Sunday, October 31, 2021

The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith


Title:  The Witch Haven

Author: Sasha Peyton Smith

Narrated by:  Piper Goodeve

Publisher: Simon & Shuster Audio

Length: Approximately 13 hours and 31 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Shuster Audio. Thank-you! 

 Frances Hallowell is a seventeen-year-old seamstress in New York City in 1911.  After her boss tries to assault her, he is found dead with her scissors in his back.  How did they get there?  Did Frances murder him?  Before Frances can be arrested, two mysterious women arrive to state that she has tuberculous, and they need to take her to a sanitarium in the country.  Frances discovers that the sanitarium is actually a haven for witches called Haxahaven.  As Frances discovers truths about her mother, she still wonders at her brother’s death.  Who killed him and why?  What is the mysterious organization that seems to be after her for her power?  Will the mysterious Finn who can enter her dreams help her in her quest?  What about Oliver her childhood friend?

 I enjoyed this audiobook. Piper Goodeve is a good narrator that was the voice of Frances. T It’s a young adult novel and I liked the journey Frances went on.  The story started off with a bang and really pulled me into the narrative.  I liked that it was a historical fantasy novel with Frances living in New York City of 1911, but with another layer to that world of magical people.  I loved how Frances found her power and was intrigued by the mystery of who killed her brother.  I was annoyed at times though by teenage Frances as she made some rash decision and seemed to believe different people at different times instead of just stepping back and thinking through things herself.  I guess that is being a teenager, but when it involves the taking of lives, it annoyed me. 

 Overall, The Witch Haven is an intriguing young adult historical fantasy that was a perfect audiobook to listen to for Halloween.


Thursday, October 28, 2021

1000 Perfect Weekends: Great Getaways Around the Globe by National Geographic Society (TLC Book Tours)

 “The book you hold in your hands is entirely dedicated to the beauty and possibilities of the perfect weekend – 1,000 of them to be exact.”

 What is your perfect weekend?  Where do you get ideas on where to travel?

 1000 Perfect Weekends is giving me lots of new ideas of places to travel.  It’s a beautiful, large book (smallish coffee table book) that is a perfect conversation piece when you have people over.  Stunning pictures show great vacation spots around the world.  If you don’t have the means to travel worldwide, you can dream of it by exploring this book.  You can also find locations closer to home by exploring the helpful and detailed index.  The chapters are broken out into various interesting places to explore from beach escapes to camping spots, from family friendly vacations to food & wine, from historical explorations to wildlife adventures.  Each chapter highlights interesting vacation ideas and includes the nearest airport hub to each location.  It also includes a top ten lists for interesting items like beaches, golf courses, most-stop antiquing spots, music towns, television locations, food markets, places for romance, etc. 

 This is a very fun book to read, peruse, and just to flip through and talk about.  It also gave me some life goals with a list of the top ten bookstores in the world.  Number one is Shakespeare and Company in Paris, France.  I also loved the top ten national parks.  I have only been to one, the Grand Canyon, but I would love to see the rest around the world including the Krka National Park in Croatia.  I have heard my friend Barb talk about the beauty of Croatia for years and its very well represented in this book. 

 I also had to see how Wisconsin was represented.  Wisconsin has five locations in this book from the Great Wolf Lodge at the Dells to the Lumberjack World Championships.  I was kind of confused that Racine was picked as one of the top beaches. Living on Lake Michigan in beautiful Kewaunee right by beautiful Door County, I felt left out.  I always think of Racine as an industrial city I drive through, but now maybe I need to check out their beach . . . my birth state of Michigan had six locations including the beautiful Tahquamenon Falls, Isle Royale, and Sleeping Bear Dunes.  I approve.

 We are finally going on our delayed 2020 vacation to Washington DC next summer.  Looking at the top ten Battlefields, number two is Yorktown in Virginia.  We thought about this and extended our trip to stop by to visit.  I’ve never been there before, and the kids are excited.

 I have been enjoying this book for myself, but with Christmas just around the corner, this would make a great gift for anyone who likes to travel or likes to dream about traveling. 

 Overall, 1000 Perfect Weekends is a perfect book to explore great destinations around the world from the comfort of your own home.

Book Source:  Review Copy from Hachette as part of the TLC Book Tour.  Thank-you!

