#TopTenTuesday: Favorite Bookstores or Bookstores I’d like to visit #IndieBookstores

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

For today’s Top Ten Tuesday, we were asked to name our favorite bookstores or bookstores we’d like to visit. The first shop is one I’ve visited often, and the rest are shops I’d like to visit. Most of them are on my list for a future road trip to visit bookstores in the South, except for one, which is in France.

  1. Friends of the Marianna Black Library Used Bookstore

The Friends of the Marianna Black Library group provides financial support to buy books and other materials for the library’s collection, purchase needed items of equipment or furniture, and help sponsor library programs. The Used Book Store, located at 32 Everett Street right down the street from the Library, is the Friends’ primary fundraiser and is staffed 100% by volunteers. Bookstore shelves are stocked with used books on a wide range of topics, best sellers, books by North Carolina authors, oldies and autographed books, children’s books, puzzles, videos, DVDs and magazines. All items have been donated. Donated materials and volunteers are always needed.

I love this bookstore because it’s staffed by volunteers whose main focus is to support the library in Bryson City, NC. I visit whenever I can and always find a great book. I currently have a bunch of ARCs to donate to them soon.

2. Shakespeare and Company

This is a famous bookstore I would love to visit! Shakespeare and Company is an English-language bookshop in the heart of Paris, on the banks of the Seine, opposite Notre-Dame. Since opening in 1951, it’s been a meeting place for ex-pat writers and readers, becoming a Left Bank literary institution. I learned about it in Darlene Foster’s book, Amanda in France.

3. Union Avenue Books

I am planning a road trip to independent bookstores in the South over the next couple of years. Union Avenue Books will be on the list. They are downtown Knoxville’s locally-owned independent bookstore with a great selection of newly published titles. They host a variety of local, regional, and nationally known authors for readings and book signings.

4. City Lights Bookstore, Sylva NC

As I was looking for local Independent bookstores in the South, I found one in Sylva! This mountain town is not far from my retirement home in Bryson City, NC. I will be going there soon.

City Lights Bookstore is in Sylva, North Carolina, a small Main Street town tucked in the heart of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Their goal is to share the literature of the region with the world, and the world of books with their community.  Selling new and used books, cards, gifts, journals, maps, and more since 1985. They also have a lot of great events and signings.

5. Faulkner House Books

Faulkner House Books is located in the heart of New Orleans’ beautiful and historic French Quarter, just off Jackson Square, behind the Cabildo and opposite St. Louis Cathedral’s rear garden. Founded in 1988 by attorney Joseph J. DeSalvo Jr. and his wife Rosemary James, Faulkner House Books is a sanctuary for fine literature and rare editions, including, of course, books by and about Mr. Faulkner. Frequently featured in the national news media, Faulkner House Books has been described by both collectors and writers as America’s most charming book store.

6. Chop Suey Books, Richmond Virginia

Chop Suey Books has been serving the Richmond community for two decades. Currently located in the heart of Richmond’s Carytown district and owned by Chris and Berkley McDaniel, the store is staffed by long-time patrons and is a hub for local authors and book lovers alike. The original Chop Suey Books opened in 2002 on West Cary Street near the Virginia Commonwealth University campus, in a building that used to house George’s Chop Suey restaurant, which inspired the name.

They’ve got new books on their lower level and five rooms of used books upstairs, with Wonny (their 16-year-old tuxedo cat) wandering in, out, and around his kingdom.

7. Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

Parnassus Books is the independent bookstore for independent people located in Nashville, Tennessee. The shop has been co-owned by novelist Ann Patchett and her business partner, Karen Hayes, since it opened in 2011. (Read all about the start of the store in Ann’s own words here!) Parnassus stocks an extensive and exciting selection of books including fiction, non-fiction, children’s, local interests, and the arts. The store also boasts an extensive local author section.

8. Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston SC

Blue Bicycle Books is the hub of YALLFest, Charleston’s Young Adult Book Festival, which takes over Upper King Street on the second weekend of November every year.  They offer lots of other events and signings as well.

9. Alabama Booksmith, Birmingham, AL

This store has a unique stock–every book in the store is signed! Anyone who collects signed books needs to put this store on their “must visit” list. It’s on mine.

