Thursday, October 17, 2019

Diamond in the Rough

Diamond in the Rough
Jen Turano

Diamond in the Rough is the second book in the American Heiresses series, although it is not necessary to read the first book (Flights of Fancy) before reading this one. Of course, Flights of Fancy was a fabulous book and if you like fun historical romance novels you will love it.

Miss Poppy Garrison's grandmother has finagled a way to involve her in the 1985 New York social season, and the book begins with a hilarious account of the disastrous results. As usual, Turano has created a character who, despite her best efforts, gets literally tangled up in the midst of an important dance and causes a scene that is definitely not considered appropriate by high society. As a person who has two left feet, I could immediately sympathize with Poppy and the situations she finds herself in.

As the book continues, mishaps and misunderstandings continue for this young woman who really has the best interest of others at heart. I realized about two-thirds of the way through the book that my face hurt from smiling so much as I read! I love Turano's books for this reason -- it is so seldom than any author is so brilliant at engaging the reader in such crazy and yet somehow realistic escapades that I laugh out loud. They are a great way to escape the drudgery and disasters that headline our daily news.

But these books are filled with so much more than just funny events. The characters have depth, intriguing secrets, and fascinating conversations. In addition, I love the historical details that are included. The descriptions of the clothing (and their advantages/disadvantages) have me both wanting to try something so beautiful and glad we don't have to wear such things these days! While I typically don't care much for romance books, there is so much more here that I don't mind the occasional predictability about who falls in love with whom.

Diamond in the  Rough is a story of trying to fit in, wanting to change the world, and helping to open the eyes of others to needs they had ignored.

I have thoroughly enjoyed every book Jen Turano has written, and I will read every book she writes in the future.

ABOUT THE BOOK (from the back)
When Miss Poppy Garrison accepts her grandmother's offer of financial help for her family in exchange for Poppy joining the New York social season, she quickly realized she is far less equipped to mingle with the New York Four Hundred than even she knew. As she becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, becoming the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs her to be looks more impossible by the day.

Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, is in New York to help his cousin find an American heiress who can help save his family's estate. But when his very proper British manners lead Poppy's grandmother to request he teach etiquette to Poppy, he quickly finds himself in for much more than he bargained for.

And while they couldn't be more opposite, Reginald and Poppy just might find they have more to teach each other than they ever could have expected.

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher 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. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO. Readers may find her

at or on Twitter at JenTurano @JenTurano.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Between Two Shores

Between Two Shores
by Jocelyn Green

Jocelyn Green masterfully makes history come alive. In this story of Montreal in the mid 1700's, she brings the sights, smells, and sounds of the fur trade to life. The tension between the French, the British, the natives, and others is not well understood by most today. Shows like Frontier have helped, but Green makes the story much more personal.

This book features Catherine Stands Apart Duval, a woman with a French father and Mohawk mother, as she tries to find her place in a world that is hostile to those with mixed heritage. After her mother dies, she goes to live with her father (a mean drunk) to help him manage a fur trading post. The truths Green has discovered about life on the Canadian frontier are both fascinating and at times horrifying. From beatings to 'remove the savage' at a boarding school to the enslavement of people caught up in the wrong side of the war, this is a raw story that demonstrates the true grit and courage of people of the time.

Green never sugar-coats history -- she portrays the difficulties of life in a way that transports the reader to the center of a battlefield, the middle of a suffering town, or even down the river in a peaceful early morning canoe trip. She highlights the ways God provides opportunity to find joy and repair broken relationships in the midst of devastation.

Please note this is NOT historical romance, and that makes the book even better! There is no typical sense of who will woo whom that is predictable and sappy. This story is about the difficulties of family life in a frontier world, the joys found in hard work and companionship, and moving beyond heartbreak to make a difference in the world.

This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in strong female characters, accurate historical accounts, and an understanding of what life was really like in a complicated period of time. I really appreciated Green's appendix that gave more background to the time and clarified the truth from fiction in her book.

