Saturday, March 17, 2018

Book spotlight with a giveaway: Fine Print by Chautona Havig

About the Book

Book Title: Meddlin’ Madeline Fine Print
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Historical, Mystery
Release Date: February 20, 2018

Budding detective, Miss Madeline Brown, has gained quite the reputation for “meddling” in the circa 1900 city of Rockland. With two successful “cases” under her belt, it was only a matter of time before she found something new to interest her insatiable curiosity.

This time, however, the “curiosity” found her.

Challenged by Edward Gastrel, to prove her deductive prowess, Madeline embarks on riddling out the puzzle of a journal left to him by his grandfather. If she can decode the contents, the local gentleman may find himself in the possession of something quite valuable.

As usual, however, things aren’t as they seem, and Madeline finds herself in a race against more than time and ambiguity.

Click here to get your copy.

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert where she uses story to point readers to the Master Storyteller.

Guest Post from Chautona

Denny’s. “America’s Diner.” It’s also my “office away from my office away from home.” Most nights I write at our local prayer house. But on Wednesday nights for a few hours, and then all night on Saturday, I sit in booth 14 and write.

It was a cold, frosty Wednesday night. With thoughts from Bible Study still swirling in my mind and heart, I ordered my loaded baked potato soup and began brainstorming with my writing and podcasting buddy, April.

She left around midnightish—as usual. And another evening regular began chatting.

Look. I like this guy. He’s a fascinating conversationalist. We have a lot of fun talking books, movies, politics, history, computers… He’s even given me a great idea for a book (without meaning to, but still).

But… that night, I needed to get a bunch done on Madeline and didn’t have time for chatting. So, when he started talking about his evening, I wanted to bang my head on the table. I kept repeating, “People are more important. People are more important. People are more important,” over and over in my head.

I can’t tell you how often this has happened at Denny’s. Employees stop to chat. Regular diners stop to chat. This guy starts a long conversation and always on nights I can’t afford to spend… chatting!

But everything shifted in an instant.

The man said something—what, I can’t remember—and my brain started churning.

I asked a question.

He answered.

The next thing I knew, he’d moved into my booth and began firing questions at me. Suggestions. Most of what he suggested wouldn’t work with the story, but he had no way of knowing that. Still, every time he did I got a new idea. And I’d ask a question. He’d answer, suggest. I’d counter—ask or answer. Ideas blossomed and exploded into seeds of even more ideas.

And right there, at two o’clock in the morning, with Angela the wonder server keeping me in fresh glasses of Coke, Fine Print went from not only my favorite of the Madelines (thus far) but also became much more exciting.

The whole thing taught me a couple of lessons. First, I always say that people are more important than the “stuff” I do. Sometimes, that’s not so easy to live. But the Lord is always faithful, like He did that night, to remind me that it sometimes helps me, too.

Second, sometimes a mid-book brainstorming session is just what I need to keep my excitement high. And, if that means a “wasted” Wednesday night in booth 14, then I’d say it’s worth it.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, March 6
All-of-a-kind Mom, March 6
Bigreadersite, March 7
proud to be an autism mom, March 7
Pause for Tales, March 8
Multifarious, March 9
Blogging With Carol, March 9
Bibliophile Reviews, March 10
Connie’s History Classroom, March 10
A Greater Yes, March 11
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 11
Lots of Helpers, March 12
Janices book reviews, March 13
Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 13
Carpe Diem, March 14
A Baker’s Perspective, March 14
The April Journal, March 15
Kristin’s Book Reviews, March 15
Mary Hake, March 16
New Horizons Reviews, March 16
Simple Harvest Reads, March 17 (Guest post from Mindy)
Among the Reads, March 17
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 18
Pursuing Stacie, March 18
Aryn the Libraryan, March 19
Have a wonderful Day, March 19


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize package worth over $50 that includes an antique journal, Pilot fountain pen (gold), Pilot refill cartridges, and a print copy of Fine Print!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger

About the Book

Book Title: Someplace Familiar
Author: Teresa Tysinger
Release date: May, 2017

Artist Livy Johnson needs a fresh start. That’s what a broken heart and forgotten dreams can do to a person. On little more than a whim, she reclaims her grandmother’s old home in quaint Laurel Cove, North Carolina and vows to restore its original charm. When she literally collides with childhood friend, Jack Bowdon, Livy wonders if she’s back for an entirely different reason.

Jack can’t believe his childhood crush is back. As the owner of Bowdon’s Supplies, and once again the town’s most eligible bachelor, he offers to help Livy with repairs. Together they embark on the project – and an undeniable whirlwind romance.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Can they survive the destructive pain of their pasts and discover God’s grace waiting to renovate their hearts?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Thus was a sweet, clean romance-an enjoyable read.  Livy and Jack were entirely likable characters, and their story of finding each other after having been childhood friends was a lot of fun.  Jack's friends were great, but the exes who had hurt them caused deep wounds from which they needed to heal.  The author was able to convey that small-town, Southern feel very effectively throughout the book, as well as the excitement, yet uncertainty, of a new love.

