Book Review: Forging Darkness by Julie Hall

Forging Darkness
by Julie Hall
Book 2 in the Fallen Legacies series
Rating: 4/5
Release date: January 26, 2021
Preorder here!

I am such a huge fan of Julie Hall and I was so excited to finally get my hands on the sequel to Stealing Embers, the first book in the Fallen Legacies series. I highly recommend reading the first book before this one, and you will not be disappointed. Forging Darkness picks up where Stealing Embers left off and continues the adventure by taking the reader into a whole new world that we only caught glimpses of in book one.

When Emberly seeks out Steel and tries to help him find his sister, things go horribly wrong and she is taken captive by Thorne, someone who is like her and has similar powers. She is curious about the way things work in Thorne’s world while trying to figure out a way to escape back to the mortal realm. Thorne’s control and power over the Fallen and Forsaken is uncanny and she finds herself unable to fully trust him. When the truth is revealed, can Emberly and Steel find a way back to each other before the unthinkable happens?

I really enjoyed the continuing story and cannot wait for what comes next. (Way to end the story on a bit of cliffhanger.) I found the progression in the relationship between Emberly and Steel to be slower than I would have preferred lol. The relationship between Emberly and Thorne was interesting but a bit annoying since I don’t really like love triangles (this is not necessarily a true love triangle but it has hints of one). However, I really liked learning about Thorne, and the author does a good job of showing why he is the way he is. I did enjoy finding out more about Emberly’s powers and her angel fire. Her abilities make her a threat to the entire theology built around the Fallen and Forsaken, which could literally change the world. I definitely did not see that coming.

Highly recommend if you enjoy YA fantasy with lots of action, mystery, humor, and some romance. (Especially if you enjoy animals that talk and drink Red Bull and like the interactions between siblings)

PG-13.

My thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Court of Swans by Melanie Dickerson

Court of Swans
by Melanie Dickerson
Book 1 in the Dericott Tales series
Rating: 4/5

I believe I have read every book by Melanie Dickerson and she did not disappoint. Court of Swans is the first book in a brand new series and I was excited to visit the world of 1381 and meet the Dericott family. This particular story is a retelling of The Wild Swans and the author definitely had her own take on the story.

Delia Dericott is the only daughter of the Earl and has lived a fairly sheltered life surrounded by her seven brothers. After her father remarries a horrible woman, she keeps her distance and hopes for the best, especially when she gains a new half-brother. However, her new stepmother has plans of her own. When her father dies suddenly, all her brothers return to the family home (most were off training to be a knight) while they mourn together. Her eldest brother, Edwin, barely has a chance to get used to his new position and title before the king of England’s soldiers arrive to arrest all of her brothers for murder and treason. When Sir Geoffrey realizes that the youngest one is but 10 years old, he is unsure why all these brothers are being sent to the Tower of London. Delia is distraught and must find a way to save her brothers. She suspects her stepmother did something but has no evidence. Afraid of what her stepmother might do to her, Delia escapes to her aunt for guidance. Her aunt arranges for Delia to become a seamstress in the king’s castle in order to find a way to convince the future queen and young King Richard of her brothers’ innocence. Delia finds herself once again confronted with Sir Geoffrey and must find a way to work with him to free her brothers before it’s too late. Can Delia trust the man who arrested her brothers? Can she find a way to rescue her brothers and exonerate them?

There’s definitely never a lack of drama in Melanie Dickerson’s books. lol. I really enjoyed this story of political intrigue set in the late 1300s which is not a time period that I read a lot about. It was interesting to read about the different historical figures and try to get into their head. I finished the book in a few hours and could not put it down. I know I will enjoy getting to know this new family and cannot wait for the next book in the series. 

Highly recommend if you enjoy Christian historical fiction with romance and political intrigue.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Heart of the Crown by Hannah Currie

Heart of the Crown
by Hannah Currie
Book 3 in the Daughters of Peverell series
Rating: 5/5

Guys, I balled my eyes out during the reading of this tremendous story. I’m sad that this is the final book of this amazing series. Every book in the series just keeps getting better and better. I highly recommend reading the first two books in the series first because then there won’t be any spoilers.

