Thursday, December 31, 2015

Book Review: Twelve Days in December by Michele Paige Holmes

Twelve Days in December, by Michele Paige Holmes
2015, 85p, Clean Regency Romance
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from eBooks for Review for an honest review

A Christmas Novella from the bestselling Hearthfire Romance series by Michele Paige Holmes:

Five months isn’t enough time to grieve the death of her husband and marry again, but when the unexpected opportunity to take her sister’s place as the bride of wealthy New York businessman, William Vancer, presents itself, twenty-four year-old Charlotte Holbrook agrees. Their marriage of convenience will provide a secure future for her son, while William will be able to claim the inheritance he needs to expand his company westward.

To begin their perfect and perfectly safe arrangement, William allots the last twelve days in December to become acquainted with his new family—a task more easily accomplished than he had imagined. For in Charlotte he finds a tender heart and companion, while stepping into the role of father to her son, brings William a great measure of joy as well. Before the twelve days have passed, he finds himself wishing their marriage of convenience could be something much more.

For Charlotte, every day with William is one of overwhelming gratitude, as he anticipates and provides for her needs, as well as the fondest desires of her heart. More than material comforts, William offers friendship as well, and a loving concern that Charlotte has gone too long without. Guilt ridden, she struggles with her growing attraction and wonders how she can ever remain loyal to her first husband, while allowing herself to love William as he deserves.

I loved the Hearthfire series! William and Charlotte were two of my favorite characters so I was excited to learn there was a novella with their story! We met them in the third book, Marrying Christopher. Twelve Days in December starts with a scene from that book which is told from Charlotte's perspective. Charlotte is Marsali's sister who had been recently widowed and had a young son to raise.

I loved William Vancer and felt bad for him when things didn't work out with Marsali (I was very happy for her, though). In order to save his business, he needed to be married by a certain date and Charlotte spontaneously agreed to marry him. We learned her reasons for that and his reasons for needing to get married. They were unsure of each other at first (which was humorous at times) and it was fun to see their relationship progress!

I could have read more about them but am glad that they each got a happy ending! What I did like about the length is that it was a fast read and was perfect for this time of year. This probably could work as a standalone, but it would be much more fun to read Marrying Christopher first!

Michele Paige Holmes spent her childhood and youth in Arizona and northern California, often curled up with a good book instead of out enjoying the sunshine. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Elementary Education, and found it an excellent major in which to indulge her love of children's literature.

Her first novel, COUNTING STARS (Covenant Communications 2007), won the 2007 Whitney Award for best romance. The sequel, a romantic suspense titled, ALL THE STARS IN HEAVEN (Covenant 2009), was a Whitney finalist, as was her first historical romance, CAPTIVE HEART (Covenant 2011). MY LUCKY STARS (Covenant 2012) completed the Stars series.

In October 2014 Michele launched the Hearthfire historical romance line with the publication of SAVING GRACE (Mirror Press 2014). The companion novel, LOVING HELEN (Mirror Press 2015) was released in February 2015. A third book about this same family, MARRYING CHRISTOPHER, will be published in summer 2015, with another historical to follow later this year.

Michele has been a member of the same critique group for over fifteen years and feels that joining a critique group is the single best thing an author can to do help improve his or her writing. She has been a member of RWA and URWA, LDStorymakers, and The League of Utah Writers. Michele enjoys both attending and teaching at conferences.

When not reading or writing romance, Michele is busy with her full time job as a wife and mother. She and her husband live in Utah with their five high maintenance children and a Shitzu that resembles a teddy bear, in a house with a wonderful view of the mountains.