10. Sundog Books, Seaside, Florida

The best place to get a beach read or browse their large collection of Southern Fiction. It’s located on State Road 30A, a beach lover’s dream.

What about you? Do you have a favorite bookstore or one you’d like to visit?

#BlogTour and #BookReview: Holiday Romance #romanticomedy #Bookouture


She’s meant to be catching flights, not catching feelings…

Molly and Andrew are just trying to get home to Ireland for the holidays, when a freak snowstorm grounds their flight.

Nothing romantic has ever happened between them: they’re friends and that’s all. But once a year, for the last ten years, Molly has spent seven hours and fifteen minutes sitting next to Andrew on the last flight before Christmas from Chicago to Dublin, drinking terrible airplane wine and catching up on each other’s lives. In spite of all the ways the two friends are different, it’s the holiday tradition neither of them has ever wanted to give up.

Molly isn’t that bothered by Christmas, but—in yet another way they’re total opposites—Andrew is a full-on fanatic for the festive season and she knows how much getting back to Ireland means to him. So, instead of doing the sane thing and just celebrating the holidays together in America, she does the stupid thing. The irrational thing. She vows to get him home. And in time for his mam’s famous Christmas dinner.

The clock is ticking. But Molly always has a plan. And—as long as the highly-specific combination of taxis, planes, boats, and trains all run on time—it can’t possibly go wrong.

What she doesn’t know is that, as the snow falls over the city and over the heads of two friends who are sure they’re not meant to be together, the universe might just have a plan of its own…

A totally gorgeous and escapist friends-to-lovers festive romance with a swoon-worthy hero. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Mhairi McFarlane, and Christina Lauren.


For ten years, Molly and Andrew have been sitting next to each other on flights home from Chicago to Ireland during the Christmas season. They have an enjoyable 7 hours of laughing, joking, and chatting about their lives as they head to their separate celebrations. It becomes a tradition of its own. However, this year the weather has caused almost all the flights to be canceled. But Andrew is a huge fan of Christmas, and Molly vows to get him home.

This is a fun, witty, and charming story of two friends who fall in love on a whacky adventure from airport to airport over ten years. The characters are engaging and the dialogue is clever. The story flashes back and forth from the present to each of their previous Christmas flights, and we watch their relationship develop. Does this transport me to the Christmas season? It does. From packed airports to Christmas sweaters to many Christmas-tinged side trips on the way to their destination, we follow the couple on a romantic holiday jaunt. This book also truly lives up to its genre of romantic comedy, and I chuckled my way through. The cast of characters is fun and varied, from family members to cabbies to airport employees and more. Holiday romance is a sweet, funny Christmas vacation that you will definitely want to take.

I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


Catherine Walsh was born and raised in Ireland. She has a degree in Popular Literature and the only prize she ever won for writing was at the age of 14 in school (but she still cherishes it.) 

She lived in London for a few years where she worked in Publishing and the non-profit sector before returning to Dublin where she now lives between the mountains and the sea. When not writing she is trying and failing to not kill her houseplants.


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#BlogTour and #BookReview: Death at The Lychgate #AmyRowlingsMysteries #SpellboundBooks



It’s Sunday morning, and the body of Reverend Villiers has been found propped up on the vigil seat in the church’s lychgate. It appears that he has been poisoned.

When amateur sleuth and regular churchgoer Amy Rowlings arrives, she finds DI Bodkin already at the scene. Bodkin tells her about a cryptic scripture reference that has been scrawled in chalk on the stone slabs beneath the body. What the citation hints at, shocks everyone.


This is Book 2 in the Amy Rowlings Mysteries. It can be read as a standalone. The local vicar has been murdered and it is an apparent poisoning. Amy Rowlings and DI Bodkin are on the case, and they soon discover that there has been much more going on than it seems.

I love that Amy uses lessons learned from Agatha Christie’s character Hercule Poirot to help her in her investigation. The romance between Amy and DI Bodkin is sweet and is moving forward nicely. The townsfolk are endearing and delightful, but some of them are hiding secrets. The mystery has some clever twists and turns that will keep you guessing. There are other truths to be uncovered behind the vicar’s murder, and those truths add even more layers to this mystery. Fans of historical mysteries and Agatha Christie in particular should check this one out.

