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Review: A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson




by Liz Johnson

About the Book

Ninety years ago, Millie Sullivan’s great-grandmother was a guest at oil tycoon Howard Dawkins’ palatial estate on the shore of St. Simon’s Island, Georgia. Now, Millie plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of the same manor. But when her grandmother suggests that there is a lost diary containing the location of a hidden treasure on the estate, along with the true identity of Millie’s great-grandfather, Millie sets out to find the truth of her heritage–and the fortune that might be hers. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate’s private library, he threatens to have her fired. But her story seems too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up…

Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight as two charming characters get caught up in the adventure of uncovering the past and finding their way to an unexpected future.

My Thoughts

Where do I even begin with this book? It has so many elements that quickly endeared me to it, I just don’t even know where to start. A good place to start is with the plot. How could you not love a book that is all about two people searching for buried treasure and using a 90-year-old journal for clues? Then, you add a chateau in which actors dress in 1920s clothing and lead guests on tours of the mansion. It’s magical. The Chateau definitely reminded me of Gatsby’s mansion. And I liked getting snippets from Ruth’s journal. Any book that gives journal entries is one I want to read. The mystery unfolds gently throughout the pages and the storyline has its fair share of twists and turns that kept me guessing as to how everything would come together.

Then there are the characters. I really liked this cast of characters. Millie is such a sweetheart and I really want to be her friend. Her love of novels was endearing and her dedication to Grandma Joy was the best. Watching someone go through dementia is always heartbreaking, even more so when you’re as close as Millie and Grandma Joy are. Yet Millie did the best she could for her grandmother and I applaud her for that. And Ben was a great hero. His willingness to correct his mother’s mistakes was admirable and being a history professor, he was perfect for Millie. And I loved how sweet he was to Grandma Joy.

Overall, I loved A Sparkle of Silver. Fans of cozy mysteries intertwined with inspirational romance will most definitely want to read this book. Bravo, Ms. Johnson!

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Review: Rose in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan




by Rachel McMillan

About the Book

Some people marry for love; others marry for music…

Rose McNeil is rising the ranks at the Mozarteum in Salzburg as a violinist to watch. Her musical Nova Scotian heritage has loaned an unparalleled technique to her interpretation of some of the most beautiful compositions in the world. The opportunity of a first chair assignment to the Rainer Quartet under the baton of Oliver Thorne is a dream come true–until her visa expires and the threat of leaving Vienna looms. As much as she grieves the prospect of leaving Vienna and the quartet, it is Oliver–with his dry sense of humor and unexpected charm–she will miss most.

British ex-pat Oliver Thorne’s recent appointment as conductor to the Rainer Quartet makes him the youngest in the role during it prestigious history. But it wasn’t the path he wanted. A tragic accident years ago forbade him from ever playing his beloved cello again. Now he spends his life teaching and guest conducting for premiere orchestras at the Musikverein. When he first hears Rose McNeil play, all the dreams he left by the wayside are reborn with her unexpected talent. When Rose learns she may have to leave Vienna, Oliver has to come up with a solution. Losing his first violinist is unfortunate, losing her is unimaginable.

So he comes up with a crazy idea: A marriage on paper only. She’ll take his name and his citizenship. They’ll split rent money and coin toss to decide who takes the bed or the futon every night. They’ll keep their secret from the orchestra. She’ll play and he’ll conduct and, most importantly…she’ll stay.

Unbeknownst to each other, Rose is in love with Oliver and Oliver is in love with Rose. They might even find a happy ending, if only their pesky marriage doesn’t get in the way.

My thoughts

I’ll be honest; contemporary romance is not my favorite genre. I read it from time to time, mostly when I’m in a rut and need something light to read or if it has some element that really grabs my attention. In this case, that element was the book’s author. I love Rachel McMillan’s writing. Her fast pace and witty lines will keep you turning pages.

I like Rose and Oliver. At first, I wasn’t so sure about Oliver, but the more I read, the more I realized why he was so popular with other readers. He is sweet and thoughtful to Rose. Not many guys would think to do some of the things he did for Rose. While he may not have been my all-time favorite hero, I thought he was an all-around good character. Rose was fun. She’s a little quirky and whimsical and she gets very excited about things, mainly music. And I love her taste in socks. She’s someone that would be loads of fun to be friends with.