My reviews of the other books in this series:

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Book Review: The Mariposa Hotel by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson and Heather B. Moore

The Mariposa Hotel, by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson and Heather B. Moore
2015, 265p, Clean Contemporary Romance
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a copy from eBooks for Review for an honest review

The Mariposa Hotel
A Tangerine Street Romance
(a novel in three parts)

Welcome to Tangerine Street

Tangerine Street is a must-see tourist stop with a colorful mix of one-of-a-kind boutiques, unique restaurants, eclectic museums, quaint bookstores, and exclusive bed-and-breakfasts. The Mariposa Hotel, a new resort, has revitalized Seashell Beach, bringing new life to the sleepy beach town. In the charming gardens of the hotel sits a three-hundred-year-old wishing well transported from Mexico. One toss of the coin, a sincere wish, and lives are changed forever…

Other books in the Tangerine Street Romance series:
The Fortune Café
The Boardwalk Antiques Shop

I read The Fortune Cafe last year and loved it! You can read more about it and my review here. I haven't yet read The Boardwalk Antiques Shop but it's in my TBR pile.

This book consists of three novellas by three different authors. This time, the setting is the Mariposa Hotel, and revolves around three employees. These are three of my favorite authors so I was excited to read this anthology! 

In each story, there were assumptions made between the characters that threatened to keep them apart and they had to be willing to get past those in order to start a relationship. The three characters that work at the hotel are a maid, concierge and events coordinator and the other three characters are a US Marshal, plastic surgeon and a Hollywood producer. The second story didn't appeal to me as much as the first and third ones did, but it's still a fun read. 

I loved the 300-year-old wishing well from Mexico that was part of each story. It was fun to visit it and hear the wishes from the different characters. 

What I love the most about these books is that they are clean, fast, entertaining reads and I know once I start, I will use every spare minute I have to finish it. I hope there are more Tangerine Street novels in the works!

About the Authors

Julie Wright (1972-still breathing) was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. She's lived in LA, Boston, and the literal middle of nowhere (don't ask). She wrote her first book when she was fifteen. Since then, she's written sixteen novels and coauthored three. Julie won the Whitney award for best romance in 2010 with her novel Cross My Heart and the Crown Heart award for The Fortune Café. She is agented by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger Inc.

She has one husband, three kids, two salamanders, one dog, and a varying amount of fish (depending on attrition).

She loves writing, reading, traveling, hiking, playing with her kids, and watching her husband make dinner.

She used to speak fluent Swedish, but now speaks only well enough to cuss out her children in public.

She hates mayonnaise.

Melanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She consumes astonishing amounts of chocolate, chick flicks, and romance novels. After meeting her husband online, she is now living happily married in Southern California with her growing family and a series of doomed houseplants. Melanie is a former English teacher and a sometime blogger who loves to laugh and make others laugh. In her down time (ha!), she writes romantic comedies and pines after beautiful shoes.

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen historical novels and thrillers, written under pen name H.B. Moore. She writes women's fiction, romance and inspirational non-fiction under Heather B. Moore. This can all be confusing, so her kids just call her Mom. Heather attended Cairo American College in Egypt, the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in Utah.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Blog Tour/Review: Framed and Burning by Lisa Brunette

Lisa Brunette is gearing up for her new release of Framed and Burning: Book Two in the Dreamslippers Series.

Framed and Burning, Book Two in the Dreamslippers Series
Published by Sky Harbor LLC
November 27, 2015 pub date
Genre: Mystery

Book Synopsis:

The Dreamslippers are a family of private investigators who have the ability to "slip" into your dreams. The first book in the series, Cat in the Flock, was published to critical acclaim and is trending at 4.5 stars on Amazon with 35 reviews. In Framed and Burning, someone sets fire to Mick Travers’s art studio, killing his assistant, and Mick won't give an alibi. His dreamslipping sister--the eccentric Amazing Grace--is convinced he's innocent, but her granddaughter and the police aren't so sure. Was it Mick, or is something darker behind the fire?


"Framed and Burning is the second book in the Dreamslippers series. It’s easy to follow and hard to put down, making readers who may not have read the first book race back to give it a try!"  - InD'tale Magazine

"Lisa Brunette continues to develop vibrant characters in a stunning story that will keep you reading well past your bedtime!" - On My Kindle

Grace and her granddaughter, Cat, live in Seattle. Cat lost someone dear to her a year ago, so Grace took her to Miami, where her brother, Mick, is an artist. While there, someone burns down Mick's studio and his friend and assistant, Donnie, dies in the fire. Mick won't give an alibi so he is a suspect which prompts Grace and Cat to set off on their own to figure out the truth. 