I received a free copy of this book from Spellbound Books via Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


T A Belshaw is from Derbyshire in the United Kingdom where he shares a house with his chatty rescue cat, Mia. He writes for both children and adults. A former miner and computer technician, Trevor studied Advanced Creative Writing at the Open University. He is the author of Tracy’s Hot Mail, Tracy’s Celebrity Hot Mail and the noir, suspense novella, Out of Control. Following the sudden death of his wife in 2015 Trevor took a five-year break from writing, returning during lockdown in 2020, when an injury forced him to take time off work. The result of this new creative burst was the Dual Timeline, Family Saga, Unspoken and the Historical Cosy Crime Whodunnit, Murder at the Mill.

Trevor signed his first contract with Spellbound Books Ltd in April 2021. He signed a further mullti-book contract with them in the spring of 2022.

His short stories have been published in various anthologies including 100 Stories for Haiti, 50 Stories for Pakistan, Another Haircut, Shambelurkling and Other Stories, Deck the Halls, 100 Stories for Queensland and The Cafe Lit anthology 2011, 2012 and 2013. He also has two pieces in Shambelurklers Return. 2014

Trevor is also the author of 15 children’s adventure books written under the name of Trevor Forest.

His children’s poem, Clicking Gran, was long listed for the Plough prize (children’s section) in 2009 and his short poem, My Mistake, was rated Highly Commended and published in an anthology of the best entries in the Farringdon Poetry Competition.

Trevor’s articles have been published in magazines as diverse as Ireland’s Own, The Best of British and First Edition.


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#SundayPost: On the Road Again

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post

I did a lot of driving this week! Of course, I went to Bryson City for my aunt’s funeral. I mentioned her passing in my last post. It was a very upbeat and spiritual ceremony because her final destination in Heaven is well assured to us all.

Then Thursday I headed from Bryson City to Cincinnati because I have Bengals season tickets and there was a Thursday night game. I went with my brother Tim and we had a blast! And of course we got the win, which made it even better.

The view from my seat in the end zone.

It is about 7 hour trip from Bryson City to Cincinnati but it took me about 9 because I stop a lot. I got there about 4 pm Thursday. We left for the game at 5 pm, and got home from the game about 1:30 in the morning on Friday. Then I hit the road again about 10 a.m. Friday to drive from Cincinnati to Johnson City, Tennessee, which is about a 6 hour drive but took me 9 because of all the stops. That’s a lot of driving!

Upon getting back to Johnson City, I was greeted by a double rainbow! One is very faint, but you should be able to see it.

So that was my week! How was yours?


On Monday I reviewed Dreamland by Nicholas Sparks

On Tuesday I participated in Top Ten Tuesday. The topic of typographic book covers was fascinating!

On Wednesday I did a blog tour and excerpt for Millstone of Doubt

On Saturday I did a blog tour and audiobook review of An Autumn Kiss


On Monday I will review Death at The Lychgate for Zooloo’s Book Tours

On Tuesday I will review Holiday Romance for a blog tour with Bookouture. I will also participate in Top Ten Tuesday.

On Wednesday I will review The American Adventuress by C.W. Gortner.

On Friday I will review The Family Home for a blog tour with Bookouture. I will also participate in Book Blogger Hop.

I will also review/promote books for Indie Weekend.

NO NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK! I’m concentrating on reading the ones I already have.

Blog tour and #audiobook review: An Autumn Kiss #VictorianRomance


  • Genre:Historical Romance, Victorian Romance, Inspirational Fiction
  • Publisher: Mirror Press (September 20, 2022)
  • Length: (275) pages
  • Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 
  • ISBN: 978-1952611308


An Autumn Kiss is the seventh book in the Timeless Victorian Collection, a bestselling anthology series from Mirror Press. The book features three novellas from acclaimed historical romance authors whose stories reveal if one kiss will change the lives of the three heroines.

“The Plucky Miss Ruth,” by Laura Rollins

Miss Ruth Hughes is certain she’s caught in a time loop—every day she wakes to find it exactly as the one before. A thrilling prospect to be sure. If the many books she reads on time travel has taught her anything, it is that to break free she must complete an all-important task. For Ruth the task is straightforward: reunite a couple, once desperately in love but forced apart by society. Unfortunately, things are not always as easy as they first appear. Struggling, Ruth opens up to the handsome Lord Lambert and he readily agrees to help. With autumn on the brink of turning into winter, time is running out for Ruth to help the ones who need her most. And, with a bit of luck, perhaps she can even find a little time for her own happily ever after.

