The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock



MY REVIEW:

I was not aware of how much I would enjoy The Gray Chamber when I first began to read it nor how difficult it would be to stop reading in order to get a little sleep before a busy day. I am so thankful that our society has changed enough that women are not as easily committed to such institutions as the Blackwell Island Asylum for selfish reasons such as Edyth was.

Edyth was actually a delightful character. She was one who stretched the bounds of society as far as possible with her love of fencing, horseback riding, and how she loved to travel on her bicycle rather than by carriage like a proper lady. Despite her unique personality and characteristics, Edyth had a heart of gold and was willing to help so many others in need. Nevertheless her uncle Boris managed to use her peculiarities against her in order to have her put away in an asylum so that he could inherit her wealth before she reached the age he would no longer be her guardian. Edyth’s good friend Bane played an important part in the story and was instrumental in her release. Pardon me if that is too much of a spoiler.

This novel contains riveting descriptions of the unthinkable treatment of the women doomed to live in the asylum. At times it is difficult to read, knowing that these things actually took place not so long ago in our history and possibly still exist in other places in our world. Filled with plenty of action, danger, betrayal, romance, and even a touch of humor, the story also illustrates the importance of faith and trusting in the Lord to help us during difficulty circumstances.

I loved The Gray Chamber and will certainly be on the lookout for more books by this promising author.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Book:  The Gray Chamber

Author: Grace Hitchcock

Genre:  Christian Historical / Suspense

Release Date: January, 2020

Click here to get your copy!

Will Edyth prove her sanity before it is too late?

Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

On Blackwell’s Island, New York, a hospital was built to keep its patients from ever leaving.

With her late parents’ fortune under her uncle’s care until her twenty-fifth birthday in the year 1887, Edyth Foster does not feel pressured to marry or to bow to society’s demands. She freely indulges in eccentric hobbies like fencing and riding her velocipede in her cycling costume about the city for all to see. Finding a loophole in the will, though, her uncle whisks Edyth off to the women’s lunatic asylum just weeks before her birthday. And Edyth fears she will never be found.

At the asylum she meets another inmate, who upon discovering Edyth’s plight, confesses that she is Nellie Bly, an undercover journalist for The World. Will either woman find a way to leave the terrifying island and reclaim her true self?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Grace Hitchcock is the author of three novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. The White City is her debut novel and releases March 2019 with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

MORE FROM GRACE:

I am thrilled to share with you my second novel in the True Colors series, The Gray Chamber, which is set in New York City in 1887. I loved writing about Edyth Foster, our cat-rescuing, spunky heroine who spends her days painting, fencing with her dreamy instructor, and avoiding society at all costs, which as you can imagine, comes back to haunt her before the end. I’ve never written about a character who despised reading, so that was a new one for me. Edyth just doesn’t like to sit still long enough to finish a book, but you’ll find out why later.

I am pretty certain the librarians at my local branch are wondering what in the world my hobbies are, judging from the stacks of fencing books for beginners, histories of New York crime in the 19th century, and Nellie Bly’s Ten Days in a Mad-House, and more that I have continuously checked out since moving back to Louisiana.

The inspiration for this book came from Nellie Bly’s scandalous exposé for Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper, The World. In reading Nellie’s articles, I was shocked at the grounds by which the asylum would commit women and that’s when I discovered a tiny mention about an heiress with family members who had her tucked away so they could have her fortune. . .and Edyth Foster was born.

I hope you will enjoy reading about our eccentric leading lady and her fencing master hero, Raoul “Bane” Banebridge. If you are interested in seeing pictures of the asylum and to see what I pictured the characters looking like, check out my Pinterest board here.

Thank you for joining the fun for the Celebrate Lit tour! Join my author newsletter for more bookish news and to find out what is coming next! Just enter your e-mail address and name here. Happy Reading!

 “With beautiful description and shiver-worthy scenes, Grace Hitchcock has penned an incredible fiction story based on true history. The Gray Chamber was a fascinating and chilling read. Edyth’s story had me glued to the pages. But as I journeyed with the heiress and her eccentricities, the greed of her family which saw her locked up in an asylum against her will made me grateful for the freedoms I have today. And made me pray that my voice would never be silenced. The nightmare was brought to life so vividly that I found myself holding my breath and then cheering on Bane as he never gave up on Edyth. This is a story that will stick with me for a long time…”

~Kimberley Woodhouse – Carol-Award winning and Best-Selling Author of more than twenty books, including: MissTaken Identity, The Express Bride, The Golden Bride, The Patriot Bride, and The Mayflower Bride.

