Saturday, May 23, 2020

5/23/20 WINTER'S GIFT by Florence Keeling

Winters’ Gift: A heart warming, feel good romantic comedy.

Bea Winters is in desperate need of a fresh start. Being bullied at work is not her idea of fun and she longs to follow her dream of becoming a published author. When an advert appears in her local paper to work in a publishing house in the sleepy village of Bloomsdale, it sounds too good to be true.

She strikes up an instant friendship with gorgeous aspiring author, Eddie Richards and her dashing millionaire boss Scott Summers

But all isn’t as it seems in the sleepy village of Bloomsdale.

How does the local clairvoyant know her name? Who does the little black dog that keeps appearing belong to and why does she keep bumping into the mysterious Charlie?

As she starts to unravel the truth, it seems that everyone in Bea’s life is keeping secrets.

An uplifting romantic comedy that will warm your heart – perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews. 


I had fun reading about Bea Winters and her dream of becoming a published author - her new job in a publishing house - enjoyed this story about a woman who just needed a break.You will find yourself rooting for her as she navigates new friendships and self-discovery. 

I love that it is all that you need in a nice quarantine read to escape from and with great character, a fell good story, and a heart warming read too.

 I enjoyed this quick fun read with elements of fun, mystery and mysticism. 

Purchase Links:

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About Florence Keeling

Florence Keeling adopted for her pen-name her Great Grandmother's name, chosen because of the shared birthday of April Fool's Day. She is married with two teenage chidren. Born and raised in Coventry, England she now lives just outside in Nuneaton. Reflected Destinies is her first novel.

Florence Keeling also writes for children under the name of Lily Mae Walters.
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Bea is struggling to find an affordable place to live in Bloomsdale, but with the help of Eddie and Buddy she finds herself the proud owner of a worn out old narrow boat.

“Here we are.” Joe had stopped by an ancient looking narrow boat. The windows were covered in dirt and what little paint was left was peeling and cracked. “She’s not much to look at but she’s got a solid hull.” As if to emphasise this he kicked the steel plate.

“Er…” Bea looked over to Eddie pleading with her eyes to get her out of this situation.

“Uncle Joe, she’s perfect.” This wasn’t what Bea was expecting. “What’s she called?” Bea was looking at the side of the boat where the name should be but all she could make out was an A and R.

“The Wanderer.” Joe had unlocked the door. “Although her wandering days are over.” Before she knew it Bea was being shown around the inside. It was damp and cold even though it was so warm outside. There was no furniture whatsoever except for the partition walls that separated the interior into five rooms. She had to admit it was big, as they walked the boat seemed to go on and on.

“Look at the stove.” They were right in the middle when Eddie exclaimed in excitement and started examining what looked like a wood burner.

“Now this old girl does all your heating.” Joe tapped on the metal. “Runs on coal or wood, either is fine. You’ve got two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and this is the living area.” He could see Bea wasn’t impressed. “I know she doesn’t look much but with a bit of hard work she’ll be as good as new.”

“I’ll help you.” It was Eddie’s turn to convince her. “Think how much fun it will be to bring her back to life. We could travel around the country gathering inspiration for our writing.”

“Well…about travelling.” Joe butted in.

“I can fix the engine.” Eddie was full of enthusiasm.

“There is no engine.” Joe said sheepishly. “Most of it I’ve used as spare parts for The Mavis.”

“Oh well.” Eddie shrugged. “It will still be fun.”

“How much?” Bea was sure she wouldn’t be able to afford it. She didn’t have a lot of savings so she wouldn’t be able to buy the narrow boat so this could be her get out of jail card.

“I don’t want nothing for her.” Bea had been about to answer with ‘such a shame I haven’t got that much’ and then didn’t know what to say. “Just look after her and do her up for me. I’ve been meaning to for years but it’s never going to happen now. Charles would turn in his grave if he could see how neglected I’ve let her become.” Joe looked around whimsically.

Bea had the feeling that she was going to end up being the owner of a boat she really didn’t want.

“It’s perfect Bea.” Eddie looked at her earnestly. “It’s the answer to everything.” Bea didn’t agree. “All you need is some coal which is about £10 a week and the mooring fee.”

“Mooring fee?” Bea suddenly had hope. “How much will that be?” She tried to look sad but silently she was praying it was extortionate.

“£1200.” Joe answered. Bea almost squealed in delight.