“Mr. Dowling’s Remedy,” by Annette Lyon

Crandall Dowling’s aspirations of becoming a physician collapse when he develops symptoms that land him in an asylum. He’s been at Sherville Retreat long enough for autumn leaves to appear when Beverly Stanton arrives. She’s held under the dubious diagnosis of “hysteria” but seems perfectly sane, unlike Crandall, though his verbal and physical tics don’t seem to scare or even bother her. Beverly and Crandall develop a friendship fueled by an undeniable attraction that under other circumstances could become more. But in an asylum, one cannot plan a future, let alone one of love or marriage. Then tragedy strikes, testing staff and patients beyond anyone’s training. When the dust settles, Beverly’s diagnosis may be reversed, but if she leaves, what will become of her? What of Crandall? And what of their autumn-born love?

“A Railway Through the Roses,” by Lisa H. Catmull

Mr. Adrian Everard has tried everything to keep his father’s factory open, but a single solution remains. Marry an heiress before Christmas to fund the desperately needed railway. The local landowner, Lady Anne Baxter, will not agree to sell her garden—or her heart. Indeed, his childhood friend is determined to sabotage all his efforts to find a wife. As the deadline for Adrian to choose a bride draws close, one thing becomes painfully obvious. Saving the factory will mean losing the woman he loves forever.


Since 2015, Mirror Press has been presenting the Timeless Romance Collection, a curated anthology of novellas and short stories featuring bestselling authors from the contemporary and historical romance genres. The collection has hit the USA TODAY bestselling list and charted at #1 at Amazon.com. Learn more about the series and other anthologies published by Mirror Press at their website.  


  • 5 STARS – “…a fun collection and each of them have something unique from most of the romances I’ve read. Very enjoyable reading.”— Maria Thomas, Goodreads
  • “This anthology is truly wonderful. Each story is very distinct from the others, and each is also very compelling. It will keep you reading and wanting more with each page and chapter.”— Shauna Jones, Goodreads
  • 5 STARS “absolutely adored this collection of short stories! I would recommend this collection to anyone who needs an escape for a couple of hours.”— Jzcotter03, Goodreads


This entertaining audiobook shares three Victorian novellas, all with the theme of “an autumn kiss.” Despite a shared theme, they are all very different and entertaining in their own way.

The Plucky Miss Ruth is a light romance with a twist–Ruth is caught in a time loop. Every day is the same, and she must find a way to break the pattern. This romance does not have a lot of twists and turns, but sometimes that is not needed, as the characters are engaging and the romance is sweet. This is great for a light autumn read.

Mr. Dowling’s Remedy by Annette Lyon has an intriguing plot. Beverly Stanton has been committed to an asylum by her stepfather, who had her diagnosed with “hysteria” to get her out of the way. Crandall Dowling has been at Sterling for six months, since he began to exhibit symptoms of what we now know as Tourette’s Syndrome. They strike up a friendship, which they are immediately told is forbidden, for the doctors feel that Crandall is possessed. This was my favorite of the collection, as it examines the inhumane treatment and abuse that patients received at asylums in that era, and the way the “hysteria” diagnosis was used to manipulate women and take their property. It is also the story I would choose to be expanded into a full book.

In A Railway to the Roses by Lisa Catmull, Adrian Everhard needs to fund a railway to keep his father’s factory open, but marriage to a wealthy woman seems to be the only way. His father arranges a house party for Adrian to meet eligible women. Lady Anne Baxter is Adrian’s childhood friend. She is outraged that a railway has been proposed which will run right through her beloved garden, and she refuses to marry any “fortune hunters.” At the same time, she is determined to undermine Adrian’s attempts to marry for money. This is a sweet “friends to romance” story. The characters are engaging and well-written, and I enjoyed the romance and history entwined in the story.

The narration by Kim Bretton is very well done. She takes on three different stories and a plethora of characters and situations with ease.

