Meriden Park Virtual Blog Tour, Review and Author Interview

Monday, December 12, 2022

Following her childhood rescue from the gutters of Calcutta, Mary Grace’s life has been an astonishing rags-to-riches tale. The Wellings raised the half-Indian orphan with all the love and care the childless couple possessed, allowing her to grow into a beautiful and refined woman. But upon Mr. Welling’s death, it is time for Mrs. Welling to take Mary home to England—home to Meriden Park.

Despite her genial nature, Mary is received with suspicion by the villagers. For his part, however, Mr. Robert Markham is intrigued by the curious new beauty in town. Determined to make her acquaintance, he offers Mary a bargain she can’t refuse: a hot cross bun for a kiss. That seemingly innocent exchange is the first of many encounters between Robert and Mary, whose friendship blossoms into love during long walks in the privacy of Sherwood Forest. But the shadows of the forest hide a sinister secret, one Mary fears Robert might be a part of. As the mystery of the recent string of murders creeps closer and closer, Robert and Mary are drawn into a dangerous game, and unless she can unearth the truth, the couple risks losing one another forever.

LIFE IS WHAT IT'S CALLED - What inspired you to write this story? 

JULIE DAINES - Meriden Park fits in with my previous Regency romance stories in that all three have an iconic romantic couple from the past connected to the story. I used Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in Willowkeep, and King Arthur and Guinevere in Havencross, so of course it was time for Robin Hood and Maid Marian! 

LIFE IS WHAT IT'S CALLED - What will readers like most about this story? 

JULIE DAINES - I hope that readers will enjoy the sweet and fun relationship between Robert and Mary. They are so cute together; it is one of my favorite parts about the book. I love when two very different people discover that they each fill exactly the gaps in the other person. Also, I hope Mary’s journey as a character will intrigue readers and make her a special character for them. 

LIFE IS WHAT IT'S CALLED - How is the book similar and different to your other books? 

JULIE DAINES - Like most of my books, Meriden Park also has a small element of magic within its pages. I personally love books that have just a touch of magic in them. It’s not total fantasy, but just a little something to make you wonder “what?" 

LIFE IS WHAT IT'S CALLED - What writing projects are you working on next? 

JULIE DAINES - I tend to keep my current projects close to my vest. I’m not sure why, but I’m not usually ready to talk about them until they have gone to my publisher and are on the track to be released. I know some authors who like to describe their current work in progress in great detail to anyone who will listen. From me, you get: A set of stories set in the 1700s with love and loss and a tiny hint of magic. You’ll have to wait for the rest. 

LIFE IS WHAT IT'S CALLED - What lessons will the reader learn from this book? 

JULIE DAINES - This book’s main character, Mary, grows quite a lot. I hope that the lessons she learns will also resonate with readers. There are themes about heroes and what makes a person a hero. Themes about family and togetherness. Themes about accepting yourself. And lots more. 

LIFE IS WHAT IT'S CALLED - What type of readers will enjoy this book the most? 

JULIE DAINES - I hope readers who enjoy Regency Romance but are ready to take a break from dukes and earls and rakes will enjoy Meriden Park. Readers who love the lore of the land might love this book. Also, readers who love Shakespeare will find lots of tidbits to swoon over. 

LIFE IS WHAT IT'S CALLED - What should readers know about you as an author? 

JULIE DAINES - I’m very excited about this book. It has probably taken the longest for me to write than any other book. I’m not a fast writer, but this was not an easy book for me. A lot of stuff happened this past year, including the loss of three parents, and I’m looking forward to Meriden Park’s debut and really hope readers will enjoy it.

Meriden Park was not what I expected from reading the description. I thought the book would start off in India, but it started off in England especially since it said, "it is time for Mrs. Welling to take Mary home to England." It almost seemed like there would be a journey to England within the story. I also wasn't expecting the Robin Hood retelling even though the description mentioned Sherwood Forest. It's not a straight retelling, but it has a lot of elements of Robin Hood interwoven into the story. 

There was also a lot going in the story from racial issues, murder mystery, finding one's place, ghosts from the past, romance...I felt like the author did a good job at balancing it all. Writing that many elements in one story is not an easy task. There were also several interesting characters from greedy relations to a Shakespeare quoting mother. I think this book has a little bit of everything in it. It did take me some time to digest after reading it. It would be an interesting book to discuss in a group and talk about. Overall, this is very unique Regency romance. I think Regency romance readers will enjoy the unique twist on Robin Hood. To learn more, click here.

Please note that I received a free copy to review, however, this is my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog. This post is in cooperation with the author.

Lord Farleigh and Miss Frost Virtual Book Tour

Wednesday, December 7, 2022


Isleen Frost wishes her family had stayed in Dublin for Christmas but understands it would have been folly to decline an invitation to the Duke of Montfort’s Christmastide house party. Isleen refuses to allow the opulent castle and powerful duke to impress her. But the duke’s eldest son, Lord Farleigh, is another matter entirely.

Raised as the heir to a duke, Simon Dinard, Lord Farleigh, has learned to project a calm self-assurance despite an inner fear he will never be as confident a leader as his father. When a friendly wager and a spirited Irish lady challenge all his unspoken thoughts, he determines to prove her wrong—and ignore the growing attraction between them.

Christmas celebrations at the castle are always full of surprises, but Isleen and Simon are not at all prepared for the feelings the season inspires between them. An Irish miss and a duke’s son have no business falling in love. But the magic of sleigh rides, snow-covered hills, and mistletoe might change their minds...

This book was a sweet and wholesome romance to read. It's the fourth book in Sally Britton's Clairvoir Castle series. It can be read as a standalone or as part of a series. I prefer to read her books in order, but I've read some of Sally Britton's other series out of order. It just depends on what you want to do. I've enjoyed this series as a whole. It's a nice escape to read. For this particular book, I was curious to see what the author would do. In the other books in the series, Simon's been always calm, collected, and tightly-wound. It was interesting to get inside his head and learn his feelings and thoughts. I also enjoyed getting to know Isleen's character and seeing a bit of the Irish prospective in the story. The author wrote dynamic, well-rounded characters that romance readers will be sure to enjoy. The story moves along easily in a fun and easy manner. Wholesome romance readers will enjoy the story, the characters, and the fun plot. To learn more, click here.

Please note that I received a free copy to review, however, this is my honest opinion. Please note that this post contains affiliate links.

My Testimony Tree Digital Book Tour, Author Interview, Review and Giveaway

Friday, December 2, 2022


My testimony is special.

It's the spiritual things I know.

And just like a tree,

Every day I'll help it grow.