Grace, Cat and Mick are all dreamslippers, which means they have the ability to slip into other people's dreams. It's not a complete advantage in that the dreams they witness are open to interpretation. Even though they have been dreamslippers for years, there are new things they realize they are able to do with it. They meet some interesting characters along the way to learning what happened the night of the fire. 

This mystery is full of twists and turns. Just when they thought the case was solved, there were more questions that led them to believe they weren't done yet. Grace and Cat make a great crime solving team and their dreamslipping abilities certainly come in handy. Overall, this was an interesting story but it had some content that I don't personally enjoy reading.

Content: Swearing, including a handful of "f" words; talk of sex and a couple of fade to black scenes. 

My Rating=3.5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from Legit Lit Books for an honest review

Only $2.99 if you order before November 27, 2015 - price goes to $3.99 afterward.

Outside the U.S. - pricing and discount varies - Amazon Australia - Amazon Canada - Amazon UK - Nook UK - Kobo International 

About the Author: 

Lisa Brunette is the author of the Dreamslippers mystery series. Book One, Cat in the Flock, is an indieBRAG honoree title that has been praised by Kirkus Reviews, Midwest Book Review, Readers Lane, and others.

Brunette is a career writer/editor whose work has appeared in major daily newspapers and magazines, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle Woman, and Poets & Writers. She's interviewed a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a sex expert, homeless women, and the designer of the Batmobile, among others.

She has story design and writing credits in hundreds of bestselling video games, including the Mystery Case Files, Mystery Trackers, and Dark Tales series for Big Fish and AAA games for Nintendo and Microsoft platforms.

She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from University of Miami, where she was a Michener Fellow. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in Bellingham Review, The Comstock Review, Icarus International, and elsewhere.

She's also received many honors for her writing, including a major grant from the Tacoma Arts Commission, the William Stafford Award, and the Associated Writing Programs Intro Journals Project Award.

She blogs at and has been a guest-blogger for Author magazine and Dr. Chris Michaels's blog.

Brunette is a member of Mystery Writers of America and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.

Connect: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Google+ | Instagram |

Monday, December 28, 2015

Book Review: Power of the Matchmaker by Heather B. Moore

Power of the Matchmaker, by Heather B. Moore
2015, 60p, Clean Romance
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a copy from eBooks for Review for an honest review

A prequel novella to the POWER OF THE MATCHMAKER Series
Mystical . . . Beautiful . . . Romantic . . .
12 novels by 12 bestselling authors
Released once a month in 2016
Read the matchmaker’s story to find out where it all starts . . .

Mae Li has been in love with Chen Zhu for years, and he with her. But when the matchmaker arrives at the Zhu family home, she recommends another village girl for Chen.

Heartbroken, Mae Li watches as Chen does his duty by marrying another. Mae flees her village with the clothes on her back and her only possession—a pearl embedded comb, given to her as a goodbye gift from Chen Zhu.

Upon Mae’s arrival in Shanghai, she quickly learns that she’ll starve within days unless she sells her prized comb or joins a courtesan house. She goes to the Huangpu River and promises the River God that she’ll always be selfless if he will save her from becoming a prostitute . . . Her wish is granted when Ms. Tan, the matchmaker of Shanghai, finds Mae. But Mae must completely change her future and her name if she is to become the next matchmaker.

Mae Li and Chen Zhu are in love and the matchmaker is coming to town to let each of them know who they will marry. They truly believe they will be together. Mae Li is devastated when the matchmaker matches each of them to someone else. Her match is horribly wrong for her and she wants to run off with Chen, but he is determined to stay and make the most of his match. Devastated, Mae Li flees to Shanghai where it isn't easy to start over. In desperation, she makes a pledge and then catches a break which changes her life forever.

My heart broke for Mae Li as she was denied her one true love and then had to go through some tough things before she caught her break. She's easy to like and cheer for as I wanted life to improve for her. Even though her life didn't turn out the way she hoped it would when she was young, it sounds like she still had an amazing life. I'm looking forward to learning more about her as this series progresses and it will be interesting to see if her own experience factors into any of the other stories.