The cover is absolutely beautiful, and the fall color in the dress is stunning.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the publishers via Austenprose Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


Laura Rollins

Laura Rollins has always loved a heart-melting happily ever after. It didn’t matter if the story took place in Regency England, or in a cobbler’s shop, if there was a sweet romance, she would read it.

​Life has given her many of her own adventures. Currently she lives in the Rocky Mountains with her best friend, who is also her husband, and their four beautiful children. She still loves to read books and more books; her favorite types of music are classical, Broadway, and country; she loves hiking in the mountains near her home; and she’s been known to debate with her oldest son about whether Infinity is better categorized as a number or an idea.


Annette Lyon

Annette Lyon is a USA Today bestselling author, a 9-time recipient of Utah’s Best in State medal for fiction (three times for novel-length works and five times for short fiction), and a Whitney Award winner for BAND OF SISTERS. She’s the author of over a dozen novels, at least that many novellas, a cookbook, a popular grammar guide, and over a hundred magazine articles.

She’s a founder and regular contributor of the Timeless Romance Anthologies line of sweet romance stories, which she served as editor for its first three years. She’s also one of the four co-authors of The Newport Ladies Book Club series. She graduated cum laude from BYU with a degree in English.


Lisa H. Catmull

I write clean and wholesome romances in the Victorian era and sweet contemporary romances. My books have been nominated for Swoony, RONE, and Whitney awards. 

I taught Middle School English and History for seven years before pursuing screenwriting and writing. I currently live between a canyon and a lake in Utah with my husband, two cats, and two rambunctious children.




Launch Day for Distant Flickers!

Reblog of Liz Gauffreau’s post. It is launch day for Distant Flickers, a collection of short stories by 8 authors, including Liz.

Elizabeth Gauffreau

Launch day for Distant Flickers has arrived! I’ve shared the two videos below to represent the two short stories of mine that are included in the anthology. (“Let the Rest of the World Go by” was originally recorded in 1919, which is within the timeframe of my story, but the sound quality of the contemporaneous recordings I found was so poor, they were painful to listen to.)

“Norfolk, Virginia, 1975:
East Ocean View”

“Diary Omissions:
The House on Edgewood Road”

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Blog Tour and Excerpt: Millstone of Doubt #RegencyRomance #HistoricalFiction


  • Title:Millstone of Doubt: Thorndike and Swann Regency Mysteries (Book 2)
  • Series: Thorndike and Swann Regency Mysteries
  • Author:Erica Vetsch
  • Genre:Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction
  • Publisher: ‎Kregel Publications (September 20, 2022)
  • Length: (304) pages
  • Format: Trade paperback & eBook 
  • ISBN: 978-0825447143
  • Tour Dates: September 19 – October 3, 2022


A Bow Street Runner and a debutante in London Society use their skills to find the killer of a wealthy businessman, but the killer’s secrets aren’t the only ones they will uncover.

Caught in the explosion of the Hammersmith Mill in London, Bow Street runner Daniel Swann rushes to help any survivors only to find the mill’s owner dead of an apparent gunshot–but no sign of the killer.

Even though the owner’s daughter, Agatha Montgomery, mourns his death, she may be the only one. It seems there are more than a few people with motive for murder. But Daniel can’t take this investigation slow and steady. Instead, he must dig through all the suspects as quickly as he can because the clock is ticking until his mysterious patronage–and his job as a runner–comes to an abrupt and painful end. It seems to Daniel that, like his earthly father, his heavenly Father has abandoned him.
Lady Juliette Thorndike is Agatha’s bosom friend and has the inside knowledge of the wealthy London ton to be invaluable to Daniel. She should be in a perfect position to help with the case. But when her trusted instructor in the art of spy craft orders her to stay out of the investigation, Lady Juliette obeys. That is, until circumstances intervene, and she drops right into the middle of the deadly pursuit.

When a dreadful accident ends in another death on the mill floor, Daniel discovers a connection to his murder case–and to his own secret past. Now he and Juliette are in a race to find the killer before his time runs out.