From tiny seed to strong, fruitful tree, a testimony is something that must be nurtured and cared for your whole life through. With beautiful illustrations and poetry, this story of faith helps children understand what a testimony is and how to help it thrive, bringing them closer to Heavenly Father and the Savior.


Sierra Wilson is the author of several faith-filled picture books including I Can Be Like Jesus, The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for Me, and Standout Saints: Church History Heroes from Around the World. She currently lives in Alberta, Canada where she adores hiking, skiing, and adventuring with her husband and five children.


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this story?

Sierra Wilson - Alma 32 is one of my absolute favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon and was part of my inspiration for this book. I love how that chapter gives such powerful advice on growing faith. I also love how hopeful it is. Anyone can start building a testimony. All you need is the tiniest bit of desire, and that's enough to get started.

Life Is What It's Called - What will children learn from this story?

Sierra Wilson - Children will learn what a testimony is and how to grow and care for it.

Life Is What It's Called - What will children like most about this story?

Sierra Wilson - I think children will enjoy the rhymes, the connection to nature, and the beautiful, child-friendly art by Nicole Koa.

Life Is What It's Called - How does this book stand apart from the others on the market?

Sierra Wilson - As far as I've been able to find, this is the only book available in the LDS children's market that focuses on building and caring for a testimony.

Life Is What It's Called - How is this book similar and different from the other ones that you have written?

Sierra Wilson - Like many of my other picture books, this book focuses on building faith in Christ and learning to be a daily disciple. This book is different because of its special focus on testimonies as well as the gardening/nature symbolism throughout the story.

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on now?

Sierra Wilson - So many! I'm working on a larger scripture-based project for kids, a handful of picture books, and a few novels. I'm always bursting with ideas, and I like to work on more than one project at a time.

Life Is What It's Called - What discussions can parents have with children after reading this book?

Sierra Wilson - My hope is that this book will become a conversation starter for kids and caregivers. After reading the book, I hope families will talk about their own testimonies and maybe even share their testimonies with each other. What can they do to help their own testimony trees grow? How can they help each other? What are some goals they could set?

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want readers to know about you as an author?

Sierra Wilson - I want readers to know that I love my Savior and His gospel. My greatest hope for this book is that it brings readers closer to Christ and helps young readers as they take ownership of their own testimonies.

My Testimony Tree shares how a testimony can grow like a tree and be strong through poetry. Kids will be able to learn about how to strengthen their own testimony and faith from this book. The story is told in a simple and straightforward manner that children will appreciate. It's told in a way that kids will understand and find interesting. The pictures are attractive and engaging. Kids will enjoy the colors and the bold imagery. Overall, this is a cute and fun book to add to your home library. To learn more, click here.

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Please note this post is in cooperation with the author. I received a free copy of this book, however, I shared my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links.

Honeycake Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway

Tuesday, November 29, 2022


Honeycake: A Helping Hand

Written by Medea Kalantar

Illustrated by i Cenzial

Ages 4+ | 33 Pages

Publisher: Medea Kalantar | ISBN-13: 9781777289768

Publisher’s Book Summary: In the sixth installment of the delightful Honeycake book series, Nala’s uncles, Victor and George, take her to a fundraiser where she meets Alexis, a girl with an artificial arm. Through her interactions, Nala learns that you are never too young to lend “a helping hand,” that it’s okay to be different, and that being different doesn’t stop you from doing great things in life.

Available for purchase on Amazon, Bookshop, Barnes and Noble.


Medea Kalantar is a Reiki master and practitioner, a Guinness World Record Holder, and a multi-award-winning, best-selling author of the Honeycake Book Series(TM). Inspired to write these books when she became a grandmother, Kalantar’s stories are based on her own family, whose members come from many ethnic backgrounds. This unique mix is a perfect recipe—just like the spices in a honey cake. That is why she calls her grandchildren her little Honeycakes.

With all the negativity in the world, Medea Kalantar’s series is a much-needed glimmer of hope and positivity. The Honeycake Book Series(TM) teaches valuable life lessons, giving children the tools to overcome obstacles in their everyday lives. The Honeycake books teach children about diversity, acceptance, kindness, mindfulness, trust, and gratitude. This series will enlighten, empower, educate, and entertain children and their families for generations to come.

Learn more on the website, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, and Goodreads.


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to create the Honeycake series?

Medea Kalantar - Firstly, I would like to say thank you for featuring me and conducting this author interview. I’m honoured and grateful to be given this platform to discuss the importance and the valuable lessons my books will provide families worldwide.

I was inspired to write the series when I discovered I would be a Grandma. It was a full circle moment, so I started to bake a honey cake in honour of my Grandmother. My Bebi taught me how to bake a honey cake when I was a little girl. As I was making the cake, I realized all the different spices the cake had, like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, coffee, brown sugar, and honey. It made me think of all the different ethnic mixes my new grand-baby would have and how they would be just like this honey cake I was baking. The words and stories started to pour out of me. The fact that I have no formal writing training didn’t stop me from trying. I always wanted to write my biography someday, later down the road, because I’ve had so many hardships that I had to overcome. But I never intended to write—especially not a children’s book series. But the universe sent me a sign, and the messages were in me to share, and they had to come out. I wrote five books in four days, and I couldn’t stop. The universe had something planned.

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this latest book in the series, Honeycake: A Helping Hand?

Medea Kalantar - Alexis and Tracy are based on my friends who were born as a congenital limb amputee. I was so inspired by the incredible work they have done over the years and all their accomplishments that I wanted to honour them and highlight that you're never too young to lend "a helping hand" and that being different doesn't stop you from doing great things. I feel it's imperative to create books with a more positive message. Teach children to accept others and help them be aware that no matter how old they are or what challenges they face, they have greatness inside of them and can accomplish almost anything. I also want to reinforce that Kindness is a "Special Magical Power" we all have—the power to improve others' lives through charity.  

Life Is What It's Called - What do you think kids will like most about this book?

Medea Kalantar - I think kids will like to see that they are never too young to make a difference in this world and can do extraordinary things if they put their minds to it. They would also like to see that bodies can come in different shapes. 

Life Is What It's Called - How has your background experience helped you in writing this book? 

Medea Kalantar - Firstly, I had a lot of help from the War Amps Champs foundation and Unstoppable Tracy Schmitt to ensure we had the correct wording and captured the true essence of children living as amputees. I intend for each book I write to ensure every child feels empowered and represented in all my Honeycake books. The passion I have for diversity and inclusion is my driving force. I see my purpose as being one of serving humanity. I understand the idea is for us all to live in a world of love, peace, and kindness toward all. That time is far off but attainable. My work helping people as a Reiki master and writer is a step in that direction.