Romance readers will enjoy this book, a copy of which I received from the author for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Teresa Tysinger is a wife and mother transplanted from North Carolina to North Texas. When not working as the Director of Communications for a large downtown church, she writes charming southern romances inspired by grace. Her debut novel, Someplace Familiar, released this summer. She also is a contributing writer for the Fort Worth Moms Blog (part of the national City Moms Blog Network). A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Religious Communicators’ Council, and the Association for Women in Communications, Teresa has spent over a decade committed to telling stories of faith through written word. She loves coffee, caramel, and stories with happy endings.

Guest Post from Teresa Tysinger

Someplace Familiar began way back in 2014 when I participated in National Novel Writer’s Month, a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. It was an exhilarating, albeit exhausting, experience! Since then, the book was workshopped with a critique group, had large portions rewritten countless times, pitched at workshops, edited by two editors, and even renamed (original title was Good Graces). After a lot of prayer, I decided that self-publishing would give me the greatest flexibility and control while being able to maintain my responsibilities as a wife, mother, and full-time communications director. It’s been a wonderful ride!

About the Inspiration for Someplace Familiar
One thing I’ve learned about myself through writing Someplace Familiar is how much I am personally drawn to setting and place. The idea for the book was born out of my desire to introduce readers to the charming small-town life found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina where I went to college. Laurel Cove, the fictional town where the story is set, is directly based on my best friend’s hometown of Burnsville, NC. The other source of inspiration comes from my great-grandmother’s tiny bungalow home in West Palm Beach, Florida. Long weekends and summer vacations spent there were full of imagination, adventure, and sweet memories. The scents of her garden, feel of the damp earth beneath my feet, slow pace, matching gauzy curtains dancing in the breeze—it all is mirrored in the cottage home of Livy’s Gram in the book. The rest of the story formed around my desire to capture my childhood memories of this home that was so magical and safe for me.

About My Writing Style Here are a few ways I would describe my writing style: Sensory—I aim to provide readers with an experience that enlivens all of their senses. Relatable—It’s my hope that readers see themselves in realistic, flawed characters trying to make their way to discovering grace in a less than perfect world. Charming—Like any good southern fiction, there’s a good dose of charm in these pages.

My prayer is that Someplace Familiar will touch readers with an awareness of God’s grace even during circumstances and within relationships that feel hopeless. Restoration is possible!

Blog Stops

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 1
Just Commonly, March 1
Pursuing Stacie, March 1
Among the Reads, March 2
Faithfully Bookish, March 2
Bigreadersite, March 2
Quiet quilter, March 3
Blogging With Carol, March 3
C Jane Read, March 4
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 4
Remembrancy, March 5
Inklings and notions, March 5
Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, March 6
100 Pages per Hour, March 6
Book by Book, March 7
Red Headed Book Lady, March 7
Ashley’s Bookshelf, March 8
Ladybug Chronicles, March 8
Two Points of Interest, March 9
proud to be an autism mom, March 9
Bibliophile Reviews, March 10
A Greater Yes, March 10
Texas Book-aholic, March 11
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 11
Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 12
Janices book reviews, March 12
Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 13
Carpe Diem, March 13
A Baker’s Perspective, March 14
Simple Harvest Reads, March 14 (Guest post from Mindy)


To celebrate her tour, Teresa is giving away a grand prize of a gift basket that includes a signed copy of the book, an Original Painting by Author’s Sister (artist Cyndi Browning), and a $10 Amazon Gift Card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureana

About the Book

Title: The Saturday Night Supper Club
Author: Carla Laureano
Genre: Christian fiction/romance fiction
Release Date: February 6, 2018

Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . . even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t…

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

I don't know how she did it, but author Carla Laureano had me hooked in the very first chapter . . .  of a book revolving around fine dining - a topic with which I have limited experience, other than watching Ratatouille.  Then she kept my interest well as the story line and characters developed.  I really got Rachel, and wanted to hang out with her friends. 

The author had a great way of naturally educating the reader about the technicalities of the food industry without going overboard.  She also has her pulse on modern culture without mocking it or glorifying it.

Anyone who loves a clean contemporary romance will enjoy this book, especially foodies! 

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher through Celebrate Lit.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

Guest Post From Carla Laureano
I’ve got a confession to make: I have a cooking problem.

It started early and innocently enough, flipping through my mom’s cookbooks and marking things I wanted to try. Making cakes and muffins from a mix. Flipping frozen steak patties. Doctoring canned spaghetti sauce.

It wasn’t long before I got into the hard stuff: muffins from scratch, slow-cooked marinara, cast-iron seared and oven-finished rib eyes. Over the years, I tried to kick the habit numerous times, but every time things got tough, I found myself falling off the wagon and heading back into the kitchen. Even hosting dinner parties. Yes, dear reader, I pulled my hapless friends into my madness. To my shame, I even got some of them hooked with their own addiction.