She Has Always Moved between Worlds, But Now She Must Choose a Side

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval would rather remain neutral in a world tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the Seven Years' War against her wishes when her British ex-fiancé, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel claims he has information that could help end the war, and he asks Catherine to help him escape.

Peace appeals to Catherine, even if helping the man who broke her heart does not. But New France is starving, and she and her loved ones may not survive another winter of conflict-induced famine. When the dangers of war arrive on her doorstep, Catherine and Samuel flee by river toward the epicenter of the battle between England and France. She and Samuel may impact history, but she fears the ultimate cost will be higher than she can bear.

Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King; Wedded to War; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award, the gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America, and the Golden Scroll Award from the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, pie, the color red, and reading with a cup of tea. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at

"Richly historic, even haunting, Green pens a remarkable tale of the clash of cultures and the quest for enduring love. Between Two Shores is extraordinary storytelling, showcasing an unforgettable heroine who is both fierce and a force for good in an ever-changing frontier landscape. A novel not soon forgotten."
Laura Frantz, author of A Bound Heart
"Jocelyn Green captures the tensions of war in Between Two Shores, on the field with musket and tomahawk and in the tender battlefield of the heart. With gorgeous prose that sings across the pages, vibrant characters, and a plot as unpredictable as a river voyage, Green has penned another winner for historical fiction lovers."
Lori Benton, author of Many Sparrows and Burning Sky
"Jocelyn Green has done it again with this masterful tale, Between Two Shores. She had me mesmerized from the beginning as I lived and breathed Catherine's story of family heartbreak and resounding joy. The backdrop of the Seven Years' War brought history and culture to life in this must-read story."
Kimberley Woodhouse, bestselling author of Out of the Ashes and In the Shadow of Denali

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with an electronic copy. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Flights of Fancy

Flights of Fancy
by Jen Turano

I am always excited to hear that Jen Turano has a new book, and Flights of Fancy introduces a whole new series, American Heiresses! I have no idea how Turano continues to come up with incredibly creative and humorous characters, but each book is better than the one before. Flights of Fancy brings a whole new level of fun.

Isadora Delafield has been trained all her life to become a respectful wife to a high society gentleman. When her mother discovers a widowed duke from England who is interested in her daughter, she will go to all lengths to see them wed. Never mind that the duke is a lecherous old man whose two former wives died in suspicious circumstances. To save her future, Isadora is whisked away from New York to the outskirts of Pennsylvania to answer an advertisement requesting a maid.

It is soon obvious that Isadora is not capable of such a job, but through a series of hilarious mishaps she is hired to help a household that includes an older woman with a broken leg, an older man who seems just a bit crazy, and four orphaned children. The home is, of course, also the childhood home of the hunky and important businessman, Ian MacKenzie.

Turano's books are always a whirlwind of activity, intrigue, and laughs. They are fast reads because I just can't seem to put them down -- I'm so fascinated to see what incredible situations the heroine will find herself in next! If you like books that take you away from the stress of everyday life and make you laugh, I highly recommend this book!

Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry and elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she's always known and find herself an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely through traditional hard work. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he's unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when a chain of mysterious incidents on the farm point to a larger threat, they'll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance a happy-ever-after.

A USA Today Best-Selling Author, Jen Turano has written the critically acclaimed Ladies of Distinction series, and A Class of Their Own series, published through Bethany House Publishers. Her novel, After a Fashion, was chosen as a top pick from Romantic Times, as well as being named a top ten romance of 2015 from Booklist.  It is also a nominee for Romantic Times 2015 Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013. Her seventh book, Playing the Part, released in the spring of 2016, and will be followed by a new four-book series, Apart from the Crowd. When she’s not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver with her husband and neurotic Cattle Dog, enjoying herself as an empty-nester since her son recently abandoned her for the college life. She can be found on Facebook at or visit her on the web at She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency. Her books may be found in fine bookstores, or follow the Baker House Publishing link to find additional places to purchase her work –

Thank you to Baker Publishing Group for providing a copy of this book for review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.