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review 2016-11-06 19:10
MEMORY HOUSE (Memory House Series - Book One) by Bette Lee Crosby
Memory House (Memory House Collection) - Bette Lee Crosby

Finished this sweet, lovely book with a smile on my face and an overpowering crave for dandelion tea. Also, I seriously want to plant a garden filled with herbs and flowering plants so I may experience the magic of hibiscus, lemon verbena, and jasmine. I'm not certain about the effects of such herbs and plants but I can tell you that I did find Memory House to be utterly enchanting. I have always dreamed of owning my own Bed and Breakfast, so Bette's story resonated strongly with me. I love the fact that this bed and breakfast brought an old and young woman together. The bond they shared was as sweet as the dandelion tea Ophelia served. This book, given to me by the author, is my very first completed Bette Lee Crosby story. So enjoyable. In one form or another, Crosby cleverly weaves a tiny bit of each one of her books into Memory House and now I must know more. How do the memories tie each story together? I'm not sure. What I do know is that I'll be reading Spare Change next. Like Annie, I look forward to discovering more about the objects and memories of Ophelia and her Memory House

If you enjoy books by Sarah Addison Allen, you will probably like Bette Lee Crosby's books, too. I know I do. If you can't get enough of sweet southern tales, Bette has three book series to entertain the happy reader.

Memory House Series (Books 1-5)

Wyattsville Series (Books 1-4)

Serendipity Series (Books 1-3)

Bette Lee is an award winning novelist with several stand alone novels. For more info, join Crosby at www.betteleecrocby.com

*I was provided with a DRC of this book by the author. Thank you!





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review 2016-08-16 02:38
PROMISED TO THE CROWN (Daughters of New France, Book One)
Promised to the Crown (Daughters of New France) - Aimie K Runyan



Louis XIV's colony in Canada needs women.

Surrounded by the British, the King needs to tie his settlers to the land with farms, wives, and children to defend in the event their enemies should invade.


The King's ministers advised a plan by which young, strong women of good character would be sent at the King's expense to wed the soldiers, farmers, artisans, and fur trappers who popluate the colony.


History would remember them as the King's Daughters and the Daughters of New France.


History doesn't have to be boring and Runyan has proved that point. As I read PROMISED TO THE CROWN I couldn't help wondering why my history classes mentioned nothing of these brave women, women who left behind families and traded their familiar homeland for months aboard a dirty ship and a treacherous voyage across the Atlantic, only to arrive in a frozen land with the intention of marrying a complete stranger. It takes a brave woman to head in this unknown destination. Runyan delivers an absorbing saga of three young and very different women. Aimie K. Runyan's fifteen years of French and Francophone Studies pays off as she delivers a story that is historical fiction at it's finest. Beginning in France and ending in New France, PROMISED TO THE CROWN is filled with heart and adventure, bringing the courageous Daughters of France to life once again. I was enraptured with the incredible journey of Rose, Nicole, and Elisabeth. This novel has earned its top spot in my all time favorites and Best Books of 2016. Word for word perfection. Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!!


Readers are rewarded at the end of this book with an exciting sneak peek of Aimie K. Runyan's next novel DUTY TO THE CROWN, Book Two in the Daughters of New France series which is set for release in November 2016 by Kensington Publishing.




For more info on Aimie, find her on her website www.aimiekrunyan.com and Twitter @aimiekrunyan.




*I was provided with a copy by the author through the 2016 Around the World blog tour. Opinions are my own and uninfluenced.




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review 2016-08-01 19:14
A HOME IN HOPEFUL by Bette Lee Crosby (Wyattsville #2.5)
A Home in Hopeful - Bette Lee Crosby

I've been wanting to read Bette Lee Crosby's books for quite some time. Have several on my Kindle and Bette was kind enough to send me a copy of Spare Change. Well, now I can't wait to get started. I just finished reading this short-but-sweet prequel in the Wyattsville series, A Home In Hopeful, and I fell in love with the characters right away.


