Friday, March 30, 2018

Review: A Search for Refuge

A Search for Refuge

"Margaretta Fortescue desperately needs to disappear from London society, and her only hope is to follow the rumors of another young woman who recently made a life for herself away from the glare of society. Her search leads her to the market town of Marlborough where, in spite of her efforts to avoid attention, she can't seem to elude local solicitor Nash Banfield. 

All Nash wants is a quiet, sedate life--no risks or surprises. When Margaretta, clearly on the run and unwilling to answer questions, interrupts his solitude, his curiosity and his principles won't let him leave this determined woman without assistance.

But will discovering the truth about Margaretta make him think twice about finally taking a risk on love?"

Author: Kristi Ann Hunter
Length: 129 pages
Format: e-book


Grab your coffee and a donut y'all, I'm starting off this post with a story. 

Towards the middle of 2017 I got a Facebook account. Through this, a whole new world was opened up to me! *queue "A Whole New World" soundtrack* That new world being Facebook groups dedicated to people like me, Christian fiction consumers. A few months into this new, and slightly dangerous dimension I responded to a comment that would flip my little world on its side. 
I was extended an invitation to join a virtual book club! 
Now this might not seem like a life altering experience to some, but for me it was. Finally I was in a book club! I was happy to be there regardless of it's format. 

In November we read a book that changed my life! We read "An Inconvenient Beauty" by one Kristi Ann Hunter. 
Now I had never heard of Kristi, so it goes without saying I had never read one of her books either. But how THANKFUL I am to my virtual book club for without them I still would have been a lost little lamb wandering. 

Yes, yes I know that that particular book is the fourth book in a series. My heart broke just wee bit for reading the series out of order too, don't cha worry! However, I now am a FOREVER fan of Kristi's and I will be reading her work for years to come. (New or re-reading what's on my shelf)

I say all this so that you understand how ELATED I was when I found out about her new series "Haven Manor", and how much emotion rushed through my veins when I found out the prequel novella was FREE! (It was a lot if you aren't pickin' up what I'm layin' down)

And now for our featured presentation: my inner thoughts and outward emotions of "A Search for Refuge".

From the opening lines I was filled with questions, much like Nash's.
Who is this woman in the bright yellow cape?
What is she hiding?
The reader gets the answers much earlier than Nash does, but I do love a good bout of questioning.

Margaretta was a beautiful, wealthy gentlewoman bred for a life of luxury and ease. But she wasn't your average wealthy merchant's daughter. She was a desperate widow who lived in feared of  a self-absorbed pompous booger of a man. That fear sent her running to places unknown, which opened her eyes to all the amazing qualities she possessed. Through the story she blossomed into a strong, determined, hard-working young lady. 

Never once did I feel like she was arrogant or entitled. Even before she ran I feel like Margaretta was a sweet, kind and meek woman. She was shy, but more in a self preserving way than anything. I loved watching her break out of her shell and come to love life.

Nash was such a sweet guy. From the moment he comes into the story he is a knight in shining armor. He protected a town he loved without anyone asking, though this need to protect came with a sad reason. Nash had walls built around his life, and though he was a great man he was only a shell. As much as he loved his town and felt they were all like family, he kept them at arms length. 

The scene when Nash's attitude towards life changed was so touching to me. I saw and felt this character struggle, and though not anything alike, I understood the need to break down those walls and actually live the life God gave us. I have that scene highlighted so I can reread it when I need a reminder to live in the present!

This was such a great introduction to new cast of characters and new setting. I loved, loved, loved the secondary characters and I am beyond excited to see more of them in the very near future.

I rated this book a 4/5 stars. It was a great, quick read with wonderful characters and great lines of hope and unconditional love running throughout. I will sing the praises of Kristi Ann Hunter and I'm thankful to my "chicks" for pointing me to an author that is now on my "top 5 favorites" list!


"Seeing as you're new to town, we're probably the best two people to know. I know all the best places to get into trouble, and he knows how to get you out of it."

