I Can't Wait for... Wish of the Wicked by Danielle Paige (Can't-Wait Wednesday) #CWW #WOW #booktwitter #newbooks #yabooks #yalit #fairytale #retelling

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. Find out more here.

Sorry for getting this up late, guys! It's been a week and a day. 

This upcoming release (just a few days away) is a twisted tale based on Cinderella. I love retellings like this and I'm excited to see this creative spin from this author. It's my pick this week...

Wish of the Wicked
(Fairy Godmother #1)
By Danielle Paige
YA Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Retelling
Hardcover, Paperback & eBook, 480 Pages
November 7, 2023 by Bloomsbury YA


New York Times bestselling author Danielle Paige puts a dark YA spin on Cinderella's fairy godmother in this brand new origin story, perfect for fans of These Violent Delights and A Curse So Dark and Deadly.

Everyone knows a fairy godmother helped Cinderella get to the ball. But no one knows why.

For centuries, Farrow's family-the Entente-have been magical advisors to the Queen. Their wisdom and foresight kept the Thirteen Queendoms in harmony. Until a new queen, Magrit, takes power, outlaws magic, and executes the Entente. Only Farrow survives, with her magic warped beyond repair. She can now use it only to fulfill the feeble wishes of commoners.

Since that day, Farrow has dreamed of revenge. The one way to reach the queen is through her son, Prince Mather, who is nearing the age when he must select a bride. When a special ball in his honor is announced, Farrow sees her opportunity. All it will take is a young woman named Cinderella who dreams of true love. With one night, one chance to reclaim her magic and destroy the queen, Farrow will stop at nothing.

Set in a lush, dangerous world rooted in our beloved fairy tales, New York Times bestselling author Danielle Paige launches a brand-new Fairy Godmother origin story full of intrigue, magic, and romance.

(Affiliate links included.)

Will you be reading this one?

A cute read for cozy mystery and animal lovers... New Leash on Life by Kathleen Y’Barbo (Review & #Giveaway) #newbooks #booktwitter #cozymystery #christianromance @celebrate_lit

Welcome to my tour stop! Read my review and enter the giveaway below...

New Leash on Life
(Gone to the Dogs Mysteries #6)
By Kathleen Y’Barbo
Christian Romance, Cozy Mystery
Paperback, Audiobook & eBook, 256 Pages
October, 2023 by Barbour Fiction 


How Is a Missing Military Working Dog Related to Two Local Fires?

Snuggle with your trusty hound and settle into a small-town mystery in book 6 of the Gone to the Dogs series.

Air Force veteran Dr. Lane Bishop and Nora Hernandez’s romance has cooled. He is busy working as a researcher at the vet school, and she’s busy with her restaurant and opening an antique shop. What Lane hasn’t told her is his PTSD, which manifests mostly with nightmares, makes him believe he’s damaged goods. But that is about to change when he meets a stray pup that acts a lot like a military working dog.

When a tornado hits Brenham, there is damage in the downtown area and a fire is ignited in Nora’s new store. A Belgian Malinois dog is seen at the fire and later Lane sees him at a wedding venue where an explosion occurs. Not long after, a second explosion rocks Brenham and sends Nora and Lane on a hunt for the person responsible. Will the pair find the guilty party before more damage is done to the city’s landmarks? And will Lane find the words to tell Nora how much he loves her before it’s too late?

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

NEW LEASH ON LIFE is a story about a couple who want more but don't know how to get to their happily-ever-after, and a mystery involving an unwanted tenant and a dog. There's plenty of involvement from family and friends as well as other side characters, with much of the spotlight stolen by some adorable animals. Fans of the author, inspirational cozy mysteries and animal lovers may enjoy this one.

I liked both of the main characters from the start. Of course they were a bit frustrating as they hedged on what they needed to do to grasp what they wanted. They're a cute couple who had some things to do and some character development to go through. It was humorous in parts seeing their friends and particularly Nora's family try to push them a bit. I loved the animals in this story! "Pal" was a very fun addition as was Nora's sweet cat, both of which I hoped wouldn't have homes so they could stay with these characters.