Canasta Jones is an old woman recalling her younger years growing up on her Mama's farm in Hopeful, though times weren't always hopeful for Canasta and her family. As Canasta reflects, we learn how Hopeful came to be and, if you're paying attention, we also learn the meaning behind the title for Crosby's book, Spare Change. Canasta is a continuing character and I can't wait to learn more about her. Delightful.



A Home in Hopeful is part of Crosby's Wyattsville series that consists of the following four and a half books: (Books link back to Goodreads)


Spare Change (Wyattsville, #1)


Jubilee's Journey (Wyattsville, #2)


A Home In Hopeful (Wyattsville, #2.5)


Passing through Perfect (Wyattsville, #3)


The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd (Wyattsville, #4)



 I received A Home In Hopeful after signing up for Bette Lee Crosby's newsletter and blog. If you're interested in getting your own copy, you can visit Bette's website at http://betteleecrosby.com.

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review 2016-07-18 03:28
Becoming Josephine: A Novel - Heather Webb

Sadly, I wrapped up this read on Friday and I was very disappointed...to end Josephine's story. Alas, another book that belongs on my BEST OF 2016. For every page turned I thought, why did it take you so long to read this fabulous book?! Seriously, if you love historical fiction and action set in Revolutionary Paris, THIS is THE BOOK for you!!! If a strong, fierce female protagonist appeals to your reading senses, read this book NOW! I could kick myself for neglecting Webb's book for as long as it's been on my Kindle. It wasn't until I actually won a physical copy through a favored blog giveaway that the novel finally captured my attention. After the first paragraph, I knew I was hooked and it only continued to get better with every turn of the page. Josephine's incredible transformation, from a simple Martinique island Creole girl to young wife of a French soldier, is remarkable and Rose, as she is originally known, fights for her freedom and independence every step of the way. This is a woman who more than earned her crown as Imperial Highness Josephine Bonaparte, Empress of France, Empress of Europe.


"I bent over my folded hands and serenity filled me. Empress of the French, Empress of Bonaparte's heart."


Listen, if I'm being completely honest, I tend to be generous with some of my five star ratings. Perhaps, after a bit of reflection, there may be a few books that I've given one too many stars to but BECOMING JOSEPHINE earned every single point of all five shining stars. Infact, it's so magnifique that I give it TEN STARS!!

Heather Webb is a phenomenal storyteller. She knows how to bring characters to life, characters that leap off the page and get into your head and heart. Webb's colorful descriptions filled my five senses. I could perfectly visualize the beautiful Parisian fashions, smell the fresh sea air of Josephine's beloved isle of Martinique, the fragrant blossoms of her gardens, and the city streets of a bustling Paris. I could taste the petit fours and scrumptious bites served in the salons of the rich. I could imagine crystal goblets of the finest wines clinking together in celebratory toasts. Horrific as it is, Webb clearly conveyed the message of war and Revolution. Imagining the streets of Paris filling with angry riots and violent acts, I could hear the cries of those that screamed for help, see the blood that spilled from thousands. For a brief moment in time, I lived amongst the ghosts at the Palais des Tuileries, walking the same great halls as the doomed Marie Antoinette. Webb transported me through time and history and it was a magical journey. Yes! A favorite of 2016 and most definitely an addition to my all time favorites. Thankfully, I have another Webb novel on my Kindle, RODIN'S LOVER. With an author like Webb at the helm, I predict another fine atmospheric tale.



Want more Heather Webb? LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS, written with bestselling author Hazel Gaynor, will release in Oct 2017 from Harper Collins.
More info at: www.heatherwebbauthor.com

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review 2016-07-12 05:22
NÁÁPIIKOAN WINTER by Alethea Williams
Naapiikoan Winter - Alethea Williams Naapiikoan Winter - Alethea Williams

At the turn of a new century, changes unimagined are about to unfold.