"Mr. Banfield, as Mrs. Lancaster so helpfully noted, I am weary from my travels. Perhaps your dissection and belittlement of my life could wait until tomorrow? You can stare at me suspiciously while I dust the shelves and assure yourself  I've no intention of absconding with candlesticks."
His eyes widened, and then he coughed, possibly to cover a laugh, but she frankly didn't care anymore.

"I'll be back tomorrow, Mrs. Fortescue. And here's fair warning that I intend to weasel out of you your favorite type of pie."

Friday, March 23, 2018

Review: As Easy As Riding A Bike

As Easy As Riding a Bike

"Emma Holland is almost finished with the renovation of The Brown Bear Lodge nestled just off the Pacific Coast 101 Highway in picturesque Justin Harbor, Oregon. Being a business owner in a small town isn’t easy, but Emma’s got more than enough determination—not to mention an excellent eye for interior design. There’s only one problem. One of her first guests of the season is someone she hoped she’d never see again. 

As a famous landscape photographer, Connor Pearson has traveled far and wide following his dreams at the cost of losing his first love. Now, back in Justin Harbor, Connor is looking for more than just a place to stay. He’s looking for himself. 

As Emma and Connor rediscover their lost friendship and seek to find common ground in the present, Connor feels the tug of his small town roots. Is it possible that a man who’s traveled the world could find his home where his dreams began? Can Emma come to terms with the fact that self-reliance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Will their bonds from the past weather the storms of the present? 

As Easy as Riding a Bike will introduce you to the salty air and calming waters of Justin Harbor, the first novella in a series featuring small town women business owners."

Author: Bell Renshaw
Length: 116 pages
Format: e-book

He was lost without home
She was lost without him
They found home in each other

Do you have that one author who you wish their stories would just KEEP going, or they would pump out books faster? Yeah, that's Bell for me. This lady is so talented! 
This is her second book and I CANNOT wait for more to be published! 
Her stories don't fell rushed, even with such a short length. Everything always lines up perfectly, while her stories stay sweet and so satisfying.

A few weeks back I shared the cover reveal for this delectable treat, and today...well I'm sharing my thoughts!

As soon as I laid my eyeballs on the words, I was transported to a small town in Oregon. I instantly fell in love with Justin Harbor and its people, and severely wish it was a REAL town. Anytime I read stories based in small fishing towns I think of "Murder She Wrote", and I have GREAT memories of that show. So when they are pulled off like this one was I just want everyone to love it as much a me. 

I loved the characters of this book! Emma was such a hard working, independent woman. She knew what she wanted and she went after it. She was a homegrown gal, with roots that ran deep. She had the sweetest personality, with a bit of quirk. 
Overall she was a fun character to get to know,

Connor, oh Connor...(man can this girl write a hero!)
A photographer with a thirst for adventure? YES PLEASE!
He was so lost, and needed to come home to find peace. He could have taken care of some situations better in my opinion, but then we wouldn't have had the spat we had towards the end. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰ (You'll have to read the book to figure out what I'm talking about)
Even through it all he was so sweet & such a gentleman!

There was a great foundation for this couple before the book even started, since this does have a "best friend to boyfriend" troupe. (LOVE IT!) There was great tension, a falling out that needed to be fixed. Ugh all the aspects to a PERFECT Hallmark movie. 😍😝

This book is marketed as a "clean, sweet read", but it had some light faith elements running throughout the story. 

I rated this a 4.5/5 stars. I really loved seeing a different side of Bell's descriptive abilities, as well as her imagination. Both of her stories have played out like Hallmark movies and it's. been. GRAND. She's drawn me in to a new town, and I cannot wait to dock at Justin Harbor again soon!


"You just has fish and chips. You're still hungry?"
He cracked open one eye. "Sweets fill a separate space in my stomach, you know that Emma."
"News flash. High school was a long time ago."
"Some things are better with age, like cheese, wine, and good looking men."
Emma burst out laughing. "Maggie!"

"Come see me if you need me to talk you into anything."
Emma could hear the smile in Maggie's words. "I will. Now go bake something--unless you're changing careers to counseling."
"Nah, I do better with pies than people."