I've been looking forward to this series for quite a while!! One new novel a month for the next twelve months! Some of these authors are ones I already know and love and other authors are new to me so I'm looking forward to reading their work, too. This book is a great introduction to the main character and sets the stage for an exciting year!

12 novels by 12 bestselling authors

Released once a month in 2016:

Broken Things to Mend by Karey White (Jan 2016)
Not Always Happenstance by Rachael Anderson (Feb 2016)
If We Were a Movie by Kelly Oram (March 2016)
Love is Come by Heather B. Moore (April 2016)
Four Chambers by Julie Wright (May 2016)
O’er the River Liffey by Heidi Ashworth (June 2016)
Chasing Fireflies by Taylor Dean (July 2016)
Between Earth and Heaven by Michele Paige Holmes (Aug 2016)
How I Met Your Brother by Janette Rallison (Sept 2016)
To Move the World by Regina Sirois (Oct 2016)
King of the Friend Zone by Sheralyn Pratt (Nov 2016)
The Reformer by Jaima Fixsen (Dec 2016)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!!

I'm going to take a few days off to spend time with my family and want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas! I will be back on Monday, December 28th, with more reviews!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Book Review: He Delivered Even Me, He Will Deliver Even You by Misti Stevenson

He Delivered Even Me, He Will Deliver Even You, by Misti Stevenson
2013, 336p, LDS Non-Fiction
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

Even Me Even You: When I was in the midst of my 23-year trial with OCD, anxiety, and depression, I had little hope to ever be fully healed. I knew of no one who had been. Now that I have been led through my Gethsemane and, with the help of the Savior, am finally healed, I can't keep quiet about it. I was an avid journal writer from a young age, so this book takes those who want to know how to literally be healed of mental and emotional illness on a live-time, emotion-filled journey. Most books on this subject only tell how to deal or cope with mental illness. My experience brings a new idea that mental illness is curable in this life-I am the proof of this happy idea! What I would've given to know of one person who had been healed when I was in the midst of my pain. I wrote my story to inspire others suffering similar challenges-to give them the hope and perspective I wish I had had in the midst of my struggles.

I don't have OCD so I don't understand Misti's trials when it comes to that. However, I certainly have trials of my own and was interested to read how what she learned could apply to my situation.

I was a little mixed on this book. At first, I felt like she was rehashing things over and over and it was hard for me to get through. Then, all of a sudden, I became very interested in what she was saying. I'm honestly not sure if it was a change in me or if the tone of her book changed.

She does put a lot of blame on her mother. I felt that her biggest frustration with her mother was that she didn't ever seem willing to sincerely listen to her or make efforts to change. Her parents were all about appearances and that made it difficult for Misti when she was trying to get help. It's a tough situation that they have hopefully been able to resolve. 

The main point I got out of this book is the effort Misti put into getting better. It became all consuming for a while but she was determined to find answers. I use some of the same tools she learned and, like her, I feel like I'm led to the next thing when I need it. She journaled tons, which is something I know I should do, but just can't seem to find the desire to do it. Those journals helped her write this book. She gets real and is honest and open about what she went through and how she was able to get the answers she was seeking.

I appreciate Misti sharing her journey to find joy in her life. It can't be easy to open yourself up to the scrutiny of others. She shares tools and information that anyone going through a trial will find useful. I'm looking forward to implementing some of what she shared in my own life. This book will especially be useful to anyone going through a trial similar to Misti's who feels like there isn't any hope. Her story shows that there's hope for everyone--you just need to be willing to do the work!

Growing up, I thought I had a pretty normal childhood.  Right up until the sixth grade.  That’s when I began to notice things.  Like how I was constantly aware of every blink of my eyes.  How any normal physical thing could become an enemy that my brain would replay over and over again.  I tried talking to my parents about it, but family dysfunction and parental control issues wouldn’t let me see my problem for what it was.  So I did everything I could to hide it.  It would take me many more years to attach a name to my tortuous condition-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

But, after many more years of struggling, praying, counseling, I experienced the miracle I had been seeking – I was healed.

So I’m done hiding.  This is my story of suffering through and eventually being healed of OCD, anxiety, and depression through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  This is my story of how the Lord turned my deepest struggles into my greatest blessings.

