To Steal a Heart by Jen Turano with a giveaway

I always love Jen Turano books and this is no exception. I love the stories because of the romance and the laughter. This story almost had me in stitches. I did not want to put the book down. I love that these women work together to help their friend and then others. There were many twists and turns and we learn a lot about both Gabriella and Nicholas. I look forward to the next book in this series to learn about more of the women in the boardinghouse. I received a copy of this book from the author and Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this book a five out of five stars.

About the Book

Book: To Steal A Heart

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Comedic Historical Romance

Release Date: November, 2020

To Steal a Heart

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

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

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

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Jen

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

More from Jen

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

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

Are there other interesting characters in this series?

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

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

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

Anything else you’d like to add?

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

Wishing all of you the very best!

Jen

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 17

Soulfully Romantic, November 17

Hebrews 12 Endurance, November 17

Blessed & Bookish, November 17

Robin’s Nest, November 17

Through the Fire Blogs, November 18

The Avid Reader, November 18

Losing the Busyness, November 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18

She Lives To Read, November 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 19

Wishful Endings, November 19

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 19

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

lakesidelivingsite, November 20

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 20

Reviewingbooksplusmore, November 20

The Write Escape, November 20

Older & Smarter?, November 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 21

Christian Bookaholic, November 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 21

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 22

Mia Reads, November 22

Writing from the Heart Land, November 22

Betti Mace, November 23

Inklings and notions, November 23

Blogging With Carol, November 23

Life of Literature, November 23

Texas Book-aholic, November 24

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 24

Batya’s Bits, November 24

Joanne Markey’s blog, November 24

For Him and My Family, November 25

Inside the Wong Mind, November 25

Mary Hake, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 25

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, November 26

EmpowerMoms, November 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 26

Novels Corner, November 26

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 27

Connie’s History Classroom, November 27

Captive Dreams Window, November 27

Book of Ruth Ann, November 27

deb’s Book Review, November 28

Blossoms and Blessings, November 28

Daysong Reflections, November 28

Bigreadersite, November 28

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

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 29

Splashes of Joy, November 29

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 29

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

Vicky Sluiter, November 30

Pause for Tales, November 30

Spoken from the Heart, November 30

Hallie Reads, November 30

Giveaway

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

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

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

The Shopkeepers Widow by Izzy James

This was a very good historical romance that I read very quickly. I liked the characters a lot and enjoyed the plot. At times I got a little confused as I read it but I liked the parts about what was happening as the patriots were starting to try to gain ground in parts of Virginia before the actual fighting started. I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this book a four out of five stars.

PUBLISHER DESCRIPTION

Delany Fleet, a widowed former indentured servant living in the colonial port of Norfolk, Virginia, dreams of having an estate of her own where she will never have to compromise her freedom.

When the only man she ever loved shows up with a load of smuggled firearms, Delany is forced to leave her home and her livelihood to protect her family and property from Lord Dunmore’s raids and the conniving plots of a man who claims to be her friend.

Now, with her destiny forever altered, Delany must find a new way to happiness. Can reconnecting with her husband’s family and a former love be the path that God has for her?

Bones of The Redeemed by Kari Bovee with a giveaway

This was the first book I have read by this author and I hope it will not be my last. This has great characters and I love the mystery. Ruby and Pete are great . This is a mystery set in New Mexico after the Second World War. We get old bones and newer bodies. There are a lot of twists and turns. I loved how this centers around a group of people’s beliefs set around the passion of the Christ. I wasn’t sure who was good at times and who was bad. I received a copy of this book from the ireadbooktours for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this book a four out of five stars.

Bones of the Redeemed by Kari Bovee
Bones of the Redeemed by Kari Bovee

A pit of corpses. An ancient cult. A quest for redemption that could leave her dead… New Mexico, 1952. Archaeology grad student Ruby Delgado is plagued by guilt after losing her son. So when her latest excavation drops her down a sinkhole filled with suspiciously mutilated bodies, she’s driven to bring the murderer to justice. But when digging deeper brings her dangerously close to a sinister religious sect, she could be their next sacrifice… Discovering some of the victims were crucified, Ruby pushes hard to give the evidence to the authorities. But when her trail crosses the path of a beaten man left for dead in the desert, she realizes she may be the only person who can save the community. Can Ruby stop the sacrifices and slay her inner demons, or will hers be the next body laid to rest? Bones of the Redeemed is a hair-raising standalone Southwestern mystery. If you like complex heroines, cult conflict, and hard-won redemption, then you’ll love Kari Bovee’s grisly tale.