*I received this book in exchange for my honest review* *All opinions are my own*

Friday, March 16, 2018

Review: Second Chances

Second Chances

"Grace wasn't sure if there was a such thing as second chances for someone like her. She had become a teen mom at 17 and not long after had disappeared leaving her daughter behind with her parents. She thought she had ruined everyone's life, even her daughter's, so she fled to escape. However, she knew that she needed to return and make it up to Brooke and her family. She got her Associate's Degree and returned home to her parents. In this story of redemption, Grace finds the power of forgiveness through Christ and true love with someone unexpected. This is the first book in the series, An Oaktown Story."

Author: Jenny Lynn
Length: 171 pages
Format: paperback, e-book

Can you really come back home again?
Is true forgiveness really a thing?
Can love find its way through old pain and a tarnished past?

This was a cute first installation to what I feel is going to turn into a cute series.  

So much happens in such a short amount of pages, but in my honest opinion it flowed smoothly.

Grace & David were BEST FRIENDS growing up, so the fast paced romance was totally okay. 
Man, I love when best friends get together! *girly squeal*

Though we don't see a real "before" of Grace, I feel like her character grew up a ton. There was a level of maturity that only comes from making and living through your mistakes. 
All she wanted was to make a better life for her daughter. She took a few wrong turns before she got on the right road, but God was directing her path the whole time. (Like He always is)

I loved Brooke's character, she has a sweet innocent glow radiating off of her. She seemed like she'd be that super adorable kid you complemented the mother on in a restaurant. I can't wait to see more of her in the future. 

The lines of redemption were running SO strong throughout this entire story, and forgiveness played a HUGE role! 

I love stories about small hometowns because of the relationships that are already built. I feel like I'm getting to peak into these character's lives, to see a snapshot of their day to day. It's fun and somewhat relaxing for me. 

One thing that kind of threw me was the somewhat random switch in perspectives towards the end of the book. It was only a few paragraphs long, but it felt weird and out of place. Since the book was told from Grace's point of view the entire time, it took my mind a minute to change voices. It didn't add to the plot in my opinion, I could have finished the book without it and been fine. I like seeing other character's thought process, just more integrated within the story.  

I'm excited to see what happens next, since we're left on a crazy cliffhanger! Can't wait to visit Oaktown again soon.

I rated this a 4/5 stars. If you need a laid back, easy, fast contemporary read this is for you.

*I received this book from the author in exchange for a review* *All opinions are my own*

Friday, March 9, 2018

Review: A Passionate Hope

A Passionate Hope

"Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love, for each other, for their God, and for his tabernacle at Shiloh. Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer. But nothing changes as the years pass. Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.

Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband's new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah's cruelty count for nothing? Why does God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?

Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored."

Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Length: 370 pages
Format: paperback, hardcover, e-book, audio

All she longed for was a child
Through a hopeful heart & vow to God
Her promise was fulfilled

I have always wanted to read a story about Hannah. Her story has always intrigued me, and I wish the Bible went into more detail about her. But since it doesn't, I'm thankful for other's imagination!

This story was chock full of hope & trust! (The title is perfect)
Hannah and Elkanah kept prayer filled hearts, but they also went through moments of question and despair.

Though the idea of this story was great, it fell WAY short for me.
All of the characters were so whinny!! That is one of my biggest pet peeves. I would have been able to overlook it if it has just been one character, but it was a running theme through the entire story!

Peninnah was probably my least favorite character from beginning to end. She was so hateful & self-centered. And oh yeah...whinny. I was so thankful to see a bit of a turn around at the complete end of the story.

My favorite character was a toss up between Samuel and Raziela. I would love to see a book from either one of their perspectives.

The author wove a beautiful hopeful story out of a rather hopeless situation. Her style was almost poetic & flowed beautifully.

This story wasn't my favorite I'm not going to lie, but I know many who loved this story or will love this story. Overall I rated this a 3.5/5 stars.

