Book Review: Aunt Ivy’s Cottage by Kristin Harper

About the Book:

Clearing out the attic, Zoey opens the carved trunk and smiles as she picks up the small, leather-bound diary hiding inside. Curious, she leafs through the pages, and realises this will change everything…

All Zoey’s happiest childhood memories are of her great-aunt Ivy’s rickety cottage on Dune Island, snuggling up with hot chocolate and hearing Ivy’s stories about being married to a sea captain. Now, heartbroken from a breakup, Zoey escapes back to the island, but is shocked to find her elderly aunt’s spark fading. Worse, her cousin—next in line to inherit the house—is pushing Ivy to move into a nursing home.

With the family clashing over what’s best for Ivy, Zoey is surprised when Nick, a local carpenter and Ivy’s neighbor, takes her side. As Zoey finds comfort in his sea-blue eyes and warm laugh, the two grow close. Together, they make a discovery in the attic that links the family to the mysterious and reclusive local lighthouse keeper…

Now Zoey has a heartbreaking choice to make. Nick’s urging her to share the discovery, which could keep Ivy in the house she’s loved her whole life… but when Zoey learns that Nick and her cousin go way back, she questions if the man she‘s starting to have feelings for really has Ivy’s best interests at heart. Will dredging up this old secret destroy the peace and happiness of Ivy’s final years—and tear this family apart for good?

A stunning and emotional read about old secrets, new love and never forgetting the importance of family. Perfect for fans of Mary Ellen Taylor, Robyn Carr and Mary Alice Monroe.

About the author:
Ever since she was a young girl, there were few things Kristin Harper liked more than creative writing and spending time on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with her family. Eventually (after a succession of jobs that bored her to tears), she found a way to combine those two passions by becoming a women’s fiction author whose stories occur in oceanside settings. While Kristin doesn’t live on the Cape year-round, she escapes to the beach whenever she can.

 

My Thoughts:

I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC of the book in exchange for my honest review. Having read Summer at Hope Haven, I was immediately interested in reading this upcoming novel by the author.

This book is another simple beach read that can be read in one sitting, but will tug at the heart-strings much more than the previous book did. This story explores the concepts loss and the importance of family and support. Once again at Dune Island, we visit Aunt Ivy’s cottage, a place that holds so many memories across generations. We meet Zoey, who comes to stay with her great-aunt Ivy and to take care of her while everyone is dealing with the grief of losing great-aunt Sylvia. Ivy’s character is interesting, but we only ever see her lost in the past and repeating stories of times long gone.

Mark, Zoey’s cousin, is at odds with everyone and has a different view on how Ivy should be taken care of causing the cousins to be on opposite ends. Throw into the mix memories of Zoey’s sister who passed away due to illness and her niece, the only remaining part of her sister and we are in for an emotion filled ride. It is wonderful to read about the bond between Zoey and her niece, how they help each other heal.

However, the story line does not completely flow the way the synopsis suggests which is a little disappointing. The focus in the story is more on remodeling Aunt Ivy’s house and taking care of her. There is an element of mystery as Mark’s claim to inherit the cottage is under question. Even though this is suggested to be of importance, it takes a backseat as the story progresses until the end. There is also a budding romantic angle between Zoey and the carpenter that is pushed to the background and develops slowly not being the central focus of the story. The story does slow down in between, but there are many parts that are very enjoyable, including the references to the characters from the author’s previous book.

Overall this is a pleasant read albeit sad at times and is worth picking up for all fans of Romance out there!

 

Blog-tour stops and dates:

Grand Finale Blitz: Sprinkled with Sabotage by Allison Pearl

On Tour with Prism Book Tours
We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you’ll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:
Launch – Author Interview

What do you hope readers will take with them after they’ve read it?

I hope this story will make you think and yet still be an escape. Because, tbh, 2020 just sucks. And we all know it. We all need a bit of a break. A blip in the constant chaos. And I want to help my readers find that. And because my faith is the foundation of my character, it’s always between the lines and I hope it can be a comfort to the readers as well. Like it is to me.