Christmas Blitz, Day 12: All is Merri and Bright by Tifani Clark

All is Merri and Bright by Tifani Clark

Merri Wilcox has finally achieved her greatest dream and opened her own hair salon. Life is bliss until Brighton Stansbury walks through her door. Growing up, Brighton was behind every bad thing that happened to Merri. She hasn't seen him since high school graduation and could have happily continued like that forever. 

When a winter storm traps Merri and Brighton together, will the pair finally learn to get along, or will the Christmas holiday become their new war zone?

Tifani Clark grew up on a potato farm in southeastern Idaho with two brothers and two sisters. Because of her location, she had a lot of space to imagine and daydream and often pretended to be characters in books--like Scarlett O'Hara. She is married to the love of her life and is the mother of four fabulous children. When not writing, she enjoys playing the violin and piano and traveling to new places.

Q and A with the Author:

1. What is your favorite part about writing?

I love it when I’m writing and hidden plot twists or personality quirks pop out without me knowing about it beforehand. Sometimes discoveries are made that excite me.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want your reader to grasp?

Hmm…this story is meant to be lighthearted and fun. Maybe the message could be not to judge others without knowing their full story.

Connect with the Author here:


10 Fun Facts About Tifani Clark

1. I am Mom to three boys and one girl.

2. I grew up on a potato farm so I consider myself a ‘true’ Idahoan.

3. I had a pencil stuck in my ear for 15 years. (Loooong story!)

4. I’ve played the violin for more than 25 years and the piano even longer.

5. I’m on a quest to see all 50 states.

6. I love history and unsolved mysteries. Show me a documentary about both and I’ll be engrossed from the beginning to end.

7. My first three released books were ghost stories based on real events.

8. My husband was one of my best friends long before we dated…and he still is.

9. I was somewhat of a class clown growing up and could often be found sitting in the corner…or the principal’s office.

10. The first writing contest I won was a 4th grade essay contest. I got $50 from a local grocery store.

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Book Review: Heir to Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Heir to Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson
2015, 53p, Clean Regency Romance
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

Philip Wyndham has never envied his older brother for being the heir to Edenbrooke. He would much rather carve out his own destiny than live under the constraints of that position. But when his older brother dies unexpectedly, Philip's life is turned upside down as duty requires him to give up the life he planned. Philip takes on his new role as the most sought-after bachelor in London with alternating reluctance, boredom, and resentment. But all that changes the night fate leads him to an inn, where he meets the incomparable Marianne Daventry.

I read Edenbrooke 2-1/2 years ago and loved it! It got me interested in reading Regency romance again. I was excited to hear that this book was coming out.

This story is told from Philip's point of view. We learn what his thoughts were of society at the time and some of the women that he was running from. We also get his POV when he first meets Marianne and it was awesome!! I love, love, love this story and thought it was over way too soon. As soon as I turned the final page, I reread Edenbrooke because I needed more of Philip and Marianne. It had also been way too long since I last read it and I fell in love with it all over again!

If you love clean regency romance and haven't yet read Edenbrooke, it is a must read! This would be fun to read first since it ends near the beginning of Edenbrooke. I am definitely looking forward to more from Julianne Donaldson in the future!

Julianne Donaldson grew up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. She learned how to ski in the Italian Alps, visited East Berlin before the wall came down, and spent three years living next to a 500-year-old castle. After earning a degree in English, she turned her attention to writing about distant times and places. She lives in Utah with her husband and five children.

Christmas Blitz, Day 11: Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall by Luccia Gray

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall by Luccia Gray

Luccia Gray was born in London, and now lives in the south of Spain with her husband. She has three children and three grandchildren. When she's not reading or writing, she teaches English at an Adult Education Centre and at University.

Following Edward Rochester’s death, Jane Eyre, who has been blackmailed into marrying a man she despises, will have to cope with the return of the man she loved and lost. The secrets she has tried so hard to conceal must be disclosed, giving rise to unexpected events and more shocking revelations.