Author Kari Bovee

Meet the Author:

When she’s not on a horse, or walking along the beautiful cottonwood-laden acequias of Corrales, New Mexico; or basking on white sand beaches under the Big Island Hawaiian sun, Kari Bovee is escaping into the past—scheming murder and mayhem for her characters both real and imagined, and helping them to find order in the chaos of her action-packed novels. Empowered women in history, horses, unconventional characters, and real-life historical events fill the pages of Kari Bovée’s articles and historical mystery musings and manuscripts. An award-winning author, Bovée was honored with the 2019 NM/AZ Book Awards Hillerman Award for Southwestern Fiction for her novel Girl with a Gun. The novel also received First Place in the 2019 NM/AZ Book Awards in the Mystery/Crime category, and is a Finalist in the 2019 International Chanticleer Murder & Mayhem Awards and the International Chanticleer Goethe Awards, as well as the Next Generation Indie Awards. Her novel Grace in the Wings is a Finalist for the 2019 International Chanticleer Chatelaine Awards and the International Chanticleer Goethe Awards. Her novel Peccadillo at the Palace is a Finalist in the 2019 International Chanticleer Murder & Mayhem Awards and the 2019 International Goethe Awards, as well as a Finalist in the 2019 Best Book Awards Historical Fiction category. Bovée has worked as a technical writer for a Fortune 500 Company, has written non-fiction for magazines and newsletters, and has worked in the education field as a teacher and educational consultant. She and her husband, Kevin, spend their time between their horse property in the beautiful Land of Enchantment, New Mexico, and their condo on the sunny shores of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram
~ Pinterest

Tour Schedule:
Nov 9 –Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
Nov 9 –Elizabeth McKenna – Author – book spotlight
Nov 10 –Working Mommy Journal – book review / giveaway
Nov 12 –Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 16 –100 Pages A Day – book review / giveaway
Nov 17 Literary Flits – book review / giveaway
Nov 19 – She Just Loves Books – book review / giveaway
Nov 23 –I’m Into Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 23 – Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway
Nov 24 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 24– Leels Loves Books – book review / giveaway
Nov 25 – Bigreadersite – book review / giveaway
Nov 25 – 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 25 – Books and Zebras @jypsylynn – book review / giveaway
Nov 26 – Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway
Nov 27 – JBronder Book Reviews – book review / author interview
Nov 30 – Rajiv’s Reviews – book review / giveaway
Nov 30 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
Dec 1 – Pine Enshrined Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Dec 2 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Dec 3 – Library of Clean Reads – book review / giveaway
Dec 3 – PuzzlePaws Blog – book review / giveaway
Dec 4 – Adventurous Jessy – book review / giveaway
Dec 4 – High Society Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
TBD – _Fan_of_Books_ – book review

Giveaway:​

Signed copy of BONES OF THE REDEEMED plus $100 Amazon Gift Card (USA only)

(ends Dec 11)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/518e7284100/

Temple Dancer by Amy Weintraub

I went back and forth in this book on how I liked the story. My favorite part was the story from the 1940’s. Some of what Wendy thought and did was very strange. This was a tragic story about a different culture. It was awful to see how they treated some young girls. Temple dancing was definitely seen differently at one time. I received a copy of this book from Smith Publicity for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this book a four out of five stars.

In a spiritual thriller that connects the lives of two presumably disconnected women, Temple Dancer burrows deep into the mirroring stories of both Wendy Rabin and Saraswati as they explore the divine connection. Author Amy Weintraub takes readers on a journey through the yoga philosophy behind the two tragic tales and the enigma that entwines the lives of two unlikely souls.

Set in India in 1997, and later at an ashram in Buckingham, Virginia in 2016, Temple Dancer begins when Wendy takes a spiritual pilgrimage to India following a painful divorce. On a crowded train in the midst of Wendy’s excursion, she meets Saraswati, an enigmatic older woman who claims to have been a temple dancer. The mysterious encounter between the two leaves Wendy with Saraswati’s diary and a request that she honor the profaned culture by sharing her story.

