On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jamie Jo Wright

About the book:

Adria Fontaine has been sent to recover goods her father pirated on the Great Lakes during the war. But when she arrives at Foxglove Manor–a stone house on a cliff overlooking Lake Superior–Adria senses wickedness hovering over the property. The mistress of Foxglove is an eccentric and seemingly cruel old woman who has filled her house with dangerous secrets, ones that may cost Adria her life.

Present day.
Kailey Gibson is a new nurse’s aide at a senior home in a renovated old stone manor. Kidnapped as a child, she has nothing but locked-up memories of secrets and death, overshadowed by the chilling promise from her abductors that they would return. When the residents of Foxglove start sharing stories of whispers in the night, hidden treasure, and a love willing to kill, it becomes clear this home is far from a haven. She’ll have to risk it all to banish the past’s demons, including her own.

My review:

Jamie Jo Wright is a master of the dual-timeline novel. I’ve read other novels that try to employ the dual-timeline technique, and most end up over-complicated and fall flat. Not so with a Jamie Jo Wright story. And On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor is another intricately compelling novel that you need to read.

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor was fascinating. The plot was taut throughout, fraught with intrigue, and wrought with skill. Her characters, as always, are beautifully complicated and easy to connect with. This story touches on everything from mental unwellness to Civil War profiteers, and it all comes together so smoothly you don’t even realize how disparate the topics should be.

This was a great read, and I highly recommend you grab On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor (and any other Jamie Jo Wright novel while you’re at it). 🙂 An easy 4 out of 5 stars for me!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for the digital copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Embracing the Oucast by Nadine C. Keels

About the book:

Now that Princess Eunice of Diachona has come of age, she has much more to study, and a new weight sits on her compassionate shoulders. Her late mother was an admirable ruler, but Eunice can hardly see herself thriving in the political arena. In fact, she doesn’t think many people see her at all, especially not would-be suitors who often bypass quiet Eunice to pursue ladies they find more attractive.

So when Eunice meets a serious, gifted artist who expresses his desire for her company, she isn’t sure if his interest in her is romantic or simply artistic. And why does this young man seem to be as saddened by Eunice as he is drawn to her?

My review:

Embracing the Outcast is another lovely read from Nadine C. Keels. It’s a story with heart, a story that both grants you an escape into a different world for a time and makes you evaluate the world around you.

Nadine’s stories are always sweet and clean romances but with a deeper meaning to them. They leave you feeling uplifted and encouraged, and that’s why I enjoy reading them. Her characters are not typical romantic leads, but that is why the stories are more interesting and more worth reading than the average cookie-cutter, trashy stories that you can find everywhere.

I’d definitely recommend you pick up Embracing the Outcast. And grab some of her other hope-filled stories while you’re there! I’ll give this a strong 4 out of 5 stars.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Many thanks to the author (and apologies for taking so long to finally post the review) for the digital copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft

About the book:

A magical secret. A mythical hunt. And a love that could risk everything.

When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.

Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist—yet. He’s been fired from every apprenticeship he’s landed, and his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret. She begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.

Although they make an unlikely team, they soon find themselves drawn to each other. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt – if they survive that long.

My review:

I was fascinated by this book. I really enjoyed how Saft created a fantastical, alchemical world in what you could almost identify as an actual, historical place, blurring the lines of reality and unreality. I also enjoyed how she did the same with the faith of her characters, reshaping some of the traditional faiths into magical beliefs and systems, while retaining their inherent oppositions and prejudices to help create tension in her story.

But that wasn’t the only tension in the story. The constant build of pressure throughout the plot, between Margaret and Weston, between the hunters and the hala, between the locals and the outcasts, all of it lent for a wonderful story that made me want to know how it would all turn out. And it was pleasantly (refreshingly) not exactly as I expected.

I can easily give A Far Wilder Magic 4 out of 5 stars for creativity and readability. I’d recommend you check out this lovely fantasy for yourself.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press/Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the digital copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

3-in-1 Bible Guide by George W. Knight

About the book:

Are you looking for basic Bible information?
Don’t want to wade through long, technical explanations of people, places, things, or ideas?
The 3-in-1 Bible Guide is your go-to resource for everyday use!
For many people, a simple explanation is much more helpful than a long, theological treatise ever would be. That’s the philosophy behind the 3-in-1 Bible Guide: A Dictionary, Concordance, and Atlas for Everyday Study.
This compact, beautifully designed reference book offers the most important details on Bible people, places, things, and ideas, along with key references you can look up for additional information. And, when appropriate, related entries are cross-referenced and keyed to some three dozen informative maps.
The 3-in-1 Bible Guide is perfect if you’re unfamiliar with the depths of scripture, but it’s also useful if you’re a Bible veteran who just wants a quick refresher on God’s Word.

