Review: In the Shadow of Croft Towers by Abigail Wilson

January 31, 2019

Title:In the Shadow of Croft Towers
Author: Abigail Wilson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780785223665
Publication Date:January 15th, 2019

About the Book:
From debut author Abigail Wilson comes a shadowy Regency tale of secrets and spies, love and treachery.

Croft Towers holds more than its share of secrets . . . and Sybil is determined to uncover them all.

When Sybil Delafield’s coach to Croft Towers was robbed by highwaymen, she should have realized that her new position as companion to old Mrs. Chalcroft would be no ordinary job. Upon Sybil’s arrival, Mrs. Chalcroft sneaks into her room in the dark of night, imploring her to relay messages to town that are to stay hidden from the rest of the family. Who exactly is she working for and what do the messages contain?

When fellow passengers of the robbed coach are later murdered, Sybil’s hunt for the truth takes on a new urgency. The only person she can rely on is Mr. Sinclair, Mrs. Chalcroft’s godson, but under all his charms he too leads a double life. Sybil must decide if he is the one honest voice she can trust, or if he is simply using her for his own advances.

With murderers, smugglers, and spies on the loose, nothing—and no one—in Regency England is what they claim. Can Sybil even trust what she knows about herself? 
My Thoughts:
Riveting and fun!
These are the two words that pop into my mind when I think of Abigail Wilson's debut novel. In the Shadow of Croft Towers and a feel of Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. The mix of the classes that Jane Austen wrote about, with the dark and mysterious feel of Charlotte Bonte. I loved Jane Eyre and I just completely fell into the this book.

Abigail was able to bring an interesting mix of characters and make each of them pop in there own way off of the pages. Sybil, a woman trying to uncover the mystery of her parentage. Mr. Sinclair, a man of many talents and secrets. Mrs. Chalcroft, a frail, but very shrewd woman with a towers worth of secrets behind her.

These characters played so well off of each other.

The setting of this story is cold and dreary. It adds to the mystery and suspense of the story. the towers were their own character, like the house in Downton Abbey was. The uniqueness of the location really helped give it an eerie feel.

The mysteries in this book kept coming. Right when I think I have it figured out, another was thrown out there and threw me off the trail and thinking where this would lead me next.

The writing was fun and submissive.

I also downloaded this book in the audio. It was so fun to listen to this book. The narrator's English accent really added another depth when listening.

This book was right up my alley! I honestly can't wait to read Abigail's next book.
This was a fabulous debut!

5 out of 5

About the Author:
Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A Registered Nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the National Parks, attending her daughter’s gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and in 2016, ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a 2017 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children.

Thank you to the publisher and Just Read Tours, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Waiting On Wednesday: Coral

January 30, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly feature that spotlights an up-and-coming release you are most excited about.

I'm a huge fan of fairy tales and fairy tale re-tellings. They are just so much fun.Disney has done a good job. Love the movies!
When ever I hear about a new book with a re-telling, I get excited!
Sara Ella has already written one fantastic series, Unblemished. It was a fabulous series! The world building was fantastic. I honestly can't wait to see what she has in store with her new release that will be released later this year. It focuses on one of my favorite fairy tales, Littler Mermaid.

Waiting On:
Title: Coral
Author: Sara Ella
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: September 10th, 2019

About the Book:
Multiple award-winning young adult author Sara Ella reimagines The Little Mermaid in a powerful and unexpected way.

Sixteen-year-old mermaid Coral has always been different, standing out from her stoic sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease. Said to be carried by humans, the Disease imposes emotions on its victims, causing them to commit unspeakable acts. The growing illness inside her, while terrifying, fascinates her very core. Where others see danger, Coral sees life. Could it be the colorless merfolk who are truly ill?

Above the sea, seventeen-year-old Brooke Jordan has nothing left to give. A homeless girl abandoned and forgotten, the only thing Brooke can rely on is the ocean. Her aching feet find refuge within the cool and comforting waves, while her broken heart grows harder with each passing day. When Brooke's and Coral’s worlds collide, everything alters in an instant. From learning to stand alone, to discovering the strength it takes to rely on another, the girls find that living requires taking that first painful breath. Each must make sacrifices, and when it comes to finding true love? Let’s just say the boys in their lives must learn to swim if they’re ever going to survive the storms.

Battling the odds against them, the girls will do whatever it takes to survive. But what must end for love and life to finally begin?

Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tale, this modern-day story explores mental health from several perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.

What are you waiting on this week?
Are you a fan of fairy tales? Have you heard of any new fun books lately?

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

January 29, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Artsy Read Girl.
Each week features a book related topic to spotlight your Top Ten.

The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

With the new year always comes with a new listing of books for the year. 
I've been adding books since mid 2018 to my 2019 list. So many books have been announced and my list has been growing a lot these last couple of weeks. 
There looks to be so many fabulous books coming out soon.

by Joanna Davidson Politano
by Roseanna M. White
by Shawn Smucker

by Beth K. Vogt
by Tara Johnson
by Judith Miller

by Kelly Irvin
by Abigail Wilson
by Jessica Kate

by Pam Hillman

I will say, my TBR is so much bigger and I know it will just keep on growing!
What books have you added recently? 
What are you most excited about?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

January 28, 2019

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Book Date
Each week offer the opportunity to to spotlight what you're reading and what you just finished reading.