I am grateful to God for allowing me to serve, influence, and transform this planet for the higher good.

Life Is What It's Called - Why do you think the message in this book is important?

Medea Kalantar - Aside from the topic of amputees in "Honeycake: A Helping Hand," I wanted to incorporate the usual theme of blended families as the Honeycake series is known. I also wanted to introduce the concept of same-sex relationships, normalizing these dynamics. This book has many examples of inclusion and compassion, and I love that there is so much representation in this short children's book. But the most important thing about the book is the beautiful message that shines throughout, which is that it's okay to be different! Some great lessons here are to help younger children understand and accept other people. Promoting inclusivity and acceptance along with kindness and humanity. It's a simple yet powerful message and perfect for kids to read.

Life Is What It's Called - How do you see Honeycake: A Helping Hand being used at homes and classrooms?

Medea Kalantar - I think it's a fabulous teaching tool for kids to learn about disabilities/amputees and the wonders of prosthetics. There is even a glossary at the back that explains big, new words.

Life Is What It's Called - How does this installment build on the other books in the series?

Medea Kalantar - Honeycake books will teach children about feelings, aka emotional literacy, which is SO IMPORTANT for little learners. Identifying and labelling feelings in oneself and others is a life skill that takes lots and lots of practice. Honeycake books also emphasize open-mindedness toward anyone who looks and thinks differently than they do. Children will learn that people worldwide have different lifestyles, abilities, looks and family dynamics, and that’s something to be celebrated. Teaching children about diversity and inclusion is essential — we all want to raise tolerant, accepting, and empathetic kids.  I feel it’s imperative to create books with more positive messages to help caregivers teach children to accept others and help children to become more balanced, kind, grateful and honest. Books help children manage their emotions when things don’t go as they hoped. I always say there is no such thing as winning or losing; there is only winning. You win when you reach the goal you want to achieve, or you win by learning a precious lesson. It’s all about perspective and how you look at things. Giving children these tools at an early age will help them grow into happy and fulfilled adults that aren’t stressed out but live in harmony with a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Honeycake will be understood by all ages and truly is a refreshing approach to human life with its joy, blessing and unique qualities. While Honeycake has been written as a children’s book series, it has a charm which will delight people of all ages. I feel these books will be enjoyed by parents, grandparents, and children alike, and I expect the timeless positive messages in the series to resonate for ages. 

With all the negativity in the world today, the Honeycake series is a much- needed glimmer of hope and positivity. The Honeycake books are a great children’s series that teaches valuable life lessons on diversity, acceptance, kindness, mindfulness, trust and gratitude. These books will enlighten, empower, educate and entertain children and their families for generations to come. ‬ 

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on right now?

Medea Kalantar - After this book, I will take a break to focus on a more significant project. I have partnered up with a production company, and my Co-Creator Lanette Ware-Bushfield, CEO of AWWB Production Inc., is helping me take the Honeycake Book Series and adapt it into a tv series. We are currently working on a 60-second sizzle reel to be pitched to major television and animation studios.

I plan to come back with another five books in the Honeycake series, with our heroine Nala and her little brothers when they are a little older, with books geared for middle graders.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want readers to know about you as an author?

Medea Kalantar - Aside from being an author, I’m also a Reiki Master, Intuitive Healer, Spiritual Teacher, Guinness World Record Holder, a proud mom of a daughter and a son and, of course, a grandmother of two beautiful boys who were the inspiration behind the Honeycake book series. 

I want my readers also to know that I had no formal writing training, which didn’t stop me from trying. When you believe in something, and the intention is pure, you can accomplish anything in life.


Enter for a chance to win 6-book set of the Honeycake series with bookmarks—including a copy of Honeycake: A Helping Hand autographed by Madea Kalantar!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A signed hardcover copy of Honeycake: A Family of Spices
  • A signed hardcover copy of Honeycake: Help, I Swallowed a Butterfly
  • A signed hardcover copy of Honeycake: Special Magical Powers
  • A signed hardcover copy of Honeycake: A Circle of Trust
  • A signed hardcover copy of Honeycake: Counting All My Blessings
  • A signed hardcover of Honeycake: A Helping Hand
  • Bookmarks

Four (4) winners receive:

  • A signed hardcover copy of Honeycake: A Helping Hand

Five (5) winners receive:

  • A signed paperback copy of Honeycake: A Helping Hand

Honeycake: A Helping Hand Book Giveaway

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Medea Kalantar.

Of Pigs and Priests Book Review and Author Interview

Friday, November 11, 2022

It's 1557, and Father Young and Bishop Goldheart are fated to be single for eternity. As devoted priests of the Catholic church, the two men have committed themselves to vows of celibacy. But while their minds and spirits are devoted to their faith, their hearts ache with loneliness. Father Young has recently fallen for Fannie Porkshire, the daughter of the newest family to come to the little town of Bridgecrest. And in the neighboring town of Lushton, Bishop Goldheart has long admired Miss Denine, the owner of a local tavern. As they both resign themselves to suffer with their feelings alone, they find new hope when Queen Elizabeth comes to the throne and officially institutes the Church of England, which now allows priests to marry. Overnight, Father Young and Bishop Goldheart become the most eligible bachelors in town. Every mother wants their daughter matched with the notable men of the church. But as the two priests enter society in a way they never had before, they suddenly realize that their vows were not the only thing keeping them from love. Love, while now legal, is not necessarily easy.

I was pleasantly surprised with Of Pigs and Priests. It's a comedy of errors and reminded me a lot of the comedic mayhem that occurs in a Shakespeare play. The author does a good job at pulling in humor and intermingling it with the historical time period. It was really interesting to think about the confusion and trouble that could come from switching from Catholicism to the Church of England overnight and what that would do for the priests and their communities. The author described what could have occurred during that time period and how a community could change overnight. Overall, I thought it was a fun romantic comedy to read with plenty of humorous moments and amusing characters. I think a wide range of audiences would enjoy the book and find it entertaining from teens to adults, males and females. The author also did a good job with the pacing with the story and moving from one scene to the next. It's a fast read. To learn more about this fun book, click here.


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this story? 

Nathaniel Gee - This book was based on a dream I had. I was a priest who was suddenly able to date and marry. I thought what an odd transition that would have been and realized there was a time in history this happened. England in the 1500’s as they transitioned from the Catholic Church to the Church of England. That got the idea started and it grew from there.

Life Is What It's Called - What will readers like most about this book? 