My review:

If you are looking for a simple resource for basic biblical information to help guide your study or point you to more in-depth information, this is the reference guide you need.

It includes basic definitions for major biblical words/ideas and people/places, all in an easy to look up alphabetical format. In between definitions, the book also includes a concordance for basic words, so you can easily find where those words are used in the Bible, to see them in context. And the full-color maps at the back of the book are beautiful and contain a wealth of information to aid in biblical study.

Having the digital ARC of the 3-in-1 Bible Guide, I’m not sure how the final format will look. I do hope that they have included a table of contents or a search function that would allow the reader to jump to a particular letter of the alphabet or topic easily. If not, then I’d recommend purchasing a print copy of this handy reference for ease of use. It would be a nice resource to keep with your Bible study gear to help you grow in the Word.

I’d give the 3-in-1 Bible Guide 4 out of 5 stars for content.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Many thanks to Barbour Publishing and NetGalley for the digital ARC of this reference book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Prepper’s Medical Handbook by Emma Nora

About the book:

Take charge of your life and start becoming prepared for what lies around the next corner.

Have you ever felt that the world is slowly falling apart?

Do you worry you are not prepared enough?

Stop being the kind of person that rushes to the store every time a little disaster is announced on the television.

Take charge of your life and start becoming prepared for what lies around the next corner. By picking up Prepper’s Medical Handbook, you will learn how to treat various injuries and illnesses through the use of first aid.

Not only that, but you will learn how to fend for yourself if you were to get lost in the wilderness.

In Prepper’s Medical Handbook, you will discover:

* Learning first aid

* Learn to apply first aid techniques

* Handling disease and dealing with allergies

* Finding water in various environments and treating the water

* How to find food and hunt animals

* Techniques for setting up traps and snares with visual examples

* How to build shelters quick and easy

* Using plants to treat common symptoms

And much more…

Stop playing the victim when things go wrong. Become aware of what is happening around you and start to prepare. A well-prepared plan will ensure your and your family’s safety during a time of crisis.

My review:

This is definitely not my normal reading fare, but given the current social/economic climate, I thought I’d check it out. I’m not a “prepper,” but I do like to prepare and want to be able to care for my family, should anything happen. I’d especially hoped that it would give good information regarding medicinal plants. But this is definitely more basic than I’d wanted.

If you, like me, want more in-depth info about herbal/survival medicine, this is not the book for you. If you have lived in a city with pharmacies, doctors, urgent cares, and hospitals all around you, and you are considering venturing out into the wilds (to live off the grid or even just get away for the weekend), you should probably check this book out.

I did appreciate the variety of shelter ideas (with drawings) and the multiple ways to gather water (with drawings). Also, the basic list of medicinal plants with their properties and usages is a good resource for anyone (though I’d suggest if you are really interested that you check out a book of local plants and their properties, since only two of the ones mentioned are found in my area).

I’d call this book good, but not great. It’s a handy resource for the very (VERY) basics. I’ll give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Pick up a copy if you’re just beginning to trek into the countryside.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Thanks to BooksGoSocial and NetGalley for the digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz

About the book:

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry.

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who’s just trying to survive in a city where it’s too easy to die.

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham’s lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, Beecham will allow her to continue her medical career. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books—she’ll need corpses to study.

Lucky that she’s made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living.

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets, and the dreaded Roman Fever, which wiped out thousands a few years ago, is back with a vengeance. Nobody important cares—until Hazel.

Now, Hazel and Jack must work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society.

My review:

Now this was a very interesting story! I love that it’s set in Edinburgh at the height of the surge of medical/surgical knowledge in that city. I’ve read about the resurrection men before and have always been intrigued by what they did to make just enough money to live. And it fascinates me that people were so desperate to learn that they were willing to pay someone to dig up fresh bodies!

The love story was both sweet and heartbreaking, how Hazel was torn between doing what her family considered to be the right thing and following her heart (both in life and in love). It was a beautiful love story between a girl and a boy, but also between a girl and knowledge. Well worth the read! I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend you pick up a copy for yourself. 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press/Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the digital copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

About the book:

In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth of her disappearance.

I’m no Hercule Poirot.

I’m her husband’s mistress.

Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.

Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy.

After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.

Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to . . .

The Christie Affair is a stunning novel that reimagines the unexplained eleven-day disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926, which captivated the world.

My review:

I have to admit…I really could not get into this book. It literally took me six months to read it. I kept putting it down in favor of other books then picking it up again, only to give up and read something else. There were moments in the story that were intriguing to me, but so often the construction was awkward, causing me to have to re-read to figure out what the author was actually saying.