Kimber Li – Excerpt

I trust him with my life. Just not with my heart.

Elizabeth Bennet remembered using those words to describe her relationship with Koby Knightly—if one could even call it that. But was that trust enough of a justification to dial her ex-boyfriend’s number? She looked back over her shoulder at the dark, snow- lined sidewalk. Seconds prior, she’d been certain she heard feet chasing her, but now, there was nothing. Only the sound of her high heels clicking on the uneven concrete as she hurried home from dinner. Why hadn’t she called a cab? Or even hopped on a bus?

 
Books & Benches – Interview

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It does both. And somehow it does it at the same time. There are times during a first draft, when everything is so new, that I’ll sit down and start typing and the next time I look up hours have passed. I feel like I could write forever and what’s more is that I want to. I want to push through until I can write ‘The End.’ But on the second through fifteenth drafts—not an exaggeration—it feels like I’m constantly running up hill. My body is tired. My brain is telling me to stop. I need a break. But I know that when I reach the top, I’ll be in love again and ready to do it all over.

Remembrancy – Excerpt

“Lizzy!”

She gasped and her whole body tensed. “Koby? What are you doing here?”

He stood in front of the glass doors to her apartment building. After pulling his hands out of the pockets of a pair of faded jeans, he started toward her, his eyes wide and his jaw hanging open. “What happened to you?”

 
 

“I really enjoyed reading Sprinkled with Sabotage by Allison Pearl. . . . If you are a fan of this genre, I really think that you will enjoy Sprinkled with Sabotage as much as I did. Not only will you be entertained, but you will also be uplifted. I definitely recommend this book to fans of Christian romantic suspense novels.”

Heidi Reads… – Guest Post

Why I Love Jane.

“What are men to rocks and mountains?” Unless those men happen to be the likes of Misters Darcy and Knightley. I’m all for a good view, but I prefer a swoon and I think Jane Austen did too. If you’ve read any of the Love and Danger in St. Claire series, you’ll have seen more than one nod to the romance master herself. . . .

 
 

Sprinkled with Sabotage keeps you on the edge of your reading chair – both from the suspense and from the romance. Layered characters and a well-plotted mystery combine with the cozy small town vibes (with a little of big city bustle thrown in) to deliver a read that hits the spot. Perfect to curl up on a chilly fall or winter day!”

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

At first, I thought I wanted to be an actor. I was a child movie snob who loved the characters and adventures of film. Whatever magic was happening on the screen in front of me was something I wanted to create. I wanted to play every hero and villain. To walk out every storyline to its finish. But when I got old enough to realize that Luke Skywalker was in a desert on planet earth rather than a galaxy far way, I knew I didn’t want to be a part of the story. I wanted to be the author of it.

 
Bookworm Lisa – Review
 

“This was a great escape novel for me. My interest and imagination were captured from the first page. . . . I loved the blend between the genres. There was just enough romance and suspense to keep me turning the pages. This is the third book in a series but can be read as a stand-alone. I look forward to reading the first two books at a later date.”

Hearts & Sprinkles – Excerpt

Was that static? The message sounded odd. After grabbing the red pouch from behind some dish detergent, Koby turned toward Lizzy and rested a hand on the counter. Another moment of the strange noise made it clearer. Not static. It was someone breathing. The exhales were loud and ominous. The message wasn’t a pocket dial filled with muffled background noise. Someone had left that message on purpose.

The breathing lasted another moment. “I know who you are. I know what you’ve done,” a distorted voice said.

 
BookHounds – Interview

What is on your nightstand?

Too many things, I promise you. I often joke that I need a night-desk instead of a nightstand. And that is just for the books. Like when I go to the grocery store hungry, my reading eyes are always way bigger than my stomach. There’s always a cornucopia of genres stacked by my alarm clock, lamp, and cup of pens and crochet needles. Right now, there’s a book about home-buying, Dostoevsky’s The Idiot and a Russian-English dictionary, my bible, the new Tana French, and my Kindle stocked with selections from Prime Reading.

