Snow and Mistletoe – Review

by Jen Geigle Johnson

Publication date : October 30, 2020
Print length : 131 pages
Publisher : Kings Row Press (October 30, 2020)

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Lady Theodosia wants more than one season before she accepts a proposal. Mr. Easton will never ask.

Except Julian must find a wife by Christmas or his brother Edmund will choose one for him.

And Dosie finds she just might need that proposal after all, not only during her first season, but her first ball.

Can they make a marriage between them? A marriage of convenience?


Julian has hit rock bottom and has been a spot upon his family name. His oldest brother forces him to either marry or get an occupation.

Lady Theadosia is recently out in society. Before she even thinks about marriage, she wants to flirt with as many guys as she can.

When Theadosia is threatened with ruination, Julian steps in to save her. However, something else is afoot and threatens to ruin everything.

Even when Julian is acting like a complete wastrel, there is a certain charm to him.

I have always loved stories when the characters knew each other as children before falling in love. I would have liked some memories or flashbacks of the two of them together.

This is a quick read. The Easton family continues in Tabitha’s Folly.

Spinster Ever After – Review

by Rebecca Connolly

Paperback : 264 pages
ISBN-13 : 978-1952103179
Publisher : Phase Publishing (October 27, 2020)

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When a man loves a spinster…

Charlotte Wright has had enough. All of her friends have now married, leaving her the lone writer of the Spinster Chronicles who is still a true spinster. So she’s decided it is time for her to join the ranks and get married, groom to be determined. She’s an heiress, after all. How difficult could it be to find a husband?

Michael Sandford has been there by Charlotte’s side from the very beginning, loving her all the while even when she turned down his proposal. When she tells him of her plans to marry and marry soon, he begins to make plans himself. He cannot stand by and watch her marry someone else, so he’s decided to distance himself from Charlotte entirely while she hunts for a husband… one that is not him.

And Charlotte doesn’t like that one bit.


Charlotte has always been a darling of society with a bevy of beaux. She has been proposed to multiple times but has never seriously considered anyone.

“I say I will marry, if and only if I can find a love that pales all other loves to persuade me out of what is sure to be a most glorious spinsterhood.”

Michael has been in love with Charlotte for years. Even after a rejected proposal, he continues to follow her around like a lapdog. Only after Charlotte decides to truly pursue finding love does Michael realize that he lost himself while in Charlotte’s shadow.

“Charlotte had never tried to find the love she’d always claimed she was after. She’d simply expected the thing to fall into her lap like so many of the buffoons that had paid homage to her.”

Charlotte is fortunate to have understanding parents who support her and don’t pressure her. However, Charlotte can come off as superficial and spoiled. It was nice to see the developments she made throughout the book while staying true to herself.

Charlotte has the classic case of you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Michael has always been there for her, and she has taken advantage of him. She doesn’t even notice what is right in front of her.

“I always knew if I stayed by you, one day you’d see me.”

This story reminded me of Emma by Jane Austen. There were a lot of parallels, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

The Wright family scenes are so classic. I love how the siblings act with each other and how the parents react.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the epilogue. To see the transition of Michael as a lapdog and Michael at the end of the story was gold.

I don’t want to say goodbye to the Spinsters. I hope we see them again.

*This book is clean, however, it does have some cursing.

The Gentleman and the Thief – Review

by Sarah M. Eden

ISBN-10 : 1629727903
Paperback : 368 pages
ISBN-13 : 978-1629727905
Publisher : Shadow Mountain (November 3, 2020)

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A gentleman scribes penny dreadful novels by night and falls in love with a woman who is a music teacher by day—and a thief at night.

LONDON 1865

From the moment Hollis Darby meets Ana Newport, he’s smitten. Even though he’s from a wealthy, established family and she isn’t, he wishes he could have a life with her by his side. But Hollis has a secret: the deep coffers that have kept his family afloat for generations are bare, so he supports himself by writing penny dreadfuls under a pseudonym. If not for the income from his novels, he would be broke.

Ana Newport also has a secret. Though she once had a place in society thanks to her father’s successful business, bankruptcy and scandal reduced his fortune to nothing more than a crumbling town house. So Ana teaches music during the day, and at night she assumes the identity of the “Phantom Fox.” She breaks into the homes of the wealthy to reclaim trinkets and treasures she feels were unjustly stolen from her family when they were struggling.

When Hollis’s brother needs to hire a music tutor for his daughter, Hollis recommends Ana, giving him a chance to spend time with her. Ana needs the income and is eager for the opportunity to get to know the enigmatic gentleman. What neither of them expects is how difficult it will be to keep their respective secrets from each other.

