Review: Ashes on the Moor

ashes on the moorSynopsis:

When Evangeline is sent to live in a small mill town in Northern England as a schoolteacher in 1871, she finds herself struggling to fit in with an unfamiliar culture. Raised with the high-class Victorian values and ideals of a sophisticated upbringing, she is unprepared for the poverty she finds in the gritty factory town of Smeatley, where the locals speak with a hard-to-understand Yorkshire accent and struggle to thrive with few resources or opportunities.

Though she has no training as a teacher, she must prove herself successful before her grandfather will release her substantial inheritance to her and allow her to be reunited with her younger sister, the last remaining member of her family after a fever claimed the lives of her parents and brothers.

Evangeline’s sudden change in circumstances is complicated when her aunt—a woman who values class distinctions more than her family relationships—forbids her from acknowledging any connection to her or to her grandfather, Mr. Farr—the man who owns nearly the entire town. For the first time in her life, Evangeline is truly alone.

Heartbroken, she turns to the one person in town who has shown her kindness—an Irish brick mason, Dermot, and his son, Ronan. Despite the difference in their classes and backgrounds, Evangeline and Dermot become friends, due in part to her ability to connect with Ronan, whose behavior requires special attention. The boy is uncomfortable around strangers and rarely even speaks to the other children in town. He often fixates on details other people ignore, and he adheres to specific, self-made rules that give his life order and structure; for example, Dermot’s coat must be hung on a specific peg next to the door.

Evangeline attempts to prove herself a worthy teacher and earn the respect of her hard-to-understand students. Determined to find a way to introduce them to “proper English” while still honoring their unique language and culture, she enlists the help of a local family to write down familiar stories in the Yorkshire vernacular. Because of her efforts, the students and their families warm to Evangeline and she continues to look for ways to give the children a chance to become more than factory workers in the local cotton mill.

When the town learns of her upper-class status, Evangeline must work twice as hard to win back their trust–especially Dermot’s. In the end, Evangeline and Dermot discover that, even though they come from different social spheres, together they can overcome social prejudices, make a positive difference in the lives of even the humblest people, and enjoy the strength that comes when two hearts find each other.

Ashes on the Moor is the inspiring love story of one Victorian woman’s courage to fight against all odds, and the man whose quiet strength gives her the confidence to keep trying.


My Review

This book was just what I needed. I love those stories that settle in and just absorb you. And Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden is exactly that.

From the first page to the last, this lovely story of love and family will enchant readers.

I quickly came to love Evangeline, Dermont, and Ronan.  Evangeline and her sister Lucy have lost their entire family. Then they are, with out much in the way of explanation or warning, separated from each other.  Already broken hearts are needlessly smashed.

The first person outside of her cold aunt and distant uncle that Evangeline meets in her new town is Dermont McCormick, and his son Ronan.  Little by little Evangeline and Dermont become friends, and Evangeline bonds with Ronan–who was so much like the brother she lost. In one endearing moment, Ronan states that they should keep her. (If you hadn’t got misty eyed yet reading this, this scene is bound to do it.)

I enjoyed on Evangeline and Dermont’s relationship built slowly over time.

I received an ARC from Shadow Mountain.

Expected publication: March 6th 2018 by Shadow Mountain

Don’t miss out.  You can go to Goodreads here to add this to your reading list.

Roxbury Rating: PG

 

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Chuseok Festival of Books

I remember the Scholastic Book Fair at school. It was one of my favorite events. (I also enjoyed browsing those book flyers.)

Chuseok is sometimes called the Korean Thanksgiving. It’s a three day major harvest festival holiday in the middle of August.

Our harvest here at the Roxbury is, of course, books.


First up, here is a title I first discovered on Wattpad. I remember laughing a lot.

priestess and the dragon

For five hundred years a vengeful dragon has been sealed in stone, until a princess makes a terrible mistake unleashing him to fulfill a destiny centuries in the making.

BUY ON AMAZON


This next one I haven’t read yet, but it is on my to be read list.

kitsune

Rin is a Kitsune, or at least she was until a witch’s spell turned her human. To regain her powers, Rin must make the lord’s son fall in love with her before the next full moon. She thought it would be easy, her kind have been seducing humans for centuries. But Hikaru is different. He’s handsome, intelligent, and kind –the opposite of everything she’s assumed about humans. The plan is to seduce him and get back her powers, there’s no room for love.

BUY ON AMAZON


Another book I discovered first on wattpad is by author JC Kang. His epic fantasy series infuses Chinese culture with elves and dragons.

songs of insurrection

Only the lost magic of Dragon Songs can save the realm. Only a naïve girl with the perfect voice can rediscover it.