Nathaniel Gee - Readers have liked the humor the most. It is a romantic comedy but it is more comedy than anything else. Readers have also told me they love the surprise at the end related to the narrator’s identity.

 Life Is What It's Called - Are you like any of the characters?

Nathaniel Gee - That’s hard to say. I don’t think I’m too much like any character but I’m sure the protagonist Father Young, who can often be a little awkward is much like me. And there is a lazy peasant farmer Henry who my wife will tell you I’m too close to at times.

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on now?

Nathaniel Gee - I just finished the draft of my first detective novel. It’s all about a detective who is dead and solves murders from the other side. Llewelyn Hansen is the detective and he must solve who did it. Help influence the living police to catch the correct person and then find out if anyone dead influenced the murderer.

Life Is What It's Called - What was most challenging about writing this story?

Nathaniel Gee - For me the editing process is always a challenge. I love the first draft as the story unfolds but then the rewrites are always hard but very important. I’m grateful for a patient editor. 

Life Is What It's Called - What scene did you enjoy writing the most? 

Nathaniel Gee - It’s a scene where Bishop Goldheart gathers all the local priests together to let them know about Article 32, the article that changed the rule on celibacy and would allow them to marry. It was fun to imagine what it would have been like for these priests hearing for the first time this monumental change in their life and I was very pleased with how it unfolded. 

Life Is What It's Called - What authors influence your writing and style? 

Nathaniel Gee - PG Wodehouse is the greatest author ever to write about pigs but I hope to be on the list with this one.

Life Is What It's Called - What would you like readers to know about you?

Nathaniel Gee - I’m a dam safety engineer by day. And it’s hard to find a career that is more entertaining to say. That and my nine children keep me very busy but I always try to find a little time to write. Also, nothing makes my day more than hearing from readers so feel free to reach out and tell me what you liked or hated about the book. 

Please note that I received a free copy to review, however, I shared my honest opinion. This post is in cooperation with the author. This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog.

My Butt is SO Christmassy Virtual Book Tour

Wednesday, November 2, 2022



Written by Dawn McMillan
Illustrated by Ross Kinnaird
Ages 6+ | 32 Pages
Publisher: Dover Publications | ISBN-13: 978-0486850696

Publisher’s Book Summary: This delightful rhyming story follows our inventive young hero as he dreams about dressing up his plain backside in something festive “with layers and layers of green, with baubles that glow, bows in a row, and a star where it’s easily seen!” Will he get his wish? Kids will find out as they giggle all the way through this sweet holiday story.

Available for purchase on:


Dawn McMillan writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and storybooks for children. She is also the author of the hilarious best-selling I Need a NEW BUTT! series, as well as the adorable Doctor Grundy’s Undies, Seagull Sid and the Naughty Things His Seagulls Did!, and many more wonderful children’s books. She lives in Waiomu, New Zealand.


Ross Kinnaird‘s collaborations with Dawn McMillan include the popular I Need a NEW BUTT! series, as well as Doctor Grundy’s Undies and Seagull Sid and the Naughty Things His Seagulls Did! Ross also has illustrated such children’s books as 50 Body Questions and created the animated poem “Smaller,” winner of the People’s Choice Award at the World Parkinson Congress. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand.


Enter for a chance to win a copy of My Butt is SO CHRISTMASSY!

Five (5) winners receive:

  • A paperback copy of My Butt is SO CHRISTMASSY!

My Butt is SO CHRISTMASSY: Book Giveaway 

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Dover Publications.

The Danger with Diamond Blog Tour and Giveaway

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

When Lars Hendriks arranges to meet Marit Jansen in Vienna, he is hoping their friendship will blossom into romance. What he doesn’t expect is a surprise visit from his cousin Cole or the loose diamonds he brings with him.

As a CIA operative, Cole Bridger is used to uncertainty, but when his work takes him back to Vienna, he looks forward to reconnecting with Isabelle Roberts, the fellow agent he dated briefly before duty took him away from Austria. Unfortunately, his silence over the last few months has created a chasm that he can’t cross without help. He barely takes a step toward repairing the damaged relationship when a brazen jewel heist seemingly links Cole, Lars, Marit, and Isabelle to the crime. The group is drawn into a deadly mystery, and once again, the treasures of Falcon Point are threatened. It doesn’t take long for them to realize they have stumbled upon something far bigger and more dangerous than a simple robbery. And someone on the inside knows it.

The Danger with Diamonds blends romance and an action-packed adventure into one. The story unfolds with one exciting escapade after another from rescuing a kidnap victim to figuring out a jewel heist. I really enjoyed the action and adventure in the story. It kept me on the edge of my seat trying to discover how the story would unfold and wondering if the villains would get caught. The authors did a good job at providing twists, turns, and subtle clues. The romance wasn't as strong for me, but I didn't read the Heirs of Falcon Point, and that might have been why. The book does use a few characters in Traci Abramson's Not Dead Yetand I did find it helpful to have read that prior to reading this book. I don't think it's completely necessary to read it, but I was able to understand the backstory a little more. Overall, I really liked the action in this book. The authors did a good job at pacing and describing the danger and perils the characters find themselves in. Overall, I think Traci Abramson's and Sian Bessey's fans will get a kick out of this book. To learn more, click here

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Please note this post contains affiliate links. I received a free copy to review, however, this is my honest opinion. 

Can You Spot the Leopard Virtual Book Tour, Review, And Giveaway

Wednesday, October 19, 2022


Can You Spot the Leopard? An African Safari

Created by Karen B. Winnick

Ages 7+ | 48 Pages

Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group | ISBN-13: 978-1626349759

Publisher’s Book Synopsis: Can You Spot the Leopard? is author/artist Karen B. Winnick’s newest picture book, an adventuresome African safari presented through poems and full-color paintings. Readers begin at sunrise, climbing into a jeep for a bumpy ride to view the wondrous animals as they would on a real safari. All the poems are based on real observations of what animals do in the wild, related in an accessible way. There’s even a sighting, finally, of the elusive leopard, before returning to safari camp under a starry night. At the back of the book, further information is related about each animal. A fun, informational, educational adventure to read and reread.

Ms. Winnick is an animal enthusiast, president of the Los Angeles Zoo Commission, and author of more than a dozen picture books, including Gemina: The Crooked-Neck Giraffe, How Lucky Got His Shoe, and Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers.

Available for purchase on Amazon, Bookshop and Barnes and Noble.


KAREN B. WINNICK is the author of more than a dozen picture books for children, most of which she illustrated. An animal lover, she serves on several boards devoted to the well-being of animals. She’s a graduate of Syracuse University, mother of three grown sons, grandmother of eight, and minder of five pups.