Lady Wenderley Davis has had a tough year or so. She’s had her heart broken by a prince and has vowed to never have that happen again. However, when her friend asks her to become the temporary governess for the young Prince Ryan who just lost his mother, she feels like it might be a God thing (or Godwink or divine moment – whatever you like to call it). Wenderley has been praying for the young prince and his family for a while and is willing to do what she can to care for them. She is determined to only stay for a few weeks but with the Queen’s encouragement, she keeps staying longer and longer. She easily falls in love with young Ryan and tries to help his distant father, Crown Prince Marcos, to spend more time with him. As she wears her heart on her sleeve, Wenderley tries her best not to get too attached to the royal family but it’s difficult because she knows that she can’t stay. Wenderley also has a secret and even though she’s far from home, her past still comes back to haunt her. Will Wenderley ever be truly free from her past? Can she be forgiven for her mistake? Can she separate her feelings for Ryan and his handsome father before it’s too late?

Seriously, the relationship between Wenderley (Can I call her Wen? lol) and Ryan is absolutely adorable and so heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Obviously, if you’ve read the previous books, you understand that the relationship between Marcos and his son is complicated, but there’s one particular scene where I couldn’t stop tearing up. But my favorite scene came towards the end and I definitely had a cathartic cry. lol. I’m definitely that person. There was just something so beautiful and cleansing about that scene – the author really “preaches” some beautiful and relevant messages about forgiveness and faith – I made so many highlights near the end.

Obviously, I highly recommend this book and series. Way to go out with a bang! I’m sad the series is over and hope to read more from this author in the future! If you love stories about imperfect royals and the power of love and forgiveness, I highly recommend this series. FYI there were plenty of parts that also made me laugh and sigh. 

What are you waiting for? Read this now! (unless you need to read the first two books first) 😉

Book Review: Active Defense by Lynette Eason

Active Defense
by Lynette Eason
Book 3 in the Danger Never Sleeps series
Rating: 4.5/5

Who doesn’t enjoy a good romantic suspense novel? As a long-time fan, I was excited to get back into the world with some familiar characters and get to know them better. This story can definitely be read as a standalone novel (I somehow skipped reading book 2, but I did read book 1), but I recommend starting from the beginning to get the full effect. I, myself, need to go back and read book 2. You will not regret it.

Heather Fontaine is dealing with PTSD after her service in Afghanistan as a field surgeon. She thinks someone is stalking her, and she is on edge all the time. After she finally shares her fears with her friends, she arrives home to find her house is not quite the way she left it. Fleeing and trying to disappear to protect her friends from an unknown adversary prove to be difficult when Travis Walker, owner of his own security firm, is able to find her and save her. Who is watching her? Who just tried to kill her? She has so many questions and not enough answers. Can Travis and her friends help Heather uncover what is going on? Will Heather’s emotional baggage and traumatic past keep her from pursuing a relationship with the seemingly perfect Travis? Can Travis really protect Heather and keep her safe?

As a medical student, I always love reading stories (even fictional ones) about doctors in the field. Heather’s past is what has shaped her character and is part of what drives her passion to help others. I loved the part where Heather explained how she turned out the way she did despite poor role models — she just did the opposite of what she saw her father do. I definitely cried some tears and felt my adrenaline pumping at different points in the story. Heather’s relationship with Travis was a bit rushed, but it may have been developed more in book 2. Their relationship was not as obvious in the beginning of the story. The big reveal at the end was something I did not see coming until the author made it clear, which is always impressive since I’m constantly guessing throughout the story. Faith is gently woven into the story – definitely not in a preachy way.

Highly recommend this Christian romantic suspense novel that will keep you reading till the end with action, intrigue and a lot of heart.

