Under the Texas Mistletoe – Review

by Karen Witemeyer

Publisher : Bethany House Publishers (August 31, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 0764239317
ISBN-13 : 978-0764239311

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Purchase Special Edition from Christianbook

Three Charming and Festive Holiday Novellas Spiced with Humor, Frontier Action, and Sweet Romance

In this 3-in-1 novella collection, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer presents the new story “A Texas Christmas Carol,” in which a town’s wealthy, Scrooge-like bachelor finds his world invaded by a woman set on earning his donation for helping the local poor, and by the penetrating questions of three mysterious visitors.

It also includes, for the first time in print, “An Archer Family Christmas.” When the Archer clan gathers for the Christmas holiday, an unexpected request for help leaves Cassandra Archer directly in the path of a dangerous outlaw. Desperate to protect the woman he loves, Jim Archer races to the rescue, only to find that Cassie’s life is not the only one in peril. It will take a Christmas miracle–and the entire Archer clan–to keep a second Archer Christmas from ending in disaster.

In previously published “Gift of the Heart,” a widow and her young daughter move to Hope Springs for a fresh start. But with no money to secure a home, Ruth must convince a wealthy resort owner to accept her heirloom brooch as collateral. Will the pin that brought love to three generations soften the heart of a wounded recluse and give Ruth a second chance at love as the holidays draw near?

Sprinkled throughout the collection, you’ll find a hope-filled Christmas devotion, Witemeyer holiday recipes, and fun facts about nineteenth-century Christmas celebrations!


Under the Texas Mistletoe is a wonderful Christmas collection that contains 3 historical romance stories set in Texas. This book also includes a few recipes, a Christmas devotional, and some origins of Christmas traditions. This book will get you into the Christmas spirit no matter what time of year you read it.

A Texas Christmas Carol

This story gives a nod to the original Christmas Carol with little similarities I had fun picking up on, however, this is a unique story.

Felicity is always looking for the bright side of things, and this Christmas season she has decided that she wants the local miser to help her with the charity baskets.

Evan has had to work his way up from the bottom, and after being taken advantage of, he determines that it will never happen again. In the process, he has closed himself off from the world.

I don’t think that Evan was ever as miserly as people thought. He just needed someone to care about him. He never smiled just to be polite, he only smiled when he meant it. I can personally understand that.

I really liked this story.

An Archer Family Christmas

Before you pick up this book, make sure you have plenty of time because you will not want to put it down. Also, be prepared for “all the feels”. This book will make you very emotional.

Those who have read others in the series will enjoy the return of their beloved Archer family and new readers will fall in love with Jim and Cassie.

There is such love and loyalty in the Archer family.

Gift of the Heart

Karen Witemeyer creates characters who are not perfect. She has the ability to make her characters strong while also being incredibly vulnerable.

I loved the Biblical connection to the Ruth and Boaz story. Besides the names, there were so many little connections as well.

Beauregard “Bo” Azlin was one of those characters you feel an instant connection to. The back story of Bo’s childhood where his mother considered him damaged goods is heart breaking. Bo tried to be fair to everyone and not give special treatment but he also helped protect those in need. I liked the scene where Bo is holding the heirloom and vowing to keep it safe for Ruth. It was also sweet how he liked to keep the heirloom near his heart.

Witemeyer’s books always contain some funny moments. When Bo calls the stray cat a miscreant, little Naomi mistakenly believes that the cat’s name is Miss Creant. Bo and Naomi have a number of sweet and funny conversations.

While this felt like a very complete story, I want it to continue. I’m not ready to leave these characters.

My True Love Gave To Me

My True Love Gave To Me is a fun little bonus short story you get if you order the special edition of this book from Christianbook. It is about a young man who sets out to prove his love using the 12 days of Christmas; but in a rather unusual way.

Blog Tour and Review: The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart

by Nancy Campbell Allen

Publisher : Shadow Mountain (September 7, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 1629729272
ISBN-13 : 978-1629729275

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A romance develops as a detective partners with a lonely-hearts columnist to solve a murder mystery.

London, 1885

Amelie Hampton is a hopeless romantic, which makes her the perfect columnist to answer lonely heart letters in The Marriage Gazette. When Amelie plays matchmaker with two anonymous lonely hearts, she also decides to secretly observe the couple’s blind date. To her surprise, the man who appears for the rendezvous is Harold Radcliffe―a grieving widower and a member of Amelie’s book club.