I even made a note of the first time I felt like the book was finally making a bit of sense…almost a quarter of the way through it. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. One of the problems for me was that it was written in first-person omniscient, so Nan O’Dea told the story, but that character described what everyone else was doing and thinking and feeling, and it was confusing at times and kind of annoying to me.

It was an interesting idea for why Agatha Christie disappeared and then never spoke about what went on during those missing days, but I honestly can’t effusively recommend it. I’m going to give it 2.5 out of 5 stars. If you really want to read it, I’d recommend borrowing it from the library.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for sending me a digital copy for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Dead Fall by Nancy Mehl

About the book:

After facing the demons from her past, Alex Donovan is ready to move on and focus on her career at the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). When renowned profiler and BAU co-founder John Davis is found dead in his hotel room, the FBI is called in to work on the strangest case they’ve ever faced. How do you find a killer who murders his victims without touching them?

When it becomes clear that the killer is targeting agents in Alex’s unit, they are ordered into lockdown, sheltered in the dorms at Quantico. Alex bunks with a controversial agent, Kaely Quinn, who has returned after being dismissed three years earlier. As they work together, Alex discovers in Kaely the role model she’s never had, despite being warned away.

As Alex questions who she wants to become, things get personal when the brilliant killer strikes close to home. Now Alex will do anything to find the killer–even at the risk of her own life.

My review:

Dead Fall was a great read: packed with thrills and twists that made me want to finish, just so I could know if I’d guess right at who the culprit really was. And I was wrong… 🙂 But that just means that the author did a fabulous job of crafting her characters with just enough shade to make so many of them seem as if they could be responsible for the crimes. Wonderful!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If you enjoy a good thrill ride, pick up a copy of Dead Fall by Nancy Mehl. And I haven’t yet read the first book in this series, but that did not stop me from enjoying the story and being able to connect with the characters, so don’t let the fact that it’s book two of the series stop you. Or get both books! 😉

Happy reading!

Many thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for the digital copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Lost in Darkness by Michelle Griep

About the book:

Enchanting Regency-Era Gothic Romance Intertwined with Inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Even if there be monsters, there is none so fierce as that which resides in man’s own heart.

Travel writer Amelia Balfour’s dream of touring Egypt is halted when she receives news of a revolutionary new surgery for her grotesquely disfigured brother. This could change everything, and it does. . .in the worst possible way.

Surgeon Graham Lambert has suspicions about the doctor he’s gone into practice with, but he can’t stop him from operating on Amelia’s brother. Will he be too late to prevent the man’s death? Or to reveal his true feelings for Amelia before she sails to Cairo?

My review:

I always look forward to reading a book by Michelle Griep. She has such a knack for drawing the reader into her world and holding you there with great characters, fascinating plots, and beautiful historical tidbits.

Lost in Darkness is another fabulous example of Griep’s work. I was entranced by how she wove Mary Godwin into the story, using a moment in Godwin’s life that has been lost to history and extrapolating what could have happened, making it seem so very possible. And her characters, as always, have so much depth, are so richly layered, that you feel you know them and want to hug them (or smack some sense into them).

Rigorously researched, carefully crafted, and wonderfully written, you will want to get Lost in Darkness (pun absolutely intended). Many thanks to Barbour Publishing for the advanced copy of this novel. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

The Fey of Castle Garden by Naomi P. Cohen

About the book:

New York City, 1859: On Samhain night, a mage pledged to the Wild Hunt is violently murdered. Tensions between the Hunt and Triona, Fey Queen of Central Park, heat up and threaten to boil over into a full-scale conflict.

Sofia De Benedetti, mage and musician in Triona’s court, has her hands full making enough money to support herself and help women who are down on their luck in the rough corners of the city.

Now a fey war looms and a mage killer is on the prowl. Everything Sofia has built since immigrating, and her life itself, is at risk. With the help of a cait sidhe and a tempestuous storm fey, Sofia must find the murderer before the streets of the city erupt into a magical battleground.

My review:

So, you saw the cover reveal a few weeks ago, but now it’s time for the review. This story was chock full of feels: I giggled, I fumed, and I even teared up. The author created a fascinating world within our world and populated it with a collection of characters that I couldn’t help but love (even Enda). She did a marvelous job of building tension and keeping the story moving, while still folding rich detail into every scene.

I want to get lost in Castle Garden, be a member of Triona’s court, and have my own cait sidhe (although, my Gracie kitty may already be one that I’ve just never seen morph into her human form…). And I look forward to following Sofia, Ciaran, and the rest of the fey on their next adventure. 4 out of 5 stars. Happy Samhain! 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Many thanks to the author for the advanced copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