When a spree of robberies rocks the city, Ana and Hollis join forces to solve the crimes, discovering that working together deepens the affection between them. After all, who better to save the day than a gentleman and a thief?


The Gentleman and the Thief is the second in the series, and I suggest reading The Lady and the Highwayman first so you can learn more about the Dread Penny Society. I think if people start with this book, they might get confused about some things.

The format of the book is the same as the last one. You have chapters from the viewpoints of the main characters, but you also have excerpts from their Penny Dreadfuls. I really enjoyed the cute ghost story that Hollis wrote.

Though based on historical things like the time period and the dreadfuls, Eden makes this story seem fresh and unique.

This book is Ana Newport and Hollis Darby’s story, however, I loved that we got to see Fletcher and Elizabeth from the first book.

The Gentleman and the Thief feels more about the mystery and the Dread Penny Society than the romance between Ana and Hollis. While I enjoyed the story, I wish Ana and Hollis had spent more time together, and that their relationship was more developed.

There will be things that resolve in this book, but other mysteries will continue in the next book in the series. I’m looking forward to reading it!

The Love Note – Review

by Joanna Davidson Politano

Paperback : 400 pages
ISBN-10 : 0800736893
ISBN-13 : 978-0800736897
Publisher : Revell (October 20, 2020)

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A forgotten letter. A secret love. A vast estate.
Can one determined woman put the pieces together?

Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1865 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.

Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings–mostly negative ones–about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa’s search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words. 

Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.


The Love Note is a book packed with mysteries and secrets. The lost letter weaves its way through a family, and it shows you just how powerful words can be.

The majority of the story is told as first person from the perspective of Willa, the doctor’s daughter, who dreams of being a doctor herself. However, other chapters are written as third person and focus on other characters. There are a lot of characters in this story and instead of being confusing, it brings more to the story and makes it richer.

I found myself connecting to so many characters and wanting to know what would happen to them. Nothing in this story is predictable, and it will keep you wanting to read more.

Willa Duvall had woven herself into his life as thoroughly as a golden thread running through a tapestry, never to be removed without a thorough unraveling.

Blog Tour and Review: Otherwise Engaged

by Joanna Barker

ISBN-13 : 978-1524413705
ISBN-10 : 1524413704
Publisher : Covenant Communications, Inc. (October 12, 2020)

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Constantly stifled by the rules of Society, spirited Rebecca Rowley enjoys finding ways to quietly or not so quietly rebel. But riding bareback and avoiding nosy neighbors are nothing compared to the thrilling secret she is keeping from her family.

When Rebecca’s quick thinking saves the life of a young girl, she unwittingly attracts the attention of the child’s dashing brother, Lieutenant Nicholas Avery. As that attention turns flirtatious, Rebecca is forced to tell him the truth: she is secretly engaged to the one man her family would never approve of. Fortunately, Lieutenant Avery is a navy man with no wish to marry, or so they both assume as they enter into a friendship. Rebecca hopes to change her family’s mind about her betrothed, but the more she comes to know the handsome lieutenant, the more she wonders if she promised her hand too hastily.

After all her carefully laid plans are shattered during a family crisis, Rebecca must force her heart to decide. Should she stay true to the promise she made or fight for the future she’s only just begun to imagine?


This book is just so pretty! I love the design and the color palette they chose. It definitely stands out as a favorite design.

Although this book can be read as a standalone, I liked that characters I loved from The Truth about Miss Ashbourne are in this book.

There were certain things I expected to happen, but I was pleasantly surprised that I did not see some things coming. There is also a family mystery in this story, and I love a good mystery.

Barker always creates the best characters; that’s why it was even better to catch up with them. While I loved the characters, I had a harder time watching them fall in love when one of them was in a committed relationship with someone else.

One of my biggest problems is when people are not honest about things. A number of characters in this story keep major secrets from each other. However, I loved to see how they grew from the situations.

I’m really, really hoping that Olivia will be getting her own story.

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The Kissing Tree – Review

by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, Nicole Deese

Paperback : 400 pages
ISBN-10 : 0764236121
ISBN-13 : 978-0764236129
Publisher : Bethany House Publishers (October 13, 2020)

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Regina Jennings – “Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts”
When a young man from her past returns and upends their small town with a new invention, schoolteacher Bella Eden is reminded of the heartbreak she suffered years ago under the old oak tree. When her job is put on the line, can she trust the man who disrupted her life to help her fight for a brighter future?

Karen Witemeyer – “Inn for a Surprise”
Determined to keep love alive for others, Phoebe Woodward builds an inn that caters to couples. When her father sends a property manager to help make it a success, she finds her whimsical vision thwarted by his stodgy practicality. Finding the right blend of romance and reality is a challenge, and her spinster heart may be in for a surprise. 