The other main character in this book is Vienna. And it does shine. You can clearly see McMillan’s love for this city in the pages of Rose in Three Quarter Time. Her descriptions of “gold and whipped cream” buildings and enjoying the delectable treats the city has to offer will definitely make readers want to travel to this European city of ladies and gentlemen and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate piled with loads of whipped cream…preferably with a sweet cat like Parcheesi at their side.

All in all, I thought Rose in Three Quarter Time was a nice read. Fans of contemporary romance who love music and marriage of convenience tales will enjoy this book.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Lately 10.13.2018




October is my favorite month of the year. I love the change of seasons, when the weather turns cool and the leaves take on their new fall colors. It’s such a beautiful time of year. Those chill autumn days are perfect for curling up with a book, and I love the sound of the gently pouring rain as I sit at my laptop and write.

Writing

Writing has been a little hectic lately, as I’m currently at work on three projects. My main project is the fifth and final book in The Abi Hensley Series. Trying not to think of it being the last book in the series too much, or else I’ll just cry. I’m also working on the first book in my new series, which is a series of mysteries set in the 1920s. I’m really excited about this. Those who have read A Time For Adventure will recognize my new heroine, Fiona Clery. She’s incredibly smart and funny and a lot of fun to write about. And, I have a Christmas novella that I’m hoping to publish this winter. This one is a contemporary story that takes place in a book store which is housed in a Victorian home. I can’t wait to share more details with you all about these projects as they come about.

Reading

My reading schedule has been equally as hectic. I’ve had NetGalley reads and library books, and a few other Kindle books to read. Currently, I’m reading Caught by Surprise. I am really enjoying it. Jen Turano’s books are so much fun.

What have you been reading and writing? And what’s your favorite time of year, whether for reading and writing, or just a general appreciation for that season?

–Miranda Atchley

Review: An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M. White




by Roseanna M. White

About the Book

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and list in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems. As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge–and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger–and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.

My Thoughts

This book was a great ending to the Shadows Over England series. I didn’t love it as much as I loved A Name Unknown, but I did think that it was a smart and well-written novel that was enjoyable. I love the setting of the book and thought the clockmaker theme was clever.

But of course, the characters are what made the book. Barclay was a great hero. He is selfless and would do anything for the ones that he loves. And I love the theme of this series; how these people who think they’ve been forgotten have learned that God has never forsaken them; that He loves them unconditionally. Such a great message. Evelina was a good heroine, also. I felt sorry for her and the way her mother and aunt treated her, but I love that she learned to stick up for herself, despite her circumstances.

Overall, An Hour Unspent is a good conclusion to a great series. If you love historical inspirational fiction, you will definitely want to read the Shadows Over England series.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Thank you to Bethany House and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this lovely tale of grace and mercy in WWI.

Review: Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano




by Jen Turano

About the Book

Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn’t guaranteed to “take.” After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she’s finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill.”

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it’s simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country. When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she’s determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she’ll end up at risk as well.

As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there’s more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated…

My Thoughts

This is the first full-length novel I’ve read by Jen Turano and I don’t know why it took me so long to do so. I’d read her novellas in the past and loved them, yet only recently picked up one of her novels. But better late than never, for Turano’s writing is certainly worth the wait.

First of all, I just love the fun, light-hearted, quirkiness of her books. I love historical fiction, but not many characters in the genre are as funny and quirky as Turano’s. They’re imperfect, they usually aren’t all that graceful, and they certainly are not going to sit around waiting on a man to tell them how to live their lives. I love, love, love this about her books. I can relate to Turano’s heroines, particularly Permilia because she’s shy and doesn’t know how to speak to most people and doesn’t bend to the rules of New York’s high society. And, like me, the girl couldn’t dance her way out of a paper bag. But she’s also smart, witty, and resourceful. When things don’t go her way, she figures out another way to make her dreams come true, asking the Lord for His guidance in her life. Some of the situations Permilia finds herself in will make you laugh, while others will have you on the edge of your seat.