“That’s amazing.” Eddie was beaming from ear to ear. “You’ve just got to live here Bea, you’ve just got to.”

“Didn’t you here what Joe said?” Bea couldn’t understand why Eddie was smiling so much. “£1200! I only just about earn that a month and that’s before tax, National Insurance and pension.”

“£1200 a year Bea, not a month.” As Eddie’s words sank in Bea started to see a whole different side to living on a narrow boat. The amount of money she’d have left each month would allow her to live comfortably without having to get another job, she’d even be able to save and still have plenty of free time to write.

“I’ll take her.” Bea shook Joe’s hand. It was amazing how quickly she changed her mind when she realised how cheap it would be.

“She’s all yours.” He handed her the key. “I’ll pop some coal round later and show you how to get the stove working.”

Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree by Lillah Lawson

Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree by Lillah Lawson

Publication Date: September 20, 2019
Regal House Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 384 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Southern

It's an unusually warm autumn, 1929, and O.T. Lawrence is about as content as a cotton farmer can be in Five Forks, Georgia. Nothing—not poverty, drought, or even the boll weevil —can spoil the idyllic life he shares with his doting wife and children and his beloved twin brother Walt. Until illness and Black Tuesday take everything O.T. ever held dear in one fell swoop. Grieving, drinking, and careening toward homelessness, O.T. is on the brink of ending it all when he receives an odd letter from a teenage acquaintance, the enigmatic Sivvy Hargrove, who is locked away in Milledgeville’s asylum for the insane. Traveling through desperate antebellum towns, O.T. and his daughter Ginny are determined to find Sivvy and discover her story. Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree is a love story to Georgia and the spirit of its people—a story of family, unconditional love, poverty, injustice, and finding the strength inside to keep on going when all is lost.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


“Lillah Lawson spins a yarn that’s wonderful in its knottiness. Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree is a historical Southern fable about butterflies, biscuits and the healing power of family, both biological and chosen. The images are evocative, the dialogue rough and realistic, the emotions achingly real. A must-read.” —Lauren Emily Whalen, author of Satellite

"A hauntingly beautiful story, full of twists and tragedy, rich in detail and told with gorgeous lyrical flair… A deeply moving, unforgettable read.” —Alice Hayes, author of The Thread that Binds

“An exquisite read, with the tender yet gritty undertones of Steinback, Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree is a solemn walk through the deep south during one of the most difficult eras in American history: the early twentieth century. Lawson captures the southern gothic through the often fragile, yet always hopeful hearts of her characters as they try to cope with the hard knocks of life. This book will touch your heart in the beautifully tragic way that only southern gothic can, slowly at first, and then all at once.” —Melanie Cossey, author of A Peculiar Curiosity


Lillah Lawson's Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree is a beautifully written southern fiction set in the early twentieth century and one of my favorite historical fiction era reads. I love reading about the south and this story setting is in Five Forks Georgia with amazingly complex characters I really loved reading about. The grit and the rich detail of the story that highlights the depression era, poverty, friendships and mental illness. I was transformed into their lives and just cannot stop turning those pages. I was deeply moved by the story, the characters and the hardships. Story is well told and for those that want to pick up an unforgettable read, please pick this one up.

I really enjoyed this amazing read. What a beautiful story.

About the Author

Lillah Lawson has been writing since she was 8 years old, when she won a short story contest at her elementary school. The story was about a Princess who gets tired of waiting for the Prince to show up and saves herself. Once she saw her words printed in the local newspaper, she knew she wanted to be a writer.

Having written professionally as well as dabbling in poetry, children's books and blogging, Lillah finally completed her first novel, Aroha, as part of a NaNoWriMo challenge in 2012.
She lives in Georgia, in the United States, with her partner and son and three rambunctious animals. She is currently working on another novel.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 18
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, May 19
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story
Feature at Books in their Natural Habitat

Wednesday, May 20
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, May 21
Review & Excerpt at Bookworlder

Friday, May 22
Review at Nursebookie
Feature at View from the Birdhouse


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Sassafras Tree

Wednesday, May 20, 2020


  • Publisher: She Writes Press (May 19, 2020)
  • Publication Date: May 19, 2020
  • Sold by: Services LLC
  • Language: English

Twenty-six-year-old Lavinia Lavinia is burdened by her unknown heritage—but her uncle Sal, who raised her in San Francisco, has always kept silent, refusing to reveal the devastating secret of her origin. And now, following the death of his wife, he’s left for Italy.