The story itself meandered. There were brief glimpses of a mystery/crime but as a reader you don't see much of that until the second half of the book and it doesn't take the main spotlight until towards the end. The main focus was more on Lane and Nora in what's happening in their lives and their relationship. I wasn't sure all the time if I wanted them to end up together as I was frustrated with them both and the fact that neither of them would talk to each other honestly or trust each other fully. That sets some serious red flags about a relationship. However, the romance is a sweet addition to the story. The inspirational element is very light but still present in these characters' lives. I really liked the premise for the story and series and thought the involvement of pets was delightful.

I did have some issues with the book. The dialogue, characters' reactions and general flow of the story was pretty rough. One example would be when Lane and Nora were having a phone conversation that was a bit tense and Nora enforced to Lane that he needed to be on time and "Lane's response was laughter. Actual side-splitting laughter." and then Nora is mad and Lane asks if he said something wrong. I was so confused as to why Lane acted as he did and how one character's words led to the others. There were several places like this consistently throughout that needed some editing and rewriting to convey what the author wanted and that also made sense. Lots of parts that should have been taken out as they weren't pertinent and other parts re-written to flow better and feel more natural. There were also several things that didn't feel realistic or make sense to me. The mystery wasn't weaved through as well as I would have liked and felt kind of planted. One minor issue was having not read the previous five books. There were a lot of side characters introduced and involved in the story and they weren't all necessary to it nor were their presence always completely explained or properly introduced. I think those characters could have been handled differently for those new to the series.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was a cute read. I felt like there needed to be quite a bit more developed and edited, but the plot was entertaining and the characters likable. Previous books in the series are very loved and fans have enjoyed this last installment as well.

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and bestselling author of more than one hundred books with over two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is a member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, Texas A&M Association of Former Students and the Texas A&M Women Former Students (Aggie Women), Texas Historical Society, Novelists Inc., and American Christian Fiction Writers. She would also be a member of the Daughters of the American Republic, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and a few others if she would just remember to fill out the paperwork that Great Aunt Mary Beth has sent her more than once.

When she’s not spinning modern day tales about her wacky Southern relatives, Kathleen inserts an ancestor or two into her historical and mystery novels as well. Recent book releases include bestselling The Pirate Bride set in 1700s New Orleans and Galveston, its sequel The Alamo Bride set in 1836 Texas, which feature a few well-placed folks from history and a family tale of adventure on the high seas and on the coast of Texas. She also writes (mostly) relative-free cozy mystery novels for Guideposts Books.

Kathleen and her hero in combat boots husband have their own surprise love story that unfolded on social media a few years back. They make their home just north of Houston, Texas and are the parents and in-laws of a blended family of Texans, Okies, and one very adorable Londoner.

Tour Schedule

Wishful Endings, October 27

Texas Book-aholic, October 28

Boodock Ramblings, October 30

Lighthouse-Academy, October 31

Mary Hake, November 2

Splashes of Joy, November 4

Pause for Tales, November 4

Bigreadersite, November 6

Labor Not in Vain, November 7

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Do you enjoy books with pets in them?

I Can't Wait for... The Hunting Moon by Susan Dennard (Can't-Wait Wednesday) #CWW #WOW #booktwitter #newbooks #yabooks #yalit #fantasy

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. Find out more here.

I have this terrible habit of being really excited for new series and then not getting to them before the second book is out. Case in point, this book that I'm super excited about but have yet to read the first book. If you have read The Luminaries, let me know what you thought and if you think my excitement is warranted. It's my pick this week...

The Hunting Moon
(Luminaries #2)
By Susan Dennard
YA Fantasy
Hardcover, Audiobook & eBook, 304 Pages
November 7, 2023 by Tor Teen


The Hunting Moon is the highly anticipated sequel to The Luminaries by New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard.

Winnie Wednesday has gotten everything she thought she wanted. She passed the deadly hunter trials, her family has been welcomed back into the Luminaries, and overnight, she has become a local celebrity.

The Girl Who Jumped. The Girl Who Got Bitten.

Unfortunately, it all feels wrong. For one, nobody will believe her about the new nightmare called the Whisperer that's killing hunters each night. Everyone blames the werewolf, even though Winnie is certain the wolf is innocent.

On top of that, following her dad's convoluted clues about the Dianas, their magic, and what happened in Hemlock Falls four years ago is leaving her with more questions than answers.

Then to complicate it all, there is still only one person who can help her: Jay Friday, the boy with plenty of problems all his own.

As bodies and secrets pile up around town, Winnie finds herself questioning what it means to be a true Wednesday and a true Luminary―and also where her fierce-hearted loyalties might ultimately have to lie.