  • “An artfully told story that will have you wondering at the outcome until the final pages are read.” —Ruth Logan Herne, USA Today best-selling author
  • “…a fully satisfying mystery. I can’t wait to read the next one!” —Jocelyn Green, Christy Award–winning author of Drawn by the Current
  • “I am sure fans of the first book in this series will revel in the deepening relationship between Daniel Swann and Juliette Thorndike.” —Alissa Baxter, author of The Viscount’s Lady Novelist
  • Millstone of Doubt captivated me from the first sentence and kept me guessing the entire novel…Erica Vetsch is the master of all things Regency.” —Lorri Dudley, author of The Duke’s Refuge
  • “5 Stars. Millstone of Doubt is a compelling Regency mystery with plenty of romance. Michelle Griep fans (or any Regency fan in general) will love this novel.”— Jennifer Purcell, ChristianBooks.com


Daniel opened his eyes, his head throbbing. His body felt pulped, as if he’d been trampled by a herd of Highland cattle. Something bit into his cheek as he lay sprawled on the cobbles, and he tasted the coppery tang of blood.

Sprawled on the cobbles? Why was he on the ground? Had he fallen?

His thoughts scattered and fragmented, refusing to organize.

He blinked hard, wincing against the throbbing inside his skull.

Had someone hit him?

Drawing in his arms and planting his palms on the rough stones, he pushed himself away from the ground, pausing on hands and knees to ease the dizziness swirling behind his eyes. To his left, a horse lay on its side, kicking and struggling, tangled in the harness like a fly in a web. The animal’s mouth was open, but no sound came out—or at least no sound that could be heard above the ringing in Daniel’s head. He straightened to his knees and pressed his palms to his temples.

What happened? He tried to draw a deep breath, but dust and smoke choked him, and he gagged, coughing, doing an agony to his head. He staggered to his feet. Rocks and rubble littered the small courtyard.

A man stumbled by, eyes wide, face streaked with blood and dirt.

His head and shoulders were covered with white powder.

Daniel turned a slow circle, unsure of where he was, until his eyes lit on the carriage with the Earl of Thorndike’s crest on the black door.

The mill. The trip to find Mr. Montgomery . . .

Lady Juliette! What had become of her? He swung wildly, looking one direction and then another, but he couldn’t see her anywhere. She had been emerging from the carriage when whatever had happened

. . . happened.

The carriage had slid several yards, dragging the horses backward and to the ground. One would never trot again, and the other continued to thrash. The driver was nowhere to be seen, but the tiger, a youngster of thirteen or fourteen summers, bent at the head of the struggling horse, trying to calm him. As Daniel moved toward the vehicle, the door opened and the viscount’s head and shoulders emerged. His hat was gone, and his cape wrapped around his shoulders as if trying to strangle him.

His eyes were wild. He mouthed something to Daniel, beckoning him before disappearing within once more. Or had he spoken aloud? Daniel’s ears still rang so loudly he heard nothing else. It was as if someone had locked him in a glass room with a banshee. He could see the world around him, but nothing else penetrated his shrieking prison. He glanced toward the end of the street. Yellow flames licked through the gaping doorway of the mill. Every window was an empty eye socket, no glass to be seen. Rock dust filled the air, and men ran past him from the center of the town toward the burning building,

buffeting him in their haste.

Daniel reached the carriage and peered inside. The maid and Miss Montgomery bent over Lady Juliette, who lay on the floor. She must have been knocked back when the mill . . .


That must have been what happened. A mill explosion.

He’d heard of such things, but he’d never been close enough to one to become collateral damage.

Coatsworth sagged into the corner of the coach once more, his limbs lax, staring. Miss Montgomery’s carefully arranged hair now lay in auburn tangles on her neck and cheeks, but she gave all her attention to Lady Juliette.

“Is she injured?” Daniel asked, startled to find he couldn’t even hear his own voice. When Miss Montgomery gave him no heed, he had to assume her ears were ringing as well. He touched her sleeve.

At that moment Lady Juliette jerked, her body stiffening as she came to herself. Her legs stirred, and Daniel realized that far more of her shapely limbs showed than was proper. And something poked beneath her petticoat, affixed to her leg just above the knee. Was that a pistol in a holster? He had no notion what a woman’s underpinnings looked like, but he was certain weaponry wasn’t standard issue. He reached in and tugged her hem down.

The maid blinked, and her mobcap tumbled off her head. She had a red mark on her cheek that would soon blossom into a bruise. They must have been tossed about like pebbles in a jar when the blast hit.

