Sunday, October 1, 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
The weather here has been unseasonably warm lately, with temperatures hitting the 90s last weekend, but fortunately, the weather has returned to more fall like weather. I love fall weather, it is the perfect time of year to sit on the porch or curled up on the sofa reading a book. Of course, yesterday, with only 100 pages to go in An Inconvenient Beauty, I found myself sitting at the table and reading while I enjoyed a nice hot cup of pumpkin spice coffee and getting up only to make another cup of coffee.
I thoroughly enjoyed An Inconvenient Beauty and couldn't put it down. In fact, when I did put it down after reading all 379 pages, my daughter commented 'didn't you just start that book' I closed the book and exclaimed 'I can't believe that was the last one in the series, I want it to go on!' It really was a great story, that was well written and had great scene and character development. Having met Griffith and the rest of the family in an Uncommon Courtship, which was the third in the four book series, I was glad to get to know him better. His family is the type of family that anyone would be happy to be part of, a group that is there for support and guidance, a group that knows how to play and have fun together, and a family that loves to pick on one another but would not fail to support one another.

Isabella and her cousin Frederica were well developed characters and both had to overcome adversity. Isabella not only had her challenges at home, problems she was hoping to solve with her time in London, but the added complexity of the role her uncle expected her to play and the threats he held over her. Freddie had only her father to deal with, but she clearly had a strong character having survived the loss of her mother and brother, but also as evidenced in the way she carried herself and the role she played in helping the right things happen.

Reading a story from an era with very different societal norms and expectations is always interesting to me. Despite recognizing how different of a time it was for women, there is still something so intriguing to me. On one hand, I think it would be so fun to get dressed up and go out to events, but I think that by the end of a season I would be well beyond interested in dressing up and putting on my 'social face'. I think that the idea of having a chaperone with you at all times as you court seems a bit extreme (and how boring for the chaperone!), but love how innocent courting was - filled with visits to see art and walks in the park.

An Inconvenient Beauty is a great reminder that sometimes the best way to find love is to not look for it. In fact, even when you are avoiding it (or someone), a love that is meant to be will find a way (and likely make you appreciate it more).

About the Book:

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. While he's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes--as well as her conscience. And the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she regrets the unpleasant obligation that prevents her from any dream of a future with him.

As all Griffith's and Isabella's long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?

About the Author:

Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in computer science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award winner and Christy Award finalist. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at

I have only read the last two books in the series, but I would highly recommend reading the Hawthorne House series by Kristi Ann Hunter. I intend to pick up the first two books myself, so that I can read them.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Reunited by Danger by Carol J. Post

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
The kids are back at school. My daughter came home from school the other day sharing about the different types of stories that they are talking about at school. She asked me what my favorite type of stories are and I told her suspense.

There is something in the style of Carol J Post that I just really enjoy. From the very first page, the reader is pulled into the story. She starts off quickly and then finds the right pacing to provide the details to help develop characters that you feel like you know and in settings described so you can picture the scene, all while keeping the story moving forward down a suspenseful pathway.

Whenever I read suspense or mystery books, I am always trying to find the clues and figure out who-dun-it or what is really going on. I usually have several theories over the course of the book, as each of them is disproven I find myself reconsidering the clues and trying to find a new theory. In Reunited by Danger, I was able to figure out the killer pretty early in the book. Of course, I didn't know I knew until I knew, but when I found out I had read the right clues, it was almost frustrating, even disappointing. My reaction was a surprise to me, I would have expected to be excited at my ability to read the clues, rather than disappointed that I had known as long as I did. Don't get me wrong, even though I had figured it out, since I didn't know I had figured it out, I still fully enjoyed the story development.

One unique thing about this story is that all of the main characters have known each other since high school, although several had not seen one another in the 10 years since graduation. With even the detective having attended high school with them, there was a unique dynamic and familiarity between the characters and in some ways, the detective had an advantage in knowing the back stories of those in the story. Another aspect of this book that I found to be interesting was the previous relationship between Amber and Caleb from when they were younger. In most romances that I’ve read where the two main characters knew each other in high school, they either dated each other, at least one of them had a crush on the other, there was an unrequited love situation between the two, or there was some kind of pretty big history between them in some other way, but for Caleb and Amber, they were simply acquaintances in high school, not in some kind of relationship with each other. I found that deviation from the typical plot line to be refreshing. It gave their developing relationship a different feel than in other books I’ve read and I appreciated that.

