Sunday, September 16, 2018

Book Review: The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston

Book Review


The Little Shop of Found Things

Paula Brackston


Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author of The Witch's Daughter Paula Brackston returns to her trademark blend of magic and romance guaranteed to enchant in The Little Shop of Found Things, the first book in a new continuing series.
An antique shop haunted by a ghost.
A silver treasure with an injustice in its story.
An adventure to the past she’ll never forget.
Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. When she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more.
It is while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century where it has its origins. She discovers there is an injustice in its history. The spirit that inhabits her new home confronts her and charges her with saving her daughter’s life, threatening to take Flora’s if she fails.
While Xanthe fights to save the girl amid the turbulent days of 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave.


Release Date: October 16, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy


Order now on:



My 5-Star Review:

I must preface this by saying that I have read all of Paula Brackston’s “witch” books and enjoyed them immensely, so it went without saying that I would read anything new that she wrote. And I’m very happy that I read her newest novel, The Little Shop of Found Things. While this isn’t a novel about witches, it is a story with magical qualities and interesting characters that made it very hard to put down.

Xanthe is a special woman who sells antiques with her mother and has the ability to “feel” certain things about the most special items that come into her life. Moving to a new town to start their life over again, Xanthe and her mother, Flora, buy an old antique shop in need of a lot of love and cleaning. While attending an auction to buy items to fill their new shop, Xanthe is drawn to one particular item and must have it. That item takes her on an adventure through time where she must come to the aid of a young girl or else risk the consequences of a very angry ghost. Sounds intriguing? It is, believe me.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The characters come to life and take you on a journey that you will not soon forget. Once again, Ms. Brackston has created a unique world with interesting characters. It is a story you will not want to miss.

(I received a copy of this novel from the NetGalley and the publisher and have given an honest review.)


About the Author:

Paula Brackston lives in a wild, mountainous part of Wales. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. Before becoming a writer, Paula tried her hand at various career paths, with mixed success. These included working as a groom on a racing yard, a travel agent, a secretary, an English teacher, and a goat herd. Everyone involved (particularly the goats) is very relieved that she has now found a job she is actually able to do properly. 

When not hunched over her keyboard in her tiny office under the stairs, Paula is dragged outside by her children to play Swedish tennis on the vertiginous slopes which surround them. She also enjoys being walked by the dog, hacking through weeds in the vegetable patch, or sitting by the pond with a glass of wine. Most of the inspiration for her writing comes from stomping about on the mountains being serenaded by skylarks and buzzards.

In 2007 Paula was shortlisted in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book 'Nutters' (writing as PJ Davy) was shortlisted for the Mind Book Award. Last year she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme.


Don’t miss my review of Paula Brackston’s novel, The Witch’s Daughter.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Release Day ~ Miss Etta: A Novel

Miss Etta ~ Release Day!


What Reviewers Are Saying:

“This is a fantastic story, a great adventure, and a real joy to read.  I highly recommend this book to all lovers of romance, action, adventure, and history.5-Star Review from Readers’ Favorite

"Sletten’s fast-paced novel is inspired by real history and features historical figures Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The suspense surrounding both real and fictionalized events helps weave the narrative together and lends it an authentic feel—readers soon forget to wonder what is real and what is fiction in this heartwarming story." --Critic's Report - The BookLife Prize 


"Miss Etta is the great novel every writer hopes to pen in their lifetime and the book every reader is dying to find. By mixing known facts with fiction, it tells the story of Etta Place, Sundance the Kid’s wife. The book has action/adventure, with gunslinging bank robbers, brothels, and daring escapes. Friendships that last lifetimes are featured, as is a love triangle, family secrets, and difficult decisions that brought me to tears at the end. If I had to tell people what the book is about in one sentence, I’d say it’s the Titanic of the Wild West. If you love women’s historical fiction, read Miss Etta. It’s a story you will never forget."
--Kim Cano, Author



It's finally here!

Release Day for

MISS ETTA

This novel holds a special place in my heart. I started writing it
over 25 years ago. I wrote it out by hand in notebooks
while sitting at my children's baseball practices or during stolen
moments in my van as I waited for the kids to get out
of school.

And now it's finally here!

I waited a long time to finish this novel 
because I never thought the time was right to
publish it. But with a renewed interest
by readers in historical fiction,
I set aside all my other writing projects
and finished MISS ETTA.

And now I can finally share it with all of you.

I hope you enjoy this story. I have to say, it's my favorite of all my books.


Book Description:

She rode with the most famous outlaws of her time. Then she vanished.