Twenty years later, after having lost the diary’s translation, its inexplicable reappearance forces Wendy to face her difficult past. Her reading and meditation trigger flashbacks of her painful mistakes in the trance of love

Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten

It was fun to learn about Peter the Great and Catherine the First of Russia. I have not read anything about these people before and was fascinated with how cruel people could be. Know that this has some very graphic descriptions. Catherine and Peter had a lot of sadness in their life. It is always nice to read about real people and how they lived day to day. I received a copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this a four out of five stars.

Jacket Copy:

“Makes Game of Thrones look like a nursery rhyme.” —Daisy Goodwin, New York Times bestselling author of The Fortune Hunter

“[Alpsten] recounts this remarkable woman’s colourful life and times.” —Count Nikolai Tolstoy, historian and author 

Before there was Catherine the Great, there was Catherine Alexeyevna: the first woman to rule Russia in her own right. Ellen Alpsten’s rich, sweeping debut novel is the story of her rise to power.

St. Petersburg, 1725. Peter the Great lies dying in his magnificent Winter Palace. The weakness and treachery of his only son has driven his father to an appalling act of cruelty and left the empire without an heir. Russia risks falling into chaos. Into the void steps the woman who has been by his side for decades: his second wife, Catherine Alexeyevna, as ambitious, ruthless and passionate as Peter himself.

Born into devastating poverty, Catherine used her extraordinary beauty and shrewd intelligence to ingratiate herself with Peter’s powerful generals, finally seducing the Tsar himself. But even amongst the splendor and opulence of her new life—the lavish feasts, glittering jewels, and candle-lit hours in Peter’s bedchamber—she knows the peril of her position. Peter’s attentions are fickle and his rages powerful; his first wife is condemned to a prison cell, her lover impaled alive in Red Square. And now Catherine faces the ultimate test: can she keep the Tsar’s death a secret as she plays a lethal game to destroy her enemies and take the Crown for herself?

From the sensuous pleasures of a decadent aristocracy, to the incense-filled rites of the Orthodox Church and the terror of Peter’s torture chambers, the intoxicating and dangerous world of Imperial Russia is brought to vivid life. Tsarina is the story of one remarkable woman whose bid for power would transform the Russian Empire.

Author Bio:

ELLEN ALPSTEN was born and raised in the Kenyan highlands. Upon graduating from L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, she worked as a news anchor for Bloomberg TV London. Whilst working gruesome night shifts on breakfast TV, she started to write in earnest, every day, after work and a nap. Today, Ellen works as an author and as a journalist for international publications such as Vogue, Standpoint and CN Traveller. She lives in London with her husband, three sons and a moody fox red Labrador. Tsarina is her debut novel.

Early Praise:

“A fascinating and extraordinary ride from slavery to royalty…[for] fans of historical fiction, Russia, political intrigue, and powerful women.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Alpsten shines…Lovers of Russian history, strong women protagonists, and sweeping historicals will savor this vivid portrait.” –Publishers Weekly 

“Astonishing…the ultimate Cinderella story [that] makes Game of Thrones look like a nursery rhyme.” —Daisy Goodwin, bestselling author of The Fortune Hunter 

“As detailed as the jewels and enamel inlay on the creations of Faberge…[a] crisp, elegant fictional account of history, woven with emotion and brio.” —Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife 

“Gripping…Love, sex, and loyalty vie with war, intrigue, and treason to create an epic canvas as exotic and powerful as eighteenth-century Russia itself. Masterfully researched and beautifully written, this is historical fiction at its best.” —Nancy Goldstone, author of Daughters of the Winter Queen and Rival Queens 

“The extraordinary life and career of Catherine I of Russia is brought to life in Alpsten’s colourful novel.” –Sunday Times, Summer Reading Picks 2020 (UK)

“An entertaining romp through the endless intrigue, violence and debauchery of court life.” –Mail on Sunday (UK)

“A vivid page-turner of a debut.” –The Times (UK)

