Book Review and Blog Tour: Death on the Menu

It’s my pleasure to be on the blog tour for Death on the Menu by Emma Davies. This is the third in Davies’ Adam and Eve Mystery series.

Title:         Death on the Menu

Author:     Emma Davies

Publication Day: September 22, 2022

Buy Link: https://geni.us/B0B21SSK37social

Synopsis:

Francesca Eve has planned a showstopping funeral supper to say goodbye in style, but the last thing she expects is a murder on the menu…

When elderly millionaire and eccentric entrepreneur Clarence Lightman dies, his nearest and dearest gather one final time at Justice House, Clarence’s beautiful country estate, for the reading of his will. But the day ends in uproar when it is revealed that whoever solves a series of complex clues will inherit everything. Will one of Clarence’s disagreeable children outwit everyone else for the fortune, or could his devoted housekeeper or even Francesca herself win the day?

Francesca knows she should stick to the kitchen and stay out of this lethal game, but she is unwillingly drawn into the mystery when she finds one of Clarence’s sons, blood pooling from a deadly thwack to the head, shoved into the larder. Somebody is clearly not playing fair, and Francesca feels sure that they won’t stop until all of the competition has been eliminated.

Trapped in the game until all the riddles are solved, Francesca must solve the clues and find the ruthless killer to protect herself and her fellow innocent guests. But she can’t trust anyone. Fran must use all her wits, not only to hunt down the truth, but to stay alive…

An addictive cozy crime novel packed with twists you won’t expect. If you love Faith Martin, M.C. Beaton and The Thursday Murder Club you’ll adore this thrilling mystery.

My review:

Francesca (Fran) Eve’s old school chum, Olivia, has hired her to cater the funeral dinner for Clarence Lightman. Mr. Lightman, an author who created games based on his books, died a wealthy man. His will makes one last effort to reconcile his fractured family by sending his “nearest and dearest” on a treasure hunt. His children do not take this news well, and they’re really unhappy when they learn that Olivia – the “hired help” – has the right to try to unravel the clues and claim an inheritance for herself.

This book is nearly impossible to put down! The treasure hunt premise is unique and a lot of fun. The characters end up in some pretty outlandish situations trying to chase down the clues that lead to the fortune. And in addition to trying to sort out the clues, Fran and Adam are trying to track down a murderer.

There’s some stiff competition among the teams (Marcus and Cate, two of Lightman’s children; Saul, the third of Lightman’s children; and Fran, Olivia, and Adam). At least one of the teams is playing dirty, and we know it isn’t our fearless protagonists. The fact that someone is willing to stoop to murder really ramps up the tension in the story.

And the characters! Fran is a delight. She’s close to my age, which makes me appreciate her that much more. She and Adam seem like they’d be as different as chalk and cheese, but their personalities actually work well together. I like that Fran isn’t someone who has to be in charge all the time. She realizes that Adam has the skill set they need to work out the clues here, and she doesn’t hesitate to let him take the lead on that. She knows her strengths and is fine with letting others shine when it’s what works best. And even the minor characters, like Margaret, the family solicitor, are fleshed out nicely.

There were plenty of twists and turns in the story, and Davies kept me guessing until the end. I love a book where I can’t solve the mystery until the reveal smacks me in the head!

If you like a modern story with a unique premise and a cozy mystery that will have you second-guessing what you think at every turn, I highly recommend Death on the Menu!

About the author:

After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a forty something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.

After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband, three children, and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life. It’s a county she adores, her love of its beautiful people and landscapes providing endless inspiration for her books, and in fact the only thing that would make Shropshire more idyllic is if it were by the sea.

Pop over to her website www.emmadaviesauthor.com where, amongst other things, you can read about her passion for Pringles and singing loudly in the car. You can also wave to her on twitter @EmDaviesAuthor or find her on Facebook (a little too often than is good for her).


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Book Beginnings on Friday and Book Blogger Hop: September 23, 2022

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted each week by Rose City Reader. It’s a chance to share the first sentence or so of the book you are reading this week. You can check out others’ book beginnings here. I’m also going to link up with Carrie at Reading Is My Superpower for First Line Friday.