About 1000 Perfect Weekends

Publisher: National Geographic (October 19, 2021) 
Hardcover: 720 pages 

  Packed with innovative ideas and inspiring photographs, this gift-worthy treasury features 1,000 dream escapes from sunny beach retreats to lush mountain idylls, exotic city sojourns, and wild adventures around the world. 

 Whether you're looking for a way to unplug from the busy work week, take the family on a quick getaway, or add to a vacation itinerary, this practical and inspiring book provides the perfect way to plan your next escape. Spend two days sailing off the coast of the Bahamas. Indulge in a foodie tour of Mexico City's markets. Camp with wild horses on Assateague Island. Take a drive through Italy's "Chocolate Valley." Skate the world's largest ice rink at Ottawa's winter festival. Whatever your pleasure, 1,000 Perfect Weekends has a unique itinerary built to excite you and your travel companions, illustrated with dramatic National Geographic photographs. Divided by theme and interest--including nature parks, city escapes, country weekends, mountain retreats, and more--this fun-packed guide offers an adventure you can experience in 36 to 72 hours. Highlighting the best short escapes from hubs across the globe, these trips cover more than 40 countries around the world. You'll also find 50 snackable top-10 lists--from the best places to go antiquing to the most relaxing spas to the top museums in the world--to add to your bucket list, along with first-person accounts from travelers who have scouted out each location.


Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling


Do you like to read holiday themed novels?  I do.  With Halloween fast approaching, I really enjoyed reading The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling.

 Nine Years previous, Vivi Jones went through a sad break up with her boyfriend Rhys Penhallow when she found out he had a “betrothed” back in England. Vivi and her cousin get drunk to commiserate and put a curse on Rhys.  They don’t believe it’s a real curse at all, although they know they shouldn’t mess with their powers in that way. 

 When Rhys returns to town as a descendent of the original founder to participate in the fall festival, Vivi is struck by him anew.  She also realizes her drunken curse may have been a real curse after all when things start to go awry all over town.  Can Vivi and Rhys work together to save the town and will they be able to deny their chemistry?

 This book was truly delightful.  I loved the characters and the unique storyline. The witches, their town, spells, and history were interesting and perfect for the season.  I also loved the humor in the book.  My favorite was when the cat started to talk and mostly just said, “treats” all of the time.  That would be my cat if he could talk.  The chemistry between Vivi and Rhys leapt off the page.  I love second chance romance and enemies to lovers, and this was both tropes.  The characters both had flaws and had to figure out how to move forward.  I liked that.  This is a steamy romance.

 Overall, The Ex Hex is a fun read for Halloween or anytime.  I highly recommend it.

 Source:  Review Copy from Netgalley and Avon

Friday, October 22, 2021

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

 Title:  The Lost Apothecary

Author: Sarah Penner

Narrated by:  Lorna Bennett, Lauren Anthony, Lauren Irwin

Publisher: Harlequin Audio

Length: Approximately 10 hours and 18 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Netgalley and Harlequin Audio. Thank-you! 

 What do you like best about the cover of a book?

 I find this one eye catching.  I love the colors with the outline of the bottle in the middle.  With the title, it makes me wonder what is in the apothecary’s bottle.  Then you read the story and discover it was poison. . .

 In present day, American Caroline is on a trip to London when she discovers an old bottle in the Thames while mud larking.  Her undergrad degree was in history and she finds herself intrigued by the mystery of the bottle. As she digs more into the mystery, she discovers that it was possibly linked to an old murder.

 In 1791 London, Nella runs an apothecary shop that has a secret room to sell remedies for women.  Some of these remedies include poisons to rid them of the evil men in their lives.  Nella soon meets a young girl named Eliza who has been sent to the apothecary by her mistress.  Nella welcomes Eliza’s help, but a grievous error soon puts them on a path of danger.

 Caroline, Nella, and Eliza all narrated chapters of this book.  The audiobook had a different narrator for each viewpoint. The narrators were great, and all gave a unique voice to the three different viewpoints in the novel.  I like how each chapter seemed to end with a cliff hanger that left me wanting to hear more of the story.

 My favorite part of this book was the historical part of the story.  I would love another book about Nella and Eliza in more detail.  I loved Nella’s knowledge and backstory.