Hallie Reads – Excerpt
 

His eyelids fell closed as he winced. Great. Now, she’d hurt his feelings. She was already bleeding, and now, she’d managed to wound him, too. “Koby…”

He held up a hand. “Don’t. It’s fine.”

 
I’m Into Books – Guest Post
 

Fav Fives: Romantic Suspense Movies:

Maybe I’m just too old, but I feel like the golden age of action-packed romance film has passed us by. It’s been decades since a movie’s come close to a spot on this list. But I’m hopeful that 2021 will bring with it some challenges to these Top Five Romantic Suspense Movies. #SPOILERALERT . . .

“But now what?” Her voice was soft, but he sensed an urgency in the tone. “Why did you stay?”

His heart pounded in his ears. If he could only kiss her one last time. “I think I stayed because a part of me always thought you’d come back, and if I was gone… i-if you changed your mind about us and came back… I didn’t want to miss my chance.”

Rockin’ Book Reviews – Review & Guest Post
 

Sprinkled With Sabotage is a great mystery with sweet romance and awesome faith and friendships. The mystery keeps you guessing the who, when and where and what’s next. The characters are all well-developed . . . I highly recommend this story to everyone. There is something for every reader in this story.”

Top Five Things to Know if You’re New to Love and Danger in St. Claire
1. Because dessert.
Like all small Pennsylvania towns, St. Claire never runs out of sugar. Stop at Apple’s Fritters or Poppy’s Pies and Tarts for the treat of your choice. . . .

Read Review Rejoice – Guest Post

Because sometimes, you just need a doughnut. Why you should read romantic suspense?

Maybe the better question would be why not read Romantic Suspense? Sure, you can read heavy war novels, self-helps, memoirs, historical non-fiction, tear-jerkers, and tragedies. And you should… on occasion. But don’t you sometimes want your heart to race for something other than, COVID, bills, politics, work, drama, and your family stress? . . .

 

“I just figured the paranoia was all in my head and that there had to be a logical reason for the other stuff. I mean, I have been a little off since everything happened in the sheriff’s department down home. What if I overreacted?”

Koby shook his head as he grabbed the towel off the counter and flicked the faucet handle to let the water cascade over the cloth. “You are a lot of things, sweetheart. Easily spooked ain’t one of them.”

Wishful Endings – Guest Post
 

Who’s who? Love and Danger in St. Claire

Sprinkled with Sabotage may be part of a series, but readers can start anywhere. But while you may not need to rush out and get books 1 and 2, I think it will be fun to give you a breakdown of just who you will be meeting in the small Pennsylvania town of St. Claire. . . .

 
 

“This was a fast paced suspense sprinkled with not only sabotage but romance. I liked that I wasn’t able to guess who was after Lizzy. . . . The suspense was fast and the romance was sweet.”

Teatime and Books – Excerpt

Her dad rose from his worn green leather armchair in front of the fireplace. “Lizzy Lu.”

How many evenings had she spent on the rug at the foot of that chair, playing with the dogs or reading a book so she could be just like him? She tossed Koby’s keys onto the thin table against the wall, and then, he pulled her into his arms.

“Hi, Daddy.” Pressing her head into his neck, she breathed in the familiar smell of sawdust and leather and then let him go. “You didn’t have to wait up.”

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post…

Sprinkled with Sabotage
(Love and Danger in St. Claire #3)
By Allison Pearl
Christian Romantic Suspense
Paperback & ebook, 164 Pages
October 27, 2020 by Anaiah Press

Lizzy Bennet loves life as a lawyer in the city. And not just because of the miles it puts between her and her ex. However, when she’s attacked on the street just hours after learning her identity was stolen, she tries to call home for help and ends up with the last person she expects: the very same high school boyfriend who broke her heart. He says he’s there to help, but she’s not so sure, and now, all the endless questions and regrets are clouding her judgment and preventing her from seeing the dangerous saboteur closing in.

Small-town auto mechanic, Koby Knightly, is looking forward to seeing a car show in the city. But when an unexpected call from his old girlfriend disconnects suddenly, he rushes to her aid. Throwing his plans out the window, Koby makes it his mission to protect her and discover the identity of the person trying to frame her. Will he also be able to figure out what went wrong between them back in high school or will a killer get to her first?