BLOG STOPS:

A Reader’s Brain, January 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 20

Texas Book-aholic, January 20

Emily Yager, January 21

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 21

Older & Smarter?, January 21

Bigreadersite, January 22

Inklings and notions, January 22

For Him and My Family, January 22

Genesis 5020, January 23

deb’s Book Review, January 23

Blogging with Carol, January 23

Christian Bookaholic, January 24

KarenSueHadley , January 24

Mary Hake, January 24

For the Love of Literature, January 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 25

Godly Book Reviews, January 26

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, January 26

The Becca Files, January 26

Through the Fire Blogs, January 27

Daysong Reflections, January 27

Back Porch Reads, January 28

Robin’s Nest, January 28

Connie’s History Classroom, January 28

Betti Mace, January 29

Rebecca Tews, January 29

Vicky Sluiter, January 29

By The Book, January 30

Hallie Reads, January 30

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 30

Blossoms and Blessings, January 31

A Baker’s Perspective, January 31

Remembrancy, February 1

To Everything There Is A Season, February 1

With a Joyful Noise, February 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 2

Pause for Tales , February 2

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of The Gray Chamber!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f4a2/the-gray-chamber-celebration-tour-giveaway

Collateral Damage by Lynnette Eason



MY REVIEW:

Lynette Eason’s books have been on my must read list for several years for good reason. Each one seems to be even better than the last and Collateral Damage definitely ranks right there at the top. I was a bit confused by the two different story lines at first but I knew that eventually I would understand. Page by page and chapter by chapter I watched all the different threads come together perfectly to make perfect sense.

So many twists and turns and surprises made for a page-turning experience that made it difficult to stop and take care of my normal responsibilities. Character development was excellent – I enjoyed getting to know Brooke and Asher and watching their relationship develop as they also helped each other heal from their past trauma. Several secondary characters played major roles in the story and I am hoping some of them turn up in one of the sequels in this series. Like always, Eason kept me guessing until the true villain was revealed and I can truthfully say that I had a tiny suspicion but was still surprised. It is truly sad when a mind becomes so twisted that a person tries to justify their evil actions.

Difficult subjects such as PTSD and human trafficking are covered in this story that thankfully ends well due to characters who learn to depend on the Lord’s help. Collateral Damage is an awesome novel and I recommend it to all lovers of Christian suspense.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

They thought they left the fight behind on the battlefield.
But their greatest struggles are just beginning.

Honorably discharged from the Army after an explosion nearly killed her, former military psychiatrist Brooke Adams has set up shop to help others, but her days of helping military personnel are over. She’s got her own battles to fight from her time overseas, and she’s not equipped to take on more.

Former Army Special Ops Sergeant First Class Asher James could handle anything that war sent his way. The only thing that scares him now is sleep. As the shadows close in, the nightmares begin.

Finally convinced that he needs help, Asher makes an appointment with a counselor. When he arrives at her office, she isn’t there–but a dead body is. When it becomes clear that Brooke was the real target of the attack–and that her secrets go even deeper than his own–Asher vows to protect her no matter what.

Read an excerpt here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo Credit: © Mary Denman

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Collateral Damage and Protecting Tanner Hollow, as well as the Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master’s degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

The Way of the Brave by Susan May Warren



MY REVIEW:

Anyone who knows me well is aware that I have always had a major problem with heights so I was just a bit nervous about reading Susan May Warren’s latest novel The Way of the Brave. After all most of the story revolves around climbing Denali, in the winter no less! Because I love all books by this author and do not want to ever miss reading even one of them, I dove into this one fulling expecting nightmares. I can thankfully say that I survived the journey without even one nightmare but if this story ever becomes a movie, I don’t think I could handle it.

I am also happy to say that aside from Denali, winter storms, treacherous climbs, altitude sickness, and an accident or two, the author’s trademark focus on characterization was evident throughout. Orion Starr (don’t you love that name?) was indeed a worthy hero who despite his reconstructed knee and PTSD and no wish to join another rescue team, jumps into action when asked to help find and rescue three lost climbers. Jenny Calhoun’s past also keeps her running with ever more dangerous physical challenges to try to stop the memories. With a brief past connection, she holds a secret Orion is unaware of and fears his reaction when he learns the truth about her.

The Way of the Brave was an excellent tale filled with plenty of danger and suspense as well as hold-your-breath scenes. Each and every character was important to the story and I look forward to seeing some of the others featured in their own personal novel. Warren always has a strong and important message woven into her stories and this one is no different. I may not care for high places and would never think about climbing even a small mountain, much less Denali, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As always I recommend it as well as every other book this author has written. They just keep getting better and better!

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Haunted by the memory of a rescue gone wrong, former pararescue jumper Orion Starr has no desire to join Hamilton Jones’s elite rescue team. But he also can’t shirk his duty when the call comes in to rescue three lost climbers on Denali in Alaska.