(Affiliate links included.)

Will you be reading this one?

Mysteries in the ground and a second chance... The Secrets Beneath by Kimberley Woodhouse (Review) #thesecretsbeneath #newbooks #romancebooks #historicalfiction #christianfiction #booktwitter @bethany_house @austenprose

Welcome! This was an intriguing read. Read my full review below...

The Secrets Beneath
(Treasures of the Earth #1)
By Kimberley Woodhouse
Inspirational Historical Fiction, Western Romance
Paperback, Audiobook & eBook, 336 Pages
September 26, 2023 by Bethany House Publishers


Some secrets can only stay buried for so long. . . . 

Anna Lakeman has spent her life working alongside her paleontologist father, drawing intricate sketches at every dig. When they find dinosaur bones near their home in Wyoming Territory, they're given the opportunity of a lifetime and are swiftly caught up in the competitive era of the Bone Wars. But after her father becomes sick and Joshua Ziegler, an old beau, returns for the summer, Anna's world is upended, and the practical, orderly life she has made for herself shatters. Medical student Joshua Ziegler left his hometown to forget Anna, the one woman he truly loved and deeply hurt. But when he returns, time hasn't erased the feelings they've always had for each other. After Joshua's nephew goes missing—just like his sister did years ago—and Anna's job is threatened, tensions mount and dangerous secrets are unearthed.

Praise for the Book

“…a propulsive launch with plenty of fuel for future adventures.”— Publisher’s Weekly

"This book is full of intrigue and adventure, twists and turns…I highly recommend you pick up a copy and enjoy the journey."— Tracie Peterson, author of Pictures of the Heart

“Fans of Kimberley Woodhouse will rejoice in this launch to a unique and engaging new series."— Jocelyn Green, author of The Metropolitan Affair

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

THE SECRETS BENEATH is the first book in a new series and one where a young lady works with her paleontologist dad but dreams of holding such a position herself. She's had her dreams of happily-ever-after crushed already but finds that there is a second chance, although possibly not with who she thinks. The story is full of intrigue with different aspects of paleontology at the time, set in a small western town in Wyoming with interesting, likable characters. 

This story had a fairly dark beginning, which was a bit unexpected and may be a trigger for some. It definitely built an immediate feeling for a character and the possible ramifications for the story. It also evoked empathy for a boy who grew up under very difficult and violent circumstances. There was a feeling of suspicion at contrast to empathy that continued through much of the story.

I liked Anna from the start and she continued to be my favorite character in this story. She is full of kindness, intelligence, skill, talent and strength. I also liked Joshua, although he had to grow on my a bit as the story progressed. He's a solidly good man who is trying to figure things out while also achieving his dreams of becoming a doctor. 

This story had a bit of a love triangle surrounded by mystery and twists and turns. I wasn't sure what would happen or be discovered. I also thought the paleontology aspect to be unique and interesting. It's the first time I've encountered a character involved in that and this had the added pleasure of being historically set so that you get a glimpse of how things happened when it was a newer field. The romance was also a bit of a question mark as to what would happen although I had a pretty solid guess. The romance was present, but didn't overtake the story. I loved the mix of romance and mystery. I felt like the author did a really good job in developing the characters and story.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was such an intriguing story! It's always great when a book can teach you new things and keep you guessing, which this one definitely did. There were aspects of inspiration, family, friendship, suspense and romance. An overall enjoyable read!

Content/Trigger Warner: Some references to violence, abuse, people disappearing, and killing small animals.
Source: I received a complimentary copy through Austenprose PR, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 30 fiction and nonfiction books. Kim and her incredible husband of 30-plus years live in Colorado, where they play golf together, spend time with their kids and grandbaby, and research all the history around them.

Have you read any of this author's other books? Have you read any books with paleontologists?

I Can't Wait for... Never Wager with a Wallflower by Virginia Heath (Can't-Wait Wednesday) #CWW #WOW #booktwitter #newbooks #romancebooks #regencyromance #historicalromance @StMartinsPress

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. Find out more here.

I ran across this series when I had finished another Regency romance recommended to me and wanted something similar to read. I'm currently reading the second book in this series, Never Rescue a Rogue (Amazon affiliate link), and am very much looking forward to book three. It's my pick this week...

