Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Review ~ The Girl from the Hidden Forest by Hannah Linder


The nightmares may free her…but destroy the man she loves.  Enjoy another Gothic Style Regency from Hannah Linder.   Eliza Ellis has stayed hidden in Balfour Forest for as long as she can remember. Perhaps her only friends are the trees, or her little dog, or her story-telling father called Captain. But at least she is safe from the cruel world outside, a world Captain has warned her against and protected her from.   That is, until a handsome stranger named Felton Northwood invades her quiet forest and steals her away. Why does he tell such lies? Why does he insist that her name is Miss Eliza Gillingham, daughter of a viscount, who disappeared fourteen years ago after the murder of her own mother? A murder Eliza is said to have witnessed.   When Felton returns Eliza to Monbury Manor and reunites her with a man who is told to be her father, all she remembers are the strange nightmares that have plagued her since childhood. Why have they suddenly grown worse? Are the answers hidden inside her own mind?   As danger mounts and lethal attempts are made on her life, Eliza and Felton must work together to uncover the identity of a killer who has stayed silent for fourteen years. When she finally uncovers the horrendous memories trapped in her mind, will divulging the truth cost her the man she loves—and both of their lives?

Purchase: Barbour Books

I am not an affiliate with Barbour Books and make no money if you use the link provided to purchase a copy. It is a courtesy only.


My Review 3.5 STARS

The Girl from the Hidden Forest is labeled on the front cover, ‘A Regency Novel’. I didn’t get that vibe at all. I found it to be an extremely dark gothic novel with a few sick and twisted characters, supposedly set in the Regency period in England. The author is obviously talented in weaving a compelling story for many readers as evidenced in other reviews.

I’m seeing a trend in Christian fiction as far as faith goes. I’m not saying I want to be preached to in a story; I don’t. But I do like a little more substance than the occasional three or four word ‘prayer’. And Eliza should have had lasting mental issues after what she endured. I’d have liked to have seen more about that. I thought it was glossed over at the end and Felton’s love for her fixed it all.

I’ll recommend it to readers because I know there are a lot of people who will like it, and probably won’t be able to put it down because the whodunit is quite intriguing. That is what kept me reading. I really wanted to know who killed Eliza’s mother! And that was a humdinger.

I appreciate Barbour Publishing providing me a copy for review purposes. This opinion is my own. No compensation received.

Let me know what you think of it if you've read it.  :-)
Or if you have a favorite gothic novel to recommend!


Friday, April 12, 2024

New Release ~ Night Falls on Predicament Avenue by Jaime Jo Wright

As the walls of the house at Predicament Avenue reveal their hidden truths, two women--generations apart--discover that fear and foreboding are no respecters of time.

In 1910, Effie James is committed to doing anything to save her younger sister, who witnessed a shocking murder, leaving her mute and in danger of the killer's retribution. Effie must prove what her sister saw, but when a British gentleman arrives, he disrupts Effie's quest with his attempts to locate his wife, Isabelle Addington, who was last seen at the supposed crime scene in the abandoned house at 322 Predicament Avenue. Just as Effie discovers what she seeks, she finds that the blood staining the walls will forever link her to a scandal she couldn't imagine, and to a woman whose secrets promise to curse any who would expose them.

A century later, Norah Richman grapples with social anxiety and grief as she runs her late great-aunt's bed-and-breakfast on Predicament Avenue. But Norah has little affection for the house and is committed only to carrying out her murdered sister's dreams until crime historian and podcaster Sebastian Blaine arrives to investigate the ghostly legacy of the house's claim to fame--the murder of Isabelle Addington. When a guest is found dead, the incident is linked to Isabelle's murder, and Norah and Sebastian must work together to uncover the century-old curse that has wrapped 322 Predicament Avenue in its clutches and threatens far more than death.

Read the excerpt here. Then grab this phenomenal new release here and get 30% OFF plus FREE shipping!!

I am not an affiliate and make no monies if you use the links provided. It is a courtesy on my part only.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Books I've Read This Month

While it may not seem like I read books other than fiction or devotionals, on occasion I am intrigued by a book advertised and pick it up. In this case, I borrowed the non-fiction book Unoffendable by Brant Hansen from the Libby app.