Amanda Dykes – “From Roots to Sky”
WWII airman Luke Hampstead found comfort in letters from the sister of a lost compatriot. When he visits Texas to thank her, he discovers her constructing a project with surprising ties to his letters . . . and that she herself is even more surprising. While a promising opportunity awaits him elsewhere, will what they’ve shared be enough to give their future flight?

Nicole Deese – “Heartwood”Abby Brookshire’s world is turned upside down when the historic tree she’s strived to preserve as the head groundskeeper at the Kissing Tree Inn is put in danger of removal. Making matters worse, the only way to protect its legacy is to partner with the man she’s been ignoring since he left town years ago. Will she have the courage to move on from the past and start a new beginning?


All of the stories in this collection take place in the same town which is centered around the kissing tree. I love how they can be read on their own, but they are all interconnected. The stories take place during different time periods, so we get to see future generations and how the town changes.

Broken Limbs, Mended Fences by Regina Jennings
Adam always pined for Bella, but she just saw him as the man who destroyed everything.

The intro to this story is perfection! I love the opening scene with the two main characters Adam and Bella, and the last scene in the story is so sweet. I love how everything came full circle. This was a cute story. I liked the storyline and the characters. The title is also cute.

Inn for a Surprise by Karen Witemeyer

Phoebe is a strong independent woman who dreams of running her own inn helping couples find and rekindle love using the town’s legendary kissing tree. Barnabas is tasked with helping his boss’s daughter Phoebe make the inn a success.

I love how this story is interconnected, and there is even an appearance of a character from the first story.

This was such a sweet story, and I loved it. Barnabas and Phoebe may be opposites, but they truly complete each other.

From Roots to Sky by Amanda Dykes
I know many years have gone by since the last story, but hearing about what happened to the future of the inn at the beginning of the story was sad.

I loved the idea of a home built from all the drawings and things Luke had seen that war tore apart. Hannah and Luke made an interesting couple, and I like how a lot of time went by in this story so they had a chance to really get to know each other. The epilogue was sweet.

Heartwood by Nicole Deese
Even though it is a shorter story, I liked that Abby and Griffin were able to grow. I love the little memorial gardens that Abby creates.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I will try to be vague. The scene with the teenagers at the tree drove me nuts, especially comments about “rights” being taken away when it isn’t their right. People like to complain about things, but they don’t do anything to realistically help the cause and find a solution for a problem.

I also didn’t like the ending. If this had been a standalone book, that would be one thing. However, we just read all these sweet stories about things that happened, and then something in this story happens to ruin it all.

Widows of Somerset – Review

by Rebecca Connolly, Jen Geigle Johnson, Heather B. Moore

Paperback : 351 pages
ISBN-10 : 1947152955
ISBN-13 : 978-1947152953
Publisher : Mirror Press (October 6, 2020)

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Rules of the Secret Society of Young Widows:
Rule 1: Be a widow.
Rule 2: Have an impeccable reputation.
Rule 3: Don’t fall in love again.

AN HEIR TO SPARE by Rebecca Connolly
Widowhood has changed much for Anna—Lady Lyndham—but an unconventional heir to the estate was not something she had anticipated. Nor had she anticipated that he would have no intention of forcing her out, although he has every right to. And she certainly did not anticipate finding him handsome, charming, and unfailingly generous. But Ned Richards, the new Lord Lyndham, has a world of surprises in store for her, and not anticipating them will become quite the adventure.

THE WIDOW OF LAVENDER COTTAGE by Jen Geigle Johnson
As a widow, Lillian Hunter has never been in love and plans to never marry again, so the rules of the Secret Society of Young Widows suit her just fine. Her days are spent attempting to transform her newly inherited Lavender Cottage into a livable space until Oliver Wentworth shows up, asking for her late husband. Anxious to establish himself as a landed gentry in Somerset, Oliver is none too pleased to discover that a widow lives alone in a tiny run down cottage bordering his new property. The fact that she’s young and attractive only adds frustration to his sense of responsibility over her. And confound her, she challenges his every attempt to help manage her affairs.


A PROMISE FORGOTTEN by Heather B. Moore
Charlotte Ashford never thought she’d marry a vicar, and she never thought she’d find herself widowed with a young child to care for on her own. She certainly never thought she’d return to Somerset to live with her mother again, and Charlotte never thought she’d see him again. But Lord Wilshore has never forgotten her, and he has never forgotten their promise made long ago. Charlotte would love nothing more than for Lord Wilshore to forgive her, but too much heartache and too much time might make that impossible. Friendship is all she can hope for, but that hope may be dashed as well. 


I love how the Timeless collections always have such great authors. The theme this time was young widows who all joined a society that had to follow certain rules. One of those rules was not to let falling in love rule over your mind.

An Heir to Spare by Rebecca Connolly

I’m a fan of Rebecca Connolly, and this was a cute story. Anna was married to a man who was entirely apathetic. She felt like she lost her identity during that marriage and has no desire to marry again.

Ned inherits from the late Lord Lyndham. He has lived as a clergyman the last few years and is very down to earth. He also loves to get his hands dirty and help his neighbors.

The Widow of Lavender Cottage by Jen Geigle Johnson

Lillian was married off to a much older man and finds herself widowed and the owner of a run down house. She is loving her independent life and never wants to lose it.

When Oliver realizes his dream of becoming a property owner, he feels obligated to take care of the widow next door. What starts as feeling protective of the young widow quickly turns to more.

In other stories I have often seen widows described as very needy and weak or overly free with their favors. It was nice to see Lillian be such a different character. She was very lucky that she was left provisions to survive, but she was also a character who wanted to thrive. She wanted to learn everything she could and even step in and do things herself.

Both characters were very different from most people of their social standings.

A Promise Forgotten by Heather B. Moore

This story had so many things I liked in it. I always love when characters knew each other from the past and then come together again. This is especially true in novellas, because they don’t fall in love too fast. I also loved the inclusion of little Emily. I felt connected to these characters right away. They both had gone through so much, and I wanted to see their happy ending.

Blog Tour and Review: A Hopeful Christmas

by Anneka R. Walker, Sian Ann Bessey, Carla Kelly, Krista Lynne Jensen

Paperback : 376 pages
ISBN-10 : 1524413623
ISBN-13 : 978-1524413620
Publisher : Covenant Communications, Inc. (October 1, 2020)

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Kindle the spirit of the season as four of your favorite storytellers weave tales of love and hope in this charming yuletide collection.

Lord Blakely’s Gift

When Miss Ivy Hunt and Lord Curtis Blakely establish a secret acquaintance, neither can deny that their feelings extend beyond friendship. But as the children of bitter rivals, it will take a Christmas miracle for this star-crossed pair to reach their happily ever after.

A Season of Hope

Following the death of her father, Amelia knows Christmas will be lean. But when circumstances become dire, it is the unexpected arrival of a childhood friend that renews Amelia’s hope both for the future and for love.

Christmas by the Sea

After two years at sea with the Royal Navy, surgeon Joshua Crenshaw longs for a quiet Christmas with his family. But when unrest at home threatens to ruin the holidays, it takes the kindly intervention of a mysterious house sitter to remind them of the true meaning of the season.

Expectations at Canterwood

Marina Rowley is a spinster, Richard Stanhope a war-weary military man. A case of mistaken identity throws them together, but the unexpected stirrings of their hearts lead to an unforgettable holiday romance.


I love reading Christmas books and watching Christmas movies year round. This book is especially fun because it takes place during the Regency Era. The four stories are all very different. They have characters with different social classes, some characters have just met, some are reunited, and some have been married for years. All the stories will have you wanting to grab a blanket and some hot cocoa and immerse yourself in a Regency Christmas.

Lord Blakely’s Gift by Anneka R. Walker

This is a story of a forbidden romance between two feuding families who are brought together at Christmas time by helping others.


Ivy is giving and makes sure that people are cared for. Curtis doesn’t think he can live up to the man his father was, so he really doesn’t even try.

Curtis also seems to think that throwing around money is the best way to help people. I loved that Ivy makes him a better person.


A small disagreement not only tore two families of friends apart, but it also separated a family. In their bitterness, Ivy’s father no longer saw his own mother. He comes off as very petty.

“To be worthy of you must be the greatest endeavor a man could seek.”

A Season Of Hope by Sian Ann Bessey
As a child, Amelia would follow her brother and his friend Philip around hoping to join their adventures. Further adventures take the boys away to the West Indies. When Philip returns after five years, he finds his neighborhood greatly changed… as well as his little neighbor Amelia who was now grown up.

I loved the feeling of Christmas in this story. I also loved the characters. Oftentimes novellas feel underdeveloped but this story was very well done.

Christmas By The Sea by Carla Kelly
Surgeon William Crenshaw has just returned from two years at sea to his loving wife and children. Instead of having a peaceful Christmas together, he must deal with the mess his siblings have put him in.


I love that this is a story of a couple who has been married for years, with Will gone during many of them, and they still love each other. The conversation Will had with his son Timothy on what love is was very sweet.

Expectations At Canterwood by Krista Lynne Jensen
Jensen brings us back to Canterwood in her story. While this story can be read as a standalone, it’s always fun to read a continuity story. The first time I read about Canterwood was in the anthology Christmas Grace, and the vicar and his wife make a reappearance in this book.

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