My Rapid Review – Finding Ever After

My RAPID Review - Between Stairs and Stardust

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Between Stairs and Stardust is Pepper Basham’s addition to the collection titled, Finding Ever After: four fairytale-ish novellas

Stella Faye Emory has known a life of loss. Orphaned at the age of eleven, she is sent from her home at the Biltmore Estate to become a companion for a wealthy family in Boston. As she grows into a kind and talented young lady, a benefactress recognizes Stella’s artistic skills and funds her education but Stella’s fame as an illustrator inspires jealousy and an unwanted rumor that sends Stella fleeing back to the Biltmore.

James Craven is the second-born son of an automobile tycoon. Following his family to their new estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains, James finds his place among the forests and mountains of the countryside. When his little sister is saved from drowning by the mysterious, “Faye”, James’ interests take a new turn in the direction of this fairy-like artist who seems to appear and disappear at the most unexpected times.

As James and Stella’s friendship deepens, Stella’s past finds her and threatens her newfound romance. Can a charm bracelet and an unanticipated visitor restore hopes for a happily-ever-after?

Finding Ever After

Experience a touch of magic with these four fairytale-ish novellas that span over one hundred years. Linked by an illustrated book of fairytales, each novella is an enchanting combination of a beloved classic sprinkled with the author’s own brand of fairy dust.

Between Stairs and Stardust is set in 1913 Asheville, NC at the beautiful Biltmore Estate and includes a budding children’s book illustrator, an out-of-the box heir, and a teensy bit of Cinderella romance.

Entanglements has a Rapunzel twist and is set in 1920’s Boston between a reluctant heiress, a charming piano tuner, and a game of chess.

Twice Upon A Time is a Beauty-And-The-Beast inspired tale that brings a romance novelist back home to her family’s pecan farm… and the ex-fiance she left behind.

Once Bitten is a nod to Snow White that includes a fake date with a handsome woodsman, seven geeks, and the world’s best apple tarts.

My Thoughts

Once again Pepper Basham has created memorable characters you’ll want to root for. Beginning with a page-turning opening scene, this novella keeps you reading until the very end. Exquisite descriptions place you right in the heart of the elegant Biltmore Estate nestled in the beauty of 1913 Asheville, North Carolina. Her attention to detail and powerful writing style wrap you in the world of Stella and James as they struggle to discover what truly matters and where they belong.

This story made me chuckle, gasp, and grin like a silly woman in all the right places. With engaging characters, vivid setting details, and plot twists you won’t see coming, Between Stairs and Stardust is a tale not to miss. 

About the collection:

Between Stairs and Stardust sets up the following three novellas in the collection by introducing the reader to a unique fairytale book, created by Stella (Pepper’s heroine in Between Stairs and Stardust). This book is passed from heroine to heroine (or hero) in an indirect manner as we travel through time with the final story taking place in modern day. Each story finds a unique way to incorporate the book, interpret the fairytale they’ve chosen to reinvent, and engage our attention as readers. While Pepper’s is probably my favorite, I sincerely enjoyed the other novella’s in this collection as well and recommend it to anyone looking for heart-warming stories that leave you smiling.

AMAZON

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First Line Friday – 03.08.19

first-line-friday-3Hey Everyone! It’s First Line Friday. So grab a book near you and share the first line in the comments below!

Today I’m sharing the first line from Entanglements by Rachel McMillan. It is McMillan’s contribution to the Finding Ever After novella collection which I am currently reading. Unless my memory fails me, this is my first story by Rachel McMillan and although the writing style is unique, so far I am enjoying it very much.

Entanglements

 

Here are the first lines:

Boston, 1920

Once upon a time, Father Francisco told Nic Ricci that to find math in music he merely had to look to Mozart.

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Nic Ricci is a North End piano tuner and part time math tutor who wants nothing more than to compose; but there are few pennies to be found and an ailing father whose work life was terminated by an factory injury to support.

When a well-paying opportunity arises as a rehearsal pianist for a wealthy heiress giving a recital at the Boston Conservatory, Nic grabs at the chance. He does not, however, anticipate a beautiful, intelligent woman frustratingly accompanied by a chaperone and promised to a brute of a fiance.