Romance, mystery, and excitement will unfold exploring the evolution of the original characters, and bringing to life new and intriguing ones, spinning a unique and absorbing narrative, which will move the action from the Yorkshire countryside, to Victorian London, and across the Atlantic Ocean to Colonial Jamaica.

Here are a few great snippets!


I was convinced I would never see him again. I had tried unsuccessfully to expel him from my thoughts, but he was always there, haunting my dreams and slipping into my mind during the day.


The morning after Twelfth Night, I had planned to leave London and return to Eyre Hall. I was having breakfast by the hearth at the inn, when someone crept up behind me and sat down in the chair to my right. I looked down at his unsteady hands, fearing he wished me no good.

“Michael, I done it. I killed him.”

Check out all the great blogs that are a part of this event by following along on the Facebook page.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Blog Tour/Review: A Shenandoah Family Christmas by Lisa Belcastro

Tour Landing Page

Where is Christmas?

Disease, freezing temperatures, and the Revolutionary War bring bitter reality to the Reed home in December 1777. Captain Benjamin Reed is ordered to sail a supply shipment south to General George Washington. Days before Shenandoah’s scheduled departure, Ben’s first mate succumbs to smallpox.

Rebecca Reed had never feared the dreaded disease until her one-year-old daughter Felicity breaks out in the telltale rash. In the cold, dark days of Advent, Rebecca, Ben, and the Reed family wait in prayerful hope as Felicity fights for her life and they wonder who could be next.

With the rest of the family at risk, they decide to obtain the forbidden cowpox vaccine. Ben's brother Jonah, his uncle Isaiah, and Shenandoah’s cook Adam Greene venture off in search of the outlawed vaccine. A blizzard hits. A tree crashes. Jonah crumbles to the ground. A woman with the face of an angel aids Jonah, but is it too late? And where are Adam and Isaiah?

As the death toll rises throughout the Colonies, the Reed family prays for more than one Christmas miracle.

Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard.  She loves time with her family and friends, running, gardening, outdoor activities, cooking, chocolate, reading, traveling, a healthy dose of adventure, and her cat, Ben, who keeps her company while she creates fictional lives for the numerous characters living inside her head.

Lisa runs as an ambassador for TEAM 413 (, and has completed a marathon (26.2 miles) in all fifty states.

Lisa’s stories are set on the Vineyard amidst the magnificence of the ocean, the beauty of sandy beaches, rolling hills, and ancient cliffs, as well as the people and events that make the Island so very unique.

When she’s not at her desk, Lisa is living in paradise, volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, planting and weeding her numerous gardens, training to run the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge in January 2016, walking the beach looking for sea glass, or enjoying a great meal while she pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style Magazine.

Top Ten Favorites List

 1-Favourite quote:  Attitude by Charles Swindoll: “The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”

2-Favourite book: The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews. I read this book at least twice a year. Five times would not be unheard of.

3-Favourite dessert:  Chocolate

4-Favourite flower: Lilacs, though Rosa Rugosa and Peonies are close behind

5-Favourite season:  Summer!  I love heat, and sunshine, and going to the beach, and warm nights. Did I mention I like to be warm??

6-Favourite musical: This is a tie:  “Aida” and “Wicked”. I LOVE them both!!

7-Favourite country you want to visit:  Greece! I took two of my girls as their high school graduation present. It was one of our best family vacations. We’d all like to go back again. Hopefully one day.

8-Favourite Restaurant: Chescas – on Martha’s Vineyard

9-Favourite author: Did you really ask this question? I have soooooo many! If I had to, absolutely had to, narrow my selection down to one author, then it would be C.S. Lewis.

10-Favourite holiday:  Christmas!  I start playing my Christmas CDs the day after Thanksgiving, and all my decorations go up.  I love the celebration of Christ’s birthday. I avoid malls and shopping and excessive gift giving. I do my best to immerse myself in the joyous celebration of the greatest gift of all – God’s love for us.