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Still the One by Susan May Warren & Rachel D. Russell

Still the One
By Susan May Warren and Rachel D. Russell
A Deep Haven Novel
Rating: 4/5
Release date: January 12, 2021
Preorder here: https://books2read.com/u/bzgapG

Welcome back to Deep Haven! Yes! I really enjoyed having the opportunity to jump back in and catch up with old friends. I laughed. I cried. I sighed. Lol. Though you do not need to read the other Deep Haven books, you really should! They are excellent entertainment and I highly recommend them.

Megan is a proud single mom of Josh and a successful wedding planner. She has dreams for expanding her business but just needs some more gigs for that down payment. When her childhood friend (dare I say crush) literally rescues her, sparks fly and it’s only the beginning. A divorced, former Army Ranger, Cole returns to Deep Haven because he must sell his grandfather’s house to pay for his grandfather’s skilled nursing facility before he can interview for a job as a Deputy US Marshal. When Megan finds herself needing his help assisting with wedding planning, Cole steps right up and gets the job done. After being burned in love before, can Megan and Cole find a way to trust each other and love again?

I think it might have been Jane Austen’s Persuasion that first introduced me to the concept of second chances. Who doesn’t love a comeback? Megan and Cole are not perfect. They are flawed but find hope in the Deep Haven community. I loved recognizing all the characters from Susan May Warren’s previous series. Both authors have a way with presenting authentic characters that need to deal with their past insecurities and trauma. Unfortunately, everyone can relate to feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. The reliance on faith is clearly laid out in this book without feeling too preachy. It has a message of hope to move beyond your past that is beautiful.

I was pleasantly surprised at how similar Rachel D. Russell and Susan May Warren’s writing styles were. I felt this book did not pull on my heartstrings as much as Susan May Warren’s previous books but the book still has a lovely impact.

So excited to read more books from Deep Haven! Highly recommend this book if you enjoy small-town Christian romance.

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: The Promised Prince by Kortney Keisel

The Promised Prince
By Kortney Keisel 
Rating: 5/5
Release date: January 12, 2021

Wow. I can’t even describe how awesome this book is. I literally started reading right before bed and then read straight through for the next four hours. I could not put the book down. So good! The book is full of many laugh out loud moments, grief-stricken tears, and heart-pounding romance. This is a standalone novel but I believe the author is going to continue writing within the world and I definitely cannot wait to read more. (Signing up for her newsletter grants you a free story from the same world). 

Renna Degray has felt displaced ever since her father died and her mother remarried the king of New Hope. When a trip to her childhood farm allows her to visit her father’s grave, she finds more than she bargained for in Trev, someone who works for the king’s guard. Just a few hours with him has her mischievous side coming out and she feels a hope of belonging again. But anguish comes when Trev turns out to be already engaged…to her stepsister, Princess Seran. Renna must try her best to hide her attraction and chemistry with Trev in order to let the political alliance continue. There is trouble in Albion and Prince Ezra Trevenna (Trev to his friends) is trying his best to rein in his father’s animosity toward Tolsten, the bordering country, and avoid all out war. Marrying Princess Seran would give his country access to their substantial army and help him in his campaign for king. Can Trev find a way to make Renna his bride or is he stuck fulfilling his duty to crown and country?

This debut novel is brilliantly written and will make you want more from this author! Her characters are endearing and imperfect. Her story has depth and so much heart. And it is CLEAN romance. The world the author has built is interesting and I look forward to reading more about it in future books. 

Highly recommend if you enjoy YA dystopian romance with lots of humor and political intrigue. 

My thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Celebrate Lit Book Review & Giveaway: Dawn of Vengeance by Ronie Kendig

About the Book

Book: Dawn of Vengeance
Author: Ronie Kendig
Genre: FICTION / Science Fiction / Space Opera
Release Date: December 8, 2020

A haunting prophecy upended his identity. Now it demands his life.

Once a formidable bounty hunter, Marco Dusan is plagued by insecurity as he tours the realm he now rules. This quiet, backwater planet is not as untouched as he’d once thought. Evidence of collusion between Droseran factions and the powerful Symmachians with their forbidden technology litters his encounters. Worse, all signs indicate Xisya, the alien who tortured him, is still snatching Kynigos Brethren—but to what end?

