Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Blog Tour: ROAD TO ROSEWOOD by Ashtyn Newbold

Today's Wednesday Wonders is part of a blog tour for 
Road To Rosewood
by Ashtyn Newbold

About Road to Rosewood:
Lucy Abbott's carriage is besieged by highwaymen as she returns to the country estate she fondly remembers from her childhood. A familiar man leads the band of outlaws, and Lucy must decide if she can trust him to safely guide her to her destination.

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          Rachel stood, brushing one of my dark curls from my forehead. “I will visit again in two months.” Dropping her voice to a whisper, she added, “And when I do, I expect you to be at Rosewood. You must write me of all your adventures there.” Her lips twisted into a sad smile. She didn't like to see me like this.
          “I will.” I squeezed her hand.
          “When do you plan to leave?”
          My fingers twitch over the letter in my lap. “As soon as I am able.”
          She threw me a look of suspicion. “Surely you plan to involve Mama and Papa in the travel Arrangements? Papa will insist on everything being good and proper.”
          I bit my lip.
          “Lucy.” Rachel's eyebrow arched.
          It felt as if I were being forced to confess to a stern nanny, much less my caring sister. “I did not plan to inform them. I need to do this on my own.”
          “Lucy, I must insist that you make proper arrangements.”
          I almost snapped at her, but saw that she was genuinely concerned. “I plan to travel by mail coach. It is the most affordable option.”
          Rachel was quiet for a long moment.
          “You won't tell them, will you?” My heart pounded with dread. This was my grand opportunity. I could not afford to have anyone stop me. My heart would break all over again, this time at the hand of shattered dreams. I couldn't carry on day-to-day with the same coastline, the same storms, the same bleak shops. The only thing that Craster shared with the countryside was the sky, but it was a different color there. I felt choked in confinement, seeing what I longed for but unable to touch it. Rachel had found love, joy, and contentment. I wanted the same.
          “You should not be angry with them, Lucy.” Rachel's voice was soft. “Mama and Papa had their reasons for keeping away these years.”
          My jaw tightened and I looked out the window again. Yes, reasons that they would never speak of. Secret things.
          When I didn't reply, Rachel stood, smoothing her skirts. “I will not stop you from leaving. But please write to me often. Be safe.” When she met her husband at the door, she gave me a final glance over her shoulder before disappearing from sight.
          What Rachel did not know is that I had already replied to that letter from Kitty. It had come weeks before, and I was leaving within the week.
          I had been wrong, Rachel didn't always understand completely. Mama and Papa may have had their reasons for keeping me away from Rosewood, but I also had my reasons for being angry. By keeping me away from the countryside, they had deprived me of five summers—five summers I could have changed Nicholas's mind. What if he has seen me grown up? I was no longer a little child. Year after year, I beg to be allowed to visit again. I told my parents it was because of my cousins, and the sunshine, and the beautiful village, and it was, but they knew that I missed Nicholas the most.

My Book Review
This was quite the exciting story. “Road” as it is used in this story has more than one connotation, and all of them were interesting to travel. The heroine, Lucy—far from perfect and a little difficult at times—finds she must deal with challenges she never anticipated when she left home. Although she remains single-minded about what she wants, part of the enjoyment of this story was wondering what kind of a fix she was going to get herself into next.

The author developed the characters well, and I could picture them in my mind as I read. I also enjoyed the window into the era as she unfolded the plot and described the surroundings.

This was an enjoyable and exciting read that kept me in suspense most of the story. Surprise revelations kept it interesting. The romance elements were sweet and clean. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Regency-era novels or a great romantic suspense story set in any era.

About Ashtyn Newbold:

Ashtyn Newbold discovered a love of writing early in high school. Inspired by regency period romance, she wrote her first novel at the age of sixteen. Because she can’t vacation in her favorite historical time periods, she writes about them instead. When not crafting handsome historical heroes, she enjoys baking, sewing, music, and spoiling her dog. She dreams of traveling to England and Ireland. Ashtyn is currently studying English and creative writing at Utah Valley University. She lives in Lehi, Utah with her family.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Book Tour: QUEEN MARY'S DAUGHTER by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

There are so many possibilities that affect the course of history. One change, one small item overlooked, can make a world of difference, not only in a person's life, but in the history and well-being of an entire nation. And then there are those multiple scenarios of what if? 

