Saturday, July 11, 2020

"A Very Austen Romance" by Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, Chautona Havig, & Mandy H. Cook --Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway


About the Book

Title: A Very Austen Romance
Authors: Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, Chautona Havig, Mandy H. Cook
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: June, 2020
A Very Austen Romance - Ebook finalA Very Austen Romance features a delightful medley of novellas, each set in Jane Austen’s Regency world. Your friends from Pride and PrejudiceEmma, and Sense and Sensibility, enjoy new adventures in this lovely collection of stories by Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, Mandy Cook, and Chautona Havig.
Be treated to prequels, spin-offs, and sequels of Austen’s novels, along with original and supporting characters in starring roles. If historical romance is your preference, you’ll love these well-crafted stories written by beloved authors in the genre.

Click here to get your copy!
My Thoughts

"King of Hearts" by Robin Helm: I thought this was a cute story and was interesting being in Kitty's point of view. I thought that it was going to have some sort of tie to Alice in Wonderland with the name of the story and the quotes from the book, but I didn't see any kind of tie to Alice. It was a little rushed with there being three possible suitors and when she finally settles on one, there really isn't anything showing them falling in love. It is a novella so there isn't a lot of time to show things, but they barely knew each other. The ending wrapped things up, but in a way felt a little like info overload.

"You've Got to Kiss the Girl" by Laura Hile: I enjoyed reading this story. It was an interesting twist on Pride and Prejudice and what might have happened. I liked how the parts that were straight from the book were incorporated into the story. It was fun getting to see some of the characters in a different light.

"A Step Too Far" by Wendi Sotis: I think this is the first story/book I have read by Wendi Sotis so I wasn't sure what to expect. I found this story to be sweet and well paced. It was another alternative to Pride and Prejudice and explored what would have happened had Darcy and Elizabeth met under different circumstances. I liked this version very well.

"John Knightly Wins a Wife" by Barbara Cornthwaite: This story was by another new to me author. It is always fun to find new authors from collections like these. This story differed from the first three in that it was not centered around Pride and Prejudice but on Emma. The story seemed to jump from one person's view to another which was a little confusing at times.

"Charming Miss Dashwood" by Chautona Havig: Like the previous story, this one also did not follow Pride and Prejudice. This one (as evidenced by the title) is based on Sense and Sensibility.  Knowing Chautona Havig used the movie as inspiration, I imagined the characters as the ones from the movie.

"In the Looking Glass" by Mandy H. Cook: This story was by another new-to-me author. I'm not sure what this story is based on. I was thinking it was Mansfield Park but then Fanny turned out to be a  Bingley so maybe it is a conglomeration of the different stories. Or maybe it is supposed to be about Charles and Jane's children. Without some reference to know for sure who the characters were, it didn't really feel like a Jane Austen adaptation. The story was well written, but the romance was almost non existent and seemed synthetic. 


About the Authors

Robin HelmRobin Helm‘s books reflect her love of music, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction.
Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy: Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy; the Yours by Design series: Accidentally YoursSincerely Yours, and Forever YoursUnderstanding Elizabeth;  More to Love; and Lawfully Innocent. Ms. Helm also contributed stories to A Very Austen Christmas and A Very Austen Valentine.
She plans to publish Maestro in 2020.
Her life in (usually) sunny, small town South Carolina is busy, but affords time for writing, reading, teaching piano, and playing games on her phone. (Would you believe she’s an elder in a war game?)


Laura HReaders are loving Laura Hile‘s joyous Regency novels. Her signature style—with intertwined plots, cliffhangers, laugh-out-loud humor, and romance—keeps them coming back for more.
The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There’s never a dull moment with teen students!
Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a collection of antique clocks.
Her fiction is for everyone, even teens.