 I read this as part of the Page-turners’ Book Club at the Kewaunee Public Library.  Unfortunately, I was quarantined with break through COVID when the meeting occurred and missed it.  I really wanted to discuss this book with everyone.  Have you read it?  What did you think?

Overall, The Lost Apothecary was a unique and intriguing historical mystery.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale by Karen Schaler (TLC Book Tour)


Do you have any go to authors that always deliver the book that you need?  Do you have a favorite family Christmas tradition?

 Karen Schaler is my go-to author when I’m looking for a heartfelt, enjoyable Christmas novel.  Schaler has written several Christmas books over the past few years and also wrote the Netflix movie A Christmas Prince.  A Christmas Prince movie is a favorite of myself and my daughter Penelope. 

 Kaylie Karlyle is an investigative reporter in New York City. After unexpectedly losing her job, her boss finds her an assignment in the small European country of Tolvania.  When she arrives, she finds out that the family she will be interviewing about Christmas traditions is the royal family.  Instead of an interview, the Queen wants her to write a fairy tale about the country’s traditions for the young princess.  While Kaylie quickly befriends the queen and princess, she has a hard time with the princess’s father, Prince Alexander.  Still missing his wife after her untimely death, he does not like the media and is suspicious of Kaylie.  As Kaylie experiences the Christmas traditions of this small country, will she learn to love Christmas again and find romance for herself?

 If you loved A Christmas Prince on Netflix, you would love A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale.  Who doesn’t love a story about a country that has delightful Christmas traditions?  I also love a story that involves a handsome lonely prince.  The traditions are lovingly detailed and include making tasty treats, a beautiful ball, decorating, appreciating family, and more.  It really put me in the mood for Christmas.  I loved the romance as well, but mostly I loved that it was about the main character taking a step back and realizing what was most important to her in life.  Family and traditions have an important place for all of us.

 Favorite Quote:

“It took a real man to admit he was wrong, and his words meant a lot to her, especially after knowing all he’d gone through with the press.”

 Overall, A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale is an enchanting Christmas novel that will put you in the mood for Christmas.

 Book Source:  Review Copy from author Karen Schaler as part of the TLC Book Tour.  Thank-you!

From the Publisher:


About A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale 
• Publisher: HawkTale Publishing (October 5, 2021) 
• Paperback: 358 pages 

  A “sweet Christmas charmer…” – Publishers Weekly This feel-good, humorous, and heartwarming new Christmas romance, about the power of believing in yourself to find your happily ever after, is from the Emmy Award-winning writer of the Netflix sensation A Christmas Prince and Hallmark’s beloved Christmas Camp, the movie and novel. This enchanting escape is just what your heart needs this holiday season… 

 A charming Christmas village, a storybook castle, a royal ball, and a gorgeous prince are the last things New York City reporter Kaylie Karlyle expects to find on her holiday freelance assignment to Europe. But when the family she’s interviewing turns out to be the royal family of Tolvania, Kaylie has a meltdown when the quirky queen wants her to write a Christmas fairy tale for the spunky, young princess. Kaylie must battle the princess’s father, who doesn’t trust the media, and her own insecurities about writing anything beyond the news. 

 To spark inspiration for the fairy tale, the queen recruits the prickly Prince Alexander to show Kaylie the family’s most spectacular royal holiday traditions. And sparks definitely fly when the only thing Kaylie and the prince agree on is that they’re both more “bah humbug” than “ho, ho, ho.” 

 But somewhere between sleigh rides and snow angels, merrymaking and mistletoe, upside-down Christmas trees, and a legendary Christmas crown, Kaylie and the prince open their hearts to Christmas and start believing in themselves and each other. It’s a real-life fairy tale in the making until Kaylie discovers a secret about a royal Christmas heirloom that jeopardizes everyone’s happily ever after. Can the magic of the season save this holiday happy ending? Bonus Content: Includes delicious royal Christmas recipes and holiday activities. 