I'm almost done with another book for the year, which will soon put me on track with my reading goal. 
I have to say that this debut I'm reading has been fabulous! I can't wait to see how it end. 

Currently Reading:
by Jaime Jo Wright
by Abigail Wilson
Review will be posted this week.

Reading Next:
by Kaitlin Covel

Recently On the Blog:
Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read in 2018, but Didn't Get To
Waiting On Wednesday: Glory Road
Review: A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

What are you reading this week?
Find anything new and fun to read soon?

Review: A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

January 25, 2019

Title: A Bound Heart
Author: Laura Frantz
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780800726645
Publication Date: January 1st, 2019

About the Book:
Though Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is but the keeper of his bees and the woman he is hoping will provide a tincture that might help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Yet even when all hope seems dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony, it may be that in this New World the two of them could make a new beginning—together. 
My Thoughts:
Stunning! Absolutely stunning!

That is really the only way I can think to describe this story. That and too short! I wanted it to go on even longer. I know it was about 400 pages or 11 1/2 hours of recordings, but the story seemed to fly by!

Lark and Magnus were both very strong and well built characters. Raised close to each other, but so very different at the same time. They both held strong faith even in the most desperate of times.

Before I get into all of that, I need to focus on the beautiful detail that Laura Frantz brought forth with her impeccable research and beautifully written description of each place that the characters went to. She brings you into the story and locations. This book brought us to so many places and it just captured you up in every sense.

The characters were great and so fleshed out.

Lark was a girl who had a very rich history behind her family, but she now lives in small croft house with her Grannie. She is content to be the her little island's healer and herbalist. She knows what helps people and like to help them. She is content with her life and knowing she is a spinster.

Magnus is a a man who was raised to rule over his island and help his people. He's married to a woman who doesn't like the island and is desperate to just have a baby. His life is grand and sad all at the same time.

Lark and Magnus had their lives intertwined through their whole lives and this story keeps them with weaving in an out. Decisions, deceptions, anger, and forgiveness drives theses characters to so many places.

I absolutely loved this book. If there was a sequel, I wouldn't be sad!

The audio-book of this story was just wonderful. The narrator was able to keep my attention and add another level to the story. I also loved the bagpipes at the beginning and the close.

This is a story I can't recommend enough for reading or listening!

5 out of 5

About the Author:
Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the ECPA bestselling author of several books, including The Frontiersman's Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel's Lady, and The Lacemaker. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky.
Learn more at

Thank you to publisher, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Waiting On Wednesday: Glory Road

January 23, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly feature that spotlights an up-and-coming release you are most excited about.

This week I'm featuring a contemporary release. This is a book, just by a description, is one I think I would really enjoy. It focuses on a divorced woman, raising her daughter, and living with her mom. This is a book I think I could connect to in a way. The real issues of stories like these are ones I find myself drawn to. It doesn't hurt that the cover is just gorgeous and eye catching. 
I can't wait to see what this story has to bring. 

Waiting On:
Title: Glory Road
Author: Lauren K. Denton
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: March 19th, 2019

About the Book:
Written in Lauren Denton's signature Southern style, Glory Roadtells the story of three generations of women navigating the uncertain pathways of their hearts during a summer that promises to bring change--whether they're ready for it or not.
At thirty-eight, garden shop owner Jessie McBride thinks her chances for romance are years behind her and, after her failed marriage, she's fine with that. She lives contentedly with her fiery mother and her quiet, headstrong daughter. But the unexpected arrival of two men on Glory Road make her question if she's really happy with the status quo. Handsome, wealthy Sumner Tate asks her to arrange flowers for his daughter's wedding, and Jessie finds herself drawn to his continued attention. And Ben Bradley, her lingering what-could-have-been from high school days who's known her better than anyone and whom she hasn't seen in years, moves back to the red dirt road. Jessie finds her heart being pulled in directions she never expected.
Meanwhile, Jessie's fourteen-year-old daughter, Evan, is approaching the start of high school and trying to navigate a new world of identity and emotions--particularly as they relate to the cute new guy who's moved in just down the road. At the same time, Jessie's mother, Gus, increasingly finds herself forgetful and faces a potentially frightening future.
As all three women navigate the uncertain paths of their hearts and futures, one summer promises to bring change--whether they're ready for it or not.

What are you waiting on this week?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Didn't Get To in 2018

January 22, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Artsy Read Girl.
Each week features a book related topic to spotlight your Top Ten.

Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To

This topic is one that is hard for me...easy, but also hard. I have boxes and boxes and boxes...they need to be on shelves...that's another story for another day...of books. 
There were several books that I either won or bought last year that I really wanted to read, but I sadly ran out of time to get to.....just not enough time in the day. It's really a problem some time. 