About the book:


When a former classmate is murdered at Detective Caleb Lyons's ten-year high school reunion, he knows the victim's old group of friends are keeping secrets. That includes Cedar Key, Florida, police officer Amber Kingston. Back in school, Amber was headed for trouble, but now she's as dedicated to the law as he is. As he works overtime to get the pretty cop to open up to him, Amber and her friends receive messages threatening payback for past deeds. And her friends keep dying…one by one. But protecting Amber and unmasking a murderer isn't just the widowed detective's shot at redemption—it's his unexpected second chance at love.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this suspenseful love story and have recommended it to friends. If you enjoy suspense stories, check out this book and others by Carol J. Post.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
It has been a while since I have read a piece of Edwardian fiction, but these past couple of weeks I have been deeply engrossed in A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White. A Name Unknown is the first book in the Shadows Over England series and is set primarily in Cornwall in 1914.

The author did a good job developing characters through the progression of the story, continuing to reveal things about some of the characters right up to the end of the story. Rosemary and Peter are an unconventional pair, she is poor, opinionated, streetwise and independent, and full of doubt when it comes to faith, he is rich, inclined to not speak his thoughts, has friends that look to him for advise and is strong in his faith. As the story unfolds, the reader starts to recognize the growing relationship between them and may even know they are falling in love before they do. Through her vivid descriptions of the settings, both internal and external, the author is able to transport the reader to another time and place. Her story was so engaging and that I found myself not wanting to put the book down, resulting in me yet again staying up later than I should simply so I can read a little more. The book had the perfect balance of an unlikely friendship, romance, mystery, deception, intrigue and faith.

I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

About the book:

She's out to steal his name. Will he steal her heart instead?
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets-now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary's challenge of a lifetime comes when she's assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family's history, their very name?
Rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can't help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the crown-so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes she's the right person to help him dig through his family's past.
Anger and danger continue to mount, though, and both realize they're in a race against time to discover the truth-about Peter's past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.
Learn more and purchase a copy.

About the author:

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels . . . to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. She passes said boring life with her husband and kids in the beautiful mountains of eastern West Virginia.
Find out more about Roseanna M. at

You can read more reviews and learn more about the book on the Blog Tour Landing Page.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Save Money Everyday on Stuff You Buy with Groupon Coupons

I have always been a deal shopper. I suppose I learned it watching my mom when I was a kid, I can remember my mom clipping coupons and submitting rebates for the items that we bought. I can remember Sunday mornings reading through the ads after church and deciding if there were deals worth heading to the store. One of my favorite days to go shopping each year was Black Friday. Not only was it a day out with my mom, grandma, aunts and cousins, but we got some great deals. I can remember one store giving us a $10/$10 coupon to use on top of all of their deals.

Deal shopping has changed a lot since I was a kid. You can get coupons online, apps provide instant rebates on the products you buy and you can find coupons online to your favorite stores.
Groupon Coupons is one source of great offers for your favorite stores. In fact, they currently have 84,186 free coupons at 12,116 stores. Not just any stores, but stores that I already shop at like Ann Taylor, Clarks, Amazon, Target, FootLocker, LL Bean and many others.

When it comes to shoes for work, going out or a casual day around town, I really enjoy wearing Clarks. Nothing compares with the fit and comfort of the shoes that I find at Clarks. My favorite heels that I can wear for hours are Clarks. I almost never wear heels, so that is saying a lot. Today, there are 31 offers for Clarks on Groupons Coupons. The offers are a mix of sales and coupon codes - 25% off, free shipping, and more.

Have you checked out Groupons Coupons? What is your favorite deal?