This week’s book beginning:

Synopsis:

Francesca Eve is catering a sombre funeral supper, but the last thing she expects is another murder on the menu…

When elderly millionaire and eccentric entrepreneur Clarence Lightman dies, his nearest and dearest gather one final time at Justice House, Clarence’s beautiful country estate in rural Shropshire, for the reading of his will. But the day ends in uproar when Clarence’s will reveals that whoever solves a series of complex clues will inherit everything, whether that’s one of Clarence’s disagreeable children, his devoted housekeeper, or Francesca herself…

Francesca knows she should stick to the kitchen and stay out of this macabre game, but she is unwillingly drawn into the mystery when she finds Clarence’s son, blood pooling from a deadly thwack to the head, shoved into the larder. Somebody is clearly not playing fair, and Francesca feels sure that they won’t stop until all of the competition has been eliminated.

Francesca must find the murderer, and protect herself and her fellow innocent guests. But trapped in the game until the riddles are solved, she can’t trust anyone. If she can solve the clues, could they lead her to this ruthless killer? And can she find them before they strike again? Fran must use all her wits, not only to hunt down the truth, but just to stay alive… 

Fran stared at the woman in front of her.

Even after all these years it was like looking in the mirror.

Is that enough to hold your attention and keep you reading?

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. It starts each Friday and runs through the following Thursday. Each week, there’s a new prompt featuring a book-related question. It’s designed to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, make new blogging friends, and gain followers. See what others have to say on this topic and link up your own post here.

Have you ever reread a book? If so, why did you decide to reread it?
Submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer.

I have reread books on occasion. A Wrinkle in Time, Anne of Green Gables, the Little House books. Usually I reread them because they’re old favorites and I just enjoy going back to them. Sometimes I’ve reread books in the context of what my boys were reading for school – I’d read along with them. Many times they wanted to reread books before bedtime when they weren’t yet able to read, so I’d read – and reread – those books to them. But just for myself, I wouldn’t say I reread a tremendous number of books. There are too many other books in the world still waiting for my attention!

What about you? Are you a rereader? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Posted in Book Beginnings on Fridays, Book Blogger Hop, Book Memes, Cozy Mystery | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

Book Review and Blog Tour: Death Among the Diamonds by Fliss Chester

I’m delighted to help kick off the blog tour for Death Among the Diamonds by Fliss Chester! This is the first in her Cressida Fawcett series, and it is a treat.

Author: Fliss Chester
Title: Death Among the Diamonds
Release Date: September 21, 2022
Publisher: Bookouture

Buy Link:
Amazon: https://geni.us/B0B5LNRLRYsocial

Audio Links:
UK: zpr.io/5TH6WL7X6AsX
US: zpr.io/CHm3wmGbN8AW

Listen to a sample

Synopsis:

Everyone in 1920s London knows the Honourable Cressida Fawcett: fiercely independent (though never apart from her little pug Ruby), lover of martinis and interior designer extraordinaire. She’s solved many crimes of fashion… so how about murder?

Cressida Fawcett is heading to the English countryside for a weekend of cocktails and partying at her friend’s glamorous mansion, the location of a recent diamond heist. But just hours after her arrival, Cressida is woken by an almighty scream. Rushing to the landing, she looks down into the great hall to find a trembling maid standing next to the body of Harry, the friendly young chandelier cleaner.

Everyone believes Harry’s death was an accident. But as Cressida examines the opulent hall and the beautiful grounds, she thinks something darker is afoot. Why clean a chandelier in the early hours of the morning? And who overheard Harry boasting about coming into unexpected wealth? A small piece of torn silk found near the body has Cressida looking at the guests’ elegant clothes with fresh eyes…

The short-tempered Detective insists that she keeps her curious nose out of the investigation, but it’s Cressida who realises the stolen diamonds were hidden in the sparkling chandelier. Convinced there is a connection between the theft and the murder, the case takes a sinister turn when a guest is killed in his sleep after a brandy-fuelled night of cards. With everyone unable to leave, can Cressida’s sharp eye for detail catch the killer before another life is taken? 