Never Wager with a Wallflower
(The Merriwell Sisters #3)
By Virginia Heath
Historical Romance, Comedy
Paperback & eBook, 320 Pages
November 7, 2023 by St. Martin's Griffin


Never Wager with a Wallflower is the third and final delightful installment in Virginia Heath's Merriwell Sisters Regency rom-com series.

Miss Venus Merriwell has been waiting for her prince to come since the tender age of fourteen. She wants a man who is a selfless academic like her, and free from all the wretched vices her gambler father enjoyed far too much before he left the Merriwell sisters practically destitute. Unfortunately, after a slew of romantic disappointments, there is still no sign of that prince at twenty-three and the only one true love of her life is the bursting-at-the-seams orphanage in Covent Garden that she works tirelessly for. An orphanage that desperately needs to expand into the empty building next door.

For Galahad Sinclair, gambling isn’t just his life, it’s in his blood. He grew up and learned the trade at his grandfather’s knee in a tavern on the far away banks of the Hudson in New York. But when fate took all that away and dragged him across the sea to London, it made sense to set up shop here. He’s spent five years making a success out of his gaming hall in the sleazy docks of the East End. Enough that he can finally afford to buy the pleasure palace of his dreams―and where better than in the capital’s sinful heart, Covent Garden? The only fly in his ointment is the perfect building he’s just bought to put it in also happens to be right next door to the orphanage run by his cousin’s wife’s youngest sister. A pious, disapproving and unsettling siren he has avoided like the plague since she flattened him five years ago.

While Venus and Galahad lock horns over practically everything, and while her malevolent orphans do their darndest to sabotage his lifelong dream, can either of them take the ultimate gamble―and learn to love thy neighbor?

(Affiliate links included.)

Will you be reading this one?

A fantastic end to the series... Jane and the Final Mystery by Stephanie Barron (Review) #JaneAndTheFinalMysrery #HistoricalMystery #NewBooks #BookTwitter #JaneAusten #StephanieBarron #AustenprosePR @soho_press @Austenprose

I was late to this series when I read Jane and the Year Without Summer last year, but with this
series, late is definitely better than never. I'm happy to share my review of this final book below...

Jane and the Final Mystery
(Being a Jane Austen Mystery #15)
By Stephanie Barron
Historical Mystery, Austenesque Fiction
Hardcover, Audiobook & eBook, 312 Pages
October 24, 2023 by Soho Crime


The final volume of the critically acclaimed mystery series featuring Jane Austen as amateur sleuth

March 1817: As winter turns to spring, Jane Austen’s health is in slow decline, and threatens to cease progress on her latest manuscript. But when her nephew Edward brings chilling news of a death at his former school, Winchester College, not even her debilitating ailment can keep Jane from seeking out the truth. Arthur Prendergast, a senior pupil at the prestigious all-boys’ boarding school, has been found dead in a culvert near the schoolgrounds—and in the pocket of his drenched waistcoat is an incriminating note penned by the young William Heathcote, the son of Jane’s dear friend Elizabeth. Winchester College is a world unto itself, with its own language and rites of passage, cruel hazing and dangerous pranks. Can Jane clear William’s name before her illness gets the better of her? Over the course of fourteen previous novels in the critically acclaimed Being a Jane

Austen Mystery series, Stephanie Barron has won the hearts of thousands of fans—crime fiction aficionados and Janeites alike—with her tricky plotting and breathtaking evocation of Austen’s voice. Now, she brings Jane’s final season—and final murder investigation—to brilliant, poignant life in this unforgettable conclusion.

Praise for the Book

“Poignant . . . Elicits deep emotion out of Jane’s struggles against her own mortality. This is a fitting send-off for a beautifully realized series.”— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Barron developed Jane’s narrative voice by reading Austen’s collected and published letters, and it is neither spoiler nor surprise to say that series readers will be sorry to say goodbye to Jane Austen, amateur sleuth.”— Booklist

"[Barron] has brilliantly combined authentic historical and biographical details with skillful plotting and a credible evocation of Austen’s wry, distinctive voice. She brings the English author’s final investigation to a poignant, unforgettable close. Fans of this historical series will not be disappointed.”— First Clue

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

JANE AND THE FINAL MYSTERY is a the final mystery Austen helps to solve in this series. It's full of family relationships and friendships as the characters try to clear a young man who has been charged of a murder he didn't commit. The setting is immersive and even more enhanced by Austen's unique voice. Fans of the author, cozy mysteries and this series will find a fantastic end to the series.

