at one time could perhaps be overwhelming. It seems this could be symbolic of the way Catherine has to slowly piece together her life and how her faith will affect her actions toward her father, Bright Star, Joseph, and eventually two nations.
My heart hurts for Catherine as she searches for a hero and true love. She seems to think love is an equal trade of sorts until finally faced with the question of whether she can love for love’s sake alone.
I did not cry during this novel, but I wanted to. At times, I, too, wanted to wretch, or faint, or plan an escape. NOT for the faint of heart. Bravo to Jocelyn Green for writing a different kind of historical romance, one that surprised me around every bend of the river, and certainly had me talking back to her!

Great Quotes:
“What is courage… but moving forward in the face of fear? If there was nothing to be afraid of, we would have no need to be brave.” ~ Samuel
…”But she was wholly who the Great Good God had made her…”

There are discussion questions at the end. Also included are author’s notes about what events and people included are factual. This book comes highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I was not required to leave a positive review.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

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Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com.Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com.

Bethany House, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley

Flights of Fancy, #1 American Heiresses by Jen Turano

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About the Book

 

Title: Flights of Fancy

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Gilded Age flights-of-fancy-194x300

Release date: January 1, 2019

Publisher: Bethany House

Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she’s always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.

 

Click here to order your copy!

MY REVIEW

Just when I think Jen Turano can’t come up with any fresh ideas for her hilarious historic comedies, she proves me wrong again. I loved the spirit of adventure and positivity that Isadora (“Izzie”) possesses. The Duke of Montrose sounded like a “monstrosity” of a man and nuisance. On the other hand, how many readers will find themselves enthralled with Ian and his love for his fellow man (well, his looks COULD play into the picture.) Uncle Amos and Aunt Birdie are pure strokes of literary genius and the four children are beyond lovable. Now I can’t wait for the next books in this series.
Some favorite quotes:
“…God occasionally throws obstacles our way so we’re forced to grow into the people he wants us to be.”
“…what with how often people forget to show kindness to those most vulnerable. I imagine it must pain God no small amount when He witnesses us ignoring those in need.”
During the time I was reading this, I heard, “Good, Good Father” by Chris Tomlin on the radio. Somehow it seemed very apropos to the book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. All opinions are my own and no positive review was required.

MY RATING

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About the Author

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred jen-turano-200x300 reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.

 

 

 

Guest post from Jen

Q & A With Jen Turano

 

“Flights of Fancy” is the first book in the American Heiress Series. What inspired you to write this series?

The inspiration for this entire series started off with a What If? All of my proposals for new series start off that way, and this time it was – What if Consuelo Vanderbilt had balked when her mother insisted she marry the Duke of Marlborough – and then that led to – What if she’d run away until her mother came to her senses? Just like that, an entire series was born – a bit of a different take on American heiresses because in all three books, my heiresses might decide to go a tad…rogue. We start off with Miss Isadora Delafield – who does run off to avoid marriage to a duke, then we get to meet Miss Poppy Garrison, who is an unexpected heiress but who can’t quite seem to get a handle on the expected social decorum of the day, and then the final book revolves around Miss Beatrix Waterbury – who gets banished to Chicago after she annoys her mother one too many times, and once there, well, gets up to a bit of mischief.

 

How do you come up with the names of your characters?

I find most of my names as I research the New York Four-Hundred, although I normally take a first name here, a last name there so I’m not stepping on any toes by writing about an actual historical figure – except for some of the main figures in New York society back then, such as Mr. Ward McAllister – who was the social arbiter of the day, or Mrs. William Astor, who was the queen of that society. What I don’t do is simply make up names, no matter how outrageous they may appear. And, no matter how I may love a certain name, if the character decides it doesn’t suit them, that’s it, it’s out and I’m back to the drawing board.

 

How do you picture your character? Do you use Pinterest, magazines, movies?

Odd as this may seem, I don’t use pictures for my characters. They start off in my mind as a blurry figure, and then, they develop from there – I like to keep my descriptions of them somewhat vague on the pages so that the reader can imagine them exactly the way they’d like them to be.

 

What are some of your favorite resources for historical research?