(Affiliate link included.)
Other Books in the Series

(Linked to Amazon affiliate links.)

About the Author

Allison Pearl is a small-town girl who’s lived just about everywhere. She loves books, tea, chocolate, and watching old movies with her husband, black lab, and orange tabby. To keep in touch and get updates on new releases follow her Facebook page ‘Books by Pearl’ at www.facebook.com/allisonnicolepearl/ or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonPearl5 and Instagram at @allisonnicolepearl.

Tour Giveaway


1 winner will receive a $50 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)

Ends November 29, 2020

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Book Review: Lucy’s Last Chance by Elle Sweet

About the Book:

Lucy was a high-powered attorney who had a nervous breakdown after her husband left her. Broken, she came to the town of Moonshire Bay to start over as a yoga instructor; determined to find inner peace in all things this time around.

Brant is running for Mayor and running after Lucy, but she is scared of his drive and need for success.

Can Lucy realize she’s stronger than she thinks and take a chance on love?

My Thoughts:

Lucy’s Last Chance is a very sweet and simple story that follows Lucy, a yoga instructor at Moonshire Bay. Lucy has moved away from the big city and her career as a high-powered attorney. Additionally, she is in the midst of a divorce and hence the need to get away and start over. As she settles into her new life in this town, she is loved by everyone. Her classes are fun and well received.

As the story progresses, we are introduced to Brant. Brant is running for mayor and shows a great deal of interest in Lucy. As time passes, Lucy starts to consider the possibility of a relationship with Brant. The story then follows the two as they start to tread the waters of a budding relationship. The author keeps the story and the pace simple and straightforward. However, even though some parts of the story may become predictable, the reader is sure to enjoy this book!

I definitely enjoyed reading about Lucy and how she learns to trust again, how she learns to forgive and move on. Her strength and tenacity are inspiring.

A huge thank you to Damppebbles book blog for organizing this promotional tour and for giving me a chance to be a part of it.

Book Blast: Lucy’s Last Chance by Elle Sweet

Book Blurb:

Lucy was a high-powered attorney who had a nervous breakdown after her husband left her. Broken, she came to the town of Moonshire Bay to start over as a yoga instructor; determined to find inner peace in all things this time around.

Brant is running for Mayor and running after Lucy, but she is scared of his drive and need for success.

Can Lucy realize she’s stronger than she thinks and take a chance on love?

About Elle Sweet:

Elle Sweet is the pen name of mystery author Laina Turner.

I started writing ten years ago, and it was always my intent and desire to write romance. However, in my first book, someone died. It just happened and turned the romance into a mystery.

Twenty-some books later, and I decided enough was enough. I was going to do what I’d initially set out to do at the start of my writing journey. Write a book where no one died (It’s not as easy as you think).

I can’t tell you how much fun I had writing Finding Rachel and the three others set in the small town of Moonshire Bay. Finding Rachel is out now and Ari’s Adventure will release in spring of 2020 with the third book set to follow in the early summer of 2020.

How did I come up with my pen name? Elle for the “L” in Laina and Sweet was my grandfather’s last name. I wanted something that had a story. I originally wanted to call myself LuluBell after a pet cow I once had, but the family shot that one down.

Born and raised in the midwest, I live in Indiana with my husband, three amazing children, and our dogs Duke and Macy.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laina_turner

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElleSweetauthor/

Website: https://www.lainaturner.com/books/?cat=romance

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lainaturner/

Purchase Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2P5Y0WZ

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/31368Nq

Google Books: https://bit.ly/3gaKddL

NOOK: https://bit.ly/30Y7QzR

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2X3cBa7

Publishing Information:

Published on 12th August 2020 in digital format

 

Book Review: The Bowery Slugger by Leopold Borstinski

About the Book:

A turn-of-the-century Jewish boy punches his way into the gangs of New York.

When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies’ hands?

The first book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which rips through the early years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir beats at the chest of every reader with a bloody fist.

About the Author:

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/borstinski

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LeoBorstinski

Website: http://www.leopoldborstinski.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B071ZZXZMR?_encoding=UTF8&redirectedFromKindleDbs=true&ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000&rfkd=1&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1572945986&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+bowery+slugger&qid=1572946119&sr=8-1

Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdid=book-7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_read&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_viewport

NOOK: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bowery-slugger-leopold-borstinski/1133282419

My Thoughts:

The Bowery Slugger follows the life of Alex as he steps off a boat and onto American soil. This is a well-written story set during the onset of World War I, bringing the reader to a small part of the world and it’s inhabitants. Alex, in his teenage years, is smart and ruthless, grabbing opportunities and finding his way forward. We are introduced to the Jewish New York mob and how it is run. We meet some very interesting people who add different views and dimensions to this story.

The story is fast paced and at some points is quite graphic and gruesome. However, the author handles the plot quite well and the reader is pulled in the midst of family drama, power struggles, trust and status. The characters are well crafted and fit into the historical setting of this first book. The period and setting is so well described that it is easy for us as the readers to imagine it all in our minds.

Though slow at the beginning, the story picks up speed and pushes forward to an interesting climax. There is indeed some romance brought into the mix, but it takes a back seat most of the time. This story arc shows the reader a contrast in character thinking and brings into focus the skills of the main protagonist. As Alex starts to consider a move from his profession for the sake of love, he starts to wonder at his skill set and whether he is cut out for a world away from crime and the mob.

The plot is elaborately crafted and the reader takes a journey through the hierarchy of people and how the system works. There is a weird sense of justice about the job Alex holds inspite of the violence. there is a sense of honor.

The Bowery Slugger, an apt title for Alex in my opinion, is well worth a read!

Blog Tour: The Magician’s Workshop by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr

This post is part of the Blog Tour for the series being conducted by b00k r3vi3w tours

There will be Guest Posts by the authors, interviews and reviews of the books posted on various participating bloggers on their respective blogs.

About the Books:

 

The Magician’s Workshop, Volume One

Authors: Christopher Hansen, J.R. Fehr
Published by: Wondertale, California
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
ISBN: 1-945353-11-2
ASIN: B01MQGHGBH
Genre: Coming of Age, Fantasy, Magic
Ages: 12 and up.
Length: 85,000 words / 290 pages

Book Links:
Amazon * Goodreads

 
Synopsis:
Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.

 

The Magician’s Workshop, Volume Two

Authors: Christopher Hansen, J.R. Fehr
Print Length: 273 pages
Publisher: Wondertale
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
ASIN: B01N988TW7
Genre: Coming of Age, Fantasy, Magic
Ages: 12 and up.

Book Links:
Amazon * Goodreads

 

 

Synopsis:
Return to the world of The Magician’s Workshop: Where Dreams Become Reality.

In Volume Two, the Festival of Stars has finally arrived, and the Color Ceremony is about to commence. As children from all over the islands gather to stand before a puller, one question remains: who will have a Color, and who will be found void?

Rejoin your favorite characters as they step forward and receive a label that will have the power to dramatically alter the course of their lives forever.

 

About the Authors:

 

Christopher Hansen

The first glimmering Chris Hansen had that there was far more to reality than he had ever imagined occurred six days after his ninth birthday. “Christopher!” cried a wise, old sage. “Life is full of deep magic. Miraculous things happen all the time and all around us, if you know where to look for them.” Full of expectation and childlike optimism, Chris began searching for this magic, prepared to be surprised and amazed by it. And he was: he found Wonder! Now he’s chosen to write stories about it.

 

J.R. Fehr
When J.R. Fehr popped out of the womb, he knew there was more to the world than the four boring hospital walls that he was seeing. “Zango!” his newborn mind exclaimed as he saw people appear and disappear through a mysterious portal in the wall. As a child he found life wowtazzling, but as he grew older the cold water of reality hit him, and the magic he once knew vanished. After spending some wet and shivering years lost in a joyless wasteland, he once again began to see magic in the world. He writes because the Wonder of true life is far grander than anything he ever thought possible.

 

Contact the Authors:
Website * Facebook