“Intrigue, rivalry, and sumptuous decadence leap to vivid life in this fascinating story of Peter the Great’s second wife…conjuring the gorgeous marble of the Winter Palace and deprivation of Russia in the 18th century, the perilous ascent to power of the first woman to rule as empress is a gripping and unforgettable journey.” —C.W. Gortner, author of The Romanov Empress 

“[Alpsten] recounts this remarkable woman’s colourful life and times.” —Count Nikolai Tolstoy, historian and author

“Luscious…Alpsten has clearly done some brilliant research. It reads like Game of Thrones without the dragons.” —Natasha Pulley, author of the international bestseller The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

“Tsarina should come with a health warning—once you start reading, it’s impossible to stop.” —Hannah Rothschild, bestselling author of House of Trelawney

Buy Link: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250214454

Social Links: https://www.curtisbrown.co.uk/client/ellen-alpsten

Excerpt:

Prologue

In the Winter Palace, 1725 

He is dead. My beloved husband, the mighty tsar of all the Russias, has died—and just in time.

Moments before death came for him, Peter called for a quill and paper to be brought to him in his bedchamber in the Winter Palace. My heart almost stalled. He had not forgotten, but was going to drag me down with him. When he lost consciousness for the last time and the darkness drew him closer to its heart, the quill slipped from his fingers. Black ink spattered the soiled sheets; time held its breath. What had the tsar wanted to settle with that last effort of his tremendous spirit?

I knew the answer.

The candles in the tall candelabra filled the room with a heavy scent and an unsteady light; their glow made shadows reel in corners and brought the woven figurines on the Flemish tapestries to life, their coarse faces showing pain and disbelief. Outside the door, the voices of the people who’d stood there all night were drowned out by the Febru- ary wind rattling furiously at the shutters. Time spread slowly, like oil on water.  Peter had pressed himself into our souls like his signet ring  in hot wax. It seemed impossible that the world hadn’t careened to a halt at his passing. My husband, the greatest will ever to impose itself on Russia, had been more than our ruler. He had been our fate. He was still mine.

The doctors—Blumentrost, Paulsen, and Horn—stood silently around Peter’s bed, staring at him, browbeaten. Five kopecks’ worth of

medicine, given early enough, could have saved him. Thank God for the quacks’ lack of good sense.

Without looking, I could feel Feofan Prokopovich, the archbishop of Novgorod, watching me, along with Alexander Menshikov. Pro- kopovich had made the tsar’s will eternal and Peter had much to thank him for. Menshikov, on the other hand, owed his fortune and influence to Peter. What was it Peter had said when someone tried to blacken Alexander Danilovich’s name to him by referring to his murky business dealings? “Menshikov is always Menshikov, in all that he does!” That had put an end to that.

Dr. Paulsen had closed the tsar’s eyes and crossed his hands on his breast, but he hadn’t removed the scroll, Peter’s last will and testament, from his grasp. Those hands, which were always too dainty for the tall, powerful body, had grown still, helpless. Just two weeks earlier he had plunged those very hands into my hair, winding it round his fingers, inhaling the scent of rosewater and sandalwood.

“My Catherine,” he’d said, calling me by the name he himself had given me, and he’d smiled at me. “You’re still a beauty. But what will you look like in a convent, shorn, and bald? The cold there will break you, your spirit, even though you’re strong as a horse. Do you know that Evdokia still writes to me begging for a second fur, poor thing! What a good job you can’t write!” he’d said, laughing.

It had been thirty years since Evdokia had been banished to the convent. I’d met her once. Her eyes shone with madness, her shaven head was covered in boils and scabs from the cold and the filth, and  her only company was a hunchbacked dwarf to serve her in her cell. Peter had ordered the poor creature have her tongue cut out, so in response to Evdokia’s moaning and laments, all she was able to do was burble. He’d been right to believe that seeing Evdokia would fill me  with lifelong dread.