  Social Media Please use the hashtags: #ARoyalChristmasFairyTale #KarenSchaler #ChristmasCamp #ChristmasBooks #ChristmasRomance Please tag @tlcbooktours and @TravelTherapy on Instagram, @tlcbooktours and @KarenSchalerOfficial on Facebook, and @tlcbooktours and @KarenSchaler on Twitter.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Thriftbooks

About Karen Schaler

Photo by Scott Foust[/caption] 

 Karen Schaler is a prolific and passionate three-time Emmy Award–winning storyteller, author, screenwriter, journalist, and national TV host. In the last three years, she has written five rom-com novels and five Christmas movies for Netflix, Hallmark, and Lifetime, including the Netflix sensation A Christmas Prince and Hallmark’s Christmas Camp. Karen also wrote the Christmas Camp and Christmas Camp Wedding books (HarperCollins). For her next novels, Finding Christmas, Christmas Ever After, and A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale, Karen is also writing the movies and writing three feature films, including a summer rom-com and an inspiring true-life story. 

 All of Karen’s books and movies have received ongoing national TV, print, and online media attention including two exclusive features on NBC’s TODAY show and features in Forbes, Parade, Entertainment Weekly, Entertainment Tonight, The Wall Street Journal, Southern Living, Bustle, and Cosmo

 Embracing the Christmas spirit of giving back, Karen trademarked her Christmas Camp concept and is bringing her Hallmark movie and books to life hosting fun and festive one-of-a-kind Christmas Camp experiences worldwide where everyone is invited! All of Karen’s stories are filled with humor, heart, and hope. 

For more Find out more about Karen at her website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day

 Bridget Kelly is a nurse in training in London at the start of World War II.  She has made a grievous error that has resulted in the death of a young soldier.  Her matron has found her a new position as a nurse for ten children that are being evacuated from London because of the Blitz.  Bridget and the children will live in Greenway House, the holiday home of author Agatha Christie.  On the way, Bridget meets the other nurse that will be working with her, the beautiful, vivacious, and mysterious Gigi.  After inexplicable death in town, Bridget starts to unravel the strange mysteries in town and at Greenway itself.  Who exactly is Gigi?  Who killed the stranger and why?

 I enjoyed this book and it kept me up too late several nights.  I loved the World War II details and the evacuation of the children.  I loved it even more after reading the author’s note at the end.  Not only did ten children really stay at Greenway, but the author interviewed one of them.  Her narrative is sprinkled through the book as a child.  I was saddened by her narrative.  Especially at the end of the war when she thought her biological parents were adoptee parents as she didn’t know them.  It really made me think about it.  But on the other hand, there is also another mother who doesn’t let her child go and loses them in the Blitz.  It was a hard time to survive and to know if the decision you made was the best decision.

 The novel was told through various viewpoints, but the primary viewpoint was Bridget Kelly.  I liked how the various viewpoints were able to give us more to the story.  I loved learning about the different people who inhabited Agatha Christie’s estate.  The grand lady herself only made brief appearances.  It was kind of like Downtown Abby just from the servants’ point of view. 

 This was also a historical mystery.  I did guess the ending of this one, but it was a satisfactory ending to that mystery.  The one weakness in this novel is that it didn’t tie up all of the loose ends.  SPOILER ALERT. I never did figure out who was the murderer (just someone who maybe did it?) and why exactly Gigi and her friends were in town.  It seemed like there was much more of a story there.  I’m glad the mystery of her disappearance was solved.  I wish these items would have been explained.  SPOILER END.

 I also liked that this novel dealt with post traumatic stress in a nurse.  I don’t think I’ve ever read a book from that point of view, and I thought it was interesting.  I also like how Bridget was sort of overlooked by everyone, the plain Jane to the beautiful Gigi.  But Bridget had the brains to solve her mystery and to make things work out in the end and the work ethic to take care of the children.  The book told the story of heroic women who made a difference in the war as well.

 Favorite Quotes:

“There’s truth in stories, and stories in truth.”

 “Any place with people has secrets kept.”

 “Women pay more attention, and they’re never asked what they think – and when they do share an opinion, they’re told in a hundred ways their thoughts don’t matter.    Women always know more than they let on, and the smarter they are, the less they’ll say.”

Overall, Death at Greenway was an excellent historical fiction mystery unique setting, characters and story. 

Book Source:  Review Copy from William Morrow.  Thank-you!