In the fall of 1895, Etta Place falls in love with Harry Longabaugh, alias the Sundance Kid. She gives up everything to follow him and his partner-in-crime, Butch Cassidy, in their outlaw life across the continent and beyond. Breathtakingly beautiful and every inch a lady, Etta can also ride and shoot as well as any man. As their fugitive life begins to crumble, she finds herself alone and living in a convent with her newborn son. Knowing she can’t hide away forever, she moves halfway across the country to begin anew. Etta prays her past won’t catch up with her.

In 1911 Emily Pleasants steps onto the train station platform of Pine Creek, Minnesota with a teacher’s contract in hand and a secret life she’s fled. A young widow with a small son, she’s searching for a safe place to raise her child where no one will recognize her. She meets Edward Sheridan, a successful merchant and bank owner, who quickly falls for her beauty, intelligence, and kindness. Still, she worries her notorious past will threaten the one thing dearest to her—her son.

From the deserts of Texas to the sweeping vistas of Wyoming, the refinement of New York City to the lush valleys of Argentina, Etta followed the outlaw men she loved so dearly. And then, she disappeared.

One woman, two separate lives. What became of the elusive Etta Place?  


Buy Now:


Barnes & Noble Nook: http://ow.ly/JOeu30kjekn

Apple iBooks: http://ow.ly/pZUJ30kmk9N



Paperback: https://amzn.to/2PyKgDh   






If you read MISS ETTA and love it,
please take a moment to review online
and tell your friends!


Friday, August 17, 2018

New Release: Forever and a Day by Kristen Casey


New Release!

Forever and a Day
Cover created by Tugboat Design
Kristen Casey

A Second Chances Novella and Short Story Bundle

--Contemporary Romance
--Release Date: August 17, 2018

Book Description:

If you read Finding Forever, then you know…never is a very long time.

When Dimitri said that he was never going to get married again, he was dead serious. After all, he had to focus on raising his small daughter Lilly now that he was her only parent. Besides, there was no way he could endure another broken heart like the one his first wife’s passing gave him.

Too bad life had other plans—Lilly’s new teacher Emily is too young, too pretty, and too untouched by life’s darker moments to make any sense at all for him. She’s also too perfect to ignore. What’s worse is that Emily wants him just as much as he wants her.

If you loved Finding Forever, then you know…you have to discover what happens when never becomes FOREVER AND A DAY. 

Includes the bonus short story FOREVER STARTS NOW!

The Flynn and O’Connell sisters have gone through a lot to secure their happily-ever-afters. Now, one weekend and two big milestones will finally bring them all together again—in this sweet and funny conclusion to the Second Chances series.  

Buy Now:


Visit Kristen’s website: http://bit.ly/2NAViG9



About the Author:

Kristen Casey writes the kind of heartfelt, steamy romances that she loves to read, full of relatable characters and witty dialogue. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two kids, and assorted cats. In her free time, she enjoys all things crafty—especially projects she discovers on Pinterest. 

Visit her at:


Monday, August 6, 2018

Obsessed with Real-Life Characters: On Writing Miss Etta


Obsessed with Real-Life Characters
On Writing Miss Etta

Deanna Lynn Sletten

The obsession began over twenty years ago. While watching a favorite movie—“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”—I began to wonder, what were the real outlaws like? Thus began a long research project that turned into an obsession and two novels.

At first, I began reading every book I could get my hands on about the two outlaws. Surprisingly, there were many. An amazing pair of researchers had written two books and two of the outlaw’s relatives had written books also. Butch’s own sister, Lula Betenson, had written a book about her brother, Robert LeRoy Parker, even though she’d been a baby when he’d left home at the age of eighteen. Every book added a new piece to the puzzle of who the outlaws were and how they lived their lives. And while I found the two men interesting, what fascinated me the most was how little anyone knew of the beautiful, educated, charming Miss Etta Place.

A mystery. My obsession grew.

In 2001 (and then 2011) I published a middle-grade novel titled Outlaw Heroes about a twelve-year-old boy who is swept back in time and joins in on the escapades of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In doing so, the young boy learns a few life lessons. Etta Place played a small but important role in that book. It’s a fun adventure, and so far, has been enjoyed by those who have read it. But after writing that book, I knew I wanted to write more about these characters. Particularly, Etta Place.