Though Miss Montgomery tried to prevent her, Lady Juliette sat upright. Her pelisse tangled about her arms, and she eased aside the cloth, as if she wasn’t quite sure of her movements.

“Lady Juliette, are you injured?” Daniel asked. He couldn’t gauge how loudly he was talking, but it must have been quite loud, for with a pop, his ears began to work, and the last word all but echoed in the confined space.

With the inrush of sound, he began to understand the chaos going on around them. The horse’s screams, shouting, the crackle of fire, boots on cobbles . . . somewhere a woman or child sobbing.

Lady Juliette pushed her hair out of her eyes and edged toward the door.

He reached for her waist to draw her out of the carriage. She put her hands on his shoulders, and he easily lifted her and set her feet on the ground. Keeping hold of her, he bent to look into her eyes. Was she steady enough to stand alone?

Her hands gripped his shoulders, and his spanned her waist. As she inhaled, he felt the movement of her ribs. Heat rushed into his ears, and his heart tripped. He had never held a woman in such a way. He wanted to draw her close, to put his arms properly around her and protect her, to usher her to safety away from the pandemonium going on around them.

Brazen thoughts for a mere officer of the court to think about the daughter of an earl.

“Thank you.” Her voice sounded quavery, but she stepped back. He let her go, staying close lest she succumb to faintness. With shaking fingers, she loosened her bonnet strings and retrieved her bonnet from where it trailed down her back. Looking around her at the tumult, she let the now-battered straw millinery fall to the street.

“Are you injured?” he asked again. He could see no damage, but he must make certain.

“I do not believe so. Merely shaken.” She gulped in a breath and coughed. Dust sifted from the air, landing on her dark hair and the shoulders of her pelisse. “What happened?” She looked up at him properly for the first time, and her face went pale as milk. She blinked and swayed, and he gripped her again.

“Blood.” The word strangled its way out of her throat. She wavered so much he feared she would collapse, but as he bent to pick her up and place her back in the carriage, she planted her palms on his chest and pushed. “You’re bleeding.” She stared at his mouth, gripping the doorframe of the carriage.

He touched the corner of his lips, and his fingers came away red. He must have cut himself when he fell. Using his cuff, he swiped at the blood. Lady Juliette could not stand the sight of blood, as he remembered from her encounter with ruffians in a London alley mere weeks ago.

“Little harm has been done. I am well, I assure you.” He’d suffered worse wounds shaving.

Chapter 2, pages 26 – 29




Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling author and ACFW Carol Award winner and has been a Romantic Times top pick for her previous books. She loves Jesus, history, romance, and watching sports. This transplanted Kansan now makes her home in Rochester, Minnesota.


Top Ten Tuesday: Typographic book covers #toptentuesday #thepowerofwords

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

TOP TEN TYPOGRAPHIC BOOK COVERS: Covers that are all or mostly all words.

These are in no particular order, and I haven’t read all of them.

Fredrik Backman’s choice of putting large words over scenic backgrounds works well.

A large title, vibrant colors, and a caricature make this cover appealing. Both the author’s name and title are prominently displayed.

I don’t think we can get a better example than this.

The Dune series is another great example. The book title is prominently displayed, and the background transports us to the story.

This is a murder mystery, and the main character is Julia Child’s best friend. It is made up to look like the cover of Julia’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

Prominent letters with art inside of them. The author is so famous, of course, that his name alone could sell the book.

Prominent words with a simple sketch.

This is not only incredibly intriguing but gives us an association with the book.

Very simple lettering with basic colors really draws you in. A book review becomes a part of the cover design. (As a reviewer, I approve!)

What do you think of typographic covers in general? Do any other spring to mind for you?