I love falling into this series and Austen's POV. I love her intellect and desire to help those around her in spite of her continual struggle with her health. I love the way her relationship with her nephew is full and meaningful, and how they interact throughout the story. The brutality of the boys' school was a stark contrast to the other civilities of the time. Austen and her nephew bring much needed humor, but also levity. I was happy with how things progressed the subsequent conclusion. The author definitely does her research. This book as well as the entire series, is superbly written. I especially enjoy that there are several moments that inspire thought in the reader. 

I feel I need to state a bit of a disclaimer. I was sad reading this final book in the series. I knew that Austen was dying from the start and she has some understanding of that herself, which you see as the story unfolds. It is heartbreaking while also being inspiring. The author handled it all marvelously, especially as you see Austen's own humor, wit and intelligence present as she does her best to help a friend and her son. Equally disheartening was the way these boys were abused at schools historically. As a mother, it was hard to read about that. At the same time, if we don't take an honest look at history and prior behaviors, how are we to learn from them and hopefully not repeat the wrongs of the past? The author equally presented this in a candid way that showed the right of passage and expectation of these boys and their families while also showing how terrible a situation it was. Both of these aspects, however, only made the story that much fuller in showing the struggle and good amidst the bad.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I highly recommend this entire series. Each book can be read on its own and each is superbly written. Perfect for Austen and historical fiction fans and a fantastic end to the sereis!

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy through Austenprose PR, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Stephanie Barron is a graduate of Princeton and Stanford, where she received her Masters in History as an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow in the Humanities. Her novel, THAT CHURCHILL WOMAN (Ballantine, January 22, 2019) traces the turbulent career of Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill's captivating American mother. Barron is perhaps best known for the critically acclaimed Jane Austen Mystery Series, in which the intrepid and witty author of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE details her secret detective career in Regency England. A former intelligence analyst for the CIA, Stephanie—who also writes under the name Francine Mathews—drew on her experience in the field of espionage for such novels as JACK 1939, which The New Yorker described as "the most deliciously high-concept thriller imaginable." She lives and works in Denver, CO.

A new installment in this YA dystopian fantasy twist... The Looking-Glass Illusion by Sara Ella (Review & #Giveaway) #yabooks #yalit #newbooks #dystopian #fantasy #booktwitter @celebrate_lit @EnclaveBooks

Welcome! Check out book two of this YA dystopian/fantasy twist
on the classic Alice in Wonderland tale and enter the giveaway below...

The Looking-Glass Illusion
(The Curious Realities #1)
By Sara Ella
YA Dystopian, Fantasy, Retelling
Hardcover, Audiobook & eBook, 336 Pages
September 19, 2023 by Enclave Escape


Step through the looking glass. Slay the Jabberwock. Seek the King.

Alice is not prepared to face what awaits beyond the Tulgey Wood. When she and the rest of Team Heart enter the fourth and final Wonderland Trial, it’s up to her to lead them to victory. But this Trial is more than a game. If Alice and the others fail to defeat the Jabberwock and reveal the truth about Wonderland, more than points and fame will be lost.

Chess Shire never believed he’d make it this far. Now he’s stuck navigating a Trial he’s seen but doesn’t remember, all while searching for the brother he left behind. Not everything is as black and white as the game that shares his name. And if Alice discovers his deepest regret? Chess might just lose her too.

Apart, Chess and Alice scour the eight squares of the Heart Trial in search of memories, truth, and an Ivory King who seems more illusion than reality. Will they learn to lead together to face their greatest fears? Or will they remain pawns in a queen’s game, never truly seeing the Wonderland they’ve come to believe in?

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

THE LOOKING-GLASS ILLUSION is another fun adventure through a fantasy underworld in a dystopian England. The characters continue to develop as part two in this duology unfolds, and as they try to make they're way through the trials and find the answers and people they seek. A perfect read for fans of YA fantasy and Alice in Wonderland.

I think I liked these characters even more in this second book. It's another crazy, upside-down adventure where nothing is exactly as it seems and there are clues everywhere. I liked the POV change from Chess to Alice and the way the story unfolds in their eyes. I also really liked the way friendship and family and a touch of romance all are weaved through the story. 