In the wake of her uncle’s departure, Lavinia has quit school. Now she works as a personal laundress to a diverse cast of San Francisco residents—people with stories as complicated as her own. As time progresses, through the sacred ritual of washing clothes—and with the help of a friend and her nurturing, flamenco dancing mother—Lavinia begins to recover memories of her past. Gradually, her gifts of receptivity multiply, and she communes with nature, finding messages from birds and the leaves of her garden’s fig tree. And when she recovers Raggedy, a beloved doll that accompanied her from Naples when she was four years old, she experiences a tangible connection to her own mother.

Even as Lavinia makes these discoveries, she is busy building new relationships—discovering healing dance with her lover, a barista in a North Beach coffee shop; learning to understand Time and forgiveness with an elderly client; and even getting to know her father, a man who has never been a part of her life. Poetic and poignant, The Laundress is a coming-of-age story for anyone who’s ever sought to understand where they came from in order to figure out who they’re meant to become.


“Wistful yet uplifting, the book mourns the fading past, while celebrating the intricate beauty of each passing moment. An acutely observed, tenderly philosophical novel that tells a wonderfully bittersweet story.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Barbara Sapienza has provided a blueprint for living and prevailing in the modern world of the 21st century.”
―John D Bredehoeft, PhD, member of the National Academy of Engineering

“Sapienza elicits sympathy for her Italian immigrant heroine who has more ups and downs than San Francisco has hills, but whose travails and travels left me happy and hungry for Mexican food and espresso.”
―Ann Ludwig, freelance travel writer, The New York Times

“Barbara Sapienza unfolds the tale with the same sensitivity and insight we saw in her previous novel, Anchor Out. With complex characters and a strong sense of place, Sapienza has created a world where Lavinia’s memories are recovered with as much intuition as recollection.”
―Kathy Andrew, author of The Creative Zone

“So beautiful and loving. A bittersweet odyssey of self-discovery from Naples to North Beach.”
―Steven A. Foreman, MD., author of Breaking The Spell: Understanding Why Kids Do the Very Thing That Drives You Crazy

“A talented psychotherapist and author, Sapienza introduces us to Lavinia Lavinia, a dancing, bubblegum-chewing laundress, lost and searching to understand her roots. With smart and compelling writing she weaves a rich, psychologically accurate and complex tale of love, curses, loss and redemption. Lavinia will remain in your thoughts long after completing this wonderful book.”
―Dr. Jessica Broitman, psychoanalyst, author, and president of the International Control Mastery Therapy Group


I enjoyed our protagonist Lavinia Lavinia who lives in beautiful San Francisco is a full service laundress. It was written very well with amazing prose and a beautiful story altogether. Lavinia is a very interesting character with an even more interesting cast of clients. An interesting question posed by one of her clients caught her wondering about who her parents were and where she came from. She has very little memory since she was a mere 4 yo, and whisked away to begin living with her aunt and uncle. A heart warming story that really delves into the complex characters and family drama. I really enjoyed this one.

About the Author

Barbara Sapienza, PhD, is a retired clinical psychologist and an alumna of San Francisco State University’s creative writing master’s program. She writes and paints, nourished by her spiritual practices of meditation, tai chi, and dance. Her family, friends, and grandchildren are her teachers. Her first novel, Anchor Out (She Writes Press, 2017) received an IPPY bronze medal for Best Regional Fiction, West Coast. Sapienza lives in Sausalito, CA, with her husban