The Wild Bunch - November 1900
Left to right front: Harry Longabaugh, Ben Kilpatrick, Butch Cassidy
Back: Will Carver, Harvey Logan


In the years that followed, I continued to research each character from every source I could find. From the well-known books by Butch and Sundance researchers to the obscure—even Captain William French had written a book about his life including his W S Ranch and his friendship with the outlaws. I found old newspaper clippings that pertained to the two wily outlaws. While on vacation, several times, I stopped at places they had robbed — the bank in Winnemucca, the Tipton sign on a deserted stretch of railroad in Wyoming. I wanted to get a feel for them having been there and see what they saw. I had copies of the Wild Bunch photo and the one of Harry and Etta in New York framed on my desk. I obsessed.

And still, who was Etta Place?

I created a timeline of the dates and places Butch and Sundance were, both together and separately. From the first known moment when Etta appeared in Sundance’s life in the winter of 1896 in Robbers Roost, to the last moment when she was no longer mentioned in their life in South America. Taking that information, I weaved her story in among known facts about Butch and Sundance.

Still, where did she come from? Who was she?

No one knows that answer. It is believed that she worked for Fannie Mae Porter in San Antonio as prostitute and that is where Harry met her. One account said that Etta was Butch’s girlfriend in Robbers Roost before being Harry’s. Other accounts say she was a teacher, a music teacher, or she was his cousin. Looking into her young, unlined face in the photo taken of her and Harry in 1901 tells its own story.

New York City, NY - February 1901
Harry Longabaugh and Etta Place




I doubt that Etta was a prostitute. She doesn’t have the hard, used look as most women of that occupation did. She was thought to be nineteen in 1896 when she first was seen with Harry. She looks very young in the 1901 photo too – five years later. I also have my doubts that Harry would have taken a prostitute as a wife or girlfriend. Despite being an outlaw, Harry was raised in a respectable family. He had looked up to his elder sister, Samanna, who was dignified and beautiful. I believe that when choosing a life partner, Harry would have wanted someone he could be proud to bring home. A woman with an education, with manners and grace, and who was lovely to look at. But as an outlaw, he needed to have a companion who could follow him anywhere, living both high and rough, and able to manage both. That is what makes Etta so fascinating.

I gave Etta an interesting past that would have enabled her to ride a horse well, shoot as well as any man, yet be able to charm the most dignified guest. That is how many people who’d known her described her. And she must have loved Harry very much, to follow him around the rugged west, and all the way to Argentina to start their lives over again, without knowing what lay ahead of them. She was lovely, yes, but she was strong.

The story of Etta, Harry, and Butch lives on because it is such an interesting one. No one knows for certain what became of them. They lived as outlaws in the United States, tried to go straight in South America, but had to go back to crime when the authorities hounded them. They had a moral code unlike most criminals of their day, and even a sense of humor about themselves. They lived, loved, and laughed a lot, but in the end, we have no idea if they made the greatest escape of all or died bloody and were buried in unmarked graves. All I know is that after writing two books about these characters, I doubt that I’ve laid them to rest.

I’m still obsessed.

I hope you will be too.




Miss Etta: A Novel


My historical women’s fiction novel, Miss Etta, is available or preorder and will release on September 4, 2018. The paperback will be available for purchase on that date as well, and the audiobook should be available by November. Here is more about Miss Etta.

Book Description:

She rode with the most famous outlaws of her time. Then she vanished.

In the fall of 1895, Etta Place falls in love with Harry Longabaugh, alias the Sundance Kid. She gives up everything to follow him and his partner-in-crime, Butch Cassidy, in their outlaw life across the continent and beyond. Breathtakingly beautiful and every inch a lady, Etta can also ride and shoot as well as any man. As their fugitive life begins to crumble, she finds herself alone and living in a convent with her newborn son. Knowing she can’t hide away forever, she moves halfway across the country to begin anew. Etta prays her past won’t catch up with her.

In 1911 Emily Pleasants steps onto the train station platform of Pine Creek, Minnesota with a teacher’s contract in hand and a secret life she’s fled. A young widow with a small son, she’s searching for a safe place to raise her child where no one will recognize her. She meets Edward Sheridan, a successful merchant and bank owner, who quickly falls for her beauty, intelligence, and kindness. Still, she worries her notorious past will threaten the one thing dearest to her—her son.

From the deserts of Texas to the sweeping vistas of Wyoming, the refinement of New York City to the lush valleys of Argentina, Etta followed the outlaw men she loved so dearly. And then, she disappeared.

One woman, two separate lives. What became of the elusive Etta Place?

Preorder Now:

Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/2MjfFdP

Barnes & Noble Nook: http://ow.ly/JOeu30kjekn

Apple iBooks: http://ow.ly/pZUJ30kmk9N








(Article copyright 2018 Deanna Lynn Sletten. May not be reproduced without permission.) 




The Romance Reviews

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