*I received this book in exchange for my honest review* *All reviews are my own*

Friday, March 2, 2018

Review: Frontier Matchmaker Bride + Author Interview

Frontier Matchmaker Bride

"Successful Seattle matchmaker Beth Wallin has her most challenging assignment yet—find Deputy Hart McCormick a bride. Beth’s still smarting after the handsome lawman spurned her affections a year ago. But if she finds Hart a wife, Beth will gain favor with the city’s most influential women…and perhaps free her own heart, as well.

Marriage is the last thing on the deputy’s mind. After tragically losing his sweetheart, he vowed never to love again. But as sweet, spunky Beth introduces him to potential fiancΓ©es, Hart finally feels a spark…for her! The stubborn bachelor will be Beth’s first matchmaking miss, unless they can both admit that she just might be his perfect match."

Author: Regina Scott
Length: 288 pages
Format: paperback, e-book


She sees the sun.
He only sees shadows.
Could they be the perfect match?


I shall start this review how I normally do...with a fangirl moment. *clears throat*
Thank you for sticking around for your weekly "Alysha fangirl" moment.

The love inspired historical line is chock full of my favorite troupes. (I have quite a few, so I'm never sad when reading one of these books.) This book was no different. The matchmaking troupe is so fun and cute to me. Especially when the matchmaker and matchmakee fall in love. *major happy sigh* 

Beth was such a fun character to follow around. And follow her we did, the girl never sat still. πŸ˜… She was so bubbly and optimistic. She saw the good in everyone, but she never let anyone walk all over her. I think that's what made her character different to me. A lot of times when authors write "bubbly, naive, young, optimistic" characters they grind on my nerves after a while, but I never felt that with Beth. She was the PERFECT blend of strength and femininity.  She loved with her whole being, and she loved hard! 

Hart on the other hand...hmm. I understand why he was the way he was, but BLEH he was so stubborn. Overall I liked his character, he was a good guy with a big "heart". (eh, eh, see what I did there?) He, like Beth, loved and loved hard. Which is why he had a hard time loving again when his heart was broken.

Where Beth saw the sun in every situation, Hart saw the shadows. His background kept him from seeing the good in situations and people. But everyone needs a little light in their life! Beth was his match in every way, and I loved watching him realize that fact. 

There was a thread of suspense/mystery, but it was not a FOCAL point I loved guessing to see if I knew who the culprit was. (I was right by the way)

There was quite an age gap between the characters, it wasn't my personal favorite, but that is just my opinion. It didn't take away from the book at all! If anything it added some elements to the story. Because Hart had been hardened by life and Beth was a beautiful butterfly, she was able to soften him. So this time the age difference worked in favor of the story, because of the characters and their personalities.

I rated this a 4/5 stars. I would recommend it to anyone who loves the matchmaker troupe, or anyone who loves a strong female role.

This is book 8 in the "Frontier Bachelors" series, but in my opinion they do not have to be read in order. Though of course reading series in order is the preferred method, and you will see the whole story. Books 1-7 were the love stories of some secondary characters in this book. 


There was nothing more dangerous than a woman with a vision.

"I ought to lock you up for safekeeping."
Beth pressed a hand to her chest. "Me? Sweet little Beth Wallin? The entire city of Seattle would be in shock."
"And your Literary Society friends would march around the office until I let you out."
"If my brothers didn't batter down the door first."
"I'd rather take my chance with you brothers."
Beth giggled. "Clever fellow. Hatpins can be deadly, you know."

"Which would you prefer--a dinner engagement or a walk through the woods?"
"Either could get me killed."
She squeezed his arm. "Come now. The woods can be very picturesque, and our ladies don't cook so badly as to endanger your health."
"You haven't tried the pies they left. Sheriff Wyckoff is using one as a doorstop."

He'd captured bandits, stopped vandals and settled disputes with hostile natives. Who would have thought the one thing to terrify him was the thought of loving a pretty woman named Beth Wallin?

*I received this copy in exchange for my honest review* *All opinions are my own*



Regina Scott always wanted to be a writer. Since her first book was published in 1998, her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages. She now has nearly 40 works of warm, witty romance to her credit, and has twice won the prestigious RT Book Reviews award for best novel in her genre that year. Fascinated by history, she learned to fence and sail a tall ship. You can often find her haunting the halls of the local historical museums. She and her husband reside in Washington State between Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier.