#bookreview: #Dreamland by #NicholasSparks



Colby Mills once felt destined for a musical career, until tragedy grounded his aspirations. Now the head of a small family farm in North Carolina, he spontaneously takes a gig playing at a bar in St. Pete Beach, Florida, seeking a rare break from his duties at home.
But when he meets Morgan Lee, his world is turned upside-down, making him wonder if the responsibilities he has shouldered need to dictate his life forever. The daughter of affluent Chicago doctors, Morgan has graduated from a prestigious college music program with the ambition to move to Nashville and become a star. Romantically and musically, she and Colby complete each other in a way that neither has ever known.
While they are falling headlong in love, Beverly is on a heart-pounding journey of another kind. Fleeing an abusive husband with her six-year-old son, she is trying to piece together a life for them in a small town far off the beaten track. With money running out and danger seemingly around every corner, she makes a desperate decision that will rewrite everything she knows to be true.
In the course of a single unforgettable week, two young people will navigate the exhilarating heights and heartbreak of first love. Hundreds of miles away, Beverly will put her love for her young son to the test. And fate will draw all three people together in a web of life-altering connections . . . forcing each to wonder whether the dream of a better life can ever survive the weight of the past.


I’m really torn on this one. I enjoyed the love story, and I don’t always enjoy love stories. It was written really well, as all of Sparks’ books are. However, it employs a plot device that I absolutely hate and which I personally feel is a copout. Thus I cannot give it more than three stars.

I cannot go into the plot device too much without providing spoilers, but this particular device just ends up making me mad. This has great characters and a great story, but I ultimately felt cheated by that particular tactic. Others may not have a problem with it at all.

If you want to see more about my issue with this book, here is my Goodreads review. On Goodreads, spoilers can be hidden. So, if you wish to go to the review and unhide the spoilers, you will see what I’m talking about.

I received a copy of this book from Random House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, with over 105 million copies sold worldwide, in more than 50 languages, including over 75 million copies in the United States alone.


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#SundayPost: Precious Memories

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post

Monday brought a return from vacation and a return to reality. I had training for work a large part of the week, so it was pretty quiet work-wise.

Today brought reality in a deeper way, as I went to the hospital in Asheville to say goodbye to my Aunt Linda before she left this world. As I type this I have just been told that she has passed. This was a sweet and godly woman who, through love and kindness, leaves behind a wonderful legacy of precious memories for her children and grandchildren. I hope to leave such a legacy myself someday. Of course, this makes me think of my late Mom and how much she loved her family. I was proud to represent her today.

My original plan today was to can tomatoes, so I did some of that when I got back home. I have some tomatoes in the canner and I have plans to use my garden habaneros to make habanero-peach jam.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week.


On Monday I reviewed The Safe Game by Wes Verde.

On Tuesday I participated in Top Ten Tuesday.

On Friday I participated in Book Blogger Hop.

Also on Friday I reviewed Gail Meath’s new release, Deuce, for Indie Weekend. This is Book 3 in the Jax Diamond Mysteries series.


On Monday I will review Dreamland by Nicholas Sparks.

On Tuesday I will review The American Adventuress by C.W. Gortner. This is historical fiction about the life of Jennie Jerome, the mother of Winston Churchill. I will also participate in Top Ten Tuesday if time permits.

On Wednesday I will do an excerpt of Millstone of Doubt by Erica Vetsch

On Friday I will participate in Book Blogger Hop if time permits.

On Saturday I will review Dreams of Song Times by Amy L. Bernstein as part of Indie Weekend.


My name is Bonnie, and I’m a Netgalley addict…..

I requested too many books this week! Somebody stop me! Seriously, I have a lot of reading to do. Click on the cover to learn more about the book.

Set in the dual times of 1807 and 1904. In 1807, a baby is discovered floating in a basket in a canal in Venice. He is raised by a group of Artisans and taught all of their trades. In 1904, Daniel Goodman is sent from California to Venice to procure and translate a new book. What he uncovers are secrets from the past.

This is historical fiction about Dorothy Horstmann, who helped find the cure for polio. I am reading this for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society.

This is book 4 in the Jersey Girl Legal Mysteries. Eleven-year-old Riley’s father has been convicted of murdering her mother, and she is determined to get him out of jail.

A Christmas story about the breakup of Sarah Dunne’s marriage, her strained relationship with her daughter, and a chance to find love again.


This is a reimagining of the story of Hester Prynne, the tragic heroine in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

This is a Christmas novella set in World War II London. I am also reading this one for The Historical Novel Society.
In the 1850s, Annie reluctantly moves with her family from New York City to Cincinnati, the Queen City of the West, and is none too happy about it. She soon meets Max, an immigrant from Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine neighborhood, and they begin to fight for their dreams. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, so I had to check this one out. This is an Indie book that I am also reading for The Historical Novel Society.