Blessed with an unrivaled voice, Kaiya dreams of a time when music could summon typhoons and rout armies. Maybe then, the imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool.

When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan uncover a brewing insurrection, the court hopes to appease the ringleader by offering Kaiya as a bride.

Obediently wedding the depraved rebel lord means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.

BUY ON AMAZON


 

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Sometimes winning is everything.

Champion swimmer Aerin Keane is ready to give up her dreams of college swimming and a shot at the Olympics. As she starts senior year in her third high school, Aerin’s determined to leave her family troubles behind and be like all the other girls at Two Rivers. She’s got a new image and a new attitude. She doesn’t want to win anymore. She’s swimming for fun, no longer the freak who wins every race, every title, only to find herself alone.

But when her desire to be just one of the girls collides with her desire to be the best Two Rivers has ever seen, will Aerin sacrifice her new friendships to break a longstanding school record that comes with a $50,000 scholarship?

BUY ON AMAZON


And now for some of my favorites to enjoy on a nice autumn day.

A Stand-alone Novel from the BESTSELLING Kpop romance series.

Corrine Miller-Hayden has a secret. As captain of the cheer team and a Texas beauty queen, she wouldn’t dare tell anyone about her closet K-pop music obsession.

That is, until she runs into her Minji, her ultimate bias, at a fan gathering. She never dreamed she’d touch Minji, let alone accidentally take his phone.

When they meet again at a pep-rally, it’s not like Corrine imagined. She thought she’d be showing off, but instead she becomes the target of a dye-filled water balloon attack. Abby was supposed to be her best friend, not the girl who openly shamed her in front of the whole school.

Minji saves her, not only from embarrassment, but from her own stuck-up self.

Can she love Minji openly, and keep her fangirling a secret?

 


 

Fed up with a string of bad blind dates, health blogger Alyssa Wu wants to drown her sorrows in ice cream. But there’s one more evening she must endure—a fake date with her best friend Barry Chang. They must convince her family they’re in love, an act which may (or may not) be easy to pull off, thanks to the magic of some mistletoe.


Librarian Chloe McAlister finds solace in her books—and hats—but doesn’t know where to turn when her longtime crush gets engaged. On a whim, she signs up for a speed-dating mixer and convinces her best friend, Dill Thomas, to attend. All goes as planned until she realizes Dill means more to her than she thought … and he goes and falls for someone else.


 

When she was nine-years-old, Katie knew she wanted Chris to give her her first kiss. It wasn’t because she was in love with him (no way, he was her best friend! Besides, she was in love with his fourteen-year-old big brother), it was because she could make him do anything she wanted.

Besides, it didn’t really mean anything. It was only a kiss after all.


Twenty-four-year-old photographer’s apprentice Regina has always felt like the plain, dull orange next to the shiny red apple that is her best friend Lana. But then she meets Ben—the first guy to ever break Lana’s heart, and the first guy to ever make Regina feel that he only has eyes for her. As Regina finds herself falling hard for Ben, she also finds herself breaking all the rules of best-friendship. Will she give up the love of her life for Lana, or will she finally realize that she deserves her share of the spotlight, too?

When Sparks Fly can be read as a standalone novel, but it is also a prequel to Ines Bautista-Yao’s other book Only A Kiss.


Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.


 

Lord Fenton is a gambler and a dandy, and he will be stripped of his wealth and position unless he rises to his responsibility—one of which is to marry. Far from being a giddy groom, Fenton chooses the unobjectionable Alice Stanbridge simply because he had known her as a young girl and his mother feels Alice would make a good wife.

Alice, however, has harbored feelings for Fenton since their first meeting years ago, and his proposal is a dream come true. Not only would a match with the most-eligible bachelor in London secure her future, but it will also give her a place of distinction and admiration. Had anyone admired Alice for anything before now?

When Alice learns that she is not only an unwanted wife, but a demanded one, however, she closes her heart. Only when Lord Fenton faces the greatest trial of his life does he begin to find love beyond the folly. Could a great love come from a beginning such as this?


 

When Persephone Lancaster receives a marriage proposal from the ill-tempered Duke of Kielder, she refuses—and then reconsiders. The obscene sum of money he’s offering Persephone would save her family from ruin. With her characteristic optimism, she travels to the far reaches of Northumberland to wed a greatly feared stranger. Lodged deep in a thick forest infested with wild dogs, the Duke’s castle is as cold and forbidding as the Duke himself, a man with terrible scars on his body and his soul. But the Duke’s steely determination to protect his heart at all costs is challenged by his growing attachment to his lovely and gentle bride. With caring persistence, Persephone attempts to pierce the Duke’s armor and reach the man beneath. Yet he cannot tolerate such exposure, and his repeated rejections take their toll. But when grave danger arises, the Duke realizes he must face the risk of revealing his true feelings or lose the woman he cannot live without.


