A Lady's Wager Blog Review

Tuesday, February 21, 2023


The Diamond of Bristol by Arlem Hawks 

Lieutenant Derrick Owens has always been on his own and wants to keep it that way, but when he saves a shipmate’s sister from a horrible dance partner, Corah Bradford’s sweet temperament and friendly nature make her hard to resist. Unable to find a suitable husband in Bristol who she can also love, Corah is entangled in a wager to secure Derrick’s company for an evening. Despite their reluctance to let go of their convictions, their easy friendship turns to something more. But with war on the horizon and Corah bound for the marriage mart in London, they both must discover what’s truly important—love or their previous expectations. 

Women of a Certain Age by Josi S. Kilpack

Over the years, Colletta Markshire has been the driving force in helping young women make their match during the Season in London. Rachel is her lucky thirteen and Etta has every expectation that she will be a triumph ... except that things are not going to plan. Rachel has not taken to London and is determined to grow an acquaintance with a young man not at all the thing. The young man's father, Wynn Firth, is nearly as distracting as Etta's worries, and in every way she felt sure she would never feel distracted again. When Rachel disappears, Etta has little doubt what’s happened and she and Wynn set out together to find the young couple before word gets out. Hours in a carriage with a handsome man can be even more distracting, however, and Etta finds herself entertaining ideas she never thought to have. Etta gave up on love years ago ... and yet, as Women of a Certain age can attest, it is never too late to change one’s mind and change one’s future.

A Most Unsuitable Suitor by Sarah M. Eden

Drowning in debt, Julian, Lord Wesley spends an evening of shared misery with his closest friend at their club and makes a startling discovery: someone has placed a wager that Lady Charlotte Duchamps will not marry before her 21st birthday, with Julian himself receiving £1000 if she does not. Lady Charlotte suddenly finds herself the subject of a great deal of attention from Lord Wesley, a vague acquaintance with a questionable reputation. With Julian and Charlotte both attempting to solve mysteries and wreak chaos, betting on the possibility of love might just prove the most risky wager of all.

A Lady's Wager contains three fun stories for readers. The Diamond of Bristol shares a sweet romance that starts with a common acquaintance. This was an entertaining read and the story moved quickly for me. The situations the characters found themselves was humorous and the author did a good job at describing the scenes. Woman of a Certain Age's characters were older compared to the typical romance demographic, and I found it to be a refreshing romance. The author does a good job at weaving the story, and I enjoyed the twists and turns throughout the story. I liked that she wrote something that seemed uniquely different from anything else in the genre. I didn't feel like this had a strong "wager" theme in the story, but I did like the character driven aspect. A Most Unsuitable Suitor was a very creative use of the theme. I think Eden wove the theme into her story the most and the relationship between the characters merged from the wager. I felt like it was a very strong and well thought out story. Overall, these were entertaining, light reads that fans of the romance genre will find to be enjoyable. To learn more, click here.

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

August or Forever Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Monday, February 20, 2023


August or Forever

Written by Ona Gritz

Ages 9 + | 108 Pages

Publisher: Fitzroy Books | ISBN-13: 9781646033072

Publisher’s Book Summary: Ten-year-old Molly has always loved having a sister, but sisters are supposed to live together, right? Molly certainly thinks so. Unfortunately, her older half-sister Alison lives on a whole other continent. Their video chats are great, and Molly is thrilled when Alison’s hand-written letters arrive in the mail like surprise gifts.

Still, it’s not enough, not compared to what other siblings have. That’s why when Molly finds out that Alison is finally coming to visit over the summer, she devises a plan to get her sister to stay. But then Alison arrives with plans of her own, a fragile heart gets broken, and Molly stumbles upon a painful piece of her sister’s past. Molly has always loved having a sister, but this is the August when she’ll learn what it really means to be one.

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


Ona Gritz is the author of two previous children’s books, including Tangerines and Tea, My Grandparents and Me, a Nick Jr. Family Magazine Best Alphabet Book of the Year and Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine Teacher’s Pick. Her essays and poems have been published widely. Recent honors include two Notable mentions in The Best American Essays, a winning entry in The Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2020 project, two 2021 Pushcart nominations, and a 2022 Best of the Net nomination.

Learn more about her work at onagritz.com.


Life Is What It's Called - As a writer of children’s and adult books, how do you find the experiences similar and different?

