Mini Review: “Jane by the Book” by Pepper Basham

Jane by the book

A couple months ago, Jane by the Book by Pepper Basham released as a part of the “Once Upon a Laugh” novella collection. I’m still reading my way through that one — it’s very fun! BUT NOW, Pepper’s novella is available on its own in paperback! *happy dance* If you’re looking for a cute and tender romcom, look no further that the adorably quirky Titus and Jane.

About the Book

Jane by the Book

Four years ago, Jane Warwick escaped the shame and heartbreak of being jilted at the altar by becoming a housekeeper at the secluded Inn at Simeon Ridge. Predictable and quiet, the inn helps Jane find a place to heal and celebrates her strengths, where she is promoted to head housekeeper. But an unexpected visit to Bath, England, upsets Jane’s plans and sends her out of her comfort zone, directly into the harrowing path of historical detective author, Titus Stewart.

The only plans Titus sticks to are family holidays and the ones that send him careening into his story worlds, but when an uptight and nervous innkeeper stumbles into his life – and his latest novel – nonfiction begins to take on a much more interesting gleam.

As the unlikely pair delve into the mystery behind a one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old letter, will they both uncover a romance that stands the test of time?

Goodreads | Amazon

Review

List of the reasons you should read Jane by the Book ASAP:

  • Pop culture and Sherlock and mysteries and general bookishness. Oh, and BATH, England!
  • A super-relatable heroine — whose cluelessness is realistic and sets up growth and personal realizations women of the world need to hear!
  • A wonderfully bookish and nerdy hero with an internal monologue that will make you giggle. He definitely earns the nickname #terrificTitus!
  • An intriguing family mystery with smart parallels to Jane’s own heart-journey
  • Simply put, CORGIS!
  • And, last but not least, a sweet and charming romance that will have you rooting for the happily ever after!
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Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR + Mood Reads

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Today’s official topic: Books on Your Fall TBR

Let’s talk FALL! I’m all about this getting-cooler season. Where I live, it still feels like summer, but I am planning for all things pumpkin, apple, and spiced very soon. This, of course, puts me in the mood to read (or reread) stories with fall settings. Today I’m sharing a list of books that make me feel all the autumn or fall coziness plus a few from my TBR!

Fall “Mood” Reads

The “Walker Family” series by Melissa Tagg | Specifically, books 2-3, Like Never Before and Keep Holding On make me feel cozy and crave all things APPLE (because book 3 has an orchard!)

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton | I’ll reread this book for ANY reason, but really, I remember its setting being vividly described and part of it evoking that crisp “chill” of fall air.

Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh | Apple cider doughnuts, anyone???? Oh, and there’s a great little mystery in this one! I feel a reread coming up soon…

Where Trains Collide by Amber Stokes | This sweet little novella explores the landscape of the Pacific Northwest during an autumn season — a season of change for the characters, too! (HEY! This one is FREE on ebook platforms through Sept. 20!)

A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund | A historical romance that makes the harvest unforgettable!

My Fall TBR

My actual TBR pile is insane. So , here are just a few of the new books that mostly release this season I plan to read!

 

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Amy Matayo | I’m reading this one now! Amy’s stories are always the best balance of thought-provoking and emotional.

My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay | A new cover on an older classic! I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book.

Bear No Malice by Clarissa Harwood | OK, I know this doesn’t release til 2019, but I am doing a happy dance on the inside because I got my hands on an ARC! I LOOOOOVED book 1, Impossible Saints.

All Made Up by Kara Isaac | This sounds like such a cute story! I might have to catch up on Kara’s backlist before I read it, though, because I know Kat is a secondary character in some of her stories. that will be such a hard thing to do.

A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson | Two words: Liz. JOHNSON! I cannot wait to see what she does with a southern mansion, a mystery, and opulence!

An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M. White | I have no doubt this long-anticipated series conclusion will be amazing.