This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Taste Experience of Adagio Teas

Complimentary product was provided by Adagio Tea for me to try and share my experience.
There are some things that you gain a taste for over time. When I was a kid, tea was not on my list of favorite beverages. At some point, one of my friends offered me hot lemon tea and because I didn't want to be rude, I gave it a try with a good amount of added lemon juice and sugar. I decided it wasn't so bad and not what I had remembered from other tea experiences. From that point forward, I found myself trying different teas over time, in hopes of finding more that I enjoyed. As I have grown older, the varieties of tea that I enjoy have evolved and grown. I can't recall the last time I had hot lemon tea, but there are several other varieties that I have on a regular basis. In fact, I have a few varieties that are staples in my pantry, typically herbal teas or rooibos teas. When I have a cup, I usually enjoy it with a bit of honey or sugar and if enjoying one in the evening at bedtime, with a splash of milk. I have a tea kettle for warming water on the stove, I have multiple tea balls for loose tea and a pot that has a perforated column in the middle that allows me to make a full pot with either loose leaf tea or bagged tea. (For the record, I'm still not a big fan of iced tea...but have tried some recently that aren't so bad.)

Several of my friends had been sharing about Adagio Teas through Facebook, so when I was invited to try some of their products, I was excited to discover what they offered. I explored their different products and decided on a mix of full size bags and sample packs, to maximize my taste experience. Most of their teas are loose leaf, but they do offer some pyramid bag items too. I decided to stick with all loose leaf varieties for my experience.
I ordered two Rooibos varieties - Rooibos Vanilla and Rooibos Caramel. If you aren't familiar, from the Adagio site I share the following description: Hailing from South Africa, red bush tea is caffeine-free and produces a sweet, flavorful cup.

I also ordered two Herbal Tea varieties - Peppermint and Raspberry Patch.

Lastly, I tried out the Hot Cinnamon Spice tea. It is a flavored tea, which is not caffeine free, but is one of my favorite flavors.

I also decided to check out the toasTEA Portable Tea Infuser. I have enjoyed using this infuser to try out all of the new teas.
It is easy to use and I love that it relies on inversion to brew the tea and that when you flip it back upright the leaves are above the water line and no longer brewing.
In addition, the insulated tumbler keeps the tea hot for a long time. I typically poured the tea from the tumbler and put it into an open mug, because to me drinking tea is a full sense experience and the open mug allows for full immersion into the aroma and the visual aspects of the experience, in addition to the taste.
Each tea provides the amount of loose tea to use per cup and the temperature and time for steeping.

The Raspberry Patch is my favorite of the teas that I tried. It offers a full flavor of summer raspberries with an appealing sweet, berry aroma. I added a small drizzle of honey to provide a sweet flavor match to the sweet aroma. This is the one that I go to for a mid-afternoon tea break.

The two Rooibos varieties have a nice, soft aroma and an appealing flavor with notes of vanilla or caramel. I find them to be a perfect evening treat with a drizzle of honey and a splash of milk, and occasionally a couple of thin ginger crisp cookies for dipping.

The Peppermint is refreshing and I have found it a great way to start the day, paired with a couple of slices of toast. I haven't tried the Hot Cinnamon yet, mostly because it feels like a fall flavor and hasn't been the one that drew my interest when I sat down to enjoy a mug of tea.

I love that the toasTEA infuser makes 17 oz of tea, perfect to have a first cup and a top off to warm the tea back up in my mug. It also is a great travel option and allows me to steep my tea on the drive to work and enjoy it on arrival. The Rooibos Caramel seems to have a few more fines in it than the other teas and resulted in a bit of the tea coming up into the drink spout while inverted. Otherwise, it has worked fine with all of the teas that I have brewed and even on immersion, does not leak.

My only concern is that the tea comes in a stand up pouch with a zip closure, which makes storage a bit of a challenge. I think that I need to find a basket that I can set in my cupboard to corral them and keep them from falling over and 'disappearing' under other items in the cupboard. Or, if I stick with a few varieties only, I might pick up some small glass storage containers that I can put the tea in and place in cupboard.

Have you tried Adagio tea? What is your favorite?

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. Complimentary product was provided for my review.

Another Great Deal at CVS

As I shared last week, I haven't been to CVS in a long time. I found myself with some ECBs from a couple of surveys I had completed, so I decided to stop by and use them before they expired. Again, I was planning on the fly, as I hadn't looked at the ad and I had no other coupons with me.

And, I still managed to spend only $.89 out of pocket (including tax) for all of this in two transactions:

Fruity Pebbles
Oral B 2-pk
Colgate Toothpaste
2 bags of Dove Chocolate

Have you gotten any good deals lately?