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

 Death on the Nile is my October pick for #ReadChristie2021.  The prompt was “a story set on a mode of transport.”  I already owned Death on the Nile and wanted to read it before the new movie finally gets released.  It’s an Agatha Christie classic and I am excited that I finally read it.  Are you reading any books to be ready for a movie or show release? 

 Linnet Ridgeway is young, beautiful, and rich.  She appears to have everything she wants, until she wants the fiancé of her friend Jacqueline de Bellefort.  Unfortunately for Jacqueline, Simon Doyle is entranced by Linnet, and they are soon wed.  As they honeymoon in Egypt on the Nile, Jacqueline follows them to exact her revenge.  Detective Hercule Poirot is also on the trip and realizes that although Linnet seems to have the perfect life, there are several people who are out to get her.  After several people are murdered on the trip, will Poirot be able to untangle this web to find the murderer?

 Yes, Agatha Christie did it again and surprised me by the ending. I thought I had this one all figured out, but she perfectly had it plotted out all of the way to the end.  I love how there was a lot of backstories before the murder in this novel to get to know more of the cast of characters.  This one had passion and intrigue, and I felt more for the murder victims as you had gotten to know them more before they were killed.  I loved the beautiful setting in Egypt.  It makes me want to go on a cruise on the Nile . . . but without the murder.

 Favorite Quotes:

“Poirot sighed.  He was glad that he was no longer young.”

 “Love can be a very frightening thing.”  “That is why most great love stories are tragedies”

 Overall, Death on the Nile is another great classic Agatha Christie mystery.

 Book Source:  Purchased from Barnes & Nobles



Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Wish for Father Christmas by Laura Rollins

Lady Alice Nightingale’s young son has asked for a new father for Christmas.  Lady Nightingale has promised him that it will be so, but how can she fulfill this promise?  She had a loveless first marriage that her controlling father arranged.  How can she ensure that her next marriage will be for love?  She comes up with a plan to disguise herself as a man and go out as her cousin, Mr. Allen to see what men really talk about when women aren’t around.  Who is trying to marry for money?  Who is a rake and who likes to gamble?  Will she be able to pull this off and find true love?

 Lord Ezra Brooks find himself instantly attracted to Lady Nightingale, until he finds that her father is the man who impoverished him.  He needs to marry for money in order to stay afloat.  He finds himself enjoying the company of Mr. Allen, but how can he get Lady Nightingale out of his mind?

 I greatly enjoyed this regency romance and read it quickly.  I enjoy the enemies to lovers trope as well as the boy disguise trope.  Although I think it would be really hard to pull off, I like the idea of being able to pierce the male world to find out their true thoughts before you settled down.  Especially in the regency era where often you didn’t really get to know your spouse at all before marriage.  I also loved Lady Alice’s sweet interactions with her son and her servants.  I liked that she was a strong and good woman herself that wanted to achieve happiness in her life for both herself and her son.

 A Wish for Father Christmas is a clean read, which is my favorite type of romance.

 Overall, A Wish for Father Christmas is a great, engaging Christmas regency romance novel.

 Book Source:  Review Copy from author Laura Rollins as part of an Instagram Tour.

Friday, October 15, 2021

A Lot Like Adios by Alexis Daria

 Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!  It’s the last day, but I’ve made it with my review.  Do you have any favorite books by Hispanic authors?

 Fifteen years ago, Gabriel Aguilar left the Bronx, his family, and his best friend Michelle Amato.  Together they used to write fan fiction for a beloved sci fi show.  Gabriel always had a crush on Michelle, but their feelings don’t come out until he is leaving.  Michelle tries to contact him after he leaves, but it seems that Gabriel has disappeared forever.  Until one day Michelle, now a freelance business graphic designer, is contacted by Gabriel’s partner to help with a brand redesign.  Gabriel now is part owner of a celebrity gym.  The two meet to go over the design and work together and sparks fly.  Will they be able to move on from the past?

 This novel has two of my favorite romance tropes – friends to lovers and second chance romance.  This is a very steamy romance.  I also really enjoyed their sci fi fan fiction that was interspersed between chapters.  I enjoyed that the two sexy main characters had a nerdy side to themselves.   I loved the banter between the two main characters, and the humor.  I had several points where I laughed out loud.  I also really loved how Gabriel had the chance to meet his family and work through the issues.  I like that he got to see that his parents are people and had grown over time as well. 