Lance Corporal Eija Zacdari works hard to win a coveted place on the Symmachian hyperjump program, but instinct tells her their intel is flawed. Despite nearly failing the tests, she is assigned to the team-and lands in the middle of a bewildering conspiracy.

Haunted by a prophecy that promises pain and war, Marco forges alliances to protect the primitive world against Symmachia’s devastating influence. But one truth becomes painfully clear: the biggest threat to their world may be much, much closer to home.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of over twenty titles. An Army brat, Ronie lives a short train ride from New York City with her husband, twin sons, and two fur-sons, VVolt N629, a retired military working dog, and Benning the Stealth Golden. Described as an empath by her literary agent, Ronie has used her degree in psychology to write books that have won the coveted Christy Award, RomanticTimes Reviewers’ Choice Award, The Realm Award, HOLT Medallion Award, and more. Her books have also hit the CBA Bestseller List multiple times.

My Thoughts

Dawn of Vengeance
by Ronie Kendig
Book 2 in the Droseran Saga series
Rating: 5/5

I did not think it was possible but the Droseran Saga just keeps getting better and better. Dawn of Vengeance sweeps you away to a world that you don’t want to leave making you wish the next book was already out. You will definitely want to read this book after reading first book, Brand of Light.

Your favorite hero is back! Marco is not just your hunter (Kynigos), but he is now the king (medora) of Kalonica. After embarking on a tour of his new country, he encounters more than he bargains for including meeting Isaura, a beautiful young lady who can makes him feel again after his heartbreak. Together they find that raiders are somehow equipped with banned technology and weapons which could mean war for their planet. Can Marco find out what’s happening before it’s too late?

Meanwhile there are other characters involved in this story but Marco is my favorite. lol. I really can’t explain how hesitant I was to pick up this sequel and pray that it was as good as the first. However, I shouldn’t have worried. I did not want to stop reading this saga – this space opera. It was thrilling to read and catch up with old and new characters. The author switches perspectives throughout to focus on different characters which works really well for this story.

Highly recommend for those who enjoy an exciting adventure in space and other worlds with clean romance and mystery.

My thanks to the author and CelebrateLit for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

More from Ronie

Throughout the Droseran Saga, Marco Dusan—our much-loved hero—enjoys his favorite drink, warmed Cordi. The inspiration for his citrusy-spiced drink came from a favorite family holiday tradition—“Christmas punch.” My mother-in-law received this recipe while they were stationed in Germany from a colonel’s wife. We make this every Christmas (okay, I make it a lot starting in about late October because it’s so delish). The piquant scent of cranberry, cloves, and orange fills our home every fall and holiday.

The scent of this is apropos for Marco, who tracks by scent. And, interestingly, our noses and smells are connected to memories, which just seemed to demand I come up with some way to create “Marco’s Cordi” for readers. So, this year, I used Adagio Tea’s custom-blend feature to craft a more citrusy blend of Marco’s drink. Now, that’s tea—something Marco doesn’t really enjoy—but add a quarter cup of warmed orange juice, and you’re starting to hit the sweet spot. Marco would be proud!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 12
April Hayman, Author, December 12
Texas Book-aholic, December 13
Book Love, December 13 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Worthy2Read, December 14
Locks, Hooks and Books, December 14
Sara Jane Jacobs, December 15
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 15
Where Faith and Books Meet, December 16
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 16
Wishful Endings, December 17
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 17
deb’s Book Review, December 18
Simple Harvest Reads, December 18 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Artistic Nobody, December 19 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 19
For Him and My Family, December 20
Mia Reads, December 20
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 21
Adventures of a Travelers Wife, December 21
Through the Fire Blogs, December 22
Rachael’s Inkwell, December 22
Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 23
Inklings and notions, December 23
Inside the Wong Mind, December 24
Blogging With Carol, December 24
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 25
Mary Hake, December 25

