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.

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

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by Sarah M. Eden

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

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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.


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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.”

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Blog Tour and Review: A Foreign Crown

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by Jen Geigle Johnson

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

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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?


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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.

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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

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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?


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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.”

Giveaway, Blog Tour, and Review: The Gentleman Spy

gentspyby Erica Vetsch

Series: Serendipity & Secrets (Book 2)
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (July 28, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 082544618X
ISBN-13: 978-0825446184

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He only wanted a duchess for a day–but she’s determined to make it a marriage for life

When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she’s meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life–as a secret agent for the Crown.

But his bride has other ideas. She’s determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society–the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she’d remain in the background as he ordered.

Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?


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“He supposed that someday he would have to forgive the child for being a girl.”

From the first line of the book, I was drawn right in.

Marcus Haverly never wanted to be the next Duke of Haverly. He is coerced into marriage and the chosen bride is Lady Charlotte Tiptree. Charlotte is not one to simper in the background and soon she is completely changing Marcus’ life.

I loved that the heroine is described as plain. So many books have the heroine be unbelievably gorgeous. I also love that she has a brain. Marcus and Charlotte have so much in common and can have intelligent conversations.

Fans of Rebecca Connolly’s London League Series and Kristi Ann Hunter’s Haven Manor Series will love The Gentleman Spy.

Between the characters, the mystery, and the pace of a good plot, it kept me from wanting to put the book down.

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Blog Tour and Review: Coming Home to Bellingham

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bellingham by Katie Stewart Stone

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (July 6, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524413178
ISBN-13: 978-1524413170

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What begins as a pleasant holiday with a new friend in Brighton quickly turns to devastation for Anabelle Milton when she receives the tragic news: her parents are dead. Turned out of the only home she’s ever known, Anabelle is sent to live with an aunt and uncle who are strangers to her.

Heartbroken, she arrives at Bellingham Cottage, a cozy home on the sprawling grounds of the Bellingham estate, to find an unexpectedly warm welcome—not only from her own family but also from the family of their aristocratic neighbors, Lord and Lady Bellingham.

Anabelle soon attracts the attention of the heirs of Bellingham—brothers who, though connected by blood, could not be more different. As she slowly begins to distance herself from the polite and obedient young woman her mother trained her to be, Anabelle is free for the first time to choose her own path. She knows she must be true to herself, even if it means risking unrequited love—but can she trust that the gentleman who has stolen her heart will not break it?


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From the very first pages I found myself annoyed with the main character. Anabelle Milton seems superficial and judgy and the way she led Mr Timmons on only to trash him was so wrong.

Robert and Lucy are so adorable together. Robert was probably my favorite side character. Though at times he seemed older and other times he seemed very young, I loved his fun and blunt personality.

Having a large set of brothers in a story is always interesting and I love how their personalities played off of each other.

In the fashion of many Jane Austen stories, we also had a creepy clergyman.

Annabelle seemed to grow somewhat and be a little more accepting of people, but she continued to make fun of others and think too highly of herself. It seemed like everyone loved her and wanted to be with her all the time. I think it was a lot more noticeable since this story was written in first person so Anabelle was the one praising herself.

I liked the plot of this story and many of the characters. I just think that I would have liked it more if Annabelle hadn’t been so full of herself.

I also wish the epilogue wasn’t included. It just left me sad.

There’s just something about reading an author’s debut novel, and Katie Stewart Stone is an interesting voice I would like to hear more from.


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Blog Tour and Review: Solving Sophronia

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Sophronia by Jennifer Moore

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (May 4, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 152441235X
ISBN-13: 978-1524412357

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Lady Sophronia Bremerton is a far cry from the typical debutante, but she’s the toast of London’s upper class for one simple reason: she’s a society columnist for the London Illustrated News, and the gentry loves seeing their exploits printed in the gossip pages. But Sophie has bigger plans she aspires to be an investigative reporter. When a stuffy ballroom at yet another Season proves to be nothing more than the usual rumor mill, Sophie seeks respite in the library alongside four other young women who, for their own reasons, are also looking for escape. As the conversation turns to their secret ambitions, the women form a sisterhood and a bold plan: they will make their dreams a reality, no matter the obstacles. Thus begins the Blue Orchid Society.

Hearing of a murder in a London rookery, Sophie seizes the opportunity to prove her skills. Detective Jonathan Graham doesn’t believe a civilian, a noblewoman at that, should be anywhere near a murder investigation, but Sophie insists on helping bring the killer to justice. Her investigative prowess doesn’t go unnoticed by the police, especially Jonathan, who can’t decide whether this intrepid reporter is a thorn in his side or the woman of his dreams. But as the case grows more complicated and dangerous, their very lives and their hearts may be at risk.


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I liked the intro chapter and I look forward to learning more about each of the women in the Blue Orchid Society. They don’t fit in to the constraints of the current society but they are all unique and form a lasting friendship.

“I wish to be known for more than just to whom I was born”

I enjoyed the character development of Sophie and Jonathan. The mystery itself took a little to get into. There was a touch too many crime scene details for my taste. After a little bit the mystery picked up for me and I really looked forward to seeing how it would play out.

“One cannot control matters of the heart”

I liked that this was a different kind of Victorian novel and following along throughout the inter workings of an entire police investigation was interesting aside from the crime scene itself.

“A gentleman needs to be rescued by a lady every now and then.”

Historical fiction is my favorite genre to read and I liked reading about the different groups of people during this time period.

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Read the prequel Emmeline for free!

 

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As Arthur Bremerton, Lord Mather, hurries to the opening session of Parliament, he is incensed to find his way blocked by a boisterous group protesting for women’s rights. But his annoyance turns to mortification when he finds his own cousin among their ranks, alongside a beautiful suffragette who engages him in a fierce battle of words and wills.

Emmeline’s fight for equality is just one facet of her wide-ranging interests. At the moment, her most pressing concern is how she and her mother, an eccentric Baroness, are to begin again after the family’s fortune was squandered following her father’s death. After her heated disagreement with Lord Mather, the only thought she gives the infuriating man is the hope that they will never meet again. But alas, this hope is in vain: unbeknownst to them, both Emmeline and Arthur are to be guests at a three-week house party, and fate seems determined to throw them together at every opportunity.

Get your free copy of Emmeline here!