 I have not read You Had Me at Hola, but it’s high up on my list now!

 Overall, A Lot Like Adios is a spicy, fun romance.  I highly recommend it.

 Book Source:  Review Copy from Netgalley and Avon.  Thank-you!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

 Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson is the October Rogue (AKA FLICKS) Book Club pick for October.  Our meeting is next week.  I’ve been seeing a lot of great things about Peter Swanson, but this was the first book I’ve read by them.

Malcolm Kershaw wrote a blog post years ago with a list of “eight perfect murders” in fiction.  They include such classic tales as The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie, Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith, Death Trap by Ira Levin, Double Indemnity by James M. McCain etc.  He co-owns the Old Devils Bookstore in Boston that specializes in mystery and thriller novels.  He is surprised when an FBI agent contacts him and looks for information from him as it appears that a killer is using his old list to stage murders to be like the fictional murders on the list.  As Mal helps out the agent, he soon realizes that the murderer must have a personal connection to him.  Who is the murderer and how can he stop the rampage?

I don’t want to ruin the surprise of this thriller, so I won’t go any further into the plot.  Once I started reading this novel, I couldn’t put it down.  I had only read a few of the books referenced (or watched the movies), and that increased my enjoyment.  I want to go out and read the rest of them.  One novel he talks about specifically is an Agatha Christie novel that I read earlier this year.  This clued me in on what direction that ending may take, but it was a wild ride all of the way until the end.  This was a great book for October.  I’m interested to see what my book club thinks about this book.  

I also loved the bookstore cat – Nero.  I would love a book from his point of view.

Favorite Quote:

“Books are time travel.  True readers all know this.  But books don’t just take you back to the time in which they are written; they can take you back to a different version of yourself.”  - I loved that this book was a love letter to readers.

Overall, Eight Perfect Murders is a great thriller and perfect fall read.

Book Source:  Purchased at Barnes & Nobles.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

 Title:  North and South

Author: Elizabeth Gaskell

Narrated by:  Juliet Stevenson

Publisher: Audible

Length: Approximately 18 hours and 20 minutes

Source: Purchased from Audible. 

 North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is a November pick for the JASNA Northwoods Book Club.  I watched the miniseries years ago and was excited to finally read this book.

 Margaret Hale has returned home after growing up with her cousin Edith in London.  Edith has recently married, and Margaret has returned to her country home to live with her parents. Her world is upended when her father announces that he has broken with the Church of England, and they are moving to the northern industrial town of Milton.  While Mr. Hale finds new work as a tutor, Margaret and Mrs. Hale have a hard time adjusting to life in such a different place.  When Margaret meets Mr. Thornton, a mill owner tutored by her father, she does not his gruff ways or the way he treats his mill workers.  As Margaret gets to know some of the workers, she feels for their plight.  As tensions come to a head in Milton, will Margaret and Mr. Thornton find their place in the world?

 I really enjoyed this one.  Margaret is a strong character, but I really enjoyed the discussion of the rights of people.  Is someone a better person because they have money?  Because they are educated?  What exactly is a “lady” or a “gentleman?”  If someone is poorer than a laborer, but is educated, why are they still a “gentlemen?  There were a lot of great questions in this novel to ponder. 

 I have always enjoyed stories and the history of the labor movement.  This was a topic of interest when I was in college that I wrote about in my freshman paper and was explored in the Copper Country history class that I also took.  I was intrigued.  This book seemed related to Shirley by Charlotte Bronte, but it has been a while since I read that book.  It almost seemed like Shirley crossed with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

 North and South is a novel that deals with a lot of loss.  (SPOILER ALERT) Poor Margaret Hale loses her home, parents, her godfather, and her brother.  She has to learn now to deal with these loses and move forward in a world where she doesn’t have independence as a woman.  It’s a sad book, but ultimately, I like to see how Margaret is able to deal with her loss.

 I liked that we also go Thornton’s thoughts on things too. The story is told from his point of view in alternating chapters, and I loved it.  I really loved the love story between Margaret and Thornton.  It was a great tale of pride and prejudice.  I think the story was set up perfectly for both of them to make the changes needed to have a happy ending.