Description: Anchor Image Shenandoah Nights
Chapter One
“Come on, sweet girl, take a sip of water.” Rebecca Reed held the teaspoon against Felicity’s lips. Although the baby burned with fever, she turned her head away, refusing the water.
Less than two months ago, they’d celebrated Felicity’s first birthday. Now, Rebecca feared her precious girl had contracted a serious case of influenza. For two days, she’d lain limp and despondent, her temperature reduced only with cold compresses and body wraps.
People died from influenza. Lots of people. Rebecca shuddered. She’d grown up untouched by fatal illnesses or the fear of contagious disease. Life in 1777 was so very different from everything she’d lived before she’d unknowingly entered the time portal in her now-husband’s ship, Shenandoah. In this time that was now her present, the colonists were battling Britain for their freedom. Disease and poverty ran rampant and soldiers died every day, victims of starvation, sickness, and freezing temperatures. Rebecca had known all this was going to happen, but she never thought her family might be, or would be, one of the casualties.
Shaking off the thought, Rebecca plunged the damp cloth into the pail of frigid stream water with melting chunks of ice Ben had brought upstairs a half hour ago. She wrung out the excess, then pressed the cloth to Felicity’s neck for a minute. Her temperature had to be close to 103, possibly higher. The cloth warmed almost instantly.
She turned over the beige fabric and placed the cooler side on her daughter’s forehead. Felicity barely moaned, her body wilted from hours of infection.
What Rebecca wouldn’t give for a bottle of children’s ibuprofen, a digital thermometer, and a prescription for Tamiflu. But that was a lifetime ago. Medicine, at least the kind she’d grown up with, wasn’t an option. Herbal treatments, ice baths from the nearly frozen-over stream, and vigilant care were her only options.
Rebecca attempted to give Felicity another sip of feverfew tea she’d boiled and let come to room temperature. The liquid merely dribbled down the side of her sweet little face. Swallowing back sobs, Rebecca rocked Felicity against her chest. “Lord, we need Your healing touch. Please deliver Felicity. Please don’t take my little girl.”
God was close to the sick and brokenhearted. How many times had Rebecca read those verses? Today, she needed to feel Him in the room, next to her, with Felicity. The swag of pine branches and red bow adorning the window reminded her that Christmas was coming. Felicity was too young to understand the holiday’s importance, but Rebecca couldn’t bear to think about Christmas arriving with Felicity still sick . . . or worse.
She kissed her baby on the cheek, then rose and carried her back to the crib. Last week, when General George Washington sent orders that Ben was to sail south before the weekend, Rebecca had moved the crib into the cozy spare room. Ben couldn’t afford to get sick. A fire burned in the hearth of the room that would one day be Felicity’s, and any sisters she might have. Rebecca positioned her in the crib nearer the far wall.   
She gingerly lowered Felicity to the bed, which Ben had lined with sailcloth to protect the mattress during the cooling sessions. If only her baby girl would stir, resisting the separation from her mama. She didn’t. Her fourteen-month-old body didn’t react. Not so much as one finger reached out.
Another sob built in Rebecca’s throat. She fought against the sadness and fear. She would cry later, after Felicity was better, after this nightmare was over.  
Determined to beat whatever ailed her daughter, Rebecca dunked a sheet into the cold water, and then covered Felicity. The goal was to bring her fever down and keep it down. She had halved two large onions and put them on rags around the crib. Whether it was an old wives’ tale or not, many women swore by sliced onions for guarding against germs. Rebecca would do all she could. She couldn’t fail Felicity. Nothing else mattered.   
She glanced out the window. The diminishing light of the setting sun signified the dark days of winter and gave Rebecca an uncomfortable twist in her stomach. She moved across the small room and lit the oil lamp. She needed light—and hope.
Sitting in the rocking chair next to Felicity’s crib, Rebecca began singing the nursery rhymes of her childhood. The songs filled her with sweet memories of her mother and grandmother. She willed Felicity to hear her. How she longed to see her daughter rock from side to side, smiling as her mama sang to her.
“Rebecca!” Ben burst through the door. “I need to see Felicity.”
Startled, Rebecca jumped to her feet. “What’s wrong?”
“Let me examine Felicity first, then I shall explain.”
Her husband, Captain Benjamin Reed, was a kind and loving man, and also a man of detail. He ran a tight ship, missed little, and had earned the respect of his crew and fellow patriots. Feeling their daughter’s forehead, opening her mouth and examining her lips, Ben shook his head.
A new grip of fear crushed Rebecca’s heart. “What is it?”
“My love, I believe our daughter has smallpox.”
“No!” Rebecca wobbled, her body folding in on itself as the news delivered a brutal blow to her mind and body. Smallpox . . .
The dreaded disease that claimed thousands of victims over the last year, the scourge that Rebecca had taken such care to protect her daughter from—how could it have happened? It wasn’t possible for her to be sick. It just couldn’t be!
“How do you know? How can you be so sure?”
    Ben drew a cloth from the bucket of ice water near the crib and laid it on Felicity’s head. “I sent notice to the crew that we were to sail to Delaware Bay to bring supplies to our troops who would winter at Valley Forge. A messenger arrived at the docks an hour ago with a note from William’s father. Upon discovering I was not present, the stable lad gave the note to Jonah, who arrived moments hence with the missive. William is covered in pox, severely ill, and in isolation.”
    Rebecca gasped. Ben’s first mate, William Barton, was such a strong, rugged young man, she couldn’t imagine him sick. Felicity had looked so small in his arms the last time he visited—
“William was here two weeks ago. He played with Felicity. He—” Rebecca couldn’t finish her sentence, couldn’t say aloud what her mind did not want to hear.
    “Aye, my love. It seems that the day after he returned from our meeting, William broke out in the rash.  I remember how tired he looked, but I made no inquiry as to his health. William has never been one to complain. He made no mention of a fever or feeling ill.”
    Rebecca shuddered. William was the Barton’s only son, the oldest of five children. “Is Jonah downstairs? I want to write Mrs. Barton a letter.”
    Ben shook his head. “I sent my brother on his way immediately, telling him that our darling Felicity had been ill and that I now feared she could have smallpox.”
    Running a finger along Felicity’s forehead, Rebecca felt for any sign of the telltale bumps. Nothing. Maybe it was simply the flu. The flu was bad enough, but nothing compared to smallpox. There was hope. “Is anyone else sick?”
    “Nay.” Ben kissed Rebecca’s cheek, and then gently pried open Felicity’s lips to check her gums more thoroughly. No spots. Easing a finger between her gums, Ben opened Felicity’s mouth. No spots.
“Nothing,” Rebecca said, the relief  
Ben cupped her chin and looked into Rebecca’s eyes. “I do not wish to give you false hope, Becca. We must be prepared for the worst. In the coming days, the course of the disease will reveal itself. Or it will not.”
What if Ben was right? What if William died? What if that dreaded disease had its grip on her daughter?
Ben wrapped his strong arms around them, and began to pray. Rebecca buried her face in the crux of Felicity’s neck and listened to her husband call upon the Lord.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies . . .”