In the end, was it what I wished for? I really enjoyed this one! It's something fun and just a bit crazy with great characters and a very creative story.

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to my review.)

About the Author

Once upon a time, Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a prince and live in a castle. Now she spends her days homeschooling her three Jedi in training, braving the Arizona summers, and reminding her superhero husband that it’s almost Christmas (even if it’s only January). When she’s not writing, Sara might be found behind her camera lens or planning her next adventure in the great wide somewhere. She is a Hufflepuff who finds joy in the simplicity of sipping a lavender white mocha and singing Disney tunes in the car. Sara is the author of the Unblemished trilogy and Coral, a reimagining of The Little Mermaid that focuses on mental health. Her latest journey into the world of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland feels like coming full circle after her time spent chasing the White Rabbit around Walt Disney World. Sara loves fairy tales and Jesus, and she still believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away.” Connect with her online at SaraElla.com or find her on Instagram at @saraellawrites.

Tour Schedule

Simple Harvest Reads, October 12 (Guest Review from Mindy)

Wishful Endings, October 13

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sara is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card, a $15 Starbucks gift card, and a hardcover copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

What do you think? Does this series sound like one you'd enjoy?

I Can't Wait for... The Paris Housekeeper by Renee Ryan (Can't-Wait Wednesday) #CWW #WOW #booktwitter #newbooks #histfic #historicalfiction #christianfiction #womensfiction

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. Find out more here.

This one caught my eye a bit back and sound like it'll be a very good read. It's my pick this week...

The Paris Housekeeper
By Renee Ryan
Christian Historical Fiction, WWII
Paperback, Audiobook & eBook
December 26, 2023 by Love Inspired Trade


From the author of The Secret Society of Salzburg comes a powerful and moving story of bravery and resilience in World War II Paris and one woman who must face impossible choices to survive…

Paris, 1940

German tanks rumble through the streets of Paris, forcing frightened citizens to flee. But not everyone has the luxury to leave. Camille Lacroix, a chambermaid at the world-famous Hôtel Ritz, must stay to support her family back home in Brittany. Desperate to earn money, Camille also acts as a lady’s maid for longtime guest Vivian Miller, a glamorous American widow—and a Nazi sympathizer.

Despite her distrust of the woman, Camille turns to Vivian when her friend and fellow hotel maid Rachel Berman needs help getting out of Paris. It’s then that Camille discovers that Vivian is not what she seems… The American has been using her wealth and connections to secretly obtain travel papers for Jewish refugees.

While they're hiding Rachel in an underground bunker under a Nazi’s nose, a daring escape plan is hatched. But as the net grows tighter, and the Germans more ruthless, Camille’s courage will be tested to the extreme…

(Affiliate links included.)

Will you be reading this one?

A heartwarming read... Windsong Manor by Julie Wright (Review) #histfic #historicalromance #regencyromance #cleanromance @ProperRomance @ShadowMountn

I've enjoyed this author's books and especially loved her last one, A Captain
for Caroline Gray. I'm sharing my review of her newest today. Read that below...

Windsong Manor
(A Proper Romance Regency)
By Julie Wright
Historical Romance
Paperback, Audiobook & eBook, 256 Pages
October 3, 2023 by Shadow Mountain


A young widow. A gentle stable master. A secret that could change everything. Will Nora dare risk her heart?

The London Countryside, 1820

Eleanora Coventry comes from a life of title and privilege, but even that isn’t enough to prevent her from being wed at sixteen to a controlling and dismissive husband. So when she finds herself a widow at only twenty-seven, the idea of choosing her own path forward both thrills and terrifies her. She knows how to be a daughter and a wife and mother, but she has no idea how to be Eleanora.

She moves her son and daughter to her late husband’s country estate, where she meets Ridley, the young stable master. He is ruggedly handsome, but also kind, and Eleanora finds herself drawn to him. There is only one problem: Eleanora has a title, and Ridley does not.

Ridley Ellis has a way with horses. Even the most spirited stallions trust his soft voice and gentle touch. He has the same effect on people, and when he first lays eyes on Eleanora, he is smitten by her beauty. But he quickly discovers it will take more than soft words to gain her trust―Lord Coventry had been cruel to people and animals alike. But the closer he gets to Eleanora, the more he is willing to share his heart, and more importantly, his secret.