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Ronie is giving away the grand prize package of an “Isaura” themed candle, “Marco’s Cordi” Custom Blend Tea from Adagio, a signed Hardcover of Dawn of Vengeance, and Isaura’s amulet!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/104a8/dawn-of-vengeance-celebration-tour-giveaway

Audiobook Review: The Coffee Corner by Amy Clipston

The Coffee Corner
by Amy Clipston
Book 3 in the Amish Marketplace series
Rating: 4/5

I was lucky enough to receive a free ARC of the audiobook of this story and it did not disappoint! I am a fan of Amy Clipston and she is very good at writing sweet, yet authentic, stories of romance set in the Amish community. This story can be read standalone since I have not read the other books in this series but now I need to. LOL.

Bethany Gingerich has a thriving business as the coffee and donut stand at the Amish market. She and her cousins have successful booths but everything is changing since her cousins are getting married one by one. Bethany feels overlooked as a potential mate but finds her eye drawn to the new-in-town, Micah Zook, who is helping with his grandfather’s custom furniture shop. Micah has his own sad past, but he’s determined to do what he loves and that’s helping his grandfather continue his business. He finds a sense of peace when he grabs his Saturday morning coffee and donut from Bethany’s booth and can’t wait to try her newest flavored coffee. Antics and miscommunications ensue on this couple’s journey to love.

I thought this story was very sweet but the only problem I had may have been caused by the narrator of the audiobook than the actual heroine as written. I found Bethany’s character to be so confusing and frustrating at times. She’d go from competent businesswoman to insecure teenager to naive friend and back again. I’m not sure if that was more because of the narrator’s interpretation, but I found Bethany’s character very unlikeable. (This is incredibly strange for me as a reader since I almost always give the MC the benefit of the doubt). I tried really hard to sympathize with her character and her internal struggles but she came out more annoying than anything else. As a single woman, I definitely share some of her struggles and insecurities, but I felt her immaturity was a little over the top. However, the story itself was great and I really liked Micah’s character. I really loved all the interesting coffee flavors Bethany came up with – they sounded great (even to a non-coffee drinker). The family aspects of this story were very strong, and the faith aspect was also woven throughout the story in a meaningful way.

Audiobook: The narrator was okay. She was good but I didn’t think her German pronunciation was very good. Her interpretation of Bethany seemed whiny to me, which is frustrating when I’m trying to root for the MC. The production was well done and flowed well.

Highly recommend if you enjoy Amish romances with some humor and spunk.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: The Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson

The Cul-de-Sac War
By Melissa Ferguson
Rating: 4.5/5

Who doesn’t love a good rom-com? This book is pure joy and fun! Having read the author’s previous work, I was excited to jump in and read this new one that casually mentions previous characters. The story can be read as a stand-alone though. 

Bree Leake hasn’t quite found where she fits in career-wise. She’s tried so many different jobs but never quite found one that stuck. After moving away from home, Bree tries her hand at acting in the nation’s oldest live performance theater, The Barter. While she still feels restless, her parents’ offer to give her their part of grandmother’s house if she stays put for one full year is something that she cannot pass up. She loves the house and all the memories. However, her new neighbor might be the one thing that she can’t stand despite his handsome face. Chip McBride is striking out on his own as a contractor and is eager to show that he can make it without being part of his father’s family company. He wants to make a name for himself and remodeling the Barter might just be his ticket to recognition. He also enjoys antagonizing his new next-door neighbor who happens to be an actor there. Bree and Chip won’t stop until it goes too far and they can’t help but constantly be thinking about one another every day. Pranks ensue while these two duke it out.

You won’t stop smiling and laughing throughout this book. There are a couple more serious parts (don’t get me wrong) but the chemistry between the two characters is undeniable and the author portrays their relationship beautifully. I really enjoyed this “enemies-to-lovers” type of romantic comedy and it ends up being an entertaining read full of spunky characters who you may have read about previously.