Wendi SotisWendi Sotis lives on Long Island, NY, with her husband and triplets. While searching for Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view, she became thoroughly enamored with Jane Austen Fan Fiction or JAFF. In early 2010, she dreamed of an idea for a story and hasn’t stopped writing since: PromisesDreams and ExpectationsAll Hallows EveThe Keys for LoveSafekeeping (with just a dash of Austen); The Gypsy BlessingFoundation of Love (The Gypsy Blessing 2); and A Lesson Hard Learned.
The Marriage Pact, and some of Wendi’s works-in-progress, have branched away from JAFF to Regency Romance (the Loving an Aldridge Series) and Contemporary Romantic Mysteries (the Implicated series). Wendi will also continue bringing Darcy and Elizabeth together again and again in an unusual manner.

Barbara CornthwaiteBarbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.


Mandy Helms CookMandy Cook was an RN for over ten years, half of which she served in the Navy, living in far-flung places, enjoying experiencing the world while following her calling. Just before she and her handsome Marine were both deployed to different places, they married. They now have three children, ages five and younger.
She previously published The Gifted, using her nursing experience to lend accuracy to her story about an ER nurse who is handed a gift that changes her life forever. Adversity, and a long history of secrets, constantly battle against her natural instinct for truth and justice, but will the truth be worth the dare?
Mandy also contributed a story to A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 1.


Chauton HavigChautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.


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Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the A Very Austen authors are giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

"The Green Dress" by Liz Tolsma -- Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  The Green Dress
Author: Liz Tolsma
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense
Release Date: June 2020
Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend
Book 6 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History
When Harriet Peters came to Boston in 1882, the Robinson family took her in like one of their own, and Harriet became closer to Lizzie Robinson than her own siblings. Now, four years later, Lizzie is deathly sick, failing quickly just like several others in her family have done over the past few years. How can so many in one family die from the same mysterious illness? Harriet doesn’t have answers, but she is determined to help the family, bringing in a new-to-the-neighborhood doctor, Michael Wheaton.
As Harriet and Michael close in on the answer, putting their own lives at risk, can the cause be found before anyone else dies?

My Thoughts
This is probably the first book in the True Colors series that I didn't research beforehand. It was very apparent to me right from the beginning what was happening. I found the book to be well written and had a nice pace. There was a biblical thread that wove through it. I was drawn into the story and didn't want to put the book down. Not having read about the case beforehand, I never knew what to expect and who was going to be a victim. I think that the author did a good job of showing the tense atmosphere that permeated the household. I look forward to reading more of Liz Tolsma's books and the last three books in the True Colors series.


About the Author

Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.




More from Liz

We’ve all been there—started a letter or an email or even a list, didn’t like what we had, crossed it out or hit the delete button, and tried again. Now imagine that happening when you’re writing a novel.

That’s what occurred with The Green Dress. Finding the perfect place to start a novel can be tricky, but when you’re trying to balance fact with fiction, it’s even harder. I needed the fictional heroine, Harriet Peters, to have a good reason to come into contact with and become close to the factual Robinson family. And I needed for the hero, Michael Wheaton, to meet Harriet early on. So I dove into the story. Five chapters later, the hero and heroine hadn’t yet met. The book wasn’t working.

I scrapped those chapters and started at a different point. At first, it seemed to be going better. I was happy. Until I got to the fifth chapter, when I realized again that the book wasn’t working. Frankly, it was boring. So those ended up in the virtual trash bin. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking on my deadline. I was desperate to find the right starting point, at a place with high tension. Finally, I had an “aha” moment, and the story flowed from there. That’s how the first five chapters (and the rest of The Green Dress) came to be.

—Liz Tolsma

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, June 27
Genesis 5020, June 29
Emily Yager, June 29
Robin’s Nest, June 30
Bigreadersite, July 1
Betti Mace, July 3
Remembrancy, July 4
Vicky Sluiter, July 5
amandainpa, July 6
Hallie Reads, July 8
Artistic Nobody, July 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
"The Green Dress" is available in paperback
  • Series: True Colors
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Barbour Books (June 1, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1643524755
  • ISBN-13: 978-1643524757
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches:


and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 2485 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Barbour Books (June 1, 2020)
  • Publication Date: May 15, 2020
  • Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B081GJN448


I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

"His Pretend Amish Bride" by Rachel J. Good. --Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  His Pretend Amish Bride
Author: Rachel J. Good
Genre:  Amish Romance
Release Date: June 30, 2020
his pretend Amish brideIn a small Amish town like Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, one solution to an indiscretion is to get married. Or perhaps, fake a respectable engagement . . .