 I listened to the audiobook narrated by Juliet Stevenson and read along in my Norton Critical Edition.  I loved the notes and essays in the Norton Critical Edition.  Juliet Stevenson is an excellent narrator.  I have enjoyed her before and will look for her again with other future audiobooks.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Inns of Devonshire by Sally Britton, Annette Lyon, and Deborah M. Hathaway (Book Tour)

 The Inns of Devonshire is a “timeless Regency collection” of three novellas.  Reading these three novellas was like drinking a cup of tea on a fine autumn day.  They were all three soothing, wonderful stories.  All stories had a connection with an inn.

 The Seventh Star Inn by Sally Britton is the story of Miss Susan Baxter.  She is an aging spinster at the age of twenty-eight and is living with her mother, the widow of the late vicar.  They love their small town and are intrigued when they learn the news that their new landlord has come to town and is staying at a neighboring inn.  Collin Stonecraft is a widower with a young daughter that has recently come into a fortune.  As he visits the property he has inherited, will he learn the value of living in a small village?     For Austen fans I felt like this was a story where a young Miss Bates received a happy ending.

 The Truth About Mr. Blackmore by Annette Lyon is a Cinderella type story.  Leigh lives at

an inn with her aunt and uncle.  She would like to leave, but they tell her she needs to work off her debt.  When a mysterious new traveler arrives, will Leigh be able to find a kindred spirit?

 The Coachman’s Choice by Deborah M. Hathaway is the story of a coachman, Mr. Northcott who loves his job, but dreams of being able to call a place home.  Mary Thorne helps her mother run an inn, but has no use for fliriting coachman.  As sparks fly between the two will they be able find what they are looking for in life?

 I greatly enjoyed these three stories and read through them quickly.  Each is an independent story.  The story is long enough to develop the characters and the romance.    I enjoyed that the stories were more with the working class or lower middle class and their concerns.  It was different than a typical Regency romance and I loved it.

 Favorite Quote:

“She had the essentials for life, but not the essence of living.”

Overall, The Inns of Devonshire is a wonderful collection of charming Regency romance novellas.  I highly recommend it to fellow lovers of Regency Romance.

 Book Source:  Review Copy for being a part of the Book Tour put together by Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose.


·       Title: The Inns of Devonshire: Timeless Regency Collection (Book 18)

·       Authors: Sally Britton, Annette Lyon, & Deborah M. Hathaway

·       Genre: Regency Romance, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction

·       Publisher: Mirror Press (October 5, 2021)

·       Length: (300) pages

·       Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 

·       Tour Dates: October 4-17, 2021



Three novellas, three times the romance, and three times the love . . . in this brand new Timeless Regency Collection

The Seventh Star Inn, by Sally Britton

After years of looking after one another, Susan Baxter and her mother view their neighbors in Totnes as family. When a new landlord inherits the leases on their homes and businesses alike, Susan dreads knowing her world could change at the whim of a stranger. But when she meets Collin Stonecroft and his inquisitive daughter, her feelings shift quickly from cautionary to hopeful. Collin has lived in the confines of London boarding houses all his life, and he’s determined to give his daughter more. They check into the Seventh Star Inn with plans to return to London as soon as possible, but both find Miss Baxter and her local history lessons far too enchanting to leave behind. When Susan learns of Collin’s proposed changes to her beloved neighborhood, will she be able to help him see that some things are perfect the way they are?

The Truth about Mr. Blackmore, by Annette Lyon

Leigh’s life at the Old Grey Inn is drudgery broken by flights of fancy thanks in part to novels by Simon Blackmore. When Mattias McGrady comes to the inn for a fortnight, Leigh captures his attention. A relationship develops, and she dreads the end of his stay, which will mean a return to an unhappy life. An urgent letter to Mattias leads to him inviting Leigh to an event that stands to change both of their lives forever. If all goes well, Leigh will have a life of her choosing after all. But half-truths and lies have a way of complicating matters. When their plans go awry, Leigh loses her reputation and Mattias almost surely loses his career. Can either of them find happiness?