For more visit,

Can You Spot the Leopard? An African Safari shares about African Animals in rhyme. I like that the book introduces children to poetry, but in a way that's easy to read and understand. The book goes from page to page also introducing children to different animals that they may see on an African safari and a little about each of the animal. It's an educational learning book that's interesting and shared in such a way that it doesn't read like a textbook or encyclopedia entry. Kids will enjoy reading this book and learning about the different animals that can be found on an African Safari. I also liked that it showed the diversity of wildlife found in Africa and you can begin to see how many varieties of animals there can be in one area. It would be interesting if the author wrote more books like this, but for different areas in the world. This book could be used in variety of a different ways. It could be read and enjoyed at home or used in the classroom to discuss poetry or used in a science discussion about wildlife and animal habitats. Overall, I felt like this book was well-written. The pictures were attractive and engaging. This is a great non-fiction book to add to your library. 


Enter for a chance to win a copy!

Ten (10) winners receive:

  • A signed copy of Can You Spot the Leopard? An African Safari

Can You Spot the Leopard? An African Safari Book Giveaway

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Karen B. Winnick. I received a free copy of the book to review; however, I shared my honest opinion.

The Holly and the Ivy Blog Tour and Giveaway

Friday, October 14, 2022

Spend the holidays with four of your favorite historical romance authors, whose stories of Yuletide romance will brighten the season with humor, hope, and the promise of true love. 

  •  “The Holly and the Ivy” by Sarah M. Eden:   As nursemaid to the eight-year-old Duke of Kielder, Robbie will spend her holidays with her young charge as a guest of Lord and Lady Jonquil. While the couple makes the child’s holiday magical, the handsome gardener works his own magic on nurse Robbie’s heart. 
  •  “A Season to Love” by Anneka Walker:  Alice Hunt is searching for a Christmas miracle: a husband of her choosing. With the threat of an arranged marriage looming, she looks to an unlikely matchmaker for help. 
  •  “A Twist of Christmas” by Dana LeCheminant:  A Christmas house party offers two members of the ton an irresistible opportunity: a weekend of anonymity. But their charade comes with unexpected romantic consequences. 
  •  “Hiding Christmas” by Esther Hatch:  Celebrating Christmas in Scotland will only invite persecution. But that never stopped Kirstine's English grandmother. When they are almost caught, Kirstine is forced to beg the help of the one man she cannot abide. 
Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this particular story for the anthology? 

Anneka Walker -  A Season to Love is a continuation of the Hunt sisters featured in other Christmas compilations I’ve written in. Alice is the third sister, and I was so excited to write her story that I wrote it directly after sister number two. She’s quirky and sweet, and her journey to find love is such a fun one.

Dana LeCheminant - I don't remember where the story idea came from specifically, but I wanted to try my hand at the mistaken/false identity trope because it's always so fun to read. I didn't plan on it being a dual-fake identity story until I started outlining, and suddenly Lady Elizabeth was telling her companion that she wanted to switch places. Figuring out how to make both sides work was an adventure, and hopefully it turned out well! 

Esther Hatch - I actually started this story years ago while brainstorming ideas for my first Christmas Anthology All Hearts Come Home for Christmas. While researching Christmas during the regency period in England, I came across the fascinating tidbit that Christmas had been banned in Scotland from 1640 until 1712. It felt like a perfect conflict for a Christmas novel, however, when I started writing it, I really struggled with all the cultural and historical details in Scotland and that novella had a deadline fast approaching, so after getting the story about a third of the way done, I put it aside and wrote 'Tis the Season to be Daring instead. But still, the idea was such a fun one, I'm glad I got to go back to it when I had more time. 

Life Is What It's Called - If you could magically teleport in one of the stories in this anthology other than your own, which story would it be and why? 

Anneka Walker - Can I cheat and pick all three? I would want the camaraderie of Sarah’s story, the mistletoe in every room in Esther’s story, and the charm of Dana’s story.

Dana LeCheminant - All of the stories had such dynamic characters that it would be hard to choose, but hopping into Sarah's world of Jonquils and Lancasters would be a dream! There are so many incredible characters in her world that meeting them would be the best thing ever! 

Esther Hatch - I've been a fan of Sarah's Jonquil and Lancaster series since Seeking Persephone was released, so I would have to go with the setting of The Holly and the Ivy by Sarah M. Eden. And if I'm being completely honest, it would be the very beginning when they are at Falstone Castle, which has become almost a magical place. 

Life Is What It's Called - What do you think readers will like most about this anthology? 
Anneka Walker - Readers are going to LOVE the how this book wraps them in the Christmas spirit! Prepare to laugh, cry, and swoon all in the space of football practice or in between appointments, because these quick reads pack a punch!

Dana LeCheminant - All of the stories are so fun! Each is full of hope and magic and characters that really care about each other and other people.

Esther Hatch - I can speak for what I personally loved about the Anthology, I have struggled to read lately because I am mostly a one-sitting kind of reader. Lately, my kids are up later and I can't handle reading until 4 am very often. So when I got the advanced copy I snuggled up in bed with three stories that were not only delightful, they were the perfect length to start and finish in one sitting. And if I'm once again honest, I did some mental cheering about how amazing each of the stories is. It was a wonderful feeling to know that I get to be a part of this fun, heartwarming anthology.

The Holly and the Ivy shared four Christmas novellas by four talented authors. The stories shared a bit of Christmas magic in each one of them. The Holly and Ivy connected some of Sarah Eden's novels The Jonquil Family, The Gents, and The Lancaster Family. I felt like it filled in a few of the gaps from her books, but it would also serve as a nice introduction to her books. She does a good job at encompassing and highlighting moments that her characters mentioned from very early on in her writing career and exploring it further. You can tell she has all of her characters' lives mapped out and understands their world. I felt like it was well-done and added to her world building throughout her novels. A Season to Love starts out really strong with a funny humorous scene that's memorable and different. I also felt like the author did a good job at describing the scenes and characters and even giving a distinct impression of the minor characters. There were several moments in this novella that really stood out and I enjoyed watching the characters unfold their emotions. I liked seeing how Alice's perspective didn't always match the perspectives of those around here and it gave the story a greater depth. A Twist of Christmas reminded me of a mix of double Prince and the Pauper retelling, romance, and mistaken identities. It was a fun retelling that I enjoyed reading. The characters were interesting, and the story was cleverly written. Esther Hatch is a comedic regency romance writer and I feel like she hits the mark with Hiding Christmas. It still didn't have me laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face as in her Tis Season to Be Daring in the All Hearts Come Home for Christmas collection, but it's up there as one of her best. I've learned with Esther's books the less that's shared the better and she's an automatic must read for me. I would highly recommend this story. (I would caution readers that to get the full effect on her books, the less known the better. I would read it before you see too much about the story on social media.) 