Priscilla Ebersol has a fulfilling life teaching special needs children—until her boyfriend’s humiliating betrayal ruins her reputation and threatens her job. Shunned for something she didn’t do, Priscilla throws herself into a project on the benefits of camel’s milk for autism. Her research leads her to a newly opened Amish camel farm, where she discovers far more than she bargained for. . .
When a pushy Englisch company shows interest in shy, handsome Gabriel Kauffman’s camel farm, he struggles to get out of a sticky negotiation. Lovely, well-spoken Priscilla appears at the perfect moment and defends Gabe’s business so well that she is mistaken for his wife, a pretense they both secretly wish could be true. But though their bond deepens, Priscilla’s heart is still wounded, and Gabe battles with a troubling secret. And when a misunderstanding comes between them, it will take faith, honesty, and trust in God to overcome the past—and to allow their partnership to blossom into something more.
My Thoughts
"His Pretend Amish Wife" is the second book in the Unexpected Amish Blessings series. Hope from the first book is in this book, but this book makes sense on its own (there is one line from Hope's dad about money that might be confusing if you didn't read the first book) so you could read this as a standalone. I always try to read series in order, though as you get more of a full picture. I found the book to be well written and I liked the characters. It was difficult when Priscilla was being blamed for things she didn't do. There was a nice biblical faith element and the characters grew. I look forward to reading more books in this series as well as others by Rachel J. Good.
Click here to get your copy!



About the Author

rachel_headshotUSA Today bestselling author RACHEL J. GOOD writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her Amish novels. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events.
Rachel is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – the bestselling Love & PromisesSisters & FriendsUnexpected Amish BlessingsSurprised by Love (2021), and two books in Hearts of Amish Country – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books. In addition, she has stories in many anthologies, including Love’s Thankful Heart, Love’s Christmas Blessings, Plain Everyday HeroesLove’s Truest Hope, and the forthcoming Amish Christmas Twins (September 2020) with Shelley Shepard Gray and Loree Lough. She is also the coauthor of the Prayerful Author Journey: Inspirational Yearly Planner.

More from Rachel

A few years ago, I passed Amish camel farm in Bird-in-Hand, PA. As an author, seeing anything new or different always piques my interest, so I went for a visit. Not only did I explore the farm and store, I bought camel’s milk to drink. I think it’s important to do in-depth research for the settings and information I include in my Amish novels.
I was fascinated to discover camels usually bond to one milker, only give a little milk each day, and are extremely expensive to buy. All of those are reasons why camel’s milk is so expensive. It costs $15 for a pint. Much pricier than cow’s milk.
And if you’re wondering how camel’s milk tastes, the best way I can think of to describe it is a slightly salty version of powdered milk. It’s more watery than cow’s milk.
Because I grew up drinking powdered milk during my early childhood years when we lived in Africa, I’d always vowed never again to drink it once we moved back to the United States. A vow I’ve kept. That was never a problem living in Pennsylvania, where there’s plenty of farmland, cow, and Amish, of course.
The camel’s milk was enough like powdered milk to make me gag. But because I want to be sure my books are authentic, I drank it. So, readers, now you know how much a I care about you.
My concern for you also extends to more than just getting factual information correct. I pray for each and every one of you as I write my stories. I hope that they will touch your heart and bring you closer to God.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, June 29
Among the Reads, June 30
Bigreadersite, July 9
Pause for Tales, July 11
Lighthouse Academy Blog, July 11 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
Artistic Nobody, July 12 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Vicky Sluiter, July 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed copy of the book and $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.