Things Left Unsaid by Courtney Walsh | A new indie from Courtney that’s a spin on romance and women’s fiction – YES, please!

When You Look At Me by Pepper Basham | Music + Cupcakes + introverts + Pepper’s heart = a story I’ve been anticipating for a while!

Your turn! What’s on your Fall TBR? Do you have fall reads recommendations? Books you reread each fall? Let me know in the comments!

Series Review: The “Carrington Family” by Sarah Monzon

 

It’s been quiet lately on the blog, but that’s mostly because I’ve been binge-reading this  split time series (and a few other things — but more on that later this month!)! The “Carrington Family” series by Sarah Monzon, Finders Keepers, All of You, and Freedom’s Kiss, is a wonderful series. I’m so glad I waited until the last book released (last month!) so I could enjoy these back-to-back! Each book features a different brother of the family with a main drama/romance story set in present day and a historical story thread that ties in to present day in a surprising way.

About the Books

Finders Keepers | Goodreads

Finders KeepersThree lives. Three hundred years. One ship that ties them together.

Spain, 1689

The same evil that stole her mother’s life stalks Isabella Castellano. Afraid for her safety, Isabella disguises herself as a cabin boy and hires on to one of His Majesty’s treasure fleet vessels. But has her flight from a known threat only led her to be ensnared in a sea of dangers?

Florida, Present Day

Summer Arnet will go anywhere to capture the perfect shot that will get her marine photography noticed by the prestigious nature magazine, Our World—even diving in waters haunted by great white sharks. When a treasure hunter with a ladies’-man reputation approaches her about a sunken ship at one of her dive locations, it may be the chance she’s been looking for to launch her career…if his charming smile doesn’t derail her first.

A past tragedy has left a hole in Trent Carrington’s life—a hole he’s tried to fill with women, money, and adventure. Could the feisty marine photographer be the missing piece, or will Trent finally accept that the treasure he seeks can’t be found where rust and moths destroy?

All of You  | Goodreads

All of YouMaryland, Present Day

Jacqueline Rogers can rebuild anything…except the shambles of her past. A restorer of vintage planes, she’s worked hard to earn the reputation of being one of the guys. The last thing she needs is a former Navy pilot fighting his own inner demons stepping in to defend her from dangers she thought she’d outrun long ago. Some battles must be fought alone.

After a freak accident severs Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington’s dreams, as well as two limbs, he’s left with nothing but a fragile faith and a duty-bound promise to watch out for his friend’s baby sister. A promise she insists is as unnecessary as it is unappreciated. But when she turns the tables and begins to weld together the broken parts of his life, it may be his heart that is in need of protection.

England, 1944

With the world at war yet again, Alice Galloway rejects her father’s traditional expectations and offers her piloting expertise to the Air Transport Auxiliary. She may be a woman in a man’s world, but when she overhears key intelligence, she must find the strength to transcend boundaries and her own fears. Or countless people may die.

Sometimes the past reaches forward to bring hope to the future.

Freedom’s Kiss | Goodreads

Freedom's KissThey were both prisoners of their past. Could legacy be the key to setting them free?

Olivia Arroyo knows who she is and where she’s going—her sense of family responsibility a stepping stone to her dream of becoming a chef. When her employer refuses her the chance to move from server to the kitchen, she makes another opportunity for herself with the owner of a new food truck. But her life derails when a hidden piece of her past suddenly comes to light, and she discovers everything she thought she knew about herself has been a lie.

A single decision can have innumerable consequences—a truth that has changed Adam Carrington’s life. A criminal defense attorney turned food truck owner, he is haunted by his role in an unpardonable act and driven by his need to make restitution. Unexpected help comes in the form of a feisty, raven-haired beauty, but she soon begins challenging his kitchen as well as his heart.

Florida, 1816

Propelled by a fleeting hope of freedom, Winnie and her family escape slavery and find refuge and new life with the Seminole Indians of Florida. But their future is still uncertain as threats of war, a return to slavery, and removal to the west shake their tentative grasp on freedom. Will they ever step out of the shadow of fear to leave a legacy of deliverance?