Ona Gritz - My background is in poetry, so regardless of whether I’m writing for children or adults, when I sit down to work, mostly what I’m doing is listening: to the rhythm of the language and the authenticity of the voice, to what I’m trying to say in a given moment and what unexpected places the piece may be trying to go. My writing for adults has all been either poetry or nonfiction, so it’s only in my children’s novels that I’ve had the privilege, and taken on the hard work, of inventing characters and constructing plots. And because it’s the only time I’ve had a cast of characters living in my head, it’s only while writing for children that I’ve had the experience of one of them going rogue and surprising me to the point that they either exasperate me or make me laugh out loud.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want readers to take away from your writing in general?

Ona Gritz - My hope is always that readers see a bit of themselves in my work, not necessarily in the details, but something in the inner life of the speaker or the character that rings true and feels familiar. I’d love for the book, essay, or poem to be like a friend to them: the kind who, when they’re with them, they find themselves saying, “I feel that way too” or “I know just what you mean.”

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired August or Forever?

Ona Gritz - While most of August or Forever is not autobiographical, I did have a much older half-sister I never had a chance to live with or get to know very well. As a child, I was fascinated by photographs of her, especially because we looked a lot alike. I wondered about her life and imagined what it would have been like if we’d been closer in age and could have been raised together. It was that memory, together with my longing for my other sister who I had been close to, but who was away from home a lot of the time, that first sparked the idea for the story.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you think readers will enjoy most from August or Forever?

Ona Gritz - Having worked as a children’s librarian, one thing I know they’ll like is that it’s short! I’d also like to think that they’ll relate to the narrator Molly and care about what happens to her, and that they’ll find that the story moves well and is compelling.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want readers to learn from August or Forever?

Ona Gritz - I haven’t really thought in terms of what readers might learn from the book, but I have thought about what Molly learns as she grows and changes through the story. For one thing, she starts out with a very set idea of what constitutes a family and, by the end, comes to realize that families can take many forms. She also recognizes that close friendships are their own kind of family.

Life Is What It's Called - How does August or Forever stand apart from others on the market?

Ona Gritz - There are middle grade books about divorce and about blended families, but August or Forever is the only one I know of that takes on the perspective of a child from a parent’s second happy marriage. It’s not about the heartbreak of a family falling apart or the drama of taking on a new sibling. Rather, it’s about the particular kind of loneliness that comes from having a sibling who’s both yours and not yours, who may be reachable on a video call but who doesn’t share in your daily life. It’s not an uncommon experience, yet, until now, it hasn’t been portrayed in a book for children.

Life Is What It's Called - What did you enjoy most about writing this story?

Ona Gritz - One of the most magical experiences I’ve had as a writer is when the project I’m working on seems to know things that I don’t. In August Or Forever, there were scenes I wrote because they made sense in the moment and then they surprised me later by coming back around as the answer to a question in the plot. In fact, a scene like that gave me my ending. The writer Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the act of creating as a collaboration between an idea and a human partner. That feels so true to me when those seemingly incidental scenes show me why they are important to the story.

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

Ona Gritz - I just signed a contract to write a young adult novel in verse with a main character who, like me, has cerebral palsy. I’m also editing a book about the poet Sharon Olds who was an important mentor to me in graduate school and throughout my writing life.

Life Is What It's Called - What authors inspire you?

Ona Gritz - Among the children’s authors who really inspire me are Kate DiCamillo, Patricia MacLachlan, Meg Medina, Rebecca Stead, and Jacqueline Woodson.

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

Ona Gritz - I’m eager to meet my young readers in their classrooms, book groups, or libraries. Come find me on onagritz.com if you’d like to meet in person or on Zoom.


Enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of August or Forever, autographed by Ona Gritz, and a glass heart necklace (like one that figures prominently in the story)!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A signed, paperback copy of August or Forever
  • A glass heart necklace

Nine (9) winners receive:
  • A signed, paperback copy of August or Forever

August or Forever Book Giveaway

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Ona Gritz.

The Museum of Lost Teeth Virtual Book Tour, Review, and Giveaway

Thursday, February 9, 2023


The Museum of Lost Teeth

Written by Elyssa Friedland

Illustrated by Gladys Jose

Ages 4+ | 40 Pages

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers | ISBN-13: 978-1419757051

Publisher’s Book Summary: Find out where the tooth fairy takes all those lost teeth in this laugh-out-loud new picture book, perfect for fans of School’s First Day of School.

Toothy lives in Liam’s mouth next to his best friend Fang. He’s a good tooth—sparkly and strong, and he loves doing the floss.