Learn more about The Holly and the Ivyhere.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Please note that I received a free ebook to review, however, this is my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog.

Amy Nielander's New Book, Author Interview and Giveaway

Thursday, October 13, 2022


My Name Is Not Ed Tug

Written and Illustrated by Amy Nielander

Ages 5-8 | 32 Pages

Publisher: West Margin Press | ISBN-13: 9781513134871

Publisher’s Book Summary: A sweet, whimsical story about the meaningfulness behind a person's name and the power of accepting people just as they are. Edimorwhitimormiligimmus Tug has a very special name that is all his own. But his teacher thinks it’s too long and hard to say. One day she shortens it to...Ed. But he loves his name just the way it is. So, he comes up with a plan—if he can teach everyone his name, maybe they’ll love it too! Sweet and whimsical, My Name Is Not Ed Tug empowers readers to own their identities and proudly celebrate who they are.


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write My Name Is Not Ed Tug?

Amy Nielander - I used to volunteer in my daughter’s computer classroom years ago. On my first day, I watched a student react to his name misspelled on a monitor. That sparked the initial idea. Seeing how upset he was over the error as well as how quickly his engagement dropped, really stuck with me. That day, I left the classroom wanting to create a main character...for him. This main character would share the same feelings he experienced and have a name that was routinely misspelled too. The challenge for me was figuring out how my character would conquer the same problem.

Life Is What It's Called - How has your background helped prepare you to write this book?

Amy Nielander - My dad and grandfather are both immigrants, so I definitely tapped into observations I made as a child. My grandpa used a translated American name, because his birth name was too hard to pronounce outside of the Romanian community. My dad also used a translated American name from time to time, to help others remember his first name. Outside of that, my maiden name was misspelled all the time growing up because it didn’t make “American” sense phonetically.

Life Is What It's Called - Why do you think kids will relate to the message in this story?

Amy Nielander - I think kids will relate to the book’s message because students are always meeting new classmates (including new teachers too!). Stories like My Name Is Not Ed Tug, will help them gain empathy and insight. They’ll read (and see!) how mispronouncing a name affects that person. My hope is that students will celebrate and appreciate diverse names in their classrooms no matter how long they are! And if they’re not sure how to learn a new name (or how to teach someone their name), My Name Is Not Ed Tug will hopefully inspire them.

Life Is What It's Called - How does this book stand apart from the other children's books on the market?

Amy Nielander - This is such a great question! There are several published books on bookshelves that deal with self- identity, name misspellings and mispronunciations (dating back to 1973!). I’m learning about many of them now! I came up with My Name Is Not Ed Tug in 2013 so at that time, I was only familiar with TheName Jar by Yangsook Choi. It has been fun researching the range of books available for readers today. I appreciate all of the stories I’ve read so far! One way My Name Is Not Ed Tug is different is that it does not attach a specific culture to the main character. Some fantastic examples that identify different heritages are My Name is Bilal (Muslim), Alma and How She Got Her Name (Latinx), My Name Is Yoon(Korean), That’s Not My Name (Arabic) and Your Name Is a Song (African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, Middle Eastern). Another way My Name Is Not Ed Tug is different is that it exaggerates the outrageousness of the misunderstood name situation (one of my favorite author/illustrators is Roald Dahl). From an illustration standpoint, I really wanted to draw attention to how different each family member looks in My Name Is Not Ed Tug. I wanted kids to recognize that “family” does not necessarily mean shared physical characteristics. Family is a feeling too. When we see people loving and caring for each other, that looks like a “family” to me. At the end of the day, all of the books I’ve read, share one strong link: they empower children to stand up for themselves. That is impactful. I’m humbled My Name Is Not Ed Tug can join this group of powerful books and encourage kids to use their voice. How do you see My Name Is Not Ed Tug being used at homes, classrooms, and libraries? I see it as a great discussion tool for children meeting new classmates or attending a new school. The story may help ease anxiety if your child/student is worried about classmates learning their name. Educators, caregivers and parents can ask kids how they feel about teaching their name to others or learning a new student’s name. These conversations are opportunities to understand kids, strengthen relationships and show them that you care.

Life Is What It's Called - How is My Name Is Not Ed Tug similar and different from your other books?

Amy Nielander - One similarity is that I like to showcase the love family/friends have for each other. My picture books also feature petite main characters (even a ladybug!) with giant hearts and strong voices. What is different from my previous picture books, Grama’s Hug and The Ladybug Race, is readers get to meet more characters in the story.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want your readers to know about you as an author?

Amy Nielander - I love hearing from kids!

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on now?

Amy Nielander - I have a
fun, silly story brewing about a beaver and his family. After book events wrap up, I’ll fine-tune that dummy. I’d love to submit it to publishers in January 2023.

Amy Nielander is a designer and award-winning children’s book author and illustrator who loves to create playful stories for kids. Growing up, she had her name frequently misspelled by others. My Name Is Not Ed Tug is inspired by this experience and by her time volunteering in her children’s classrooms. Amy lives near Detroit, Michigan. 


Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of My Name Is Not Ed Tug, the Potato-Noodle-Feel-Better Soup recipe featured in the story, and a Name Journal!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A signed copy of My Name Is Not Ed Tug
  • A Potato-Noodle-Feel-Better Soup recipe (soup is featured in the story). The digital download includes an "Ingredient Checklist coloring page" for kids
  • A Name Journal: A 3.5" x 5" pocket-sized journal with 32 blank pages (100% recycled paper)
Two (2) winners receive:
  • A signed copy of My Name Is Not Ed Tug

My Name Is Not Ed Tug Book Giveaway

This post is in cooperation with The Children’s Book Review and Amy Nielander.

When Mom Feels Great, then We Do Too! Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Monday, October 10, 2022


When Mom Feels Great, Then We Do Too!

Written by Phyllis Schwartz

Illustrated by Siski Kalla

Ages 4+ | 38 Pages

Publisher: Acorn Publishing | ISBN-13: 9798885280143

Publisher’s Book Summary:

When Mom, one day, came home and said, “I think I better get in bed”

It was up to us to get together

As a team so she’d feel better

We came up with all sorts of things to do

Because “when mom feels great then we do too!”

Available for purchase on, and Barnes and Noble.