My review:

I adore the Lady Eleanor Swift series by Verity Bright, so when I had the chance to read and review Death Among the Diamonds, another cozy series set in 1920s England, I jumped at it. I’m so glad I did!

The Hon. Cressida Fawcett is a young woman ahead of her time. Single and well to do, she’s enjoying her life, not looking to make a good marriage match as so many young women are. She lives with her pug, Ruby, and she’s quite happy that way.

When she travels to the countryside for a weekend at the home of her friend Dorothy, she certainly never expects to be caught up in a crime scene. But diamonds have been stolen, and the young, affable chandelier cleaner is found dead. Suddenly anyone there on the estate is a suspect, and no one is free to leave.

This book is simply enchanting! Cressida’s world of money and the high life is far from my own middle-aged mom existence, but it’s a lot of fun to read about. Cressida herself is refreshing, a woman not afraid to buck expectations and do what makes her happy. Ruby is a fun addition to the story, and often a help to Cressida. (And now I want a pug.)

Fliss Chester creates characters that are a joy to read about. (Basil really came off as a creep, though. I think Dorothy can do better.) The story moves along at a nice clip, and there were twists and turns enough to hold my interest. She does a nice job with the locked-room mystery, and I look forward to reading more in the series.

I highly recommend Death Among the Diamonds if you love clean historical cozies. I think I’ve found a new author to add to my favorites!

About the author:

Fliss Chester lives in Surrey with her husband and writes historical cozy crime. When she is not killing people off in her 1940s whodunnits, she helps her husband, who is a wine merchant, run their business. Never far from a decent glass of something, Fliss also loves cooking (and writing up her favourite recipes on her blog), enjoying the beautiful Surrey and West Sussex countryside and having a good natter.

Instagram | Twitter

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Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Six Sweets Under by Sarah Fox

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights books soon to be released, the ones we’re excited about but haven’t read yet. It’s hosted by Wishful Endings, and was formerly hosted by Breaking the Spine. Y’all can check out all of this week’s Can’t-Wait Wednesday posts here.

Title: Six Sweets Under

Series: True Confections Mystery #1

Author: Sarah Fox

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Publication Date: February 7, 2023

Publisher: Berkley

Synopsis:

Former actress Becca Ransom lived her dream in Hollywood for seven years before returning to her hometown of Larch Haven, Vermont. Known as the Venice of North America, Larch Haven has canals instead of roads, gondolas instead of cars, and charming cottages that look like they were plucked from the pages of a fairy tale. It’s also where Becca is pursuing her newest passion as a chocolatier at True Confections, the chocolate shop owned by her grandparents, Lolly and Pops.

While Becca’s testing new flavors and reconnecting with old friends, the town is gearing up for the annual Gondola Races, popular with both residents and tourists, with one exception. Local curmudgeon Archie Smith wants nothing more than to keep tourists away from Larch Haven. He’s determined to derail this year’s event and does his best to stir up trouble for the organizers, including Becca’s grandfather.

Following a heated argument with Pops, Archie is found floating face-down in the canal, and Pops finds himself in hot water as one of the top suspects. Becca’s determined to clear her grandfather’s name, but when the case heats up, she could be facing a sticky end.

My thoughts:

One reason I’m so excited for this book is because I got approved for an advance copy on NetGalley. By BERKLEY.

Berkley approvals have historically been hard to come by, at least for me, so I’m thrilled to get this one!

And look at the book! Mystery! Chocolate! Grandparents called Lolly and Pops in a candy-themed cozy! (Lolly? Pops? Please tell me you get it.) Why would I not want to read that? Also, I must now go look up Larch Haven, Vermont and see if it really is the Venice of North America. I might never make it to Italy, but I could probably make it to Vermont.

Does this sound like one you’d enjoy? Leave me a comment and tell me about it!

Posted in Book Memes, Can't-Wait Wednesday, Cozy Mystery, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Fall 2022 To-Read List

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Check out upcoming Top Ten themes on Jana’s blog and go here to see what others have on their Top Ten Tuesday lists!