I’ve been building up a research library over the past few years and now have over 200 books dedicated to the Gilded Age. My favorites are – “A Season of Splendor” by Greg King, “Society as I Have Found It” by Ward McAllister, “The Gilded Age in New York – 1870-1910” by Esther Crain, and “ ‘King Lehr’ and the Gilded Age” by Elizabeth Drexel Lehr.

 

The setting for “Flights of Fancy” is a bit of a departure for you since it’s set in and outside of Pittsburgh. Any reason for that?

My mom was born in Pittsburgh, and unfortunately, her father, a prominent attorney back in the day, died when she was only four. I thought it would be cool to set a story in Pittsburgh, which would then allow me to really dive into some research. And get this – while I was doing that research, I found this obscure journal called “Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In that journal was a bit about my great-grandfather, Fred, his wife, Susie, my grandfather, and his brother and sister, but I’d never heard about this brother, who apparently died quite young. One of the most fabulous research tidbits I’ve uncovered to date.

 

What are you working on now?

I’ve just recently turned in the content edits for the second book in this series, “Diamond in the Rough,” and I’ve also turned in a novella about the Harvey Girls that will be coming out in a novella collection in Fall, 2019. With those out of the way, I’m now starting the third and final book in the American Heiress series, Miss Beatrix Waterbury’s story, but I’m having a bit of a struggle with the hero at the moment – he was supposed to be Edward, but he doesn’t want to be an Edward – I think he wants to be Norman – but, time will tell on that one – don’t hold me to the name – it’ll depend on if he changes his mind or not – pesky characters.

 

You seem to enjoy adding animals in many of your stories. Will we find any animals in “Flights of Fancy?”

Since Miss Isadora Delafield ends up on a farm, I do believe you will find a few animals, such as an adorable cow by the name of Buttercup, a few goats that seem to have a great liking for laundry, and…there might be some chickens.

 

Thanks for stopping by today, everyone! Always enjoy visiting with all of you – in fact, that’s the best part of my job!

All the best,

~ Jen ~

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, January 10

Among the Reads, January 10

Through the Fire, January 10

To Everything A Season, January 10

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 11

Blogging With Carol, January 11

Southern Gal loves to Read, January 11

Back Porch ReadsJanuary 12

KarenSueHadleyJanuary 12

Godly Book Reviews, January 12

Daysong ReflectionsJanuary 12

Livin Lit, January 13

The Christian Fiction Girl, January 13

The Becca Files, January 13

Texas Book-aholic, January 13

Rebekah’s Quill, January 14

Blossoms and Blessings, January 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 15

Just the Write Escape, January 15

Stories By Gina, January 15

God’s Little Bookworm, January 16

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, January 16

Splashes of JoyJanuary 16

Janices book reviews, January 16

Happily Managing A Household of Boys, January 17

Mary Hake, January 17

Maureen’s Musings, January 17

Bibliophile Reviews, January 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 18

Baker Kella, January 18

Simple Harvest ReadsJanuary 18 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 19

Captive Dreams Window, January 19

Robin is Bookish, January 19

Carpe Diem, January 19

Have A Wonderful DayJanuary 20

Life with the Tribe, January 20

Inklings and NotionsJanuary 20

Rachel’s Back Talk, January 21

Inspiration Clothesline, January 21

amandainpaJanuary 21

A Baker’s Perspective, January 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 22

Pause for Tales, January 22

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 22

Raining Butterfly Kisses, January 23

Live Love Read, January 23

A Rup Life, January 23

Bigreadersite, January 23

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a grand prize of a trunk filled with all of Jen’s full-length novels released to date!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d8d1/flights-of-fancy-celebration-tour-giveaway

Barbour, BLOG

The Liberty Bride, #6 Daughters of the Mayflower Series by MaryLu Tyndall

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: The Liberty Bride, #6 Daughters of the Mayflower Series

PUBLISHER: Barbour

PUBLISHED: November 15, 2018

GENRE: Historical Fiction

LENGTH: 256 pages

ISBN: 978-1683226178

Lieutenant Owen Masters and Emeline Baratt meet on a British warship as sworn enemies. Where will Emeline place her loyalties when forced to spy against her country?
A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

War Forces a Choice Between Love and Country
A trip home from England to Maryland in 1812 finds Emeline Baratt a captive on a British warship and forced to declare her allegiance between the British and Americans. Remaining somewhat politically neutral on a ship where her nursing skills are desperately needed is fairly easy—until she starts to have feelings for the first lieutenant who becomes her protector. However, when the captain sends her and Lieutenant Owen Masters on land to spy, she must choose between her love for him or her love for her country.