Hi Regina! Thank you so much for being here today!

R: "Thank you for having me, Alysha!"

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

R: "I knew I had to be an author when I figured out in third grade that those wonderful books I was devouring were written by somebody. Why not me?"

That is such an inspiring dream! Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

R: "History. Take me to a museum or a historical home, hand me a period diary to read, and I’m sure to find dozens of ideas I want to explore further."

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who could devour history! Which character have you connected with the most?

R: "Oddly enough, Lady Emily Southwell, the heroine of my Lady Emily Capers. I sometimes hear my characters talk to me in my head. She was the loudest, most vocal character I ever wrote. She told me how she felt, what she thought I should write next, how she wanted the scenes to go. I didn’t always agree with her, but she was so much fun to write."

I'm friends with you Facebook, and recently saw one of your characters isn't cooperating. I love knowing your characters talk to you!  Who has been the hardest character to write?

R: "In general, I find my villains the most difficult to write. I don’t like getting into the heads of people with dark ideas. I’m just glad I generally don’t write about people with dark ideas. Even some of my villains end up getting redeemed. 😊"

That totally explains why your characters are so sweet. πŸ˜‰ “Frontier Matchmaker Bride” is your last book in your “Frontier Bachelors” series, as well as your last book for Love Inspired. What will you miss most about the series?

R: "The people of Wallin Landing, the settlement outside pioneer Seattle, where much of the action is set in the series. Drew, Simon, James, John, Levi, and Beth Wallin have become like family. It’s hard to let them go."

How did you come up with the idea for the “Frontier Bachelors” series?

R: "I have been fascinated with the Mercer Belles—real-life women who came west after the Civil War to be brides in pioneer Seattle—since I was a girl. I’ve done extensive research on them—who they were, what they accomplished when they reached Seattle. I have always wanted to tell their stories. The first five books in the series feature heroines who are Mercer Belles (my fictionalized versions, of course)."

That is so fascinating! Now I want to know more about the (real) Mercer Belles. *to google I go* Can your series be read out of order, or do characters cross over so much that they need to be read from start to finish?

R: "Each book stands alone, but you’ll have more fun if you read them in order, because once the Wallins come on the scene in Book 2, there’s a whole lot of family dynamics that are too good to miss."

Family dynamics in stories bring me so much joy! Don't want to miss out on any of the goodness within the pages! Now that the historical line of “Love Inspired” is closing, do you have plans to continue writing?

R: "Absolutely! My agent is shopping a romantic historical mystery set in London at the cusp of the Regency and an inspiration historical romance set in the American West. In the meantime, I’m bringing out a new Regency-set series about a mysterious woman who runs an employment agency for gentlewomen down on their luck and her matchmaking cat, Fortune. Fortune’s Brides will debut with Never Doubt a Duke in May, followed by Never Borrow a Baronet in June."

I feel like Fortune might be a little mischievous, and I cannot wait to read all about it!  What is the most important thing you want your readers to be inspired with after reading one of your novels?

R: "I hope they come away believing in possibilities—that two people can come together, that love and faith can triumph."

You've written both western and regency novels, which is your favorite to write?

R: "Oh, so hard! Both! I love the elegance and wit of the Regency period, but I also love getting to delve deeper into local history."

Those are the same reasons why I can't pick a favorite to read. Love them both! What is your favorite genre to read?

R: "Historical mysteries, but only those with a romantic subplot. 😊"

I love when my mysteries have a romance thread weaving through the story! What is your current read?

R: "I can’t read while I’m writing, or my characters start to sound like the one’s I’m reading about. When I finish a draft, I treat myself to someone else’s book. Right now, I’m working my way through Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody historical mysteries, to which a friend introduced me."

Reading is the best treat you can get, in my opinion! Thank you so much for taking time and visiting with us today!

R: "You’re welcome! I always enjoy talking about books." 


You can connect with Regina further online on 
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