These are the ones that popped to mind when I was thinking on this topic. I've heard amazing things about all of these books, and I honestly can't wait to read them. 

by Heidi Chiavaroli

by Patti Callahan

by Mary Connealy

by Kimberly Woodhouse

by Dawn Crandall

by Tamera Alexander

by Allison Pataki

by Pam Hillman

by Tessa Afshar

What was on your list this week?
What books did you run out of time to read?
What are you hoping to read this year?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

January 21, 2019

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Book Date
Each week offer the opportunity to to spotlight what you're reading and what you just finished reading.
It's been a good week of reading. 
I finished an amazing book! Review will be posted soon. I also started a couple of new releases that I have been anticipating with several more waiting in the wings. 

Finished Reading:
A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz
SIGH!! Such a fabulous book! Review will be posted soon. 

Currently Reading:
The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Reading Next:
Atoning for Ashes by Kaitlin Covel

Recently On the Blog:
Top Ten Tuesday: New To Me Authors of 2018
Waiting On Wednesday: The Killing Tide
Review: The Lieutenant's Bargain by Regina Jennings
Handmade Hearts Blog Blitz

How has your reading week been?
What are you reading this week?

Handmade Hearts Blog Blitz

January 18, 2019

Handmade Hearts blog blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz & Giveaway for Handmade Hearts by June McCrary Jacobs, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Handmade Hearts Cover.jpg Title: Handmade Hearts  
Author: June McCrary Jacobs  
Publisher: JMJ Story Stitcher Books  
Release Date: December 18, 2018  
Genre: Historical Romance 

'Handmade Hearts' is an historical romance short story set in New Orleans during World War II and was inspired by a true story.

Toward the end of his life, the author asked her Uncle 'Allen' how he met his wife. He shared about how he met 'Irene' at a church social in their neighborhood in New Orleans in the early 1940s. He had been seriously wounded in Guadalcanal in the South Pacific as a young Marine and was using crutches to get around as best he could.

He had many inner wounds which needed time to heal, too. He had no way of knowing when they first met that Irene had suffered her own wartime tragedy. She bravely sought to keep her grief locked away deep inside because thinking about her loss caused her even more sorrow. She needed to be strong because she was the breadwinner for her small family.

Times were tough, but these two unique individuals made it through each day with inner fortitude, determination, and the sincere hope of something greater just over the horizon.

This inspirational short story follows the growth of Allen and Irene's relationship beginning with their chance meeting and leading forward to a lifetime spent together. 'Handmade Hearts' was created to honor this unique couple's love for and devotion to each other in a relationship which spanned seven decades.  

"Wow-ee," whispered Allen under his breath to no one but himself. "She is one classy lady."
As he lumbered home, he reviewed the evening's events with silent approval. Irene's lovely face was imprinted on his mind. Her ivory skin was flawless, and her sparkly hazel eyes were expressive and fit just right on her heart-shaped face. Soft, light brown curls framed her wholesome face, and her cute hat was the perfect accessory for the church social. When Irene smiled at him, Allen felt at peace. After the time they had spent together this evening, he somehow sensed everything would turn out fine.
As he made his way through the neighborhood, his thoughts remained on his new acquaintance. Irene appeared to be close to his age, almost twenty-one, but she possessed a maturity garnered from surviving difficult trials. She was at least a foot shorter than he, making her five feet three inches tall at the most. Her petite figure was slightly rounded, which Allen found appealing.
He perceived Irene Carston as an elegant lady filled with compassion and intelligence. Now he realized he had been so involved with his own discomfort and anxiety he had failed to ask Irene anything about herself. She’d been an empathetic listener, and her idea about his checking out another branch of service was superb. Although she hadn't offered any details of her life, Allen sensed she was suffering from a deep heartache.
Allen would admit he had never felt this comfortable around a woman other than his mother in his life. Raised on a small farm in rural Mississippi, he and his brothers had worked extremely long hours to keep the farm operating. They had not had the time or money to date. Once the family moved to New Orleans before the war, the three brothers were busy finishing high school and earning a living. There was not much time left over for dating.
When the unwelcomed news of the Pearl Harbor attack arrived, the young men willingly prepared to go off to war. Despite being uneducated and poor, Allen's parents had instilled in their sons the principles of honesty, respect, and kindness in their dealings with others—especially women. His mother would have been disappointed to know her youngest son failed to ask Irene about her own life.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon


author photo_black & white
June McCrary Jacobs was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing's 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for her debut novella, 'A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom'. 'Robin's Reward', her first full-length novel, was set in her favorite location in California—the Mendocino coastal region. This book is the first installment of the 'Bonita Creek Trilogy'.

June's debut middle-grade novel, 'RES-Q Tyler Stop', an historical novel set in Sonoma County, California, in 1968, will be released in the spring of 2019. The second installment of the 'Bonita Creek Trilogy', 'Penny's Promise', will be released in late 2019 or early 2020.

June's original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and on sewing industry blogs in the past decade. When she's not writing, reading, blogging, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, visiting art and history museums, and touring historic homes and gardens.

CONNECT WITH JUNE: Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Goodreads Blog | Amazon


handmade hearts giveaway
(1) winner will win an ebook copy of Handmade Hearts + $15 Amazon Gift Code 
(2) additional winners will each receive an ebook copy of Handmade Hearts

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 15, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm January 22, 2019. Open internationally except where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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