Monday, May 18, 2020


Happy PUB day to this amazing psychological thriller I loved. 
The bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish returns with a psychological thriller, filled with chilling serpentine twists, about a woman fighting to hold onto the only family she’s ever loved—and how far she’ll go to preserve it.
Named one of the most anticipated thrillers of the year by Goodreads, Bustle, SheReads, and Library Journal; A LibraryReads pick of the month 
Breezing into the upscale seaside paradise of Westport, Connecticut, gorgeous thirtysomething Piper Reynard sets down roots, opening a rehab and wellness space and joining a local yacht club. When she meets Leo Drakos, a handsome, successful lawyer, the wedding ring on his finger is the only thing she doesn’t like about him. Yet as Piper well knows, no marriage is permanent.
Meanwhile, Joanna has been waiting patiently for Leo, the charismatic man she fell in love with all those years ago, to re-emerge from the severe depression that has engulfed him. Though she’s thankful when Leo returns to his charming, energetic self, paying attention again to Evie and Stelli, the children they both love beyond measure, Joanna is shocked to discover that it’s not her loving support that’s sparked his renewed happiness—it’s something else.
Piper. Leo has fallen head over heels for the flaky, New Age-y newcomer, and unrepentant and resolute, he’s more than willing to leave Joanna behind, along with everything they’ve built. Of course, he assures her, she can still see the children.
Joanna is devastated—and determined to find something, anything, to use against this woman who has stolen her life and her true love. As she digs deeper into Piper’s past, Joanna begins to unearth disturbing secrets . . . but when she confides to her therapist that she fears for the lives of her ex-husband and children, her concerns are dismissed as paranoia. Can she find the proof she needs in time to save them?


Just when I thought I could not be surprised anymore, the sisters writing duo, Liv Constantine have crafted a twisted one that I just devoured and enjoyed. Set in the beautiful seaside town of Westport, Connecticut Piper Reynard settles as far away East as she can from California. She settles in to her new life by purchasing a rehab and wellness clinic and joins the local yacht club. Piper meets Leo Drakos - married with children and a successful attorney who is in severe depression. His dedicated wife Joanna who had been by his side trying to pull him out of his depression, finds that his mood has lifted but only because of his new friendship with Piper.

This was an amazing psychological thriller that had me guessing until the very end which was a wonderful surprise and made this quite the fun read.


Liv Constantine is the pen name of internationally bestselling authors and sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine. Separated by three states, they spend hours plotting via FaceTime and burning up each other’s emails. They attribute their ability to concoct dark storylines to the hours they spent listening to tales handed down by their Greek grandmother. Their debut thriller, THE LAST MRS. PARRISH was a Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine book club pick and an international bestseller that is available in over 32 countries. It is currently in development for television. Their second book, THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU, was released on May 7, 2019, and is in development for film. Their next book, THE WIFE STALKER, will be published on May 19, 2019. Visit their website at and find them on Twitter at or Instagram under the handle @livconstantine2


  • Print Length: 333 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: BHC Press (May 14, 2020)
  • Publication Date: May 14, 2020

Along Came A Soldier

When murder stalks St. Merryn, no secrets are safe…

A forbidden romance…

Set in 1820 Cornwall, Charity Perrow lives a sheltered life in the village of St. Merryn. When she meets and falls for Jethro Ennor, they soon learn their families are bitter enemies, and Charity finds herself torn between remaining loyal to her family and giving into her growing desire for a man they hate.

A village with hidden secrets…

A battle-scarred redcoat is lurking In Greenoak Woods. Struggling to keep his grip on sanity, he’s come home to settle the score with those responsible for the heavy burden he’s been carrying all these years.

An innocent man accused…

When a villager is murdered, the suspicion falls on Jethro. Now Charity must risk everything, including being disowned by her family, to prove his innocence and save him from the gallows.

But as Charity hunts for the truth, she begins to uncover secrets over a decade old—secrets that will change everything.


A very thoughtful and heart wrenching story set in Cornwall early 1800's. This has everything you need for an immersive story that is full of family drama, secrets and a murder. I enjoyed the slow pace of the book and really enjoyed reading about the character and the well researched historical fiction story. I did enjoy forbidden romance and family intrigue but this one with the addition of a community that is quick to blame and judge was very well written. As a person in the medical field I always like to read about the incorporation of medical - in this case mental health and PTSD - very well written for this character. This is not just a sad story this one is also a love story that will give you hope which I found to be a fascinating read. This is a very well written book that I enjoyed reading about and I recommend.

Thank you to the author for the opportunity to read this book.

Purchase Links 

Author Bio:

Brenda Davies can trace her Cornish heritage back to the 17th century. She loves to indulge her passion of history and all things Cornish by delving into the past and bringing it alive for the reader to experience, which inspired her to write her debut novel Along Came a Soldier. She enjoys whiskey, chocolate, going to the theatre, and losing herself in a good book. She resides in Bristol, England, where she is currently working on her next novel.

Social Media Links: Facebook - @brendajanedaviesauthor Blog - Twitter - @authorbrenda1

Sunday, May 17, 2020

5/17/20 ”Little Tea” by Claire Fullerton

Print Length: 252 pages
Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction (May 1, 2020)
Publication Date: May 1, 2020
Sold by: Services LLC

Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.