My Thoughts

The whole series is well-told and expertly set up, with the stories of the Carrington brothers offset by historical stories featuring three strong women in completely different eras. Yet with each story, the historical thread is tied to present day and its themes and struggles echo the current situations.

Finders Keepers is all about adventure, treasure, and discovering a relationship with God. I liked how it broaches faith and a relationship with the Heavenly Father as simple yet the most important life decision. Trent’s journey is all about realizing his searching to fill an emptiness is in vain, when the true source of peace to be found can only be satisfied by God. Summer helps him see his need while she deals with longing for an earthly father, too. It is beautiful how Summer risks her heart, having faith that Trent can be more. Isabella’s historical story is intriguing and such a wonderful compliment. While reading, I wondered how the two would be intertwined by story’s end.

FB_IMG_1536589396706.jpgWith All of You, Sarah Monzon captures the realistic struggles of life. Oh my heart! It encompasses trust, independence, and sacrifice in so many ways. In Michael’s healing and heroism. In Jack’s independence and worth. In Alice’s fortitude and role in something bigger than herself. The slow-build romance was amazing. My favorite part about this story had to do with the selflessness of Michael — his choices were admirable, but God was calling him to a purpose and a blessing he didn’t think he deserved. Grace.

A wonderful conclusion to the series, Freedom’s Kiss is a story of restoration and freedom with a healthy serving of family and romance. With humor and grace, Adam and Olivia navigate their newfound relationship and reconcile growth while the historical character, Winnie, a runaway slave, finds freedom and belonging in a most unexpected way. First of all, I WANT A FOOD TRUCK. Second, I really loved the history facts I learned while reading about a lesser-known (to me, anyway) part of American history with the settlement and trials of the Black Seminole people of Florida. And, I really love the sense of humor Adam brings to the story with his Disney-thoughts and affectionate ways.

My favorite thing about this series is the family relationship dynamic. Each of these Carrington brothers brings a unique personality to the story, but I really loved the moments they were all together and so obviously supportive and fun. I just have to say, All of You was my favorite of the series because of the themes of sacrifice and the friendship-to-romance storyline. I’m hoping this is not the end of the family, and Sarah will let us in on Amber’s (the baby sister) story in the future!

Thank you to the author for the review copy of Freedom’s Kiss. This is my honest review.

 

Book Review: ” The Lacemaker” by Laura Frantz

My copy of The Lacemaker

Reading a Laura Frantz novel is like stepping back in time. I always learn something new about history or culture with each of her stories. Her 2018 novel, The Lacemaker, is set at the cusp of the American Revolution (one of my fav eras) in and around Williamsburg Virginia. I FINALLY read it – and I’m so glad I did, because it’s one of the very best of 2018, and one of my top 3 favorites of her novels.

About the Book

The Lacemaker by Laura FrantzWhen colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson is abandoned by her fiance and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, a man with formidable enemies of his own. Liberty is left with a terrible choice. Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, or stay true to her English roots? And at what cost?

Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. With her meticulous eye for detail and her knack for creating living, breathing characters, Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers who long to feel they are a part of the story.

Goodreads | Amazon

Review

The Lacemaker is an absolutely gorgeous story — rich in history and detail, Laura Frantz continues to prove herself a master storyteller. The patriotic spirit of the American Revolution is captured in this story of love and belonging. The romance between Noble and Lady Elisabeth (Liberty) is everything sacred and precious, its nature reflecting the selfless love of a Savior. This is a book I will love even more upon rereads in the future!

The Lacemaker ElisabethThe beauty of The Lacemaker can be likened to an intricate design of lace itself, where the artistry is in the tiny workings and subtleties that make a grand design. The themes of truth, defending beliefs and loyalty, love, protection, finding a true home with the ones you love, even the joy that can be found during the most tumultuous times all work to make this a historical romance I will long remember and eagerly revisit.