Highly recommend for those who enjoy romantic comedies.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review & Celebrate Lit Giveaway: To Steal a Heart by Jen Turano

to steal a heart banner (1)

About the Book

Book: To Steal A Heart

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Comedic Historical Romance

Release Date: November 17, 2020

To Steal a Heart

After spending her childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. Using her old skills to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella unexpectedly encounters Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.

After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agrees to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.

As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Jen

Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by BooklistJen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado.

My Thoughts

To Steal a Heart
by Jen Turano
Book 1 in the Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency series

Wow! I never stop laughing when I read any of Jen Turano’s books. I’m always excited to dig into her world and see what shenanigans her characters are up to. The combination of quirky but strong-willed female characters always makes for entertaining stories that you won’t want to stop reading.

Gabriella “Gabe” Goodhue has not had the easiest life but she is a strong, independent woman living in a boarding house with a job as a seamstress. Having grown up on the streets of the Lower East Side of London, Gabe dressed as a boy and got into trouble with Nicholas Quinn until she got caught and was sent to an orphanage. She’s surprised to see Nicholas again while attempting to break into a safe after thinking he abandoned her all those years ago. This chance meeting has Nicholas floored that Gabe is back in his life and although he’s learned to be a society gentleman, he still wants Gabe to understand what happened. The mysterious Knickerbocker Bandit is still at large and Gabriella is on the case to solve the mystery. Together Gabriella and Nicholas embark on an adventure to discover the truth about their pasts and what it means for their future.

As always, Jen Turano can weave a ridiculously funny story that still has romance, drama, and mystery. Her main characters are lovely and have a past that has made them who they are. I love being part of their journey to find out who they really are and I loved all the other characters too. As a big fan, I’ve read all of Jen Turano’s books and enjoyed reading about places/characters from some of her previous series. The other supporting characters bring much needed intrigue and hilarity to an already fun script.

Highly recommend if you enjoy historical fiction that has humor, romance and mystery.

My thanks to the author and CelebrateLit for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

More from Jen

To Steal a Heart” is the first book in a new series. How did you come up with the idea for this series?

Oddly enough, this series was inspired by a lot of different things. I keep this idea box, and whenever I stumble on something interesting, I throw the idea into the box. When I was getting ready to assemble a proposal for a new series, I took out the box and began rifling through it. Unfortunately, nothing struck my fancy. What did strike my fancy though, was the movie “My Fair Lady.” I’d recently watched it for the millionth time, and I thought…hmmm…what could I do with that? Well, I didn’t want to do a recreation of “My Fair Lady” and that’s when it hit me – what if I used a gentleman instead of a lady and improved his circumstances in life with the help of a professor? That wasn’t really enough, though, for me to formulate an entire series, but then I went to New York City for a research trip. While there, I roamed around Bleecker Street for hours. It was the perfect place to set a series, and then I saw this older building that my tour guide thought might have once been a boardinghouse. That was what really started me thinking, and before I knew it, I’d created an inquiry agency run by women that came about when a resident of a boardinghouse was unjustly accused of theft. When the police would not investigate further, believing they had the true culprit behind bars, the ladies who lived in the boardinghouse felt compelled to step up and clear their fellow boardinghouse resident of the charges brought against her. The series took off from there, the first book centering around one of the lady inquiry agents, Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who used to live on the mean streets of the Lower East Side and, at one point in her life, was best friends with Nicholas Quinn, the man who has now found his circumstances vastly improved from the time he knew Gabriella. Throwing the two of them back together made for an interesting storyline, especially since Gabriella believes Nicholas abandoned her all those years ago, which makes it next to impossible for her to trust him.

Are there other interesting characters in this series?