I stumbled across Alethea Williams as I browsed a few blogs I follow. Each blog was highlighting several interesting books. NÁÁPIIKOAN WINTER happened to stand out. The blurb sounded fascinating, and so I did a Google search of Williams and ended up adding her three books to my TBR shelves. Coincidentally, after following Williams on her social sites, she contacted me on Twitter and offered to send me copies of each of her published books. I'm always so appreciative of those authors that reach out to me to share their stories. To be honest, I'd never heard of Williams or her books but the historical aspects completely captivated me. One of my favorite books of all time is Love is a Wild Assault, the extraordinary story of legendary Texan, Harriet Potter, written beautifully by Elithe Hamilton Kirkland. I loved the primitive Western-wildness of Potter's story. The synopsis of Alethea's stories reminded me of that favored book and with little hesitation, welcomed Williams offer. Yes! Please send them! And so she did. I began with her latest, this one, and I'm happy to report that I was not disappointed in the least. What I don't understand is WHY haven't more people read this book? I see I'm the first person on Goodreads to review NÁÁPIIKOAN WINTER and I hope I do it the justice it deserves. Divided into four parts, it's outstanding and offers an intriguing look into the past, when Western America and the Northern Plains were just beginning to be explored by the English and the fur traders that followed.


Part One begins in Nuevo Mexico at the hacienda of Don Emilio Ramirez y Santiago, grandfather to eight-year old Isobel Ochoa y Ramirez. Isobel is wisked away in the middle of the night by her father, who plans to start a new life for himself and his only child. He hopes to give Isobel the life she craves and he promises Isobel that they're running away to better lives, the finest education for Isobel and riches from his newly acquired silver mine. Her father, Don Armando Ochoa, had not expected his daughter to be so difficult during their escape and the aventura is almost over before it begins when one of her grandfather's Indian workers, San Juan, appears before father and daughter as they are saddling the horses for departure. San Juan insists they remain at the hacienda but Don Armando will not be stopped. He and Isobel begin the long ride under the turquoise sky of Nuevo Mexico, en route to the silver mines and Pueblo mission, Gran Quivira. It will be an ill-fated decision. The valleys and deserts of the Rio Grande during this time were largely inhabited by fierce Indian tribes, among them the Apache, who did not hesitate to scalp, torture, or enslave their captives.


Part Two introduces the reader to Donal Thomas, a young Englishman who winters with the Piikáni (Blackfoot) hoping to learn their language and open trade with the local tribes. Saahkómaapi, Beaver Bundle Man ( a seer or Dreamer) to the Inuk'sik band of the Piikáni, is immediately suspicious of the Englishman and predicts great change will come with this white man's visit. Thomas and Saahkómaapi try desperately to understand one another but their differences are immense. Donal Thomas is completely foreign to the Piikáni customs and a misunderstanding will lead to punishing accusations with severe consequences for Thomas, a beautiful Piikáni princess named Sweetgrass Woman, and the Piikáni medicine woman, Buffalo Stone Woman.


Williams weaves a wonderful tale of adventure, giving an absorbing account of life within the Piikáni. I admit to knowing very little about Indian customs, relations, hierarchy, and the many bands of Indians. All so very fascinating and Alethea Williams must have extensive knowledge about a time in American history when the West was wild and the Indians were keepers of the lands. Brilliant.


Alethea Williams is the author of Willow Vale, the story of a Tyrolean immigrant's journey to America after WWI. Willow Vale won a 2012 Wyoming State Historical Society Publications Award. Her second novel, Walls for the Wind, about a group of orphaned immigrants arriving in Hell on Wheels, Cheyenne, Wyoming, is a WILLA Literary Award finalist, a gold Will Rogers Medallion winner, and placed first in the Laramie Awards Prairie Fiction category.


Thank you for sharing your stories with me, Alethea. I deeply appreciate it.

Nitsiniiyi'taki. (I thank you.)






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