At times I was bit torn as to how I thought about Asher. Overall, I think he was a pretty good hero, but there were times I think he just a little flat for me. Not my favorite hero, but definitely not the worst hero. As for some of the background characters, I found them delightful in their own rights. They create a rich cast for this book, and I can’t wait to read more about some of them in the rest of the series.

All in all, I absolutely loved Behind the Scenes. It’s unique, has so many great elements, and has earned a place on my top ten books of the year. I must needs all of Jen Turano’s books!

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Review: Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin




by Lynn Austin

About the Book

Having returned to Chicago, young socialite Anna Nicholson can’t seem to focus on her upcoming marriage The new information she’s learned about her birth mother continues to pull at her, and she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her find the truth. But as she meets people who knew her mother and hears stories about the past, Anna soon discovers that some secrets are better left hidden.

At the same time unflattering stories about Anna are leaked by someone who would love to see her disgraced and her engagement broken. And as Anna tries to share her faith with her society friends, she understands that her choice to seek God’s purpose for her life isn’t as simple as she had hoped.


My Thoughts

I loved the prequel to this book, Waves of Mercy. It was such a great read, yet ended in a totally unexpected way. The ending left me with many questions about the future for these characters. That’s why I was excited to learn that Lynn Austin had written a sequel. I really like the two main characters, Anna and Geesje, and was curious as to what happened to them after Waves of Mercy.

As I said before, the characters are my favorite part of this story. Anna is a sweetheart. She’s been raised in such a self-serving society, yet she sees how erroneous the rules of high society are. I respect her for wanting to leave the gossip and greed behind for a simpler life. I was glad to see that she was able to learn more about her biological parents and without giving away any spoilers, I’m happy with the way things turned out for her.

Geesje is a wonderful character as well. She’s a really sweet person and is such a good grandmother to Anna.

Overall, I thought Legacy of Mercy was a great sequel to a lovely book.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I'd Like to Meet



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today’s topic: Author’s I’d Love to Meet

We all have favorite authors. And while at times it can seem intimidating, we all dream of meeting our authors who written the books we love so much. That’s what today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is all about. Today I’ve listed ten authors that I would love to meet in person. Some are no longer with us, while some are still very much alive and crafting stories to cherish. Enjoy.



10: Rachel McMillan
I love Rachel’s novels. Edwardian bachelor women and amateur sleuths in the 1930s? How could you not love that? It would be such fun to meet her and talk about how great The Blue Castle is.



9: Harper Lee
Can you imagine the stories she could tell? I would just want to sit out on the front porch and listen to her.



8: Allison Pittman
Oh, but she is a good writer. She’s got that ability to write historical fiction that works its way into your heart and stays with you forever. I would love to meet her someday.



7: Jean Webster
Daddy-Long-Legs is one of my favorite books ever. From the little I’ve read of her, Jean Webster sounds like such a cool person. Oh, it would be so fun to travel back to the early 1900s and meet her!



6: Amber Holcomb (Stokes)
Amber is an indie author whom I’ve come to consider a friend. I’ve enjoyed reading Austen with her and our friend Julie. I think that Amber is a wonderful author and a really sweet person who would be such fun to meet.



5: Jane Austen
You can’t not love Jane Austen. I would so love to go back in time to Regency England and meet her and listen to her witty observations.



4: Melody Carlson
I’ve been reading Melody Carlson’s books for a long time. She’s written in such a wide variety and these days I love reading her historical fiction. It would be pretty neat to meet one of the authors that inspired me to write.



3: Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë is one of my favorite authors. She was such a good writer. And while her life wasn’t as adventurous as some, she still had a fascinating life. She would be an incredible person to meet.



2: Jen Turano
If she is anywhere near as funny as her characters are, I think Ms. Jen Turano would be a blast to meet.



1: L.M. Montgomery
While it would be incredibly intimidating to meet my favorite author, I would love to spend a day in Prince Edward Island with her. She was so talented, so smart, and could make anything sound beautiful.

Who are some authors you would love to meet? Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? Tell me about it in the comments!

–Miranda Atchley