Of course. All of the lady inquiry agents come with their own secrets. Miss Daphne Beekman is a reclusive author who lives in the attic of the boardinghouse. She has the propensity to faint at the drop of a hat, which makes for a few amusing scenes in the first book. She’ll get her own story in “To Write a Wrong,” coming out later in 2021. Then there’s Eunice Holbrooke. She’s the owner of the boardinghouse, and she only wears full mourning garb, covering her face with numerous veils and refusing to speak to anyone about her past. Clearly, there’s a mystery just waiting to be solved there, one that will be solved in book three, which I’m just now beginning to work on. The other residents of the boardinghouse provide a lot of color to the story, from the two sisters who work as paid companions by day to gossip collectors and carriage drivers by night, to the resident artist, Miss Judith, who has recently decided to dip her toe into the portrait market even though she’s really not proficient with painting people. There’s also a one-eyed, patch-wearing dog by the name of Winston, a parrot that likes to nick sparkly items named Pretty Girl, and a neurotic poodle that falls for Winston that goes by the name of Precious.

Did the pandemic affect the writing process at all for “To Steal a Heart?”

Luckily, I had already turned in the book before the pandemic hit. With that said, though, I then had to do some of the edits during the first few months of the pandemic. That was interesting. I have very specific conditions I need in order to write and edit and having Al (the husband person) working from home isn’t one of those conditions. It took me far longer than it normally does to complete the editing process, which threw off my schedule for the next book in the series, “To Write a Wrong.” Drastic measures were needed. That’s why I’m now the proud owner of a she-shed. Al thought I was joking when I first broached the subject of a she-shed, but after I had my millionth meltdown, he decided that might be a really good idea. Turns out sheds are in high demand at the moment, so getting a shed in a timely fashion wasn’t possible. It took 6 weeks for us to get a shed delivered and then we had to frame the inside and put up a ceiling and walls. I was not actually very involved with that process because I’m a danger to everyone surrounding me when nail guns are being used. 🙂 I did paint the outside of the shed, then painted the inside. Of course the air conditioning unit I had to order was delayed, so I painted in 100 degree heat. Lost about five pounds doing that, so…unexpected bonus there. I just recently finished decorating the inside, and I’m typing this interview from my new space. I’m thinking I’m going to call it “Jen’s Novel Nook” but that might change, so don’t quote me on that.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Just that I hope everyone is surviving these crazy days. I know there are many people out there who are suffering from many different problems this pandemic has caused. Know that you’re not alone, and that brighter days will show up again. Until that time, try to remember to smile and, perhaps, read a few books.

Wishing all of you the very best!

Jen

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 17

Soulfully Romantic, November 17

Hebrews 12 Endurance, November 17

Blessed & Bookish, November 17

Robin’s Nest, November 17

Through the Fire Blogs, November 18

The Avid Reader, November 18

Losing the Busyness, November 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18

She Lives To Read, November 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 19

Wishful Endings, November 19

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 19

Artistic Nobody, November 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

lakesidelivingsite, November 20

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 20

Reviewingbooksplusmore, November 20

The Write Escape, November 20

Older & Smarter?, November 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 21

Christian Bookaholic, November 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 21

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 22

Mia Reads, November 22

Writing from the Heart Land, November 22

Betti Mace, November 23

Inklings and notions, November 23

Blogging With Carol, November 23

Life of Literature, November 23

Texas Book-aholic, November 24

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 24

Batya’s Bits, November 24

Joanne Markey’s blog, November 24

For Him and My Family, November 25

Inside the Wong Mind, November 25

Mary Hake, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 25

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, November 26

EmpowerMoms, November 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 26

Novels Corner, November 26

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 27

Connie’s History Classroom, November 27

Captive Dreams Window, November 27

Book of Ruth Ann, November 27

deb’s Book Review, November 28

Blossoms and Blessings, November 28

Daysong Reflections, November 28

Bigreadersite, November 28

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 29

Splashes of Joy, November 29

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 29

Simple Harvest Reads, November 29 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Vicky Sluiter, November 30

Pause for Tales, November 30

Spoken from the Heart, November 30

Hallie Reads, November 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the grand prize package of copy of To Steal a Heart, plus all three books in the American Heiresses series and a 30 second mystery kit (Link: https://amzn.to/3nqrIpC)!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/103a4/to-steal-a-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway