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)

Purchase from Amazon

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)

Purchase from Amazon

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)

Purchase from Amazon

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.

Enter Here!

A Haunting at Havenwood (Seasons of Change) – Review

by Sally Britton

Paperback : 222 pages
ISBN-13 : 979-8685495495
Publisher : Independently published (September 12, 2020)
ASIN : B08HT9PWB7
Language: English

Purchase from Amazon

Nothing will keep Louisa from searching for an ancient fortune. Except perhaps a phantom who turns out to be a most eligible bachelor.

When Louisa Banner’s mother announces they are poor, she cannot help her misgivings when her mother sends her away to live with her great aunt in a tiny, Northumberland village. Louisa’s aunt also happens to live near the ruins of an ancient castle. Although Louisa insists she is not the least bit superstitious, tales of lost treasure and ghosts intrigue her.

When Louisa stumbles upon a forgotten graveyard, and a man whose name comes directly from a tombstone, she isn’t certain whether to run away in terror or stay and get to know the handsome spirit.

Erasmus Grey is cursed, and not only because he sometimes hears the voices of ghosts claiming to be his dead grandparents. While most men would count it a blessing to be a wealthy, eligible bachelor, Ras has no hope of finding a bride who will tolerate his stammer or his passion for writing Gothic novels.

Rather than succumb to the matchmaking mothers of London, he retreats to an old family estate at the behest of the ghostly voices. Though he manages to keep his presence in the country a secret, coming upon a lovely young woman during one of his rambles nearly undoes all his careful work. But when he realizes Miss Banner thinks him a ghost, Ras wonders if he might have found someone who truly understands him.

Treasures, castles, and ghosts combine in an autumn romance in a haunted wood.


October is the perfect month to read this book. There are spirits and superstitions, castle ruins, and a missing treasure to look for.

Ras had a very rough childhood being teased for his stutter. He seems to have withdrawn from a lot of the world but finds his voice in his writings. Louisa has keenly felt the loss of her father. Even more so when her mother sends away her governess and raises her with the sole goal of making a good match.

The main characters had a very interesting first meeting. It was strange but cute. I also liked the descriptions of the little town. The hidden away houses lent themselves to a mystery, and the town had a lot of history and passed down legends.

A Haunting at Havenwood is a fun addition to the Seasons of Change series that I have been enjoying.

“There are all sorts of people in this world, child. Those who love noise and distraction, and those who yearn for quiet and solitude. I think both have a place, and neither is wrong. If you take anything from our little gossip, I hope it is that there are many paths to happiness.”

Blog Tour and Review: Forget Me Not (The Gents Book #1)

blogtour

by Sarah M. Eden

Paperback : 256 pages
ISBN-10 : 1524413356
ISBN-13 : 978-1524413354
Publisher : Covenant Communications (September 7, 2020)
Language: English

Purchase from Amazon

A Georgian Romance

Nottinghamshire, 1785

After losing too many of his friends and family to early deaths, Lucas vowed to live life to the fullest. And after traversing the world, he has returned from his adventures to find his family and home as he left them-except for Julia. The little girl he left behind has blossomed into a captivating lady, a lady who makes it clear she despises him. With little hope of reconciliation, the former friends are blindsided when their parents make a shocking announcement. Lucas and Julia have been betrothed without their knowledge and are to marry immediately. Now Lucas must rely on the help of his closest friends to win the heart of a lady who loathes him-a lady he s coming to love more deeply every day.


forgetmenotquotes

Coming into this story I already had a feeling I would love it because of how much I love the stories of their children.

Those who have read the Jonquil’s books and the Lancaster’s will love seeing some beloved characters in this book. I love little Adam so much! However, this is a standalone book and the start of a new series. If you have not read the other books, there will be something special with coming into the story fresh not knowing anything that will happen in the future.

Looking at this story on its own, I always love the trope when people are friends as children and then meet up again as adults and fall in love. This book even throws in a twist to that.

Sarah Eden books are so hard to put down. The characters always have so much depth and they feel so real, the storylines pull you in, and there is always so much emotion you feel while reading her stories.

This time period is not one I read as often and I enjoyed hearing about all the fashions. I’m really glad that a number of them went out of style, like the powdered hair and wigs, and the structure in the dresses.

I cannot say enough about how much I love Sarah Eden’s books. Her stories keep you always wanting more of them and you get characters you will never forget.

Favorite quotes:

“You are building a new life; don’t forget to live it.”

“It didn’t do to believe in people. All she received in return for her faith in them was the echoing silence of empty corridors, days on end with her own loneliness, an unyielding back turned on her grief and pain.”

“She had very little control over her own life. But she was not helpless or voiceless. She would find a means of being her own defender”

“Life is meant to be lived, and that is best accomplished surrounded by people who make that life full.”

winforgetmenot

Enter Here!

Blog Tour and Review: A Foreign Crown

ForeignCrownblogbanner

foreign

by Jen Geigle Johnson

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (August 3, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524413666
ISBN-13: 978-1524413668

Purchase from Amazon

Following a devastating series of misfortunes, Lady Aribella Bardsley has bravely shouldered the responsibilities of her household. But just as the bleakness of her situation threatens to overwhelm her, a summons arrives from the Queen with a providential offer: Aribella’s presence is requested as a lady-in-waiting at the palace.

Prince Layton Wilhelm’s family has clung to their neutrality in the war for far too long. As the youngest of the King of Oldenburg’s eight sons, Layton is determined to prove his worth and is unwilling to turn a blind eye to Napoleon’s encroaching privateers. When Layton embarks on a journey to England, it is for one purpose: to petition the British navy for aid. But when he becomes acquainted with the lovely Lady Aribella, he cannot deny their powerful connection. Amid the intrigues and schemes within the walls of the palace, Layton and Aribella know a future together is impossible—but torn between loyalty and love, will they risk everything to follow their hearts?


foreigncrownquote

Lady Aribella Bardsley and Prince Layton Wilhelm of Oldenburg are often thrown together at the Palace. Lady Aribella knows that the Queen wants her daughter to marry Prince Layton. As the Queen’s lady in waiting, she must always follow orders. Aribella and Layton must decide whether their hearts or duty will win out in the end.

I hadn’t known much about English ladies in waiting or their court in general and found so much of this fascinating. People often look at royalty and think they just live a life of luxury (Prince George certainly did) but this book will feel like a behind the scenes raw look into their real lives.

Aribella and Layton seemed a little over infatuated with each other upon first meeting, and their relationship came off as superficial. While this can be realistic, it is not my preference. I did like them together once they got to know each other.

Jen Geigle Johnson’s books are known to have a lot of rich historical information. While this is a fictional story, a number of the characters were based on the real royal family. I knew about some of their situations going into the story, but seeing the types of things they had to go through made them even more real to me.

foreigncrowngiveawayEnter Here!

Vying for the Viscount – Review

8aug by Kristi Ann Hunter

Series: Hearts on the Heath (Book 1)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; 7/2 edition (August 4, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764235257
ISBN-13: 978-0764235252

Purchase from Amazon

For Hudson, the newly titled Viscount Stildon, moving to England from India where he was born and raised was already an arduous enough endeavor. When he learns the fate of the racing empire he inherited along with his title depends upon him getting in the good graces of another stable owner, he’s even more at a loss.

The stable at the neighboring estate has been Miss Bianca Snowley’s refuge for years, and when a strange man appears to be stealing the horses, she jumps to their protection without a second thought. Upon learning Hudson is actually the new owner, she can’t help but be intrigued by the area’s newest eligible bachelor.

Any thought of romance is quickly set aside, however, when Hudson proposes they work together to secure suitable spouses for each other. As their friendship grows, Hudson and Bianca begin to reconsider what they truly want in life. But will societal expectations and the weight of their responsibilities keep them from pursuing their true desires?


vyingquotes

Bianca Snowley dreams of marrying a man with an impressive stable of horses. When the new Lord Stildon arrives from India after the death of his grandfather, Bianca sets her sights on him. If only she hadn’t made such a bad first impression.

Bianca is a very unusual female for this time period. Most women in her position would not be able to work in the neighbor’s stable. She seems to get away with so much because her step mother only cares about her biological daughter. Though things will change when her father gets involved.

I have read about dances and assemblies so many times during this period, but I had no idea how some of the things there worked. I felt like I was reacting to them the same way Lord Stildon was.

I love how Kristi Ann Hunter always makes her characters so realistic. They all have such interesting personalities and you want to know what will happen to them. In fact, there are so many characters I still want to hear more about and know what happens to them in the future.  The next book in the series is Winning the Gentleman which is about the beloved character Aaron Whitworth.

“With one more blink of her eyes, his future went from planned to uncertain, but it also went from dull to colorful.”

To Sketch a Sphinx (London League #6) – Review

sphinx by Rebecca Connolly

Paperback: 178 pages
Publisher: Phase Publishing (July 28, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1952103134
ISBN-13: 978-1952103131

Purchase from Amazon

From the Hand of Sketch…

Henrietta “Hal” Mortimer has been working with England’s operatives and spies for years, her remarkable memory and artistic talents invaluable to many missions. The last thing she expects is to be pulled into a field mission herself, and to be partnered with the most insufferable asset she has ever met. Worse, then, that she has to marry the man.

And the mind of Sphinx…

There are very few people who rattle John Pratt, gifted code-breaker for the Crown, but Hal Mortimer was one of them. Marrying her in order to go into the field for their mission in Paris would be torture, but they had no choice. Will their mutual spite doom their mission before it starts or can they set it aside and work together for the safety and security of their country?


I have found Hal an interesting character since she was first introduced in the series, and I love that she was paired with fellow agent Sphinx. Hal and John are not the typical combat operatives. They each have unique talents and serve as assets to help England. Hal has an amazing memory and can remember details and draw people with precise accuracy. John has earned his code name Sphinx because he can work out puzzles like no one else can. I love Ciphering and I found the ones John worked through incredibly interesting.

This book was another great addition to a series I always enjoy reading. I love that each book can stand alone but they also build off of one another. I can’t wait to find out what happens in Fortune Favors the Sparrow, the new Agents of the Convent Series.

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