Rebecca Reed is now living in the year 1777. Two years ago, she unknowingly entered a time portal in her now-husband's ship, Shenandoah. Her one-year-old daughter, Felicity, is sick and she is missing the modern medicine that she knows will help her. She learns that her daughter has smallpox and is tempted to take her back through the portal to get medical help. She has a friend, Missy, that came through the same portal she did so would understand her need to get help. Missy helps her see why that would be a bad idea. Rebecca realizes she needs to do all she can in the time period she now lives in and she is determined to find a way to help her daughter.

This book is part of an existing series so I don't know the details about why Rebecca now lives in the year 1777. (Then, at the end of the book, the author gives us a glimpse into the first book, so now I want to know the full story.) She does seem to want to be there, though, and loves her husband, Captain Benjamin Reed. It was interesting to read her thoughts and actions as someone who had traveled through time and knew about modern medicine and conveniences. I know I would certainly have a difficult time living in the past.

The story takes a turn as some men take off to find a vaccine and the weather worsens for them. I was fascinated by this story, especially the time travel, and enjoyed getting an introduction to all the characters. I loved the religious aspects of the story which were done in a way that showed how the characters trusted in God and believed in the power of prayer but it didn't come across as preachy. I'm glad I was introduced to this series and look forward to reading more!

My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a copy via Singing Librarian Books in exchange for an honest review

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