And oh, the history! Noble and company rub elbows with big names leading up to the war, and it fits so naturally into the story and brings a sense of realism to both the story and the larger-than-life historical characters.

Lady Elisabeth, AKA Liberty, was a character I instantly liked and was invested in. Devoting her loyalty to one cause or the other (Tory or Patriot) was a decision that would determine her future. Though I wanted to encourage her to make a decision quickly, this was a journey in which she took her own time – making her own way, learning her own heart, and realizing the opportunity of love right in front of her very nose.

Noble lives up to his name, the effort of which is never a secret and the most endearing part of his character. The other endearing thing is when he speaks Welsh! 🙂 Noble makes the list of favorite heroes as an ideal. Noble is everything. Not because he is perfect, but because he strives to be the person his Savior, Liberty, and his country require. Basically I want to learn to speak Welsh now and eat Bara Brith all day.

Cover Reveal: “Lies We Tell Ourselves” by Amy Matayo

I’m happy to be sharing in today’s cover reveal for a BRAND NEW novel from author Amy Matayo: Lies We Tell Ourselves. This is her tenth (!) novel, releasing on September 20th.

Before the COVER fun, let’s talk more about the story:

Lies We Tell Ourselves

Presley Waterman is a rescuer: of animals, of businesses, of people. Like the stray cat she’s allergic to, but continues to care for. Like her small-town newspaper, a business that’s been dying a slow death for the better part of a decade. And like Micah. Her best friend and the man she has loved since they were kids, back when no one else cared.  

As for him…

Micah Leven loves Presley. She’s the girl who’s always been there to help, the one who knows all the ugly things about him and makes him believe he can be a better man, the one who will never leave because she’s promised over and over. 

But he also loves Mara. 

Mara is his ideal. She’s the dream he conjured up as a boy and never wavered from. She’s beautiful, ambitious, driven, a fellow newscaster at his Atlanta station, and the perfect asset for the life he’s always wanted. Together, they could conquer the world and their respective careers. Even better, with Mara he could prove that he did—in fact—finally amount to something. Maybe then his father would be proud.  

There are just a few things Presley and Micah have both forgotten. One, just because you rescue someone doesn’t mean they’ll love you for it. Two, some dreams disappear when reality wakes you up. Three, the only way to silence lies is to face the truth head-on.

This is the story of the man torn between two existences, the woman who finally took the choice away from him, and what happens when you stop listening to lies once and for all.

Even if the biggest liar is you.

 

Coming September 20th

Preorder on Amazon now!

Amy Matayo (15).png

What do you think about the cover? I think it is gorgeous and just a tiny bit whimsical! It clearly hints at the contemporary story inside. 

Book & Movie Thoughts: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Fans of romantic period dramas are probably well aware of the recent book-to-screen adaptation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, now available on Netflix here in the US. Having read the book AND watched the adaptation, I have thoughts!!!

Book thoughts…

Guernsey 2I first heard about this book through another epistolary book-for-book-lovers, Dear Mr. Knightley. The quirky title was enough to have me googling and seeing other reviews that made this sound like something I would like! I’ve since read it twice, most recently with friends discussing in a read-along on Twitter with #GBral. (Shoutout to the #bookbesties who made this super fun!)

I adore the book! I am now and forever a fan of the epistolary (letter) format, and a huge fan of WWII era stories. This combines the best of both worlds, with a gradual romance that keeps you guessing (who is the ultimate hero?). The colorful characters keep the story humorous and balance the more serious moments of the harsh reality of German occupation.

 

Content note: there are a few instances of mild to moderate language, a child born out of wedlock, and suggestions that one character is homosexual.

Movie thoughts…

Guernsey 1

Courtesy of IMDB.com

I appreciate book adaptations. Really. I know they cannot be the original story that plays out in your head, and they cannot possibly be so detailed within a shorter time frame. With that in mind, I really, REALLY enjoyed this one!