One day, Toothy notices that he is loose and panics! Where will he go after he leaves his comfy spot next to Fang? After a crunchy apple seals the deal, Toothy is tucked under Liam’s pillow. When the Tooth Fairy appears, she takes Toothy to the Museum of Lost Teeth. It’s a more incredible place than Toothy could have ever imagined. It’s filled with new friends and fun activities like Tooth or Dare! Toothy finds a new home on the Firsts Floor, where first baby teeth are proudly displayed.

In the tradition of School’s First Day of School, The Museum of Lost Teeth answers the question “Where do all the lost teeth go?” in this unexpected and hilarious picture book.

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


Elyssa Friedland is the bestselling author of four adult novels published by William Morrow and Berkley. She has written for the Washington Post, McSweeney’s, POPSUGAR, RealSimple.com, and Bustle, among others. She lives in New York City with her husband and three young children. The Museum of Lost Teeth is her first picture book.

For more information, visit elyssafriedland.com or https://www.instagram.com/elyssafriedland/


Gladys Jose is an illustrator and storyteller. She graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2012, where she earned a BFA specializing in graphic design. Jose is the illustrator of a number of books for young readers, including Fresh Princess and Clayton Parker Really Really REALLY Has to Pee. She lives in the sunny state of Florida.

For more information, visit gladysjose.com or https://www.instagram.com/gladysjoseillustrates/.

The Museum of Lost Teeth is a fun story that instantly became a classic in our home. My kids (age 7 and 4) loved hearing the story. They asked for it to be read to them over and over again. I love books that my kids gravitate towards and want to listen to. I think it helps build a love of learning and reading. The story is easy and fun to read out loud. The story answers the age-old question of what the tooth fairy does with all the teeth she collects. The story is imaginative and told in an entertaining voice. I felt like the author did a good job with the story and it's also very different from the other books on the market about losing your first tooth.  Kids will be drawn to finding out what the tooth fairy does with the teeth she collects and the attractive illustrations. The story is fun and written in a way that kids will find engaging and entertaining. The illustrations are vibrant, visually pleasing, and detailed. You could tell that the illustrator put a lot of thought and care into the designs. This is a book that could easily become a favorite at home, could be read out loud in a classroom, or in a library story time setting. I would highly recommend getting this book!


Enter for a chance to win a copy of The Museum of Lost Teeth with a $25 Bookshop.org gift card.

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A copy of The Museum of Lost Teeth
  • A $25 Bookshop.org Gift Card
Two (2) winners receive:
  • A signed copy of The Museum of Lost Teeth

The Museum of Lost Teeth Book Giveaway

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Elyssa Friedland. I received a free copy to review, however, this is my honest opinion.

Miss Newbury's List Book Review and Author Interview

Wednesday, February 8, 2023


Before Rosalind weds, she wants to experience ten things. Meeting Charlie wasn’t on her list.

England, 1820

Rosalind Newbury is counting down the days until her wedding to the Duke of Marlow, a man she has only met twice, and she knows exactly how she wants to spend her time. As a child, Ros created a list of ten things to do before her wedding day. So far, she has done none of them. She is determined to tackle each item, though she’ll have to accomplish them all in secret. After all, a soon-to-be-duchess is not usually allowed to bury treasure in the pasture, eat sweets all day, or learn how to swim. She enlists the help of her best friend, Liza, who brings along her cousin, Charlie, a prodigal son-turned-boxer who has come to the countryside to mend his reputation and learn how to be his father’s heir. Together, the three of them work to complete the list, and as each item is crossed off, an unlikely friendship blossoms between Ros and Charlie. The more time they spend together, the more Ros falls in love with this imperfect man and his good heart. With the wedding looming, Ros must decide to either admit her romantic feelings for Charlie and risk her family’s future or keep her promise to marry the duke and start a new life as a noblewoman.


MEGAN WALKER was raised on a berry farm in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where her imagination took her to times past and worlds away. While earning her degree in Early Childhood Education, she married her one true love and started a family. But her imaginings of Regency England wouldn’t leave her alone, so she picked up a pen. And the rest is history. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and three children.


Life Is What It's Called - What sets this book apart from other books of this genre?

Megan Walker - I think Miss Newbury's List stands apart by its premise--this list of things Rosalind wants to do before she weds--and it's cast of characters who each feel lost in their own way, but together, find how to continue forward.

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

Megan Walker - I started writing Miss Newbury's List at the same time I started Lakeshire Park. Lakeshire Park won out, and I finished it first. I loved the idea of a wayward boxer-gentleman paired with a seemingly-has-it-all heroine, and when I came back to this story after Lakeshire, I played around with the premise a lot before I found where my boxer belonged, (several drafts later), then the list fell into place.