Jenny Calhoun’s yearly extreme challenge with her best friends is her only escape from her guilt. The former CIA profiler and psychiatrist green-lighted an operation against the Taliban that ended in ambush and lives lost. When her cathartic climb on Denali turns deadly, she’ll be forced to trust her life to the most dangerous of heroes–the man she nearly killed.

Orion and Jenny will have to put their wounds behind them to save their friends . . . and their hearts.

Read an excerpt here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of over 65 novels with more than 1 million books sold, including the Montana Rescue series. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She makes her home in Minnesota. Find her online at www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at Susan May Warren Fiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor by Sarah Ladd



MY REVIEW:

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor is an engrossing tale that to me is a cross between a Regency and a Gothic novel. Julia Twetheway’s visit as a house guest of her aunt and uncle does not begin at all well and after several other incidents, she begins to wonder if the stories about ghosts in the manor might be true. The only redeeming factor is that she has two new friends, twins Matthew and Isaac Blake, who run the local copper mine. As the heir Matthew appears to be the best match but her heart is drawn toward Isaac.

With vivid descriptions and well defined characters, The Thief of Lanwyn Manor offers a steady plot with ample action, intrigue, betrayal, and romance along with a few surprising twists along the way. I enjoyed observing Julia as she compared the obvious differences between Matthew and Isaac and her determination to stand up for herself in the face of threatening circumstances. I would love to see a followup book about a certain character who made some very poor choices – one in which we see those choices redeemed.

I am trying very hard to avoid spoilers so let me just say that I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good Regency novel with a bit of mystery.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Book: The Thief of Lanwyn Manor

Author: Sarah E. Ladd

Genre: Regency Romance

Release Date: January 7, 2020

Click here to buy your copy.



In this sweet Regency romance, Julia knows Matthew Blake, copper mine owner and very eligible bachelor, is the gentleman she should set her eyes upon. But why can’t she steal her gaze away from his younger brother, Isaac?

Cornwall, England 1818—Julia Twethewey needs a diversion to mend her broken heart, so when her cousin invites her to Lanwyn Manor, Julia eagerly accepts. Lanwyn Manor is at the heart of Cornwall’s mining industry, and as a guest Julia is swept into its intricate world. It’s not long, though, before she realizes something dark lurks in the home’s ancient halls.

As a respected mine owner’s younger son, Isaac Blake is determined to keep his late father’s legacy alive through the family business, despite his brother’s careless attitude. In order to save their livelihood—and the livelihood of those around them—the brothers approach the master of Lanwyn Manor with plans to bolster the floundering local industry. Isaac can’t deny his attraction to the man’s charming niece, but his brother has made his intentions to court the lovely guest clear. And Isaac knows his place.

When tragedy strikes, mysteries arise, and items go missing, Julia and Isaac find they are pulled together in a swirl of strange circumstances, but despite their own best efforts to bow to social expectations, their hearts aren’t so keen to surrender.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood. She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing family and spunky golden retriever. Visit her online at SarahLadd.com; Facebook: SarahLaddAuthor; Twitter: @SarahLaddAuthor.

READ AN EXCERPT:

Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

BLOG STOPS:

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 13

Genesis 5020, January 13

A Baker’s Perspective, January 13

For Him and My Family, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14

Inklings and notions, January 14

Bigreadersite, January 15

For the Love of Literature, January 15

Texas Book-aholic, January 15

Through the Fire Blogs, January 16

Pause for Tales, January 16

Wishful Endings, January 16

deb’s Book Review, January 16

Betti Mace, January 17

KarenSueHadley, January 17

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, January 17

Robin’s Nest, January 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 18

The Christian Fiction Girl, January 19

Remembrancy, January 19

Books, Life, and Christ, January 19

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, January 20

My Devotional Thoughts, January 20

Hallie Reads, January 20

Blogging With Carol, January 20

Kat’s Corner Books, January 21

Life of Literature, January 21

Danielle Lozada, January 21

She Lives to Read, January 22

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 22

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 22

By The Book, January 23

Blossoms and Blessings, January 23

SPLASHES of Joy, January 23

My Precious Bits and Musings, January 24

Mary Hake, January 24

Back Porch Reads, January 24

Daysong Reflections, January 24

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 25

Mamma Loves Books, January 25

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 25

Hookmeinabook, January 26

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, January 26

Simple Harvest Reads, January 26 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

*No Giveaway for this Celebration Tour

 

Above the fold by Rachel Scott McDaniel



MY REVIEW:

I always hesitate a bit before requesting a review book from a new-to-me author. What if I don’t like it? I really don’t like leaving negative reviews and sometimes it’s just plain difficult to leave a tactfully positive one if I don’t care for the book. Yet I have added quite a few new favorite authors to my must read list so I usually like to take a chance. Rachel Scott McDaniel is one of those new-to-me authors and I am pleased to say I am writing a genuinely positive review for her new book Above the Fold. I liked it so well that I will definitely be on the lookout for her next novel.