Phyllis Schwartz is a married mother of two, who, after a highly successful career in the TV news business, finally has the luxury to indulge in and focus on her “civilian” writing. Even as a kid, she kept a diary and wrote little stories and poems, a creative release that continued well into adulthood. She wrote news by day and poetry by night. And despite battling three different types of cancer over more than three decades, she is still filled with energy, joy, and optimism, and she looks forward to writing more poetry and children’s books.

Her writing centers on the beauty she finds daily: Her friends, husband, and two children, as well as her garden and her beautiful beach town residence in dreamy Encinitas, provide continued inspiration for her verse.


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write When Mom Feels Good, Then We Do Too!?

Phyllis Schwartz - I am a three-time cancer survivor and I wanted people to see there are ways to fight illness in addition to medical solutions. It’s important for family and friends to rally around the sick or injured person with support, fun, and laughter.

Life Is What It's Called - Why is this an important story to tell?

Phyllis Schwartz - I wanted to give people hope and inspiration without trivializing illness.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you think families would like most about this book?

Phyllis Schwartz - I think the upbeat rhyming coupled with the wonderful illustrations will give families a good feeling and therefore help them give a sick or hurt member the same.

Life Is What It's Called - How do you see this book used in homes, schools, and libraries?

Phyllis Schwartz - I think the book will be a good jumping off point for families to discuss illness with small children.

Life Is What It's Called - What are some discussion points to discuss with kids after reading this book?

Phyllis Schwartz:
  • What do you want others to do for you when you don’t feel well?
  • Do you know want your mom (or dad, or siblings, or grandma/grandpa) like to do when they don’t feel well?
  • How can you make your under the weather loved one laugh?
  • What are some other fun activities you can think of that might make your loved one feel good, sick or otherwise? Art? Dance?
  • Do you think it’s ok to do silly, fun things with your sick family member, even if they seem more serious on a day-to-day basis?
  • What is your family member’s favorite music? favorite flowers? favorite zoo animal? favorite place to visit on a walk or day trip? favorite food that the kids and other family members can cook or organize that would make the under the weather person feel good?

Life Is What It's Called - How has your background helped you in writing this book?

Phyllis Schwartz - Humor and fun has always been a big part of my childhood and it became even more important as an adult once I started getting sick. I had great medical care but I think my sense of humor and fun, helped along by my family, had a great deal to do with me getting through those challenges.

The book isn’t strictly autobiographical but many of the activities in the book: dancing to Motown tunes and going t the zoo, for example are plucked right out of my life

Life Is What It's Called - What should readers know about you as an author?

Phyllis Schwartz - This is my first book. But I wrote little stories and poems my whole life, from childhood and one of those poems led me to this book. When I was a kid I loved rhyming books from Mother Goose to “Madeline” (in two straight lines” and the Dr. Seuss books, and I still love them and now write them!

Life Is What It's Called - What are some of your next writing projects?

Phyllis Schwartz - I have completed three more rhyming children’s books and I’m working on one non rhyming. One is about my experience as a ten-year-old when my dad got a job in India for a year. I went kicking and screaming, but ultimately had an enriching experience that has helped me through my whole life. I think my cancer experience and my India experience in addition to getting married and having wonderful children of our own.


Enter for a chance to win a copy of When Mom Feels Great, The We Do Too! and a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A copy of When Mom Feels Great, Then We Do Too!
  • A $50 Barnes and Noble gift card
Four (4) winners receive:
  • A copy of When Mom Feels Great, Then We Do Too!

When Mom Feels Great, The We Do Too Book Giveaway 

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Phyllis Schwartz.

Champion's Quest: The Questmaster's Trap: Volume 2

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Hello, Brave Reader: You’re just in time to roll the Die of Destiny and play a game of Champion’s quest. The wizard Questmaster Hob has summoned the Wild Crows on a new adventure. But not everything is what it seems.

A new, sinister Questmaster creates chaos for Lucas, Miles, and Jasmine. They are ill-prepared to fight stronger, challenging monsters, including an evil centaur who has taken a magical ally hostage. As the Wild Crows journey to rescue her, they encounter shadow elves, troltusses, and giants. They also learn new skills and strategies, and discover their quest is more than just a game this time. The fate of the world of Champion’s Quest―including the lives of the wizards Hob and Bogie―hangs in the balance.

Can the Wild Crows prevail? Will the luck of the dice be in their favor? Can they gather the right magical items and overcome their weaknesses? It will take true champions and a bit of luck to win this gripping, fantastical, high-stakes adventure.


FRANK L. COLE was born into a family of southern storytellers and wrote his first book at age eight. Some of his favorite stories involve ghosts and Bigfoot. Currently, along with his wife and three children, he resides in the shadow of a majestic mountain range. The Questmaster’s Trap is Frank’s fourteenth published book. He's an active promoter of reading and using imagination and has presented to more than 250 schools nationwide. As part of his research for Champion’s Quest, he has acquired hundreds of role-playing campaign modules and loves immersing himself in those worlds. Visit the author at

Champion's Quest: The Questmaster's Trap is the second book in the Champion's Quest Series by Frank L. Cole. I liked the second even better than the first book. Frank L.Cole captured the reader's interest from the very beginning. I loved the characters and the side characters. I was a little disappointed in not seeing the troll from the first book, but I loved the new characters. The new characters were interesting and seemed to have their own back story. I only hope to see them again! The various settings were interesting, and I almost wished I was in the book so I could explore and see more of this world. The author keeps the reader engaged with twists and turns in the story. I asked the author in an interview with his first book - how many books would there be in this series - and he mentioned three, but I feel like this series could do with more. The only downside in this series is that not many people seem to know about it. I feel like this is an excellent series for middle grade readers who enjoy fantasy. Personally, I think it's one of the top fantasy series for middle grade readers as far as creativity, action, the world building, and how it's written.  It's clean, age appropriate, engaging, fun and very well-written. The author hits the mark with this book. To learn more about this series, click here.

Please note this post is in cooperation with the publisher. This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog. I received a free copy of this book to review; however, I shared my honest opinion.

In the Shadow of a Queen Blog Tour, Review and Author Interview

Friday, October 7, 2022

Based on the true story of the free-spirited daughter of Queen Victoria.

As a young woman, Princess Louise is considered the most beautiful and talented daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She is also strong-willed and resists following the queen’s rigid rules and strict protocols for a princess.

After her father’s untimely death, Louise’s life is upended by the inconsolable grief of her mother and the rippling effect that rocks the British Empire. Captive to the queen’s overwhelming mourning, Louise is forbidden to leave her mother’s tight circle of control, attend balls, or have any kind of relationship outside the royal family. She is relegated to the position of personal secretary to her mother—the same position each of her sisters held until they were married.