 

Enter Atolas, a world where swords and daggers both extend life and end it; where magic is feared by all but a few; where feuds and friendships influence kingdoms and courtships. Henry and Isabelle have secretly sworn to marry despite his lowly station. Though Henry is but a carpenter, his devotion drives him to commit an unthinkable act that may cost both of them their lives. Unknown to either, a dark prophecy has set in motion events which will affect not only them, but the thrones of rulers throughout all of Atolas by eclipsing the world in shadow. But all is not lost while hope remains in the guise of an unlikely hero and the strength of friendship.


 

Henry Vestin always believed that, despite being a carpenter with no training in swordplay or survival, he could lead Isabelle and his friends to safety. He thought he could defy an emperor and protect Isabelle from harm. He was certain that love and friendship would help them survive.

He was wrong.

The second volume in the Tale of Light and Shadow series follows Henry and his friends after the disastrous battle at the Iron Pass. Horrors await the band of travelers in strange new lands. Crippled and broken, Henry must rely on his friends more than ever. New allies and foes find them at every turn, but which are friendly and which are deadly? Isabelle, now a slave in Neverak, finds herself surrounded by enemies, uncertain about the fate of her friends, and relying on only herself to survive. The Emperor moves forward with his plans of conquest, spurred on by the Seer’s dark prophecy, but he has not forgotten those who defied him.

Return to the world of Atolas, where swords and daggers extend life or end it, where feuds and friendships influence kingdoms and courtships, and where magic is feared by all but a few.


This next book I only recently discovered. I reached out to the author, and I’m delighted to bring this book to the festival.  Kpop, Ghosts, and a Nine tailed fox is what caught my eye.

Update: Content Warning. The author had told me  he would give the book the rating PG13.    After reading, the dragons feel that the book is really R.   Adult  language, sexual situations/sexual abuse.

 

Yubin knows she’s different than the other girls in the pop group SIITY. Yes, they all got sucked into the same machine, giving up schooling and signing ridiculously long contracts before anyone knew if they’d be successful, but that’s how pop stars are made in Korea. Yubin is supposed to be thankful for that, but she isn’t. She doesn’t even like the girls she performs with.

She’s more connected to her former schoolmate Jieun, even though all they ever do is text. Over the last two months, Jieun has become her confidant and best friend, connecting Yubin to the real world in a way she desperately needs. Now that SIITY is going to appear on the reality show The Incredible Race: Asia, Yubin will need that connection more than ever, which is why she’s devastated to discover Jieun has been dead five years and is actually haunting her.

If that weren’t enough, Yubin’s not the only SIITY member with issues. Rena’s father is emotionally abusive. Somi has a learning disability, and after a near death experience, Tae-eun becomes a nine-tailed fox woman. The only way they’ll survive the show, each other, and the supernatural currents buffeting them is to work together and win the hearts of their fans. Because if they don’t, they have nothing to go back to even if they survive what’s trying to kill them.


The heart must be protected at all costs… but will Cassidy be able to afford the price? Cassidy has distanced herself from childhood friend, Tristan. She’s moved on from their days of best friend-hood and is attending college. And dating one of the most eligible males on campus. Life couldn’t be better. Really. Tristan has devoted himself to Cassidy since they were children together. But no matter what he did, she’s never treated him like more than her best friend. He knows they can have something deeper. If only he can find the key to unlocking her fearful heart.


Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting into a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she’s next.

But that’s not Jae’s only problem.

There’s also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae’s heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own—one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae’s been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she’s always been looking for.


And from the Roxbury Dragons

 

Evangeline lost her mother to cancer, and her father is rarely home. Lonely and unhappy, she wishes someone would be there for her. A short time later, she is transported to Joseon era Korea.

This could be any Korean drama fans dream. Believing she is dreaming, she quickly accepts her new circumstances. Besides, it doesn’t hurt that Beom is handsome and reminds her of her favorite actor.

As for Beom, he’s not sure what to make of the maiden who mysteriously materialized before his eyes. But one thing he knows for sure is, he must help her return home to her world; yet the longer he is with her, the more he wants her to stay. When the time comes, will he be able to let her go?


Eun Na is working hard to help her father pay off a debt to a merciless lord when she meets two very different men by chance. One is a well-meaning noble who doesn’t believe in magic. The other: a mysterious stranger who is forced to take the ethereal form of a ghost each night.


 

The lonely sea dragon,Yong, wants a bride.

Chung Jo wants her father to regain his sight.