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

Megan Walker - I hope they like the romance, the unlikely pairing, and the hard decisions these characters have to make that ultimately change the course of their lives. I hope the jokes hit right, and a certain kiss scene is everything my readers dream for. Xoxo.

Life Is What It's Called - What was your favorite scene to write?

Megan Walker - So hard to choose!! I'll say when Charlie teaches Ros how to box, because I feel like that moment is the catalyst for their relationship. That was a scene I could picture super clearly, and it just flowed out of me.

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

Megan Walker - Same time period! But this time, my heroine already has everything she could ever want--or so she tries to believe. It's maybe more adventurous? Definitely (hopefully) the same tension and angst I loved writing in Lakeshire Park.

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

Megan Walker - I'm almost finished with my third regency romance, and I am having so much fun I never want it to end! I'm hoping to share more details soon!!

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want readers to know most about you as a writer?

Megan Walker - My hope as a writer is to bring my characters to life on the page in a way that feels immersive to my readers. I hope my readers go on a journey with my characters and feel entertained, heartbroken, and healed all the way to the happily ever after.

Also, I want everyone to know that I am as imperfect a writer as I am a human, and while I try to keep my books as historically accurate as possible, sometimes funny things require stretching the imagination and anything glaringly off the rocker is solely on me.

Regency romance readers will enjoy the fresh new approach to Regency Era genre fiction in Miss Newbury's List. The romance focuses on Miss Newbury accomplishing her "bucket" list of things to do before she weds. The reader embarks on fun and amusing escapades as Miss Newbury with grit and determination tries to accomplish each task. Miss Newbury learns more about herself with each task and has to figure out what she really wants. The characters evolve and progress as the story unfolds. Walker does a good job at keeping the reader engaged, entertained, and provides thoughtful insight through her characters about the balance between duty and our own aims at life. She describes several scenes with active detail and humor that readers may find themselves with a smile or a chuckle. Overall, this was an amusing and fun book to read. I think Regency romance readers will enjoy this story and find themselves asking themselves what would they put on such a list. To learn more, click here.

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

Virtually Me Blog Tour, Author Interview, and Review

Tuesday, February 7, 2023



“A timely, feel-good tale of learning to accept oneself and others.” ―Kirkus

“Engaging. The heartfelt core of Virtually Me is the awkward, funny, and incomparable essence of being truly human.” ―Foreword Reviews

A mysterious package. A new school. A chance to be someone new.

A new virtual reality school where students get a fresh start.

The pandemic was rough on everyone, especially since school went from being a fun place where you could hang out with your friends to a bunch of heads in small rectangles all trying to talk at once. For Bradley, Edelle, Hunter, Jasper, and Keiko, that’s about to change.

A mysterious box arrives at each of their houses, and they’re invited to attend a virtual school. More than just being online, they’ll be able to create an avatar of themselves and interact with their friends and other classmates in real time using VR headsets.

For each of them, that presents an opportunity to become someone they’re not, or someone they haven’t been. For Bradley, it’s a chance to come out of a self-imposed shell. Edelle hopes everyone will see her for who she really is, not just for how she looks. Hunter is looking forward to pretending he’s still the person he was last year. Jasper wants to get over past assumptions. And for Keiko, it’ll allow her to disappear into the crowd.

For all of them, it’s a chance to see just how much they’ve assumed about each other in the past and maybe an opportunity to become friends.


Life Is What It's Called - What are the major themes in the book and how do they relate to middle grade readers?

Chad Morris - The story focuses on three kids who choose to go to a virtual school during a pandemic. Bradley is an overweight, Kpop fan, who loves to dance, but goes to virtual school because he hasn’t had friends in years and figures out that in the virtual world he doesn’t have to look like himself. It’s his chance to reinvent himself. I think we’ve all wanted that. There’s something really appealing about it.

Edelle goes because her mom makes her. In her previous school there was a website where boys ranked how pretty the girls were and Edelle was consistently in the top 5. And she knew how to use social media to keep herself there. But her mom thinks it’s all gone too far and makes Edelle go with an avatar that is far from top 5 pretty. That’s also a theme. What if those who look really good, had to experience a different life? How would they do? What would they learn?

And then there is Hunter, that star lacrosse player who chooses virtual school for a secret reason. His avatar looks just like him and he’s determined to win over virtual school like he did his last school. Plus, he’s determined to find Edelle, having absolutely no idea, she’s the girl he talks to everyday, and he isn’t interested in at all.