The Coachman’s Choice, by Deborah M. Hathaway

Ever-reliable Mary Thorne has helped her widowed mother run The Golden Mermaid Inn for years. She spends her days greeting guests, ensuring the inn runs smoothly—and dodging flirtatious remarks from passing coachmen. But she’s far too busy to pay any attention to such men, even the enticingly attractive Mr. Northcott. Known far and wide for his horsemanship, punctuality, and dallying reputation, Robert Northcott relishes his life as a coachman, especially his freedom to flirt with numerous women from inn to inn, all without the messy details of commitment. There’s just one woman who's immune to his charms: the lovely, single landlady of The Golden Mermaid. Robert is determined to win Mary over, just as heartily as she is determined to keep her distance from him. But his carefree life is threatened when his pursual of Mary becomes more than just a game...



Since 2015, Mirror Press has been publishing the Timeless Regency Collection, a curated anthology of novellas and short stories set in early 19th century England. Featuring bestselling authors from the historical romance genre, the series has hit the USA TODAY bestselling list and charted at #1 at Learn more about the series and other anthologies published by Mirror Press at their website.  



Sally Britton is a wife, mother, and author who loves the world of romance, received her BA in English from Brigham Young University, and reads voraciously. She started her writing journey at the tender age of fourteen on an electric typewriter, and she’s never looked back.

Sally primarily lives in Oklahoma with her husband, four children, and Izzie the Aussie Shepherd. She loves researching, hiking, and eating too much chocolate. 



Annette Lyon is a USA Today Bestselling author. She's won a Whitney Award (2010) and is an eight-time recipient of Utah's Best of State medal for fiction and short stories. She's the author of more than a dozen novels, even more novellas, a cookbook, a grammar guide, and some 120+ articles. She's worked as a professional editor for publishers and bestselling authors and graduated cum laude from BYU with a degree in English.



Deborah M. Hathaway graduated from Utah State University with a BA in Creative Writing. As a young girl, she devoured Jane Austen's novels while watching and re-watching every adaptation she could. She finds inspiration for her novels during her travels with her English husband to the United Kingdom, where she draws on the beauty of the country in such places as Ireland, Yorkshire, and her beloved Cornwall. Be sure to sign up for Deborah's Newsletter to stay updated on new releases, free and discounted Clean Romance novels, and more!



Join the virtual book tour of THE INNS OF DEVONSHIRE, a collection of novellas by bestselling authors Sally Britton, Annette Lyon, & Deborah M. Hathaway, October 4-17, 2021. Thirty-five popular on-line influencers specializing in Regency romance, historical romance, and inspirational fiction will join in the celebration of the release of the 18th book in the bestselling Timeless Regency Collection with a spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new anthology set in Regency England.

Oct 04           Fire and Ice (Review)

Oct 04           Austenprose (Excerpt)

Oct 04           Timeless Novels (Review)

Oct 05           Lu Reviews Books (Review)

Oct 05           Beauty in the Binding (Spotlight)

Oct 05           For Where Your Treasure Is (Excerpt)

Oct 06           Probably at the Library (Review)

Oct 06           Our Book Confessions (Review)

Oct 06           Bookworm Lisa (Review)

Oct 07           Literary Time Out (Review)

Oct 07           Reading with Emily (Review)

Oct 08           Bringing Up Books (Review)

Oct 08           Gwendalyn's Books (Review)

Oct 09           Becky on Books (Review)

Oct 09           Books and Socks Rock (Review)

Oct 10           The Christian Fiction Girl (Spotlight)

Oct 10           Heidi Reads (Review)

Oct 11           My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt)

Oct 11           Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Review)

Oct 11           Wishful Endings (Review)

Oct 12           So Little Time… (Excerpt)

Oct 12           The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Spotlight)

Oct 12           Laura's Reviews (Review)

Oct 13           Austenesque Reviews (Review)

Oct 13           Storeybook Reviews (Excerpt)

Oct 13           Rosanne E. Lortz (Review)        

Oct 14           From Pemberley to Milton (Spotlight)

Oct 14           Chicks, Rogues and Scandals (Excerpt)

Oct 14           Christian Chick's Thoughts  (Review)

Oct 15           A Darn Good Read (Review)

Oct 15           Relz Reviewz (Spotlight)

Oct 15           Reading is My Superpower (Review)

Oct 15           Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)

Oct 16           My Bookish Bliss (Review)

Oct 17           The Book Diva Reads (Spotlight)