In a world where title and privilege mean everything, will Eleanora and Ridley risk it all to find happiness? Or will the shadows of their pasts destroy everything they hope to build together?

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

WINDSONG MANOR is a story about a mother who gets a second chance at happiness but finds that happiness threatened by her late husband's final wishes. It's a story of family, friendship, and love that blossoms as this family tries to find their way. A very heartwarming read.

There were such likable characters in this story. I liked Eleanora and Ridley from the start. I liked Ridley's relationships with the other stable hands and with the children. He was steady and wise while also being quite dashing. Eleanora had always been treated as a possession and this was her first experience with freedom. She wanted to find happiness but wasn't sure exactly how to do that and also escape the threat of losing her son. Eleanora and Ridley were lovely together. They steadied each other. I also adored Eleanora's adoptive daughter and seeing her son begin to step into his new role. Each of these characters had their own choices to make, if they would choose kindness and love, or bitterness. 

The story moved at a steady pace. There were a few climatic moments and an underlying fear of Eleanora losing her son and Ridley's past finding him that drove the story. However, it was mostly full of heart, hope and love. I liked that nothing was too easy. These characters had to fight for what they wanted and there was no guarantee it would all come together in the end.

I did have a few issues with the story. The major one was that the main characters talked maybe twice and all of a sudden they were in love. It felt like it was almost insta-love. I would have liked a lot more interaction between them to develop the romance and chemistry, which I felt was lacking. I also didn't like a later development in the story. It was something that should have caused quite a scandal and didn't make sense to me how it was handled from the person who showed up to how it turned out. I think if this person would have just found who he was looking for in the first place it would have made more sense. The other thing was Eleanora's son. I felt like he should have been older for his dialogue and how he acted. Closer to 12 than 10. I also wish the ending would have been drawn out a bit more. Usually I think they're drawn out too much, but not here.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was an overall delightful book about a family, both found and by blood, who each come into their own over the course of the story. The familial aspect was full of heart, with lovely supportive characters, and a sweet romance.

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books by the Author

(Linked to my reviews.)

About the Author

JULIE WRIGHT was born in Salt Lake city, Utah. She’s lived in LA, Boston, and the literal middle of nowhere (don’t ask). She wrote her first book when she was fifteen. Since then, she’s written twenty-five novels and co-authored three. Julie is a two-time winner of the Whitney Award for best romance with her books Cross My Heart and Lies Jane Austen Told Me and is a Crown Heart recipient. Her book Death Thieves was a Whitney finalist. She has one husband, three kids, one grandbaby, one dog, and a varying amount of houseplants (depending on attrition). She loves writing, reading, traveling, hiking, snorkeling, playing with her family on the beach, and watching her husband make dinner.

Are you a fan of Shadow Mountain's Proper Romance books or this author?

I Can't Wait for... To Spark a Match by Jen Turano (Can't-Wait Wednesday) #CWW #WOW #booktwitter #newbooks #christianfiction #christianromance #histfic #BHPFiction @bethany_house

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. Find out more here.

I enjoyed the first book in this series, A Match in the Making. I also really like the idea of the premise for the series. I'm looking forward to getting to know a new heroine in this second book. It's my pick this week...

To Spark a Match
(The Matchmakers #2)
By Jen Turano
Christian Historical Romance
Hardcover, Paperback & eBook, 368 Pages
November 14, 2023 by Bethany House Publishers


"Turano takes readers on a lighthearted romp through matchmaking season . . . . This is a delight."--Publishers Weekly on A Match in the Making

After five unsuccessful Seasons on the marriage mart, Miss Adelaide Duveen has resigned herself to the notion that she's destined to remain a spinster forever--a rather dismal prospect, but one that will allow her to concentrate on her darling cats and books. However, when she inadvertently stumbles upon Mr. Gideon Abbott engaged in a clandestine activity during a dinner party, Adelaide finds herself thrust into a world of intrigue that resembles the plots in the spy novels she devours.

Former intelligence agent Gideon Abbott feels responsible for Adelaide after society threatens to banish her because of the distraction she caused to save his investigation. Hoping to return the favor, he turns to a good friend--and one of high society's leaders--to take Adelaide in hand and turn her fashionable. When danger surrounds them and Adelaide finds herself a target of the criminals in Gideon's case, the spark of love between them threatens to be quenched for good--along with their lives.

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Will you be reading this one?