Thursday, March 22, 2018

Mini Reviews (24)

I will read anything about Anastasia.  She was my gateway drug into Russian history and I'm kind of obsessed.  I Was Anastasia is one of my new favorite fictional books about her and a possible escape.  I loved the story; it went back and forth between Anastasia experiencing the revolution and captivity and Anna Anderson trying to bolster her claim that she was the Grand Duchess.  Both periods were super intriguing and I was completely sucked into the story, never sure where things would end up.  The end was so good and not what I expected at all.  The fact that it was a surprise was awesome and just solidified my feelings towards this book.  I would highly recommend it! 4 stars.

It looks like The Pines of Winder Ranch contains two RaeAnne Thayne novellas but my review copy only had a A Cold Creek Reunion so that's what  I am reviewing.  This was classic RaeAnne Thayne in that everyone lives happily ever after which is exactly what I was looking for.  Her cowboy, Taft Bowman, was tough but so sweet and I loved seeing his relationship with his family, the townspeople and Laura's kids.  Laura was a little irritating for my taste but I appreciated the reasons why she irritated me.  The romance was great and I thought Laura's kids provided some good comedic moments in addition to being the climax of the story.  Cute story! 4 stars.

Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict

I don't read much about US history but this one had such an interesting premise that I couldn't resist.  The author creates a fictional maid, Clara Kelly, who instills in Andrew Carnegie the idea that he should engage in philanthropic endeavors.  It was a really nice concept that this woman he loved was the reason behind Carnegie's generosity.  Clara was an awesome character; she was intelligent and tenacious and I enjoyed seeing her strive to improve her position in life.  Overall, I really enjoyed the story but I so wished it could have ended in a different way.  The ending felt too rushed and while realistic, I just wished it could have been happier.  3 1/2 stars.

I received these books from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Review and Giveaway: "The Cold Light of Dawn" by Anna Belfrage

After Henry of Lancaster’s rebellion has been crushed early in 1329, a restless peace settles over England. However, the young Edward III is no longer content with being his regents’ puppet, no matter that neither Queen Isabella nor Roger Mortimer show any inclination to give up their power. Caught in between is Adam de Guirande, torn between his loyalty to the young king and that to his former lord, Roger Mortimer.

Edward III is growing up fast. No longer a boy to be manipulated, he resents the power of his mother, Queen Isabella, and Mortimer. His regents show little inclination of handing over their power to him, the rightful king, and Edward suspects they never will unless he forces their hand.

Adam de Guirande is first and foremost Edward’s man, and he too is of the opinion that the young king is capable of ruling on his own. But for Adam siding with his king causes heartache, as he still loves Roger Mortimer, the man who shaped him into who he is.

Inevitably, Edward and his regents march towards a final confrontation. And there is nothing Adam can do but pray and hope that somehow things will work out. Unfortunately, prayers don’t always help.

The Cold Light of Dawn is the fourth in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord and his king.

My Thoughts:  I'm going to try to not gush because I know that I always get a little over the top when I review an Anna Belfrage book.  That being said, The Cold Light of Dawn is probably my favorite installment in the series.  Kit and, especially Adam, faced some some pretty serious life-changing situations in this book and watching them navigate these situations was both beautiful and heart-breaking.

Adam was really the shining star of this book.  He really had to figure out who he was and what was most important to him more so than in the other books.  Adam's loyalties were really put to the test in this book and he really struggled to manage his work and loyalty to the king with his love for the man who raised him, Roger Mortimer.  It broke my heart to see him torn between the two men and his attempts to do his duty to them both.  I also hated how the king essentially betrayed Adam's loyalty because of his feelings toward Mortimer as well as because of his health issues.  The end of the story was terribly sad but so beautifully written.  I think the reader really got to see deep into Adam's soul; I already knew he was a good man but seeing the love and kindness he showed Mortimer was just so poignant. 

This book could very easily be the last in the series and if it is, then I think the story was tied up quite well.  However, Ms. Belfrage left a note at the end of the book indicating that we may get to see more of Adam and Kit in the future and I really hope that's the case.  I thoroughly enjoyed the historical note at the end of the book (I love a good historical note) and I ended up going out and reading more about Roger Mortimer when I finished this book.  I'm pretty intrigued by him now!

I will always love Ms. Belfrage's books and sing their praises but The Cold Light of Dawn is a really special read.  There's something magical when an author can evoke real emotion from the reader and that's what Ms. Belfrage was able to do here.  I'm so glad I got the opportunity to read this one! 4 1/2 stars.

About the Author:

Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

Other than on her website,, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a complete set of The King’s Greatest Enemy series to one winner & two winners will win a paperback copy of The Cold Light of Dawn! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form 

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.

– Only one entry per household.

– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.

– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

I received this book from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: "Shadow By The Bridge" by Suzanne Zewan

Shadow by the Bridge by Suzanne Zewan

Publication Date: November 1, 2017

No Frills Buffalo

eBook & Paperback; 368 Pages

ISBN-13: 9780998881188

Genre: Historical Mystery

11-year-old Fritz Reynolds recalled his father telling him that man is the only creature who can find amusement in killing. Little did he realize that those words would become the theme for his teenage years growing up in the rural hamlet of Linden, New York. In this coming-of-age story, Fritz takes us back to a simpler time when neighbors gathered at the general store to listen to radio shows, drank barrel-aged cider, and worshiped at the Baptist church every Sunday. All was picturesque in his close-knit farming community until terror was unleashed on them.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

Suzanne is coordinator at Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and is an adjunct professor at Buffalo State College. She has a M.A. in English and Creative Writing and a M.S.Ed. in Career and Technical Education. Other publications include a poem in Jigsaw (2014), a short story and two poems in Jigsaw (2016), and a short story in Amaranth Review (2016).

For more information, please visit Suzanne Zewan's website. You can also find Suzanne on Facebook and Twitter.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 19
Feature at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Thursday, February 22
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, February 27
Feature at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 1
Excerpt at What is That Book About

Saturday, March 3
Interview & Excerpt at T's Stuff

Wednesday, March 7
Review & Excerpt at WS Momma Readers Nook

Friday, March 9
Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, March 13
Excerpt at My Reading Corner

Thursday, March 15
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Tuesday, March 20
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Thursday, March 22
Excerpt at Buried Under Books

Friday, March 23
Review at Broken Teepee

Monday, March 26
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, March 28
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Friday, March 30
Review & Excerpt at A Chick Who Reads

Saturday, March 31
Review at Cup of Sensibility


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two paperback copies of Shadow by the Bridge to one lucky winner! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Shadow by the Bridge

Imagination Designs