What if King James VI of Scotland didn't succeed in amalgamating Scotland with England? What if there had been another heir to the throne of Scotland? One who would secure its independence? Would Scotland have remained free and independent and a nation of its own well into the twenty-first century? And would Scotland, this independent version, make its own decision to join the European Union when its southern neighbor was choosing to pull away?

"Queen Mary's Daughter" presents another plausible timeline, one that incorporates both historical fact and fiction with the endless possibilities of time travel.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford is an award-winning author of several books, including Gerlinda (CFA 2016) which received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, To Be a Duke (CFA 2014) which was named Finalist and Silver Medalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. She writes about the extra-ordinary in life and her books, short stories, and articles are receiving considerable attention. For more information on the author, check out her website at:

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This was quite the adventure—both time-travel and action-wise—as characters moved between the 16th century and modern times. After her grandmother’s death, a modern Mary Elizabeth living in 21st century feels compelled by her grandmother’s earlier urgings to return to Loch Leven castle in Scotland. There she learned of her amazing heritage and is introduced to people who have played a role in the past, and now guide her as she learns her destiny.

My suggestion, especially to those from the United States who may not be as familiar with British history, is to first read at least the short version of the history of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the ascensions to the Scottish and English thrones for the next couple of generations. It took me several chapters to sort some of this out, and the only thing that saved me was I recently read a novel from this time period. However, once I sorted out the characters, I was able to focus on the action which included a lot of movement between centuries. 

Mary Elizabeth encountered difficulties from the time she was born prematurely, one of two twins who were reported to have died. Family life among the royals was not “love at home” as several sought to kill those family members that might claim the thrones of Scotland and England in their stead. Others from the future go back in an effort to not allow Mary Elizabeth, the princess who lived, from claiming Scotland and changing history and the right of royal ascension.

This story ended with an interesting twist. Regardless of what the reader thinks of the royals and who should have ruled where. I think most will agree Mary Elizabeth in this book is a lovable character. I found my empathy stayed with her. A thought-provoking “what if” read.

Excerpt #1:

As the wind picked up, blowing her deep red, unruly curls helter-skelter over her face, Mary Elizabeth’s eyes focused on her hands. She stretched out the left hand, revealing the old ring that sat on her baby finger. It was a tiny ring and it only fit on the one finger. At the same time Gran bestowed the heirloom gift on her granddaughter, she had shared her story of the ring, at least as much as she was willing to share. The ring had been in the family for generations and only the firstborn daughter of the firstborn daughter (and so on and so on) could wear it. The ring was her connection to a past she wasn’t sure she believed in, a past that had been shared from one generation to the next. Or was there more? Was there a story her grandmother never managed to share?
What would she find at Loch Leven Castle? The clues had to be there. But the boy said it was mostly ruins, crumbled walls and tumbled stones, except for the tower. Queen Mary’s tower. What could she possibly unearth to collaborate Gran’s story? And she only had two weeks to do it. She couldn’t afford more time away from work. Even though it was a poorly paid entry level job, she didn’t want to risk losing it.
A glow emanated from the ring on her outstretched hand. She felt a warmth spread up her arms. The wind picked up, violently tossing her hair in every direction, swishing her coat ends like laundry hanging loosely on a clothesline. She faced into the wind, allowing its vicious impact to draw her forward. She took a step, then another, until she felt the cold wet of the lapping waves of the loch splash over her feet. The water was cold; it jolted her back to reality. What was she doing walking into the loch? What was the strong pulse pulling her forward? She allowed her eyes to glance out across the loch, now almost obliterated by the darkened storm that raged all around her.
“Miss.” She heard a voice from behind her as the power continued to drag her into the loch. “Miss!” A hand gripped her arm, yanking her back toward the dry shore. “Miss!” The hands tightened their hold as she tried to pull away, tried to return to the loch. A scream pierced the air. She didn’t know where the scream originated. It sounded like it came from across the water.
It also sounded like it came from deep within herself.
Another scream and everything went black.

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