They will strike a bargain, and Chung Jo travels to Yong’s palace beneath the sea.


Forced into running when her village is destroyed, Elodia is about to discover a dragon egg and her destiny as a witch.

***
Fearing the growing power and wealth of the Guilds, the Imperial Emperor orders the destruction of a single guild to keep the people in line.

Childhood sweethearts Elodia and Eli are driven apart when her village is destroyed. When Eli hears the gun fire, he tries to get to Elodia to protect her. By the time he gets there, it’s already too late, and Elodia is gone. Eli goes on a desperate quest to find Elodia.

Forced in to hiding, Elodia makes her way to safety. Uncovering a dragon’s egg, she also learns that she is a witch, and that there is a freedom movement preparing to fight against the oppressive government.

Will they be reunited?

 


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What are some of your favorite books? Tell me in the comments. (Readers, don’t forget to check to see if something interests you!)

New Release: Celebrity Superhero

celebritysuperhero

When Anna Eom isn’t reading fantasy novels, she’s obsessing over her favorite K-pop group, SUPER. Each boy in the group has a different superpower, but Sungwook stands out from the crowd with his super-speed and super-strength, not to mention his super-hotness.

The day that SUPER’s latest music video drops, Anna’s mom does the worst thing imaginable and cuts the wi-fi to make her clean house instead. All because some old family friends are visiting them from Korea. Not only are the almost-strangers cutting her time short with her favorite K-pop group, but she knows she’s going to be thrown together with a boy she only remembers as a bully.

Caleb might be her age, but the last time she saw him ten years ago he stole her precious Disney princess necklace. What’s worse is Anna’s mom has threatened to clear her bookshelves if she doesn’t greet the old friends at the door with a fragile vase as a gift.

Anna complies, planning on getting back to her books as soon as she can, but when her parents open the door it’s not Caleb standing on the other side, but Sungwook from SUPER. Judging by the way he caught the vase she dropped with lighting speed, his super-powers might not be fiction.

BUY 


I had the pleasure of reading this before it was out. I’ve been wanting to share it for awhile now, but set the goal of announcing on it’s release day. This book was delightful. I read it the first time in one day. This book is a delightful romantic comedy, complete with hilarious mix-ups, and adventure.

Even if you don’t particularly like Kpop, you’ll connecting with Anna. What teenager hasn’t daydreamed of dating/marrying their favorite celebrity?

Imagine you discover the kid you don’t remember fondly, that your parents want you to marry, is that celebrity?

Imagine he seems to do some extraordinarily feats, just like in his videos?

And he’s keeping something a secret from you, and even admits as much?

What conclusions will bookish Anna come to?

Read this book for an enjoyable story.

New Release Alert: Buxton Peak #3

Buxton Peak 3: The End of the Beginning by Julie L. Spencer

buxtonpeak3

In the beginning, it was all about the music…

Even a rock band as talented as Buxton Peak can’t stay on top forever. When drugs, betrayal, and tragedy rip the band apart, the guys find themselves short one drummer.

But front man, Ian Taylor, thinks he’s found the solution…

Nathanial Jackson plays drums for a small Christian rock band, but his talent exceeds theirs. He’ll never make it out of Nashville sitting behind them.

When the remaining members of Buxton Peak show up at Nathanial’s concert, he knows exactly what they want. A knowing glance and a handshake is all it takes to get him into the recording studio.

But starting over isn’t as easy as they thought. Ian believes his passion will be enough to keep his rock band from falling apart. He didn’t count on Nathanial challenging his leadership.

Can Ian and Nathanial set aside their differences and learn to work together? Can they find a new rhythm and recreate the sound fans expect from Buxton Peak? Or will tempers, pride, and outside pressures keep them from finding their way back to center stage?

This isn’t the end for Buxton Peak; it’s only the beginning…

BUY

Book Review: The Vicar’s Daughter

The Vicar's DaughterThe Vicar’s Daughter by Josi S. Kilpack

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book both caught my interest, and had me wondering how could it possibly have a happy ending.  I like happy endings.

I didn’t start off loving it.  On the contrary, I had trouble liking Cassie. She had a decided selfish streak, even though she convinced herself she was pretending to be her sister, for her sister’s sake. Yet, but the end, I loved this book. I loved the change in Cassie, and her sister.  And I loved Evan, out of place Evan, honorable Evan.

I like many of the Proper Romance Regencies from Shadow Mountain. (Edenbrooke, anyone?)  Ms. Kilpack sometimes is a bit on the racier side with the steamy kisses (and this book has steam a plenty for our young lovers).  Characters go through tremendous growth. They are very real.

This is a beautiful story about God’s grace, family love, being sisters, and learning to accept your own flaws and limitations.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.