Police detective Michael Baker has been struggling ever since his best friend and brother-in-law died in the line of fire. Because he knows the dangers of his job, he has vowed never to marry and subject a wife and family to the uncertainty of his profession. But when he meets Miss Hampton, he is captured by her innocence, beauty, and her quick mind.

When a woman’s body is pulled from the river, Michael suspects the woman’s husband―Harold Radcliffe―of foul play. Amelie refuses to believe that Harold is capable of such violence but agrees to help, imagining it will be like one of her favorite mystery novels. Her social connections and clever observations prove an asset to the case, and Amelie is determined to prove Mr. Radcliffe’s innocence. But the more time Amelie and Michael spend together, the more they trust each other, and the more they realize they are a good team, maybe the perfect match.

They also realize that Mr. Radcliffe is hiding more than one secret, and when his attention turns toward Amelie, Michael knows he must put an end to this case before the woman he loves comes to harm.


Amelie Hampton wants to be an independent working girl, but she is still quite a bit naive. She oftentimes finds herself having to rely on others. I liked her character growth through the book and her desire to jump right in to help in different situations.

Detective Michael Baker has lost a lot of people in his life, and it has made him seem cold and really closed off. He spends a lot of time trying to focus on his work instead of his home life.

I found the book club discussion about the most romantic book interesting. Though personally, I have never understood putting Romeo and Juliet or Jane Eyre in that category. I have never found either one romantic.

While this definitely did include a sweet romance, a lot of the book focused on the mystery. It was a lot more about Michael’s work as a detective investigating a murder than Amelie’s job as a matchmaker.

It took me a little bit to get into the book, but I ended up really liking the characters and the mystery. Amelie and Michael really balanced each other out well. I also liked Amelie’s cousins.

Blog Tour and Review: An Engagement of Sorts

by Alene Wecker

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Covenant Communications, Inc. (August 8, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1524417645
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1524417642

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Much to her mother’s dismay, spirited Anne Fletcher spent her youth seeking her father’s approval by hunting and riding. More comfortable in breeches than ball gowns, Anne sees the freedoms she once enjoyed slowly taken from her in the name of fashioning her into an eligible young lady. When her parents try to force her into marriage, Anne makes a desperate attempt to salvage her last vestige of independence. If she is to marry, she will do so on her own terms.

Anne strikes a deal: if she cannot secure a man for herself, she will agree to marry the husband her parents approved. She soon finds herself in the last place she would ever choose―that stifling parade of etiquette, the London Season. Anne’s plan is in motion. Now all she needs is a man willing to masquerade as her fiancé.



An Engagement of Sorts is not one of those stories where the characters just sit around waiting for things to happen.

There was laughter and tears, a villain to defeat, and a hoyden who found her knight disguised as a flirtatious dandy.

I always love when a story has a combination of funny moments and sweet moments. For a good laugh, the horse race wins hands down! There is also the sweetest love letter.

I loved Alene Wecker’s complex characters, interesting plot, and perfect pace to her story. Wecker is a debut author who I greatly look forward to hearing more from.

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Blog Tour and Review: Song of Salzburg

by Jen Geigle Johnson

Publisher : Covenant Communications, Inc. (August 2, 2021)
Language : English
ISBN-10 : 1524417602
ISBN-13 : 978-1524417604

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When talented violinist Freya Winter is chosen to take part in a musical celebration alongside some of the best instrumentalists in the world, she is thrilled. Performing in front of royalty is a breathtaking opportunity, but her true motivation for traveling to Salzburg is to fulfill an unlikely dream: to meet and train under the renowned Salzburg Maestro, a master musician shrouded in mystery.

Freya travels aboard the Orient Express to practice with the newly formed orchestra in Salzburg, and nothing can distract her―not her mother’s illness, nor her father’s domineering ways; however, when a handsome passenger becomes a regular fixture on her journeys, Freya feels her focus blurring. Conversation with Erich is easy, and their shared love of music draws them undeniably closer. But even as they open their hearts to each other, the harsh realities of her family life intrude on the future she’s envisioned, and Freya feels her dreams slipping through her fingers, threatening to rob her of everything she cherishes most.


This was an enjoyable read about a young woman named Freya Winter who has a passion for music. Her parents see it as only a hobby and are giving her some time away in Salzburg in the student orchestra before she must give it up. On the way there she meets a young man named Erich.

Their relationship takes place mostly on the Orient Express as she travels between her school and her grandmother’s house in Paris. There are a lot of details about the Orient Express as well as the cities of Salzburg and Paris that I liked, as well as fashion from this time period.