Esther Hunisett is trapped by her father’s poor business decisions, her dowry and future attached to a man who will save her family’s estate. With little to barter before her life is signed away to a man she does not love, she exacts a promise so she can perform one last time at a recital of all of her favourite pieces before he spirits her from the city she loves and locks her away in his sprawling upstate manor.

When Nic learns of Esther’s entrapment, he promises to help her find an escape route — and together they plan a strategy as intricate as the chess games they play every afternoon while her chaperone dozes.

To Nic, Esther– with the long coils of golden hair he sees loosened as she exchanges pins for failed chess moves–is the princess in the tower, entangling him in an unexpected adventure he never imagined.

But every Princess needs a Prince and Nic isn’t sure if he can be anything more than the rusty tin soldier when she needs a white knight and a trusty steed.

AMAZON

Click HERE to follow my blog and make sure you don’t miss out on any of my upcoming reviews and other fun posts!

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Now it’s your turn to grab the book nearest you and leave a comment with the first (or your favorite) line!

Then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating:

My 2017 Christmas Reading List

Christmas Reading List 2017 Post Image

I admit it, I love reading Christmas themed romance as much as the next gal. It never gets old. So this year, I’ve been stockpiling my list of books to read during the Christmas season. Today, I’m sharing my list with you.

Bygone Christmas Brides – 6 Novellas

by Pamela Griffin, Jill Stengl, Gina Welborn, Ginny Aiken, Tamela Hancock Murray, Carla Gade

Bygone Christmas Brides

Light a candle in the window and sit down to a slice of fruitcake as you delight in six 19th Century romances that welcome love at Christmastide. Many traditions held dear today have their roots in the British Isles and have been practiced for over a hundred years. In these six delightful historical stories, romance is nurtured amidst baking Scottish shortbread and English mince pies, burning the yule log, and hanging kissing boughs. But each couple is also plagued by worries of the day. As Christmastide draws to a close, will faith and love endure for future celebrations?

Amazon | Goodreads

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection – 9 Novellas

by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Susan Page Davis, Melanie Dobson, Cathy Liggett, Vickie McDonough, Olivia Newport, Janet Spaeth, Jennifer Rogers Spinola, MaryLu Tyndall

 The Westward Christmas Brides Collection

Take the journey into the American west alongside nine women who are chasing their dreams—Cynthia, for security; Beryl, for a new family; Adeline, for freedom; Molly, for marriage; Beth, for a new start; Belinda, for a place to heal; Suzette, for adventure; Juliet, for peace; and Caroline, for a future for her children. Celebrate Christmas alongside these pioneers as love finds them in nine distinctly different romances penned by leading Christian fiction authors, including New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter.

Amazon | Goodreads

Mountain Christmas Brides – 9 Novellas

by Susan Page Davis, Mildred Colvin, Lena Nelson Dooley, Darlene Franklin, Debby Lee, Tamela Hancock Murray, Carrie Turansky, Gina Welborn, Mary Davis

Mountain Christmas Brides

A trusting heart / by Carrie Turansky
Home for the holidays / by Mildred Colvin
One evergreen night / by Debby Lee
All ye faithful / by Gina Welborn
A carpenter Christmas / by Mary Davis
Fires of love / by Tamela Hancock Murray
The best medicine / by Lena Nelson Dooley
Almost home / by Susan Page Davis
Dressed in scarlet / by Darlene Franklin

From a Wyoming ranch in 1880, to a logging camp in Washington Territory in the late 1800s, to Denver, Colorado, in 1913, meet nine couples who find that Christmas is the perfect time for climbing to the heights of romance. Watch as their faith and courage propel them through challenges that come with mountain winters to cozy fireside celebrations that lead to lasting proclamations of love. Penned by an exclusive selection of Christian fiction authors—including Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, and Carrie Turansky—this collection of nine romances is one to treasure.

Amazon | Goodreads

12 Days at Bleakly Manor

by Michelle Griep

12 Days at Bleakly Manor

When CLARA CHAPMAN receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of one thousand pounds. That’s enough money to bring her brother back from America and reinstate their stolen family fortune. But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, BENJAMIN LANE.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar.

Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

Amazon | Goodreads

Cowboy Christmas Homecoming

by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Julie Lessman, & Anna Schmidt

Cowboy Christmas Homecoming

They’ve weathered a lot worse than winter. For widow June Harper, another cold front is about to hit. Most call him Hugh. She’d call him Scrooge, except as the man ensures her needs are met, June can’t help but wonder how to meet the needs of his heart.

Netty Lewis can take care of herself, has for a while now. Some hired help over the holidays doesn’t change that. And even if Roy does take care of her, that doesn’t mean he cares for her or that he’ll stay past Christmas.

Pastor Colton McCabe is having the opposite problem. He’s not sure he’ll make it through the holidays with his new housekeeper. Grace can’t seem to do anything right but love. Perhaps being a homekeeper will earn her a permanent residence in his heart.

And no one longs for a home more than Connie Lancaster. She’s determined to return to St. Louis, and no cowboy can change her mind. But if Isaac can change her heart, maybe Connie will see the homecoming she’s been waiting for isn’t to a place but a person.

Amazon | Goodreads

The Gift of Grace – Novella

by Julie Lessman

The Gift of Grace

She’s the Accident to His Prayers …

Pastor Cole McCabe isn’t sure he’ll survive the holidays with his new housekeeper and nanny. She’s caught fire to the kitchen, dyed his long johns pink, and scorched nearly everything she cooks. But he’s desperate, and she’s as destitute as they come.

Even though she’s no good with her hands, Grace sure has a way with her heart. She’s brought a warmth into Cole’s home, added color to his daughters’ lives, and broken down the wall he’s built up since his beloved wife died.

But when Grace’s past threatens Cole’s family, she’s given one last chance to be home for Christmas . . . if she hasn’t burned it down yet.

Amazon | Goodreads

Mail-Order Christmas Baby

by Sherri Shackelford

Mail-Order Christmas Baby

The Rancher’s Special Delivery 

The “package” is addressed to him, but rancher Sterling Blackwell certainly didn’t order a baby! More scandalous still, he and the town’s pretty teacher are named as parents. With gossip running wild, only a marriage of convenience can protect little Gracie and their reputations until her real family is found.

Heather O’Connor is content to be the spinster schoolmarm of Valentine, Montana…until Gracie’s arrival stirs her heart. She can’t keep the adorable child without Sterling’s help, though she promises not to interfere with his life. But staying aloof from her handsome husband isn’t easy with a tiny matchmaker in tow. A mistake brought them together, but love might just make them a family by Christmas…

Amazon | Goodreads

My Spillover List

The books above are on my Must Read List for this Christmas Season, but there are always more books that I want to read than there is time for me to actually read them, so I put the extra books on what I call my “Spillover List” which I turn to on those rare occasions I find an extra bit of time.

The books below didn’t make my Must Read List for no other reason than my particular mood at the time. In case one of them better suits your personal tastes or mood, below are my Christmas Spillover books. To keep this post from becoming five miles long, I’ve linked to the descriptions rather than posting them here (click the titles).

 

A Log Cabin Christmas Collection – 9 Novellas

by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Margaret Brownley, Kelly Eileen Hake, Jane Kirkpatrick, Liz Johnson

A Log Cabin Christmas

A Pioneer Christmas – 9 Novellas

by Kathleen Fuller, Vickie McDonough, Lauraine Snelling, Margaret Brownley, Marcia Gruver, Cynthia Hickey, Shannon McNear, Michelle Ule, Anna Carrie Urquhart

A Pioneer Christmas Collection

Colors of Christmas – 2 Novellas

by Olivia Newport

Colors of Christmas

The Snowflake 

by Jamie Carie

The Snowflake

Starring Christmas – 2 Novellas

by Rachel McMillan & Allison Pittman

Starring Christmas

If you still haven’t found the book for you, or simply want more, more more:

Check out my interview with author Terri Reed featuring her novel, A Family Under the Christmas Tree.

Visit ChristianBook.com’s Christmas Fiction Store.

By the way, if you were counting – Yes, I’ve listed a total of twelve books . . . for Christmas.   I may or may not be doing another post having to do with this number in the near future. To make sure you don’t miss it, make sure you sign up to follow my blog.

 

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What do you think of my list? Have you read any of these? Do you have any you think I should add? Please share your suggestions! There is always room for more books!

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12 Books for your Christmas Romance Reading List! #ChristFic