Already an accomplished painter, Louise risks the queen’s wrath by exploring the art of sculpting, an activity viewed as unbefitting a woman. When Louise involves herself in the day’s political matters without Queen Victoria’s approval, including championing the career of a female doctor and communicating with suffragettes, the queen lays down the law to stop her and devotes her full energy and resources to finding an acceptable match for her defiant daughter.

In the Shadow of a Queen is the story of an epic battle of wills between two women: a daughter determined to forge her own life beyond the shadow of her mother, and a queen resolved to keep the Crown’s reputation unsullied no matter the cost.


HEATHER B. MOORE is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than seventy publications. She has lived on both the East and West Coasts of the United States, as well as in Hawaii, and attended school abroad at the Cairo American College in Egypt and the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel. She loves to learn about history and is passionate about historical research. Learn more about Heather and her books at

 Other Books by Heather B. Moore: 


Life is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this story?

Heather B. Moore - Since my teenage years, I’ve loved reading about monarchies. Mostly about Queen Elizabeth I. With multiple films and publications over the past decade on Queen Victoria, I became interested in her too, especially when I learned about the contributions by her five daughters to women’s causes throughout Europe, as they established schools for girls, founded charities, and championed for women’s rights and women’s health advances.

It was very intriguing to learn that Queen Victoria’s daughters also became the voice of the Crown, and how she relied on them to serve as her private secretaries after her husband, Prince Albert’s death. Since Queen Victoria blamed Bertie, who was her son and heir, for her husband’s death, she kept him at arm’s length for decades.

I could have written about any of the daughters of the queen, but Princess Louise interested me the most since she deviated from the traditional path of royals during her era by marrying a commoner and pursuing the masculine career of a sculptor.

Life Is What It's Called - What were the historical sources that you used to research this story?

Heather B. Moore - I was fortunate to have several excellent biographies to read and guide me along the path of research. The list is included at the back of the book. Since I don’t claim to be a historian, I very much appreciate the methodical works of scholars and historians who’ve compiled their research findings.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want readers to learn from this book?

Heather B. Moore - Readers will learn about a young girl who might be part of the British Royal Family, but her childhood is marred by her mother’s deep grieving, and severe restrictions on any social events during her young adult years. Even though Princess Louise is the most powerful monarch in the world, Queen Victoria is adamantly opposed to women’s rights. Princess Louise has to find ways to support women’s causes that won’t break any political tightropes. In addition, her choice of a spouse threatens to divide countries, pit family members against each other, and change long established rules of Parliament. Yet, through all of her upheavals in life, in addition severe health challenges, Princess Louise manages to push forward her passions of sculpting, and advocate for women’s rights and girls’ education.

Life Is What It's Called - How is this book similar and different to your other books?

Heather B. Moore - This book took me by far the longest to research out of other historical novels I’ve written, mostly because there is so much information on Queen Victoria and her family. I felt that I needed to have a very strong foundation in order to produce an accurate rendering of Princess Louise’s life. That said, this story and plot are not suspenseful, or categorized as a romance, but it’s simply a story of a family who is struggling through deep grief, while at the same time, bow under the weight of public responsibility to their country.

Life Is What It's Called - What did you learn most from writing this story?

Heather B. Moore - I sat down to watch the PBS version of Queen Victoria’s story, eager to take notes. I soon realized that most of it was so fictional, that notes wouldn’t help me at all. Taking a deep dive into the traditions and expectations of the royal family really gave me an appreciation for how much I enjoy my own unencumbered and straightforward life. The weight of living under public and political scrutiny was crushing to the members of the royal family. Their coping mechanisms were not healthy, and it took someone with Louise’s guileless and enthusiastic personality to break through the heavy chains of convention.

Life Is What It's Called - How does this book stand apart from other books on the market?

Heather B. Moore - I’d categorize this book as a biographical novel that’s very meticulous on the history. Other books on the market about Princess Louise are either nonfiction biographies, or historical novels with a healthy dose of speculation. My book doesn’t follow the speculations about Princess Louise’s escapades, since I just couldn’t find any concrete sources to support rumors. The book isn’t necessarily a historical romance, although we do enjoy a sweet relationship between Princess Louise and her intended. My research took me straight through a decade of her life, starting at age 13, right before Prince Albert dies. As a member of a very powerful, and very complicated family, Princess Louise’s story will inspire readers to push forward through their own difficulties.

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on next?

Heather B. Moore - I’m currently working on a novel set during the WWII era, Pacific Rim, specifically Indonesia. I’ve been interviewing an 86-year-old woman, Marie Vischer Elliott, who lived in a Japanese concentration camp on Indonesia. She and her family, along with thousands of Dutch colonists, were sent to various camps throughout the islands, and Marie is finally sharing her story.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want readers to know about you as an author?

Heather B. Moore - I’ve been fascinated with history since I was a kid. At the age of 7, my dad moved our family to the Middle East. Primarily Egypt and Israel. We lived there on and off over the years, and I eventually attended high school in Jerusalem. On weekends or holidays, we’d tour ancient sites, and I fell in love with archaeology. This likely spring-boarded me into enjoying all kinds of history. I find the triumphs, struggles, and challenges of those who’ve lived before us, fascinating. I love that there aren’t answers for everything and that things have been lost to us, so it’s interesting to set out on a quest while researching for a novel, and try to find answers.

In The Shadow of a Queen shares a fictionalized backstory of Princess Louise, the daughter of Queen Victoria. The novel was well-researched and well-written. You can tell the author took great lengths to get historical information as accurate as possible while also making the people come alive through the story. I felt like I could understand more the limitations and expectations placed on British royalty. The author does a good job at explaining some of the reasoning and concerns during Queen Victoria's reign. It was an easy and entertaining read. It gives you taste of a different era and lifestyle. It was interesting to see how Princess Louise was very limited in controlling her own destiny and reaching her dreams. The portrayal of Queen Victoria was interesting, and you could see how the lifestyle of a Queen is very different and how her ideas and role pushed others away from her. I've only read a non-fiction book on Queen Victoria's younger years, and it was an interesting contrast to see how the Queen developed in later years. After reading this book, I wanted to learn more on my own, which I think is a good sign with a historical fiction. A good historical fiction books gives you just enough of a taste of the history that you want to devour more and explore the time period. Overall, I think this was really well-done and historical fiction fans will enjoy this book. I would like to see the author explore more books like this and I can't wait to read her next book. To learn more, click here.

Please note that I received a free book to review, however, this is my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog. This post was written in cooperation with the publisher.
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