I thought the casting was perfect (except for Markham… he was a little more charismatic in my head). Lily as Juliet captured all the emotions and growth so well. Isola was quirky and lovable. Adelaide has a slightly different role but was brilliantly and emotionally played. And Michiel as Dawsey!!!! *heart eyes* He’s wonderfully straightforward and shy and just so genuine. Little KIT was my favorite! She was precious.

The scenery was wonderful. Having a visual of the beauty of the island will be great when I want to revisit the book. Everything from the set design to the costumes and cinematography were wonderful and helped build a picture of the story world.

Let’s talk story! I appreciated the parts that were reserved, and mourned some characters that were missing. Given the shorter time frame, I understand the parts that were abbreviated. I DO wish we had just a bit more time with the characters near the ending! And, I wish they had featured Kit a little more in the way her role with Juliet blossoms. But I loved the time with the society, the stories of Elizabeth, and especially the pigs!

Overall, this was a great adaptation that made me appreciate the root story even more — and is likely very enjoyable as a period drama for anyone who hasn’t read the book.

If you have seen and/or read this little gem, what did you think? Do you feel they did it justice with the adaptation? What was your favorite scene?

Cover Reveal: “When You Look at Me” by Pepper Basham ~ Just Read Tours

When  You  Look  at  Me  Cover  Reveal

Welcome to the official COVER REVEAL blitz for When You Look at Me by Pepper Basham, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! When You Look At Me is the 2nd book in the Pleasant Gap Romance series and releases in October 2018.

ABOUT THE BOOK

An unexpected mother-to-be

A romance-leery composer

And a forgotten melody from the past that holds the keys to their futures.

When Julia Jenkin’a great aunt dies and leaves her a Victorian mansion with decades of secrets, Julia never expects to unearth a World War 2 espionage mystery. Struggling with her own past since an assault left her pregnant, her future as a solo parent leaves her dreams uncertain. The inheritance from her great aunt gives Julia the ability to take a step back into her future, but also sends her into the discovery of a love story she’d never anticipated. Following her aunt’s cryptic journal, Julia uncovers some oddly written piano music with a musical code she can’t decipher on her own. Not to worry, introverted Englishman and composer, Henry Wright, is thrust on the scene by a pair of homespun matchmakers who know the ‘right’ man for Julia’s wounded heart.

Henry arrives in Pleasant Gap with the task of composing the soundtrack for his best mate͛s newest film. The Jenkin’s family’s southern welcome and gregarious personalities set his reticent nature on edge, but he’s inexplicably drawn to his gentle and music-loving hostess, Julia. Uncertain how to build a friendship with the wounded woman, and rather hopeless in communicating well through words, the bond of music becomes a bridge between her uncertainty and his awkwardness.

But her broken past and his family’s expectations build a wall much greater than the cultures that separate them. As they work together to solve a musical mystery from the grave, will an unlikely romance from the past inspire their hearts to trust in a God who’s written the perfect melody for their lives?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

pepper  basham

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes historical and contemporary romance novels with grace, humor, and culture clashes. She’s a Blue Ridge Mountain native and an anglophile who enjoys combining her two loves to create memorable stories of hope. Pepper is also a mom of five, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of Jesus and chocolate. She resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her family.

CONNECT: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


Ready…..

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Set…..

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Reveal!!

when  you  look  at  me  front

Yay!! It’s so sweet and pretty! I have no doubt the story inside will be just as wonderful 🙂

Available October 25

GOODREADS | AMAZON


wylam  cover  reveal  giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

Enter for your chance to win:

  • print copy of Just the Way You Are (book #1 in the series)
  • a cute ‘Britallachian’ mug – “We go together like tea and biscuits”

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight August 15, 2018 and last through 11:59pm August 22, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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Follow along with the tour at JustRead for a full list of stops!

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