About the Book

It turns out giving up your “right” to be offended can be one of the most freeing, healthy, simplifying, relaxing, refreshing, stress-relieving, encouraging things you can do. It’s a radical, provocative We’re not entitled to get offended or stay angry. The idea of our own “righteous anger” is a myth. It is the number one problem in our societies today and, as Dallas Willard says, Christians have not been taught out of it. But what if Christians were the most unoffendable people on the planet? In Unoffendable you will find concrete, practical ways to live life with less stress, In a humorous and conversational style, Unoffendable seeks to lift religious burdens from our backs and allow us to experience the joy of gratitude, perhaps for the first time, every single day of our lives—flourishing the way God intended.


Well, let me tell you...It. Is. Excellent! Anyone calling themselves a Christian needs to read this book. I listened to the audio edition read by the author. Such a great experience. I found myself verbally agreeing with his statements while at the same time remonstrating myself for doing what he plainly and compassionately states that we should not do as Christians. I mean really, what is the point of going around being offended all the time? Be UNOFFENDABLE!!! 

This is a book that I will definitely order a paperback copy of, and that doesn't happen too often for me, especially when I'm not required to write a review. But this book is so good, I want to be able to make notes in the margins.


The first fiction book I listened to this year on the Libby app was Country Bride by Debbie Macomber.  


She is a secular author but her books are considered clean with moral teachings. I've read several before and enjoyed them. But this one...

No. Just no. But saying that didn't work for Kate. Luke is a bully. Macomber has written some great stories but this isn't one of them. It sends all the wrong messages about how a healthy relationship is supposed to be. I listened to the audible version, which the narrator did a good job on, hence my two stars.

It pained me to have to give such a low rating. I think it's only the second time in about 12 years I've done that. It's only 5 hours on audio and I kept hoping something would happen to redeem this story, but for me it didn't. 

Why leave a low review you may ask when I wasn't obligated? I don't always. Macomber is such a popular women's author and her books aren't cheap. I would have been extremely disappointed had I actually spent money on this one, so that is why I left the review. Of course, you can go look at the number of 3 star and under reviews and see how they outnumber the 4 and 5 star reviews. 

I won't discourage anyone from borrowing her books from your local library, an online app where you can get them for free, or borrowing from a friend. Most of her books I've read, I liked. But read the mid-range and negative reviews and carefully consider the amount of them. 

My two cents worth which probably isn't even worth that! :-)


I already posted my review of The Juliet Code by Pepper Basham in a separate post because that was an 'official' review.

You can read it here.

I want to say that Pepper Basham has become one of my favorite authors to read. She is able to write across a pretty wide spectrum of subjects/genre and always does such a fabulous job on her stories, both contemporary and historical. If you're looking for romance, adventure, down-home folks, and faith look no further. Grab one of her books today!

Friday, January 19, 2024

Review ~ The Juliet Code (A Freddie & Grace Mystery #3) by Pepper Basham


Newlyweds Lord and Lady Astley Finally Reach Their Honeymoon Destination Only to Encounter a New Mystery in Need of Solving
Frederick and Grace Percy finally make it to Italy to enjoy a delayed honeymoon and explore the beauties of the historic city of Venice. To their surprise, their friend, Detective Jack Miracle, is also in the city, investigating a series of art heists starting at the house of eccentric millionaire, Laraby Covington. Drawn into a world of boat races, mysterious houses, and parties of the rich and unusual in Venice, Frederick and Grace learn of the existence of the Juliet paintings, (Renaissance paintings feature Shakespeare’s tragic heroine) rumored to hold a secret code to an underground vault of similarly treasured artwork assumed lost over the centuries. As Freddie and Grace are pulled deeper into the mystery and their beloved Detective Jack disappears, can they use their wits and work as a team to find the thieves and Jack before it’s too late. 
The Juliet Code is a Freddie and Grace Mystery, sequel to The Mistletoe Countess and The Cairo Curse.


My Review 4 STARS

“If Frederick wanted to shower his wife with the types of presents she loved best on this honeymoon, the answer came clear and evident. No expensive jewelry or extravagant gifts for her.      

But near-death experiences and daring adventures? His shoulders dropped for a moment. Well, at least he didn’t have to try and wrap them.”                                                                                                                           

What a way to spend your honeymoon!

Freddie and Grace show their enthusiasm for sleuthing in slightly different ways, which made a riveting read. Grace is eager to help solve this mystery of the missing paintings and the thought of hidden treasure...well, what fiction aficionado wouldn’t want to be in on that? Freddie, on the other hand, is a bit more tempered outwardly but inwardly he really does enjoy their mystery solving exploits. The Juliet Code is an artful concoction of adventure with a delightful cast of characters.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.