Above the Fold is a romantic mystery set during what is known as the Roaring Twenties. My grandmother was a young woman during that era so it is always fun to read about the times she lived in during her younger years. The story was everything I love in a book. Not only was it romantic but it was witty and suspenseful and blended with a perfect touch of faith. I enjoyed the characters, especially Elissa and Cole who both came to life on the pages of this story. I was impressed by their integrity and their dedication to finding and reporting the truth and the way each of them was willing to lay down their own ambitions for the other.

Details about the newspaper business were interesting as were the descriptions of Pittsburgh during the twenties. I can’t wait to read more from this delightful author.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Book:  Above the Fold

Author: Rachel Scott McDaniel

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: December 3, 2019

Click here to get your copy.

Confined behind a secretarial desk at her father’s struggling newspaper, Elissa Tillman longs for her father and the world to take her seriously—not just as a suffragette, but also as a full-fledged journalist.

Cole Parker regrets the day he’d abandoned Pittsburgh to chase a high-profile journalism job in New York, but now he’s returned to the steel city to amend his mistakes and win back the woman he once spurned.

The murder of a millionaire offers the perfect chance for Elissa to nab the headline and prove her skills. But there’s a catch. To get her story above the fold, she must compete for it. Her rival is none other than Cole Parker, the very man who shattered her heart.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. She currently enjoys life in Ohio with her husband and two kids. Rachel can be found online at www.RachelScottMcDaniel.com and on all social media platforms.

MORE FROM RACHEL:

What does the classic movie His Girl Friday, famous mystery writer Agatha Christie, and my husband’s grandfather all have in common? They were all used as inspiration for my debut novel Above the Fold.

His Girl Friday is one of my favorite stories. This movie captures the thrill of the newspaper world—that drive within the reporter’s heart to get the scoop, that hum of activity from the newsroom to the firing of the presses, and that inescapable pursuit to beat out the opposing paper. But what I loved most about this movie was the chemistry between the two main characters. They share a romantic history. In turn, there is major tension, but man oh man is there spark! So this triggered my creative mind. What would happen if I switched the roles and had the heroine be the one that gets jilted? What if I set this story in the 1920s when the profession of journalism was male-dominated? What if I add some more mystery? Cue Agatha Christie.

My husband and I love Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple series. Did you know that she wrote over 74 books? That’s staggering to me. My mind reels at how intricate and varied all her plots are. My husband and I would try to guess who the murderer was at the beginning of a story and more often than not, we were wrong! On one particular night we were watching a PBS version of Miss Marple and an idea struck me. What if I changed my story to go this route? What if I made this person the villain instead of that one? The idea that came to me had nothing to do with the story we’d been watching, but one thing that’d been said flickered a light in me. I love it when that happens! And I also love it when I can incorporate pieces of my personal life into the book. This brings me to the biggest inspiration of the story—my husband’s grandpa.

Grandpa Jay Lewis had two loves in his life—his wife and the newspaper press. He’d started working for the local newspaper during his early teens and made his way up the ranks until he became the press foreman. Here’s a picture of Jay when he was in his early 20s. The hat shown was made of folded newsprint paper and worn to keep the ink from dripping on his head. But the expression in this picture says it all—the press was his happy place. He’d worked with the presses for over five decades, until he no longer had the strength. In 2004, he passed away, but his legacy lives on in the hearts of many. So in tribute to Jay and his great passion for the newspaper world, I included him in the cast of characters. I only hope I was able to capture his zeal.

So there you have it. Inspiration came to me in a myriad of ways, but they all worked together to bring you a story that I pray delights your heart.

BLOG STOPS:

April Hayman, Author , January 14

Robin’s Nest, January 14

Godly Book Reviews, January 15

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 15

Just the Write Escape, January 16

Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections, January 16

Through the Fire Blogs, January 17

mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 17

Betti Mace, January 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 18

Texas Book-aholic, January 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 19

janicesbookreviews, January 20

Emily Yager, January 20

She Lives to Read, January 21

For the Love of Literature, January 21

Inklings and notions, January 22

Life of Literature, January 22

Daysong Reflections, January 23

For Him and My Family, January 23

Stories By Gina, January 24

Jacquelyn Lynn, January 24

Hallie Reads, January 25

Beauty in the Binding, January 25

Back Porch Reads, January 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 27

Batya’s Bits, January 27

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her giveaway, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of an Autographed Paperback copy of Above the Fold, A Custom Newspaper-Themed Book Cozy, An Above the Fold vintage-style bookmark!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f46d/above-the-fold-celebration-tour-giveaway