For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.


Southern Fiction genre is new to me and I have quickly fallen in love with this style and subject matter of storytelling. It is a genre I love for its quirky and fun to read about characters that are full of sass, full of independent women with strong and unique personalities, life-long friendships, and a deeply rooted family legacy stories in a setting I enjoy reading about. The dialogue is superb with the addition of the southern colloquialism, the story will immerse you into the story. 

Claire Fullerton wrote a beautiful story set in two timelines. The current one telling the story of three friends - Remmy a veterinarian, Ava their flighty friend in marital distress and Celia from Malibu, California with a complex past story that she would rather leave behind - told through Celia's perspective. The other timeline picks up the story from the 1980's that tells of Celia's history set in Mississippi and alongside her best friend, Little Tea. I enjoyed the Historical Fiction aspect of the story and really enjoyed going back to the past to really learn about the characters' back stories. 

The portrayal of a very narrow minded southern culture that was cultivated within the lives of the people were eye opening to me. I loved how Fullerton addressed issues of friendship, love, marriage and second chances. The story was well written, had beautifully developed strong and unique characters that I loved reading about. This was a truly enjoyable Southern Fiction, Women's Fiction and Domestic Drama novel that I recommend.


Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970's Memphis. Mourning Dove is a five-time award winner, including the Literary Classics Words on Wings for Book of the Year, and the Ippy Award silver medal in regional fiction ( Southeast.) Claire is also the author of Dancing to an Irish Reel, a Kindle Book Review and Readers' Favorite award winner that is set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire's first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral ( because something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral.) Little Tea is Claire's 4th novel and is set in the Deep South. It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations. Little Tea is the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens, a Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom international competition, and a finalist in the Chanticleer Review's Somerset award. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary

Saturday, May 16, 2020


  • Publisher: Berkley (June 30, 2020)
  • Publication Date: June 30, 2020
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

When a man agrees to do a favor for a friend, he gets more than he bargained for as he becomes embroiled in a woman’s murder in this new thriller from the USA Today bestselling author of Layover.

Ryan Francis has it all—great job, wonderful wife, beautiful child—and he loves posting photos of his perfect life on social media. Until the night his friend Blake asks him to break into a woman’s home to retrieve incriminating items that implicate Blake in an affair. Ryan refuses to help, but when Blake threatens to reveal Ryan’s darkest secret—which could jeopardize everything in Ryan’s life—Ryan has no choice but to honor Blake’s request.

When he arrives at the woman's home, Ryan is shocked to find her dead—and just as shocked to realize he knows her. Then his phone chimes, revealing a Facebook friend request from the woman. With police sirens rapidly approaching, Ryan flees, wondering why his friend was setting him up for murder.

Determined to keep his life intact and to clear his name, Ryan must find the real murderer—but solving the crime may lead him closer to home than he ever could have imagined.


Oh my goodness, this was a terrific read that I really enjoyed. I am always on the look out for thrillers that quickly grabs my attention from the very first page, with characters that seem to get in deeper trouble, and of course with some twists to keep you guessing and those adrenaline pumping.

David Bell delivered another amazing thriller in The Request. Ryan Francis is guilt ridden and trying to make things right with a family involved in a car accident that Ryan was a part of where one of the daughters died, and another left disabled. He anonymously leaves an envelope with money for the family every month. He is happily married and with a son, has a bar he is a partner of and life seems to be doing okay until it spirals out of control. His friend Blake asks for a favor, the request, which is simple enough until he gets framed for murder.

Bell wrote a real fast paced thriller that was entertaining and addicting. I thought the writing was superb and had me guessing and talking loudly to some of the characters. I was really immersed in this engrossing and relevant read about the power of social media and the way it seeps through our lives. I love a great thriller that I can binge read with protagonists that are in impossible situations.

I encourage you to pick this up for an enthralling and binge worthy read worth staying up for.


David Bell is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of eight novels from Berkley/Penguin: SOMEBODY'S DAUGHTER, BRING HER HOME, SINCE SHE WENT AWAY, SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW, THE FORGOTTEN GIRL, NEVER COME BACK, THE HIDING PLACE, and CEMETERY GIRL. He is an Associate Professor of English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky and can be reached through his website