Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Spotlight on A Time for Everything 

by Mysti Parker

Hello! Thanks for visiting today. I am excited about Mysti Parker's new release. I have started reading it and so far, it's intriguing. I will be posting my review later this week. In the meantime, here is an excerpt from this book. Also don't forget to enter the rafflecopter drawing below. Mysti is giving away an Amazon GC. 

Publisher & Release Date: esKape Press, July 7, 2015

Time and setting: 1866, Tennessee

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 335 pages

Heat Level: 1 Scorching Hot Flame

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description:

After losing her husband and only child to the ravages of the Civil War, twenty-five-year-old Portia McAllister is drowning in grief. When she sees an ad for a live-in tutor in another town, she leaves everything behind in hopes of making a fresh start. But as a Confederate widow in a Union household, she is met with resentment from her new charge and her employer, war veteran Beau Stanford. 

Despite their differences, she and Beau find common ground and the stirrings of a second chance at love—until his late wife’s cousin, Lydia, arrives with her sights set on him. Burdened with a farm on the brink of bankruptcy, Beau is tempted by Lydia’s hefty dowry, though Portia has captured his heart. 

In another time and another place, his choice would be easy. But love seems impossible amid the simmering chaos of Reconstruction that could boil over at any moment into an all-out battle for survival. Will Beau and Portia find their way into each other’s arms, or will they be swept away by raging forces beyond their control? 

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Vikki’s Musings

Let me say up front, I received this book from the publisher for an honest review. I have read many books written in this time period. A Time for Everything is very historically accurate, and I enjoyed that aspect of the book tremendously. The pacing is excellent, and kept my interest throughout. The book starts out well, but I did struggle with the many twists and turns of the plot as the story progresses. I am going to skip a synopsis since the book description gives the gist of the story extremely well.

I wasn’t sure I would like Portia’s character in the prologue. While her plight pulled at my heartstrings, she seemed to have given up, and wanted to succumb to her grief for her late husband and little daughter, but then she pulls herself up by her bootstraps and soldiers on. By the end of the book, I was rooting for her. I particularly liked her relationship with Jonny, the hero’s son. She is caring and patient with him and exactly what he needs to bring him out of his shell.

Jonny is a fantastic character, and I loved him from the very beginning. He is a sweet child who has had much to contend with in his young life, the loss of his mother and an indifferent father. For me, the relationship between him and Portia helped keep me engaged in the story. The scene where he has to put down his pony tore at my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I also enjoyed quite a few of the secondary characters as well.

There were many aspects of Beau Stanford’s character to admire. He is determined to save his horse farm, and he is loyal to his friend, even though Harry has major problems, and actually becomes one of the villains in the story. However, I have a problem with him giving into an attraction for the other woman, when he clearly has strong feelings for Portia. He shows more desire for Lydia, a woman—to put it bluntly—who is not a very nice person, than he ever shows for Portia.

A Time for Everything has Portia and Beau’s stories running parallel with the couple having some scenes together, but most of their feelings for each other come out during their introspection. They do not vocalize their love until very near the end. That kept me from fully seeing them as a couple desperately in love.

There are a great many sub-plots going on throughout this tale that definitely kept me reading. However, Ms. Parker struggled with keeping her villains truly evil. At the end, she almost tries to redeem them when neither one of them should have been redeemed in my opinion. I found this a bit too convoluted to be believable.  

Nonetheless, I did enjoy this book, even with these issues. It showed a vivid picture of the racial tension that existed during the reconstruction period after the Civil War, and did it remarkable well. I could have easily given 5 Gold Crowns for that part of the story. On the other hand, the romance was so lackluster I struggled to give it 3. The plot also was problematic and only deserves a 3 as well. I have read some of the other reviews and many reviewers have loved this book, so you may as well. Happy reading!


Brentwood, Tennessee — December 25, 1865
The angels are coming.
Portia lay on the frozen ground between her husband and daughter. Snow fluttered softly toward the earth in delicate flakes, each one melting on her face with a pleasant sting. She wouldn’t have to wait much longer.
The sunrise, hidden by snow-laden clouds, gradually lit the gray sky. With numb fingers, she traced her husband’s name, carved into the stoic slate. Jake McAllister, but let her hand drop to the ground before she touched that wretched date. December 16, 1864 — the day her whole world began to fall apart.
It had been a day as cold as this one when Jake returned. Portia had stood on their porch, holding Abigail, both of them wrapped in shawls and a quilt. Yet the cold had managed to seep inside, wrapping icy fingers around her heart. Her husband lay lifeless in the back of a wagon. His once-rosy face had turned ashen. Blood caked his Confederate jacket. His hands, large and strong, yet once so gentle, were posed across his belly. His fingers were stiff and claw-like, wrapped around a phantom gun. He did not look like Jake. It had to have been a mannequin with a wig the same dusty red shade of his hair.
“That’s not him, she’d repeated to the men who’d so methodically carried him into the house. Jake would pop out from somewhere, still the jokester he had always been, and she would slap him for playing such a cruel prank. Then she would laugh with him and hold him tight because he had finally returned to her and Abby.
 But the longer her eyes absorbed the wretched sight, the more evidence she had discovered. Little freckles and scars she knew so well. The pea-sized patch on his jaw where his beard never grew. The missing end of his middle finger, taken by a vicious dog when they were children.
It wasn’t a joke. Jake was dead.

Author Bio:

***My mantra: I believe authors and readers alike should be treated with respect. I highly admire and appreciate those who are genuinely interested in reading my work, even if it's not their cup of tea. I have never, nor will ever, criticize an actual reviewer for a negative review. I have never, nor will ever, rate a book I haven't read. I do not appreciate those who use ratings/reviews as a means of spite and disrespect. I am saddened by those who feel differently.***

Mysti Parker is a wife, mother, and shameless chocoholic. While her first love is romance, including five published books and an award-winning historical, she enjoys writing flash fiction (the weirder the better) and children's stories. When she's not writing, Mysti works as a freelance editor, serves as a mentor in a 7-week writing course (F2K) and reviews books for SQ Mag, an online speculative fiction magazine. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband, three children and too many pets.

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  1. Your book sounds so interesting. I just started reading it and I'm pulled in already!

    1. Hi Vicky, Thanks so much for hosting me and reading! Glad you're enjoying it. :)

    2. I'm in about 20% and really enjoying it. Great conflict, internal and external and high emotion.

  2. Hi Vikki! Thanks so much for reading and for this thoughtful review! <3

  3. You're welcome! Sorry I didn't have it ready yesterday.

    1. No problem. Having been a blogger since 2010, I understand completely. I'm on hiatus with mine at the moment just so I can catch up with writing and other ventures. It's definitely a labor of love running a blog!