I knelt at Peter’s bedside and the three doctors retreated to the twi- light at the edge of the room, like crows driven from a field: the birds Pe- ter had been so terrified of in the last years of his life. The tsar had called open season on the hapless birds all over his empire. Farmers caught, killed, plucked, and roasted them for reward. None of this helped Pe- ter: silently, at night, the bird would slip through the padded walls and locked doors of his bedchamber. Its ebony wings blotted the light and in

their cool shadow, the blood on the tsar’s hands never dried. His fingers were not yet those of a corpse, but soft, and still warm. For a moment, the fear and anger of these past few months slipped from my heart like  a thief in the night. I kissed his hands and breathed in his familiar scent of tobacco, ink, leather, and the perfume tincture that was blended for his sole use in Grasse.

I took the scroll from his hand—it was easy enough to slide it out, although my blood thickened with fear and my veins were coated with frost and rime like branches in our Baltic winter. It was important to show everyone that I alone was entitled to do this—I, his wife, and the mother of his children. Twelve times I had given birth.

The paper rustled as I unrolled it. Not for the first time, I was ashamed of my inability to read, and I handed his last will to Feofan Prokopovich. At least Menshikov was as ignorant as I. Ever since the days when Peter first drew us into his orbit and cast his spell upon us, we had been like two children squabbling over their father’s love and attention. Batjushka tsar, his people called him. Our little father tsar.

Prokopovich must have known what Peter had in mind for me. He was an old fox with a sharp wit, as comfortable in heavenly and earthly realms. Daria had once sworn that he had three thousand books in     his library. What, if you please, can one man do with three thousand books? The scroll sat lightly in his liver-spotted hands now. After all, he himself had helped Peter draft the decree that shocked us all. The tsar had set aside every custom, every law: he wanted to appoint his own successor and would rather leave his empire to a worthy stranger than his own, unworthy child.

How timid Alexey had been when we first met, the spitting image of his mother, Evdokia, with his veiled gaze and high, domed forehead. He couldn’t sit up straight, because Menshikov had thrashed his back and buttocks bloody and sore. Only when it was too late did Alexey grasp his fate: in his quest for a new Russia, the tsar would spare no one, neither himself, nor his only son. You were no blood of my blood, Alexey, no flesh of my flesh, and so I was able to sleep soundly. Peter, though, had been haunted by nightmares from that day on.

My heart pounded against my lightly laced bodice—I was surprised it didn’t echo from the walls—but I met Prokopovich’s gaze as calmly as I could. I wriggled my toes in my slippers, as I could not afford to faint.

Prokopovich’s smile was as thin as one of the wafers he would offer in church. He knew the secrets of the human heart; especially mine.

“Read, Feofan,” I said quietly.

“Give everything to . . .” He paused, looked up, and repeated: “To . . .” Menshikov’s temper flared; he reared as if someone had struck him with a whip, like in the good old days. “To whom?” he snarled at Pro-

kopovich. “Pray tell, Feofan, to whom?”

I could hardly breathe. The fur was suddenly much too hot against my skin.

From Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten. Copyright © 2020 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.

A Discerning Eye by Carol Orange

If you like art, intrigue and books with drug cartels you will enjoy this tale. Portia is an art dealer and is horrified when her brother dies and then a theft happens at her favorite art museum. She studies what paintings were stolen and figures out what they have in common. This leads to her having some adventures. I enjoyed the art descriptions and what it is like in Columbia. I received a copy of this book from Smith Publicity for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this book a four out of five stars.

On March 18, 1990 thieves broke into Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and stole 13 works of art including masterpieces by such renowned artists as Vermeer, Rembrandt and Degas, in what would become history’s largest art theft. Thirty years later, the crime remains unsolved with none of the paintings recovered. This tragic robbery inspired A DISCERNING EYE [Cavan Bridge Press, October 13, 2020] by Carol Orange, writer and fine arts consultant for over twenty years. The novel’s art heist mystery and high stakes international intrigue involves Interpol, the FBI, the Mafia, drug lords, and the daring, clever art dealer at the center: Portia Malatesta. As a Gardner docent Portia is devastated when she learns of the stolen pieces and becomes determined to help uncover their whereabouts. Skillfully, she constructs a psychological profile of the thief by analyzing a common thread in most of the stolen art. She suspects the mastermind behind it all is obsessed with the interaction of dark and light in both art and life. When the FBI enlists Portia’s help in a sting operation to recover the stolen works of art, she goes on a dangerous trip to Colombia, where she’ll have to earn the trust of a notorious drug lord’s daughter. With everything at risk, Portia navigates the country’s underworld and uncovers a complicated web of politics and pride, where one misstep could have deadly consequences… Fans of Donna Leon and John Le Carré will clamor for this action-packed tale filled with marital tensions, temptations, and twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing throughout.