The book really asks interesting questions: What if the awkward kid no longer looked awkward? Would it change the way you think about him? What if the pretty girl was no longer pretty? Would you still want to talk to her? How important is the way we look? Who would we be friends with if looks didn’t matter at all?

Plus, it has minor themes of different ways kids dealt with the pandemic. And I think kids want to think and talk about that.

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

Chad Morris - There’s a lot to like. There are funny characters, interesting situations, mistaken identities, a virtual game tournament, and the chance to reinvent ourselves. I think it’s a quick entertaining read with a lot of laughs and a lot of heart.

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

Chad Morris - I’ve thought about how we treat people differently when we look different. And, how we often work so hard to appear the best way possible, especially online. Combine that with a fascination with virtual reality and just having gone through the pandemic and we had our inspiration. Virtual reality is so cool and we thought it was a better alternative to just zooming in meetings. It could really work as a school.

Life Is What It's Called - How do you see this book being used in the classroom? and at home?

Chad Morris - Though the characters are fun and funny, the book is filled with interesting questions we might ask ourselves. What would we do? How might we be overlooking amazing people now because of their appearance? How might we be focused too much on how we look? I think kids will love it for the story, but deal with some interesting themes along the way that teachers and parents will love.

Life Is What It's Called - Why will middle-grader readers relate to a virtual world?

Chad Morris - Virtual worlds are so inventive and immersive. They allow us to experience what we can’t in real life. And yet, in this virtual world, it’s enough like real life to have a familiar, this-could-be-me feeling. Add that to the fact that, these days, so many of us spend a lot of time in virtual or at least digital worlds and get both the good and bad from that.

Life Is What It's Called - What sets this book apart from other middle grade novels on the market?

Chad Morris - Honestly, I don’t know of anything like it. Pandemic and a virtual school. I think it’s timely, fresh, entertaining, and interesting.

Life Is What It's Called - What did you learn from writing this book and what do you want your readers to learn from it?

Chad Morris - In the actual writing, we learned more grit and determination. We’ve written several books, won awards, and had some decent success. Some people might think we no longer struggle as we try to write books. But the first draft of this book was riddled with significant problems we were pretty blind to. After feedback from the publisher, it needed an overhaul. We took a good look at it, rewrote it making the world better. But even then, we had to rewrite the ending again. Even successful authors can get it wrong and need to start over and try again. We feel the story is all the better for it.

We also really enjoyed playing with those themes. It caused me to really think about how I might overlook others. It also had me thinking about my attitudes toward the digital world and how I and others portray ourselves on social media. I hope readers learn to really try to look at a whole person, to get to know them, to avoid snap judgments, and make some true friends. And give that kid who is alone a chance. He or she just might become the best friend you’ve ever had.

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

Chad Morris - Authors are just people. Shelly and I love all sorts of things that come out in this book. I like virtual games (I got Beat Saber for Christmas) and sports (Go Utah Jazz!). Shelly loves K-pop (She has a BTS poster up in our house) and dancing. And we love to make up stories. Different parts of us come out in our different books. If you have any desire to tell your stories we really hope that you take the time to write them down. Nobody else will be able to tell your story like you can.

And for those who only wish to read, read on! Readers grow in ways that nonreaders never will. We hope you never stop.

Initially when I read the premise of the book, I was a little skeptical and wasn't sure about reviewing it. After hearing about a fiction book that my son read with virtual reality in it for a book report, that didn't have that great of a message...I realized that kids wanted books on virtual reality. Kids are interested in the virtual world with the new technology and games that are coming out. I wasn't sure if I would like Virtually Me, but I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked the messaging and themes in this book. It's something that I think every preteen, teen, and even adult should read. It hits on the importance on being yourself and not worrying about your appearance to others. Each of the characters come from different backgrounds and groups, but most of them struggle with being themselves and putting too much pressure on themselves or others around them. The author shows what each of the characters are like in their own home or comfort zone and how they then project themselves in the virtual world. The character are likeable and relatable. A reader can probably identify with at least one of the main characters. I felt like it was a quality book. Meaning, that it was well written, well-developed, had a message for the readers and something that readers could relate to. It's something that you want on your shelves and parents will want their kids to read. The story was easy-to-read and had a great pacing. The author does a good job at describing the characters, the scenes and the action. It's a book I hope that my kids will read and internalize the messages for themselves. I would highly recommend this book. To learn more, click here.

Please note that I received a free copy of this book, however, this is my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog.

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs