Books I Can’t Wait to Read in 2020

I am once again hopping onto the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge from Long and Short Reviews (see how good I am so far at posting more often?)

This week’s topic:

Books I Can’t Wait to Read in 2020

Amazon Associates Disclaimer: J. Lynn Rowan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. I receive a small percentage of earnings on any purchase you make through associated Amazon buy links, at no extra cost to you.

Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson

This is the third and final book in the Seeds of America trilogy. I’d been waiting literally years to get my hands on this book, as I loved the first two installments. Ashes is the final volume telling the story of Isabel and Curzon, two young African Americans, as they navigate the dangers of the American Revolution in an attempt to rescue Isabel’s little sister from slavery in the south.

The Gown by Jennifer Robson


The Gown is a fictionalized account of the royal wedding of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip (before they were Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip). I’ve been binging on Netflix’s “The Crown” for a while, so this is right up my alley.

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

News of the World is a new title for me. Set in the days after the Civil War, it follows a news reporter into unsettled territory of the Great Plains as he attempts to return a young girl to her family.

The fall of Gondolan and Beren & Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien

If you didn’t already know, I’m a Tolkien fan. I’ve read Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and the Silmarillion multiple times.

For fun.

A few years ago, Tolkein’s son, Christopher Tolkien, began working to take some of the tales from the Silmarillion and, using his father’s extensive notes, flesh them out into proper novels of their own. I am giddy to finally own Beren & Luthien and The Fall of Gondolin, as I already own The Children of Hurin.

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Who doesn’t love a good story about Alexander Hamilton? My Dear Hamilton, however, provides a glimpse into the very private – and elusive – experiences of Eliza Schulyer Hamilton in the years before and after meeting and marrying America’s first Secretary of the Treasury. The authors completed impeccable research to flesh out the character of a woman often overlooked in the history books, but whose story is compelling in its own right.

So what about you? What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

My Goals for 2020

2020 is upon us, and with it the obligitory Yearly Goal Setting Post.

Goals.gif

This year, I’m piggybacking onto the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

So what’s on tap for me this year? I’m trying to be conscious of the fact that I have a new baby, which obviously changes a lot in terms of how much time I have for any sort of goal setting. But here goes.

Writing

Obviously I want to try and do more writing this year. This includes submitting the historical romance that placed 2nd in three 2018 contests (yes, I know that was a goal last year, too). I also need to return to the first installment in my Sweet Somethings spinoff trilogy, which has sat in First Draft Limbo since last February.

This also incorporates freelancing. I had several excellent freelance writing gigs the past couple years and I want to keep that up, in addition to my independent contractor work with Newsela.

As an extension, I would love to finally set up a copyediting business as well. This has been sitting on my chairside table for over a year. I should probably start perusing it:

Ultimately I would love if I can make enough with my pen, so to speak, to cover Babycakes’s school expenses and maybe a little extra.

Reading More Books

Or just reading books.

More on that later.

Cooking

I love to cook and bake, but haven’t had time to do much of either since I went back to work in 2015.

Okay, since Babycakes was born and then we moved to Charlotte and most of my kitchen stuff stayed in boxes for almost a year.

Being a stay-at-home-mom again for a while will, eventually, give me time to cook and bake again like I used to. For now, it helps that I am now the owner of an Instant Pot:

Apparently I can make yogurt with it? I’m also interested in the fact that I can also apparently sterilze baby bottles with it.

Being Mommy

Of course this year, I want to focus once again on being Mommy. I am officially on maternity leave for the rest of the school year, and then we have to reevaluate our plans beyond that. But I have a 5 year old in kindergarten, and I want to volunteer at her school. And of course, Sugarpie is here.

I also hope to not only finish filling out Babycakes’s baby book, but also keeping up with Sugarpie’s.

what are your big goals for 2020?

Much Ado About a Widow (Virtual Tour & Giveaway)

Much Ado About a Widow

by Jenna Jaxon

Genre: Historical Romance

Blurb

A key grated in the lock. Lulu growled and stalked toward it, the fur on her back rising straight up.

“Not yet, Lulu.” Georgie gathered the leash. “Don’t bite him quite yet.”

Her dog stopped advancing on the door; however, the growling did not abate. Better be safe. She gathered Lulu into her arms. “I’ll give you the signal.”

The cabin door swung open, revealing Lord St. Just, an impossibly broad grin on his face. “Wait until I tell you what my men and I just did.”

“You don’t have to tell me, my lord. I already know.” Georgie glared at him and held Lulu tighter. The little animal was shaking, and Georgie was sure if she loosened her grip Lulu would launch herself at the unwary marquess. Serve him right too.

“You do?” He frowned and cocked his head, which made him look like a puzzled puppy. Lulu looked just like that whenever she was unhappy. But what did he have to be unhappy about? He was the one who had kidnapped her.

“You have set sail, my lord, with me and my maid aboard against our wills. Many sensible people call that kidnapping.” She’d always known this man was a pirate. In fact, she’d told her brother so. She handed Lulu to Clara before the dog could leap out of her arms and tear at his lordship’s throat. If anyone was going to attack the marquess, it would be Georgie herself. Plant him a facer and see how he liked being set upon.

“Oh.” The impossible man was all smiles again. “Yes, we had to put out or miss the evening tide.” His grin had returned, showing many straight, white teeth. “But we did manage to steal your trunks, Lady Georgina. If you will consider yourself abducted again, at least rejoice in the fact that you will have clean linen throughout the ordeal.”

During the tour, Jenna Jaxon will be randomly awarding a $25 Amazon/B&N Gift Card to one lucky winner. Click here to enter the Rafflecopter contest.

Meet Jenna Jaxon

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

Blog:  www.jennajaxon.wordpress.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jenna.jaxon

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Jenna_Jaxon

Instagram: passionistimeless

Buy the Book:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Much-about-Widow-Widows-Club-ebook/dp/B07Q6VM63Q/

 

A New Edition – I mean – Addition

2019 is coming to a close, and what a whirlwind year it proved to be.

I got started with some very cool independent contracting work, which I’m looking forward to continuing next year.

I self-published a historical fiction short story.

And our family welcomed a new “edition”, you will.

I found out on April 1st (no joke) that we were expecting again. It was the first time since having Babycakes that we had a positive test, and disbelief isn’t a strong enough word for how I felt. As with Babycakes, worry and a lingering need to remain somewhat detached were the norm.

It was not an easy pregnancy.

With Babycakes, I had pretty severe nausea and vomiting from week 6 to week 16 of that pregnancy, and this time around was worse. The nausea began around week 5 and continued literally until the day before I delivered. I had food aversions, mainly meat – which caused anemia. I felt tired. I felt terrible. And as with Babycakes, I worried that, no matter what I did, there was a chance this just wouldn’t work out.

But on December 4th, Sugarpie arrived.

She is an unexpected blessing.

Now, we reenter The Baby Bubble.

A Sickness in the Soul (Virtual Tour & Giveaway)

A Sickness in the Soul: An Ashmole Foxe Georgian Mystery

by William Savage

Genre: Historical Mystery

Book Blurb

“Many people wear masks. Some to hide their feelings; some to conceal their identity; and some to hide that most hideous plague of mankind: a sickness in the soul.”

 

Ashmole Foxe, Norwich bookseller, man-about-town and solver of mysteries will encounter all of these in this tangled drama of hatred, obsession and redemption.

 

This is a story set in the England of the 1760s, a time of rigid class distinctions, where the rich idle their days away in magnificent mansions, while hungry children beg, steal and prostitute themselves on the streets. An era on the cusp of revolution in America and France; a land where outward wealth and display hide simmering political and social tensions; a country which had faced intermittent war for the past fifty years and would need to survive a series of world-wide conflicts in the fifty years ahead.

 

Faced with no less than three murders, occurring from the aristocracy to the seeming senseless professional assassination of a homeless vagrant, Ashmole Foxe must call on all his skill and intelligence to uncover the sickness which appears to be infecting his city’s very soul.

 

Can Foxe uncover the truth which lies behind a series of baffling deaths, from an aristocrat attending a ball to a vagrant murdered where he slept in a filthy back-alley?

Read an Excerpt

‘Most irregular!’ the coroner spluttered. ‘This is mere hearsay, doctor. I cannot admit it into evidence unless it is vouched for by the physician who you say was there at the time. Is that gentleman in the court?’

Silence.

‘Does anyone know where he may be found?’

The clerk to the court stepped forward — most reluctantly, Foxe thought. With much hesitation, he explained that, unfortunately, the man was not present at the inquest. Nor could his evidence be sought.

‘From what I have been told by those who encountered him that evening, sir, he was visiting from London. He said he intended to depart to return home on the first mail coach the following morning.’

‘God’s teeth!’ the coroner exploded. ‘Did anyone think to make a note of this man’s name or ask where he lived?’

Another silence.

‘Is Viscount Penngrove present?’

A tall man with a long, bony face stood up slowly. ‘I am here,’ he said. ‘I wish to God I were not.’

Whether this was an understandable comment about needing to attend an inquest on one of his sons, or an expression of disgust at being forced to sit, hugger-mugger, with tradesmen and other common people, was not entirely clear.

‘Is it true, your lordship,’ the coroner said, ‘as the medical examiner here has said, that this physician no one can name made a remark about the temperature of your son’s … body … and the extent of … um … stiffening?’

‘Something like that,’ Viscount Penngrove drawled.

‘Exactly as reported, my lord? Nothing else added and nothing omitted?’

‘Can’t recall. Rather upset by it all, as you might imagine.’

The coroner struggled bravely forward. ‘You did not ask for this physician’s name or his address?’

‘I am not in the habit of bothering myself with the personal details of tradespeople,’ came the viscount’s cold reply. ‘I passed what I could remember on to the fellow now on the stand. Up to him after that.’ He then sat down, making it clear he would entertain no further questioning.

Author William Savage is awarding a $50 Amazon/B&N Gift Card to one randomly chosen winner during the tour. Click here to enter the Rafflecopter Contest!

Meet William Savage

I started to write fiction as a way of keeping my mind active in retirement. Throughout my life, I have read and enjoyed hundreds of detective stories and mystery novels. One of my other loves is history, so it seemed natural to put the two together. Thus began two series of murder mystery books set in Norfolk, England.

All my books are set between 1760 and around 1800, a period of turmoil in Britain, with constant wars, revolutions in America and France and finally the titanic, 22-year struggle with Napoleon.

The Ashmole Foxe series takes place at the start of this time and is located in Norwich. Mr Foxe is a dandy, a bookseller and, unknown to most around him, the mayor’s immediate choice to deal with anything likely to upset the peace or economic security of the city.

The series featuring Dr Adam Bascom, a young gentleman physician caught up in the beginning of the Napoleonic wars, takes place in a variety of locations near the North Norfolk coast. Adam builds a successful medical practice, but his insatiable curiosity and  knack for unravelling intrigue constantly involve him in mysteries large and small.

I have spent a good deal of my life travelling in Britain and overseas. Now I am more than content to write stories and run a blog devoted to the world of Georgian England, which you can find at http://www.penandpension.com. You can also follow me on Twitter as @penandpension.

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RZBGQ0K

The Ashmole Foxe Mysteries

All https://penandpension.com/my-writing#foxe

The Ashmole Foxe Mysteries http://bit.ly/2Abn1Ks

The Fabric of Murder http://relinks.me/B00W3SDJW8

Dark Threads of Vengeance http://relinks.me/B01FPQ2Q1Y

This Parody of Death http://relinks.me/B06XDNY81B

Bad Blood Will Out http://relinks.me/B079RCVQ4X

Black as She’s Painted http://relinks.me/B07H1SZN37

A Sickness in the Soul https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WF3Y4VJ

Getbook.at/SoulSickness

The Dr Adam Bascom Mysteries

All https://penandpension.com/my-writing#bascom

The Dr Adam Bascom Mysteries http://bit.ly/2k43dSQ

An Unlamented Death http://relinks.me/B00RXGWIY0

The Code for Killing http://relinks.me/B01A2BY1LU

A Shortcut to Murder http://relinks.me/B01M1R78L3

A Tincture of Secrets and Lies http://relinks.me/B075LM2TZP

Death of a Good Samaritan https://relinks.me/B07NLCGK2Y

Blog: Pen and Pension: http://bit.ly/1Kb1Q4k

Amazon Author page:  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RZBGQ0K

The Red Pearl (Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway)

The Red Pearl

by Chloe Helton

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb

“The Red Pearl is a delight. Meticulously researched, it transports the reader to the inns and backstreets of Boston in 1778. Lucy Finch’s personal tragedy spurs her on to take an active role in the revolutionary war, despite the immense danger it brings to herself, her family and friends. Ms. Helton’s characters are warm, living beings with gifts and flaws. Their relationships are altered — broken or strengthened — by the battles on distant fields and the evil of individuals closer to home.” – Carrie Bedford, Author of Nobilissima

There’s something peculiar about the small group of men who have begun to frequent The Red Pearl, the tavern that has hosted a variety of Boston’s men since before the Revolutionary War began. In a rebellious city that does not tolerate Loyalists, men could come here and speak freely without fear of the repercussions — and Jasper Finch, the tavern-keeper, has always been proud of that.

But now the war is in full force, and Lucy Finch — the tavern-keeper’s wife — is growing nervous about The Red Pearl’s most loyal customers. Their clandestine meetings and hushed whispers suggest dark secrets — secrets which may threaten the safety of Boston, and the future of the war itself.

Lucy struggles to stay loyal to her husband’s wishes while grappling with the surprising truths of America’s war for independence. When a terrible assault makes her ache for revenge, she must make a choice: Will she keep quiet about the explosive secrets she has learned, or will she expose them and risk her marriage and possibly her life?

Set in the wild and unpredictable world of the Revolutionary War, fans of historical fiction will fall in love with Lucy Finch, who faces impossible choices that may change the fate of a nation.

Read an Excerpt

“I came to tell you something to pass to your captain.”

“Such as?”

“Information. Men talk, especially when they’re drinking in the tavern, and I’ve heard things that might be of interest.”

“Tavern gossip is not our concern, Lucy. It was good to see you.”

My lips pursed. Jonathan had never been the most friendly of us, but this was rude. “No. I paid fifteen pennies and took a whole day to come here, which my husband would have my hide for if he knew of, by the way, and I won’t let you pass me off. As your sister, I deserve to be listened to, at least.”

He looked away, then sighed. “I regret my rudeness. You may speak.”

Tempted to clench my jaw – you may speak, how patronizing of him – I launched into the story immediately, my enthusiasm spiralling with every word, and when I finished I glanced at him proudly, anticipating his astonished and impressed smile.

His fingers twitched. “Thank you,” he said flatly. “I’m sure it will be taken care of.”

That didn’t sound right. “You’re not going to do anything about it?”

There were a few other soldiers on the other side of the empty pit, and they perked up for a moment at my urgent tone.

“We get dozens of tips like this,” my brother informed me quietly. “The colonists never have a problem foiling British shipments.”

“You don’t understand. They’ve gotten away with it so far; they said they’ve never had a ship that didn’t pass through.”

He considered this. “Okay.” It wasn’t a rejection, but it wasn’t a promise, either. It was less than he would have given Thea, who had married a good patriot, whose first love had not been so wild as to scare our father into marrying her to someone so absurdly sensible as my husband.

“I promise you, I am speaking truth,” I told him. “I wouldn’t bring this to you if I didn’t believe it.”

Chloe Helton will be awarding $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click here to enter!

 

Meet Chloe Helton

Chloe Helton is the author of four historical fiction novels, including And the Stars Wept and the Wattpad favorite A Thousand Eyes. Her readers have journeyed with her from the shores of Elizabethan England to the stormy battlefields of the Civil War in search of the often-hidden stories of women who made history.

Website: chloeheltonbooks.com

Amazon link for The Red Pearl

Goodreads Profile

https://www.facebook.com/chloeheltonbooks/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/chloe-helton

https://twitter.com/heltonbooks

Guest Post from Jo McNally – The Challenges of Writing a Holiday Themed Novel

Today I’m hosting romance author Jo McNally, who’s going to tell us a bit about the challenges she faced when writing STEALING KISSES IN THE SNOW. Be sure to check out info on her book AND giveaway below!

~~~~~~~~~~

Stealing Kisses in the Snow was my first holiday romance, and it was exciting to tackle a new sub-genre. There were a couple of unique challenges that kept pushing back at me as I wrote–the predefined end date, and getting the emotions to go deeper than snowflakes and Christmas lights.

I usually write from a start date and let the romantic relationship play out organically in my books. But a holiday romance generally ends on the holiday. In an early draft, Piper and Logan were being so cautious that when I went back and tracked the days, it was December and they were still just flirting around. I realized I couldn’t let them just meander through their relationship because tick-tock, Christmas was coming! I charted out the weeks from the start of the story in October up to Christmas Day (the final scene in the book) and moved things around so the timeline felt natural but still hit the target.

My other challenge was writing a fun holiday romance with laughs and snowstorms and joy, but also with intense emotions. Piper is a widowed mom of two, and she’s promised them a “perfect” Christmas. Her plans don’t include the rugged oil rig worker who just cruised into town on a Harley to help his grandmother run the Victorian inn where Piper works. She’s had love once in her life, and lost him when he was killed in action. She’s not sure she deserves a second chance at love, and she’s convinced it wouldn’t be fair to her kids. So her reasons for resisting her feelings for Logan are complex. She has frank discussions with Logan, her children, and her former in-laws about her late husband and his importance to all of them. Logan has to navigate that reality and responsibility as he’s falling for the cute little mom in the ruffled apron. That story of a family coming apart, then coming together again, was important to tell, but at the same time, this is a funny, sexy story that ends on a not-so-perfect, but very special, Christmas Day.

~~~~~~~~~~

Stealing Kisses in the Snow

by Jo McNally

GENRE:   Contemporary Romance

Maybe “perfect” is over-rated…

Between juggling two kids, two jobs, and a fixer-upper house, single mom Piper Montgomery is so busy she can hardly see straight.  But when rugged biker Logan Taggert strolls into the B&B where she’s working, she can’t help but stare.  He has bad boy written all over him. She’s promised her kids a “perfect Christmas” this year, and bad boys aren’t part of the plan. But how can she resist?

Once his grandmother is back on her feet, Logan can leave her Victorian B&B get back on the road.  It’s where he belongs after all, even if his grandmother’s matchmaking book club biddies try to convince him otherwise.  But there’s something about beautiful, spitfire Piper that makes him wonder if kids and commitment might be just what he needs after all.

As Christmas draws ever closer, so do Piper and Logan.  Could these two opposites find all they want this Christmas is each other?

Read an Excerpt

“Okay, Lily. If you see that giant again, bring him to me so I can tell him to stop hanging around here. It’s bad for business.”

Lily giggled and dashed out of the kitchen before Piper could tell her they were leaving soon. She put away the rest of the dishes and tossed the dishrag into the bin to be washed. She was mopping up the last corner of the floor when she heard the kitchen door open again. Good—Lily hadn’t wandered far.

“I’m glad you’re back, sweetie. I’m almost done, so—”

“Momma! I found the giant! Isn’t he hoomongus?”

Piper turned and froze, clutching the mop handle tightly. Lily was standing in the doorway, holding hands with a stranger. Well over six feet tall, with straggly, wet hair hanging to his shoulders and a scruffy beard, the man was clothed entirely in black leather, including leather chaps on his long legs. He had the deepest-set eyes Piper had ever seen, shadowed under heavy, dark brows. With his size and overall menacing appearance, it was no wonder Lily thought he was a giant.

And he was holding her daughter’s tiny hand.

Piper bristled, her exhaustion gone in a flash. She’d gladly battle actual monsters to save her children, and big or not (and he was big), this was just a man. A man who was about to regret touching her little girl. She brandished the mop handle in front of her like a sword as she went toward him. “You let her go right this minute! And get out of here! I’m calling the police…” She fumbled to get her phone out of her back pocket while still aiming the mop at him. Her voice was fast approaching a scream. “You get the hell away from my daughter!”

Jo McNally will be awarding one print copy of SLOW DANCING AT SUNRISE by Jo McNally and 1 print copy of STEALING KISSES IN THE SNOW by Jo McNally, shipping limited to North American (US and Canada) only to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click here to enter the contest!

Meet Jo McNally

Jo McNally lives in coastal North Carolina with 100 pounds of dog and 200 pounds of husband – her slice of the bed is very small. When she’s not writing or reading romance novels (or clinging to the edge of the bed…), she can often be found on the back porch sipping wine with friends, listening to great music. If the weather is absolutely perfect, she’ll occasionally join her husband on the golf course, where she always feels far more competitive than her actual skill-level would suggest.

 

Author Links

Website: https://jomcnallyromance.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JoMcNallyAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoMcNallyAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jo.mcnally/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15850595.Jo_McNally

 

STEALING KISSES IN THE SNOW Buy Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1335041486

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stealing-kisses-in-the-snow-jo-mcnally/1129992769

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/stealing-kisses-in-the-snow/id1446004554

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/stealing-kisses-in-the-snow

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jo_McNally_Stealing_Kisses_in_the_Snow?id=vTp-DwAAQBAJ