This week, the theme is Top Ten Books on my Fall 2022 TBR. I don’t normally worry about seasonal reads (one, I’m not that organized, and two, it won’t feel like fall in my part of the world until, oh, November or so), but these are books I’m looking forward to reading in the not-too-distant future and/or books on my list to read and review soon. And it is officially fall now, even if the weather doesn’t feel like it. So I guess it counts as my Fall TBR!

Spells for Forgetting
Adrienne Young
Station Eternity
Mur Lafferty
We Spread
Iain Reid
A Spoonful of Gunpowder
Katherine H. Brown
The Lost Melody
Joanna Davidson Politano
Cleopatra’s Vendetta
Avanti Centrae
I’ll Be Seeing You
Joanne Easley
Dead and Gondola
Ann Claire

Are any of these on your list? Do any of the covers grab your attention enough that you might add them to your list?

Happy reading!

Posted in Book Memes, Top Ten Tuesday | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

Book Review and Giveaway: Dangerous Beauty by Melissa Koslin | Lone Star Book Blog Tours

DANGEROUS BEAUTY
by
MELISSA KOSLIN
Fiction / Christian / Romance / Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 352 pages
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
SCROLL DOWN FOR GIVEAWAY!

What is the price of freedom?

Liliana Vela hates the term victim. She’s not a victim, she’s a fighter. Stubborn and strong with a quiet elegance, she’s determined to take back her life after escaping the clutches of human traffickers. But she can’t stay safely in America–unless the man who aided in her rescue is serious about his unconventional proposal to marry her.

Meric Toledan was just stopping at a service station for a bottle of water. Instead, he becomes the key to Liliana’s rescue. If he can keep his secrets hidden, his wealth and position afford him many resources to help her. But the mysterious buyer who funded her capture will not sit idly by while his prize is stolen from him.

CLICK TO PURCHASE

Liliana Vela is no fragile flower. She may have been seized and taken against her will, with her family left dead behind her, but she isn’t just going to bemoan the unfairness of it all. She finds a way to break free of her captors and run, but they’re closing in on her. A fortuitous encounter at a truck stop sees her rescued, her captors in custody, and Meric Toledan asking her to trust him and marry him so he can keep her safe. Meric happened to be in the right place at the right time, and he didn’t hesitate to do the right thing. But is this just a marriage of convenience, or can Liliana and Meric work through their pasts to find something more?

Melissa Koslin grabbed my attention with this story from the get-go. The tension started on page one and remained nearly constant, with moments where it ramped up big time. Even when she was doing something seemingly simple like leaving the apartment to get a bite to eat, the tension is still lurking. I felt like I was always on the edge of my seat, just waiting for that other shoe to drop, waiting for the bad guys to jump out and grab Liliana.

Liliana is so much stronger than Meric believes at first, and it frustrates her that he seems almost to shy away from her or shut her out. She doesn’t know, though, that he’s battling his own demons. He fears that if he lets his emotions show, he’ll lose control, like the father he never knew  but who hurt his mother so badly. Yet even as he resists his attraction to her, he does his best to keep her safe, to protect her from the wealthy buyer who’s determined not to let the prize – Liliana – escape. When Liliana volunteers to go in and try to help rescue other trafficked women, Meric is beside himself. But I love that she’s willing to put herself back in harm’s way for the good of others, and I love that Meric is willing to let her do it, but still does his best to protect her without blowing her cover. They are both such good, decent, likable characters, I couldn’t help but cheer for them.

Koslin does an excellent job of drawing out the suspense, and the big reveal near the end of the book was quite a surprise to me! I knew something was not quite right with the characters that turned out to be the Big Bad, but I couldn’t put my finger on it before all came to light.

Dangerous Beauty deals in human trafficking, and it’s a timely and difficult topic. Here in my part of the world, Interstate 10 is a major trafficking corridor. I’m glad there are people who are trying to make a difference and shut it down. I think Koslin addresses it in a way that is as sensitive as it can be while still painting an accurate picture of the ugliness of the situation.

Content matters to be aware of: there are some violent scenes that are part of the story, because the traffickers are violent men, and sometimes the good guys have to fight fire with fire. I didn’t feel like any of the violence was gratuitous or overly graphic, though. The romance is clean and doesn’t go beyond some steamy kisses. There are mentions of faith, and Liliana trusts in God and asks for His help.

Overall, Dangerous Beauty was a timely and thoroughly engrossing book. The story is well constructed, the good guys are good (if conflicted sometimes), the bad guys are obviously bad (and some worse than others), and good wins the day. It was tough to put down, and I lost sleep over it.

If you want a clean, compelling read with characters you can cheer for, I highly recommend Dangerous Beauty. Five stars for keeping me up past my bedtime.


Want to win a copy? Keep scrolling and enter the giveaway! Good books are awesome. Good books that you get for free are awesomer. (Yes, I know “awesomer” is not a word.)

PRAISE FOR DANGEROUS BEAUTY:

“Do not start this book until you have the time to read it in one gulp. This is a really fresh twist on a marriage of convenience with the potential for pages of suspense. The hero and heroine are each hugely compelling, and I just wanted to protect them both. It’s also a sweet story of the healing power of hope. Highly recommend this novel for those who adore romantic suspense with a fresh twist.” —Cara Putman, award-winning author of Flight Risk and Lethal Intent

“Koslin brings the underworld of human trafficking to life in a gripping yet redemptive plot.” Booklist

Melissa Koslin is a fourth-degree black belt in and certified instructor of Songahm Taekwondo. In her day job as a commercial property manager, she secretly notes personal quirks and funny situations, ready to tweak them into colorful additions for her books. The author of Never Miss, Melissa lives in Jacksonville, Florida, with her husband, Corey.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
TWO WINNERS:
Each receives copies of Dangerous Beauty and Never Miss
+ $25 gift card to Bookshop.org.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 9/24/22.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
OR VISIT THE PARTICIPATING BLOGS DIRECTLY:

9/14/22

Chapter
Break Book Blog

Excerpt

9/14/22

Hall Ways Blog

BONUS Promo

9/15/22

StoreyBook Reviews

Review

9/15/22

LSBBT Blog

BONUS Promo

9/16/22

Book Fidelity

Character Interview

9/17/22

The Plain-Spoken Pen

Review

9/18/22

Boys’ Mom Reads!

Notable Quotables

9/19/22

All the Ups and Downs

Author Interview

9/20/22

Stories Under Starlight

Review

9/21/22

Shelf Life Blog

Top 5 List

9/22/22

Jennifer Silverwood

Review

9/23/22

Reading
by Moonlight

Review

blog tour services provided by
Posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Lone Star Book Blog Tours, Lone Star Literary Life, Suspense, Thriller | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Book Beginnings on Fridays and Book Blogger Hop: September 15, 2022

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted each week by Rose City Reader. It’s a chance to share the first sentence or so of the book you are reading this week. You can check out others’ book beginnings here. I’m also going to link up with Carrie at Reading Is My Superpower for First Line Friday.

This week’s book beginning:

Synopsis:

Kiva is handsome, generous, and very much in love with recently-widowed Preen Enda. But the thought of becoming his wife fills her with dread—especially when men from her past—men who know too much—begin appearing in her peaceful town. It’s only a matter of time before her secrets are revealed.

If Kiva learns the truth about what happened to Preen’s first husband, will he still want to become her second?

In the Tur Kej mountains, winter freezes out fall by the end of October most years. Soon I’d be doing the wash in the kitchen instead of the yard. But that day was perfect.

So, would that keep you reading? It has me! My review of Judgment Call should be up next week. Y’all keep an eye out for it!

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. It starts each Friday and runs through the following Thursday. Each week, there’s a new prompt featuring a book-related question. It’s designed to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, make new blogging friends, and gain followers. See what others have to say on this topic and link up your own post here.

This week’s prompt:

What are your favorite characteristics of a main character?
(submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

Hmm. Favorite characteristics of a main character. As I’m getting older, I find that I enjoy main characters that are closer to my own age. I can enjoy characters of all ages, but it’s nice to see main characters in their 40s, 50s, or older, still being active and involved in life, solving mysteries, traveling, whatever their story is. I like main characters that have some involvement with books, whether they run a bookstore, write books, collect books, what have you. And please, let my main characters be sensible. I can’t bear a main character who persistently does things so stupid or thoughtless that it makes me want to throw the book across the room.

What traits do you prefer in your main characters? Tell me in a comment!

Posted in Book Beginnings on Fridays, Book Blogger Hop, Book Memes | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Blind Faith by Alicia Beckman

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights books soon to be released, the ones we’re excited about but haven’t read yet. It’s hosted by Wishful Endings, and was formerly hosted by Breaking the Spine. Y’all can check out all of this week’s Can’t-Wait Wednesday posts here.

  • Title: Blind Faith
  • Author: Alicia Beckman
  • Genre: Suspense
  • Release Date: October 11, 2022

Synopsis:

Long-buried secrets come back with a vengeance in a cold case gone red-hot in Agatha Award-winning author Alicia Beckman’s second novel, perfect for fans of Laura Lippman and Greer Hendricks.

For decades, the unsolved murder of Father Michael Leary has haunted Billings, Montana, the community he served. Who summoned the priest late one autumn night, then left his body in a sandstone gully for the ravens and other wild scavengers?

And it’s haunted no one more than Lindsay Keller, who admired and confided in him as a teenager. Compelled by his example to work for justice, she became a prosecutor. But after a devastating case left her shattered, she fled the rough-and-tumble for the safety of a desk, handling real estate deals and historic preservation projects. Good work, but not what she’d dreamed of.

Now Lindsay finds herself in possession of the priest’s wallet, the photo of a young girl tucked inside. She’s sure she knows the girl, and that it’s tied to his death. But how?

Detective Brian Donovan, a hot-shot Boston transplant, would like nothing more than to solve the county’s coldest case. Probing the life and death of Father Leary takes Lindsay and Donovan deep into long-simmering tensions in this seemingly-peaceful place.

Then another woman far away digs up unexpected clues about her own family’s past—a history rooted in a shocking truth—and her questions bring her to Lindsay and the detective. But the dangerous answers could rock the community to its very core.

My thoughts:

I’ve read some of the cozy mysteries the author writes as Leslie Budewitz and thoroughly enjoyed them. I can’t wait to see how she does with suspense! Does the synopsis grab your attention?

What are you waiting for this week? Let me know in a comment!

Posted in Book Memes, Can't-Wait Wednesday, Mystery, Suspense | 19 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Geographical Terms in the Title

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Check out upcoming Top Ten themes on Jana’s blog and go here to see what others have on their Top Ten Tuesday lists!

This week’s theme: Books with Geographical Terms in the Title (submitted by Lisa of Hopewell). I went with land features as well as place names for my list. I’ve included links to my reviews where available.

In no particular order, here are my ten – some I’ve read, some are on my TBR pile:

  1. The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen
  2. The Boys from Biloxi by John Grisham
  3. Murder in an Irish Castle by Verity Bright
  4. The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper D. Basham
  5. A Death in Door County by Annelise Ryan
  6. A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen
  7. In the Middle of Hickory Lane by Heather Webber
  8. River, Sing Out by James Wade
  9. The Women of Pearl Island by Polly Crosby
  10. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson

Looking at books I’ve read and books I want to read, I could almost have done a top ten list with books that have “Sea” in the title! LOL

Have you read any of these books? Do you think you might? Let me know in a comment!

Posted in Book Memes, Top Ten Tuesday | Tagged | 6 Comments

Excerpt: My Name is Ona Judge by Suzette D. Harrison

I’m on the blog tour for My Name is Ona Judge, out now from Bookouture. I haven’t quite finished reading, so my review isn’t up yet. But in the meantime, I’ve got an excerpt to share, courtesy of the publisher! Scroll on to read it.

  • Title: My Name is Ona Judge
  • Author: Suzette D. Harrison
  • Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Genre: Historical Fiction

Excerpt:

PROLOGUE

1797, Age 22
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

The sweet aroma of the jasmine-scented night was lost on me as terror clouded my senses, rendering me barely able to breathe. I will leave. I will be free! Heart beating like the drum corps that celebrated Mistress when the General was elected, I rushed through the night,
palms sweating, fingers trembling. I clung to the shadows, staying close to the buildings while gripping the hood of my cloak, praying it shielded my face, not merely my head. As a
servant from a house of prominence, mine was a familiar face and I could not risk being recognized by anyone I might encounter on those darkened streets. Still, I could not afford to
slow my pace and hoped I merely appeared to be a servant dutifully engaged in her owner’s bidding.

Mother, help me not to fail. Please be with me.

I’d promised my mother I would accept freedom’s hand if ever it was extended. The chance to escape might never come again. I refused to forfeit it. I had to honor my promise and hold
on to hope while swiftly, mentally revisiting the hidden clues in Mr. Raitt’s elaborate, singsong message. I was to board a ship that night and sail to freedom. But was I really to bypass the
blacksmith’s shed, the agreed-upon place, and hurry to Sister Vashti’s instead? Not knowing the reason for the change in plans, I pushed turbulent thoughts away. I could only pray I’d
rightly interpreted Frank’s instructions delivered through Mr. Raitt as I rushed towards Sister Vashti’s residence in the far, dark distance.

The Creator didn’t make me to be someone else’s possession. I bolstered my courage with that simple truth. Tucking my chin closer to my chest, I hurried towards freedom’s dream. No
person had a right to own me—my spirit, soul, or body. No matter their position in society. Self-important, indifferent persons had erred against my humanity by writing my name in
a ledger, same as they did their cattle and sheep. They thought me a commodity to barter and sell; livestock to rule, command, and inventory. But I was invaluably more, and I deserved
liberty.

That truth propelled me through the moonless night. It steadied me when a cat shot from the shadows and into my path, nearly tripping me. I lurched backwards and covered my
mouth, stifling a scream. Rather than disappear in the dark, it arched its back and hissed as if conveying an otherworldly message. A shiver ran through me; still, I rejected the feline’s
ominousness and gave it a wide berth. I could not remain in this city of brotherly love and liberty, nor return to Mount Vernon. My right to dignity and freedom wasn’t recognized in either place. Heart pounding, I swiftly resumed my uncertain journey, determined to escape fate and living the balance of my life as a slave. I’d been born into slavery where unquestionable loyalty and devotion were demanded, and resistance was violently suppressed. I’d been destined to endure a heinous system and was relegated to a servile position by virtue of the color of my skin. But that night I preferred to stare death in the face or be
dragged through Hades than to return to captivity and life with an evil woman who delighted in my being debased. Being given to her as a wedding gift—like fine china or a knitted blanket—was a mortal wound I could not endure or permit.

Hurry, Ona, the ship is waiting!

I obeyed my command as an owl hooted overhead. I glanced upward only to stumble in the process. I righted my step and drew my cloak closer about me despite the tepidness of the
evening. The air was thick with warmth, and perhaps my nerveracking tension. 

Sweat trickled beneath my arms. My head felt somewhat dizzy, yet I couldn’t decrease my pace or abandon the possibility of freedom and fully living. Noticing the slightest change in the atmosphere, my heart galloped with relief. The air had cooled. The brackishness of the water was pronounced. I’d neared the neighborhood adjacent to the waterfront, and my next steps towards destiny.

I must find Sister Vashti’s house.

In the dark, things seemed turned about. I needed a moment to calm my racing heart and get my bearings, but time and the sudden clip-clop of horses’ hooves behind me allowed no such luxury. I couldn’t spare even a moment to turn around and face my possible pursuers or determine if my absence had been discovered and Mistress had sent the authorities to reclaim
me. Knowing the slightest delay might mean a return to captivity, I lifted the hem of my dress and ran, the hood of my cloak streaming behind me. Haste was imperative for I was the lady’s
maid once bound to the President’s house, and I had dared to flee. I was the one who’d slipped away unnoticed and was determined to be free. Even if it meant I lost my life while trying.


So what do you think? Would you read it? I can’t wait to finish and share my thoughts!

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