While I like music and have an appreciation for it, I am not a musician. However, there was something so beautiful about this young couple having such a passion for music, and then how they are able to play it together as one.

Song of Salzburg is a sweet read that I would recommend.

Enter Here!

The Merchant and the Rogue – Review

by Sarah M. Eden

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Shadow Mountain (August 17, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1629728519
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1629728513

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London, 1865

Vera Sorokina loves reading the Penny Dreadfuls and immersing herself in tales of adventure, mystery, and romance. Her own days are filled with the often mundane work of running the book and print shop she owns with her father. The shop offers her the freedom and income to employ and protect the poverty-stricken Londoners she’s come to care about, and it gives her father something to do other than long for their hometown of St. Petersburg. She is grateful for the stability in their lives, but she often feels lonely.

Brogan Donnelly was born and raised in Ireland, but has lived in London for several years, where he’s built a career as a Penny Dreadful writer. He has dedicated himself to the plight of the poor with the help of his sister. His membership in the secretive Dread Penny Society allows him to feel he isn’t entirely wasting his life, yet he feels dissatisfied. With no one to share his life with but his sister, he fears London will never truly feel like home.

Brogan and Vera’s paths cross, and the attraction is both immediate and ill-advised. Vera knows from past experience that writers are never to be trusted, and Brogan has reason to suspect not everything at her print shop is aboveboard. When the growing criminal enterprise run by the elusive and violent Mastiff begins targeting their area of London, Brogan and Vera must work together to protect the community they’ve both grown to love. But that means they’ll need to learn to trust each other with dangerous secrets that have followed both of them from their home countries.


I’ll admit that a secret society of vigilante Penny Dreadful writers during the Victorian era sounded a little strange to me when I first started reading this series, but now I want to be a member! Sarah Eden can write so many different genres and due to her immense talent and painstaking research, I find myself immersed in every story.

The Merchant and the Rogue is different from the previous in the series because Brogan Donnelly has left the Dread Penny Society because he no longer wanted to lie to his sister, and because the Dread Penny Master wanted him to go rogue on a case involving a Russian ambassador in order to find out some information. He ends up working at a print shop where Russian Vera Sorokina and her father also sell penny dreadfuls, so he has to hide his identity.

The story takes on the same format as the previous in the series where there are installments of penny dreadfuls at the end of some of the chapters. These ones are written by Brogan and Mr King. Brogan’s stories are very unique. Because of the dreadfuls, there are more characters to keep track of, but I really like the addition of them.

There are some lovable kids from the street, and I instantly adored Olly and Liquorice. I would love to know where Eden gets the names for her street kids.

Readers not only get to know the main characters, but there are always side characters you love and hope to see again. Brogan’s sister is a force to be reckoned with, and I hope she gets her own story. I also am looking forward to learning more about Stone. So many characters are intriguing.

This series is so unique and each of the penny dreadfuls are fascinating as well. I love the characters, and I loved the mystery. I can’t wait to read more from this series.

Blog Tour and Review: Heart in the Highlands

by Heidi Kimball

Publisher : Covenant Communications, Inc. (August 9, 2021)
Language : English
ISBN-10 : 152441882X
ISBN-13 : 978-1524418823

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An arranged marriage was never what Callum Darrington, future Duke of Edinbane, imagined for himself. But with the well-being of his uncle’s family hanging in the balance, Callum strikes a bargain with his father and reluctantly agrees to tie himself to a stranger. The reality of the lovely Lady Katherine is more than he could have hoped for, and their wedding heralds a bright new future for the couple—until Callum discovers his father deliberately deceived him. Callum lashes out, setting in motion heartbreak not even he could have foreseen.

Four years later, Callum is ready to piece together the marriage he so carelessly destroyed. But their years apart have hardened Kate: she is not the naive and trusting young woman she once was, and she has no intention of allowing Callum a foothold in her life or her heart. Despite her coldness, Callum works to regain her trust and rebuild their marriage, not realizing Kate harbors a secret that could change everything—and this time, there is much more at stake than just her heart.


bookquote

I stayed up until 4am reading Heart in the Highlands, and I regret nothing.

I did have a love/hate relationship with Callum. Just when I thought he had gotten back on my good side he messes up again, but that’s just what makes him real. I love that even though he is broken and vulnerable, he is really trying. He just needs to be shown grace for the times he messes up, and he needs to learn to bestow grace to others like his father.