Eggnog, Extortion And Evergreens by Tonya Kappes

These books in this series just keep getting better. It was fun to have Mae not quite sure she was thinking straight after suffering a concussion. It was fun to see what the town of Normal, Kentucky looked like all dressed up for Christmas. All the wonderful characters were here and helping Mae stay safe. I am not a big camper anymore but it might be fun to rent a bungalow and see the Daniel Boone National Forest. I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this a five out of five stars.

PUBLISHER DESCRIPTION

“Romance, a lovable bunch of eccentrics, and a collection of recipes with murder most foul.”
–Kirkus

“Scrumptious… Fans of culinary cozies will have fun.”
–Publishers Weekly

“A sweet Southern mystery with a delightful plot and quirky characters who quickly make you feel at home.”
–San Francisco Book Review

Welcome to Normal, Kentucky~ where nothing is normal. A Campers and Criminal Mystery Series is another brainchild of USA Today Bestselling Author Tonya Kappes. If you love her quirky southern characters and small town charm with a mystery to solve, you’re going to love her new cozy mystery series!

Softly Blows The Bugle by Jan Drexler

This has been my favorite book in this series so far. This was interesting to learn a little of how an Amish man fought in the Cival War. I also loved how Elizabeth and Aaron take their time in getting to know each other and become friends. I love the romance and intrigue. I look forward to reading many more books by the author. I received a copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this book a five out of five stars.


PUBLISHER DESCRIPTION

When Elizabeth Kaufman received the news of her husband’s death at the Battle of Vicksburg in 1863, she felt only relief. She determined that she would never be at the mercy of any man again, even if it meant she would never have a family of her own. Then Aaron Zook comes home with her brother when the war ends two years later.Despite the severity of his injuries, Aaron resolves to move West and leave the pain of the past behind him. He never imagined that the Amish way of life his grandfather had rejected long ago would be so enticing. That, and a certain widow he can’t get out of his mind.Yet, even in a simple community, life has a way of getting complicated. Aaron soon finds that while he may have left the battlefield behind, there is another fight he must win–the one for the heart of the woman he loves.Welcome back to the Amish community at Weaver’s Creek, where the bonds of family and faith bind up the brokenhearted.

To Steal A Heart by Jen Turano

I always love Jen Turano books and this is no exception. I love the stories because of the romance and the laughter. This story almost had me in stitches. I did not want to put the book down. I love that these women work together to help their friend and then others. There were many twists and turns and we learn a lot about both Gabriella and Nicholas. I look forward to the next book in this series to learn about more of the women in the boardinghouse. I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this book a five out of five stars.

PUBLISHER DESCRIPTION

After a childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. In the middle of breaking into a safe that holds the proof to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella is interrupted by Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agreed to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.

The Forgotten Sister by Nicola Cornick

This book was a bit different than the usual books I read. I loved how the story went from past to present times. I was never confused as to what time period it was and what characters were being talked about. I loved that this book gave a possible conclusion to what really happened to Amy Robsart during the early reign of Elizabeth l. I loved each story and the characters. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this book a five out of five stars.


In the tradition of the spellbinding historical novels of Philippa Gregory and Kate Morton comes a stunning story based on a real-life Tudor mystery, of a curse that echoes through the centuries and shapes two women’s destinies…

1560: Amy Robsart is trapped in a loveless marriage to Robert Dudley, a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Surrounded by enemies and with nowhere left to turn, Amy hatches a desperate scheme to escape–one with devastating consequences that will echo through the centuries…

Present Day: When Lizzie Kingdom is forced to withdraw from the public eye in a blaze of scandal, it seems her life is over. But she’s about to encounter a young man, Johnny Robsart, whose fate will interlace with hers in the most unexpected of ways. For Johnny is certain that Lizzie is linked to a terrible secret dating back to Tudor times. If Lizzie is brave enough to go in search of the truth, then what she discovers will change the course of their lives forever.