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall.

 

MY REVIEW:

“The Daughters of the Mayflower” series has produced some fantastic novels and some that, while interesting, are less than spectacular. You don’t know what you’re getting until you try each different book, written by different authors about different times of conflict in our country’s history. I have read several of MaryLu Tyndall’s books and really enjoyed the adventure and the Christian message. The Liberty Bride seems to lose some of the adventurous feeling as it gets weighed down by the message Tyndall is trying to impart. The Liberty Bride takes place during the War of 1812. I enjoyed meeting Emeline Barratt, who upon returning from England, finds herself in a position to spy for the Americans. Then there is her counterpart, First Lt. Owen Masters, who both intrigues and annoys her to no end. Emeline doesn’t understand the love of the Heavenly Father but equates God’s love with the punitive love of her own father. She is quite worried that God might be punishing her for any past disobedience. Only doing right will bring God’s approval, she believes. “I’m definitely going to Hell!” So says Emeline about all the deception, lying, and spying she has been doing for the Americans. Emeline’s character is actually very full of mercy and grace, what she needs to learn about God Himself. In short, I loved the action, the themes were good, but the conversation got heavy and preachy. Maybe others will not see it so. I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. I am not required to leave a positive review, and all opinions are solely my own.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MaryLu Tyndall, a Christy Award finalist and bestselling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series, is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but open people’s eyes to their God-given potential. MaryLu is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

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BLOG

The Lady of Tarpon Springs by Judith Miller

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: The Lady of Tarpon Springs

Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 2018 by Bethany House Publishers
ISBN:0764231065 (ISBN13: 9780764231063)
Also available in Kindle ebook and 2 other editions
Much to the dismay of her Greek family, Zanna Krykos makes a living as a lawyer in Tarpon Springs, Florida. When her friend Lucy needs legal advice about the business she inherited upon her father’s passing, she ends up asking Zanna to run the business instead so she can focus on her medical career.

Nico Kalos is a Greek diver who has worked on sponging boats in the Aegean Sea since the age of 14, giving him a vast knowledge of the trade. When he hears of an opportunity to lead a group of spongers to the United States, he seizes it. But his excitement is quickly quelled when he arrives only to discover that a young woman with no experience in the business will be in charge of the new crews.

But as Zanna and Nico face even more complications than they could have imagined, they must learn to work together or risk everything they’ve worked so hard for.

MY REVIEW:

First of all, if Judith Miller’s name is on it, I buy or read with confidence, knowing that a well-satisfying book awaits. The artist’s use of pastel sunsets and sunrises in the background of Miller’s recent covers makes them very aesthetically pleasing. Two reasons to read the book before you even open the cover or swipe the first page.

I love Judith Miller’s books because they are well-researched. In this case, The Lady of Tarpon Springs was a fun, mysterious education about the Greek sponge divers off Florida’s coast in the early 1900’s. This was a part of history I’d never heard of.

Then there is the sparking, light sizzle of a clean romance. How fun to view it through the eyes of a Greek family’s expectations.

I enjoyed the inclusion of the somewhat irritating, interfering Rochester sisters. They really add a surprising depth to an already good story.

Miller’s writing style is inviting, making what could be profoundly unknown seem familiar, while also keeping my interest. Never once did I feel a-sea nor wonder when the book would end.

Fun Quotables:
“‘What’s that you’re saying about fifty men?’ Her mother dipped a piece of crusty bread into olive oil. ‘I think one will be enough, Zanna.’”

“ …his bushy black eyebrows wriggled like frightened caterpillars attempting an escape.”

I highly recommend this book. I gratefully received a complimentary copy from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinions, for which I am solely responsible. I was not required to leave a positive review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Judith Miller

Judith McCoy Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. Judy and her husband make their home in Topeka, Kansas.