Kate often acts like she was the only one wronged, and while she definitely was abandoned at what could be described as the worst time of her life, Callum did reach out to her repeatedly through letters which she ignored, making him think she didn’t want him around. However, Kate is a very strong woman who tries to do the best with what she has.

Communication is so important in a relationship, and it is often lacking. I loved how they exchanged his journal entries and her drawings from their time apart to learn more about each other.

This story was emotional and really made me think. We might easily find ourselves criticizing others, but could we really forgive someone just as easily? We also have to be careful not to hold on to anger. It can end up affecting us far more than anyone else.

Heidi recently mentioned that she had wondered during a difficult time if her passion for writing would ever come back. I am so glad it did. I would have hated to miss out on reading stories like this.

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The Ears Have It – Review

by Rebecca Connolly

Publisher : Phase Publishing (July 27, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 278 pages
ISBN-10 : 1952103290
ISBN-13 : 978-1952103292

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To see or not to see…

Emmeline Bartlett has a secret. By day, she is the polite, proper, sometimes teacher of writing and rhetoric at the prestigious Miss Masters’s Finishing School. But by night, she disguises herself as the mysterious Ears, exploring and investigating the darker sides of London, writing articles about her discoveries under a pseudonym and exposing scandals. When a handsome Spaniard crosses her path, Emmeline discovers new adventures in London by night, as well as new dangers.

Teodoro de Vickers y Mendoza isn’t sure what he is going to do with the title he inherited from his estranged English grandfather, but he’s come to England to find out. Meeting Ears on a nighttime walk isn’t part of the plan, nor is finding her intriguing, exciting, and beautiful. The further he gets into her world, the more he wonders about his own, and the less certain he is about everything.

Except for her.


As the offspring of an English father and a Spanish mother, Teo is torn between two countries. After the death of his estranged grandfather, he returns to an England he doesn’t know.

Emmeline has always looked for adventure and stories, and she finds it best when she silently tours the streets of London at night. Balancing her nightly sleuthing skills as Ears, her daytime routine following around her Aunt like a proper lady, and her occasional teaching position at a finishing school, leaves her days and nights busy. Yet Emmeline still wonders which identity she really is.

Teo falls head over heels really fast and his entire life and all his thoughts seem consumed by Emmeline. To me it seemed a little fast. Emmeline falls in love pretty fast as well, but it doesn’t seem to consume her entire life as much.

There’s quite a bit of Spanish in this book. I know enough Spanish, so I didn’t have any problems reading it, and it fit the character’s personalities better to use their native tongue. However, if you don’t know Spanish, you may want to have a way to translate it nearby.

Gent is in this book! I love him! If you haven’t read his book (The Lady and the Gent), you really should.

My favorite parts of The Ears Have It are the plots, mystery, and the London League. There were a lot of little connections from previous books that I loved. A major plot is also a continuation, but this book can be read on its own.

The Nabob’s Daughter – Review

by Jess Heileman

Publisher : Vagabond Publishing, LLC (June 16, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 444 pages
ISBN-10 : 1732985146
ISBN-13 : 978-1732985148

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She’ll do anything to escape an arranged marriage. He’ll do anything to help her.

Honora Crauford relishes her life in India. So when her father informs her of his latest business transaction—marrying her off to a bankrupt nobleman in England—her only hope for returning home is to convince her betrothed, by whatever antics necessary, that a marriage to her comes at a cost that not even the greatest fortune can justify. 

Graham Whitworth can hardly believe his wretched luck. It seems the only way to save his family’s insolvent estate is to comply with his father’s demands and marry the extremely wealthy, but utterly ridiculous, nabob’s daughter. But when Honora missteps, Graham discerns her farce and begins to see who she truly is—a most impressive lady. A lady likely capable of fixing his family’s financial troubles. 

Realizing they both desire freedom, Graham and Honora join forces to restore the Whitworth estate and return Honora to her beloved India. But sometimes love has its own agenda, and the revoking of a once undesirable arrangement may just prove to be the greatest sacrifice of all.  


I read The Nabob’s Daughter by Jess Heileman on Kindle Unlimited, and immediately after finishing it I bought the paperback because I loved it so much!

I seriously hated every time I had to put it down. Honora and Graham were the cutest couple, and I loved how they interacted with each other. I also loved all the rich details of India that the author included.

This book was so sweet and yet hilarious as well; the perfect combination! On top of that, it had a twist that I didn’t see coming. I loved this book, and I highly recommend it. It was one of the best releases of the year.