Before I knew it, my obsessions started creeping into my day job. No longer was it enough to write contemporary romance about normal people who order take-out. No, I had to write chefs and passionate home cooks and describe the food in the books just as lovingly as I did a first kiss. And then the final straw—a book series centered entirely on food and the culinary profession, beginning with The Saturday Night Supper Club.

All joking aside, cooking really is an addiction that I haven’t been able to kick. As a writer, I spend hours locked in my own imagination, creating things out of words and ideas. And while it’s immensely fulfilling, it’s a long, painstaking process that takes months, even years, before I can release the final product into the world. While there’s a large amount of planning and analysis involved in creating a book, the work is still mostly in my head.

Which is why I find cooking to be such a relaxing creative pursuit. Dicing a pile of vegetables into perfectly uniform cubes may take the same concentration and precision, but it’s concrete and measurable. It becomes a personal challenge to do something better than last time, improving by tiny, nearly imperceptible increments. It’s the closest to meditation that my always-on brain ever experiences, clear of all thought except for my activity at the present moment.

And yet, simultaneously, food is ephemeral. Mistakes last only as long as it takes to eat them or toss them directly into the trash can, depending on the nature of the mistake. If a sauce breaks, I toss it and start over. If I burn something, I either cut off the burned part or I order takeout and try again the next day. There’s an element of experimentation and instinct and whimsy that isn’t hampered by the pursuit of perfection. Let’s face it, a mediocre chocolate chip cookie beats a perfect celery stick any day of the week.

It was natural, then, to write a chef heroine who had dedicated her entire life to the pursuit of culinary perfection and explore all the ways that food makes our lives and relationships richer. How it anchors our memories. How we nurture others by feeding them. How a simple meal becomes meaningful not because of the food, but because of the connections we form with others over the dinner table.

In the end, I guess my cooking problem isn’t that much of a problem after all. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen.

Blog Stops

Rachel Scott McDaniel, February 20
A Baker’s Perspective, February 20
Just Commonly, February 20
Mommynificent, February 21
Among The Reads, February 21
A Greater Yes, February 21
proud to be an autism mom, February 21
Fiction Aficionado, February 22
Quiet Quilter, February 22
The Power of Words, February 23
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, February 23
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 23
Janices book reviews, February 24
C Jane Read, February 24
Faery Tales Are Real, February 24
All of a Kind Mom, February 25
Inklings and notions, February 25
Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 25
Carpe Diem, February 26
Smiling Book Reviews, February 26
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 26
Splashes of Joy, February 27
Its Storytime with Van Daniker, February 27
Simple Harvest Reads, February 27 (Guest post from Mindy)
Radiant Light, February 28
Moments Dipped in Ink, February 28
Baker kella, February 28
Pause for Tales, March 1
Book by Book, March 1
Bigreadersite, March 1
The Fizzy Pop Collection, March 2
Have A Wonderful Day, March 2
Reader’s Cozy Corner, March 2
Bibliophile Reviews, March 3
Two Points of Interest, March 3
Reading is my Super Power, March 3
Texas Book-aholic, March 4
amandainpa, March 4
Singing Librarian Books, March 4
By The Book, March 5
Neverending Stories, March 5
Pursuing Stacie, March 5


To celebrate her tour, Carla is giving away a grand prize of a $200 Visa Card for the winner and a friend to attend a cooking class!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: Phoebe's Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

About the Book

Title: Phoebe’s Light
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Historical romance
Release Date: February 6, 2018

Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she’s doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a “minder” on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Mitchell, a man whom she loathes.

Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary’s journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe’s shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way—just in time.

In this brand-new series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her signature twists and turns to bear on a fascinating new faith community: the Quakers of colonial-era Nantucket Island.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

What a pleasure it was to read the first book of a new series by Suzanne Woods Fisher!

In this dual-story historical, readers are given insight into the early history of Nantucket Island, Quakers in colonial America, and the whaling industry at that time.

Phoebe Starbuck, the main character, is resourceful, optimistic, and determined.  However, infatuation overtakes her, and the reader cringes when Phoebe makes poor decisions in her love life.  Her uprightness is endearing, though, and the reader can't help but be on her side.  Supporting characters are believably written, and the story line is compelling.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it to historical fiction fans, or those who have a special interest in this time or place.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Revell, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing, The Newcomer, and The Return in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher

A Stroll down Petticoat Row

Thirty years ago, I talked my sister into going on a trip to Nantucket Island. It’s one of those places that had always intrigued me. As a girl in the 1930s, my mother’s family vacationed in Nantucket; she even has a lightship basket to show for it. I expected the island to be interesting and beautiful, and it certainly did not disappoint. But something else happened as I walked down Centre Street one morning. This island captured my imagination in a way that’s hard to put into words. At the risk of sounding a tiny bit sun touched, I could practically see 19th century people on the roads, hear the “thee’s and thou’s” in their speech, even smell the strong scents of a bygone century—the musky perfume of rendered whale oil, the burning wood of the blacksmith, all mingled with the bracing sea air.

Centre Street has a local nickname: Petticoat Row. It comes from the 1800s, when men were at sea for long periods and women stepped into their shoes to keep businesses going. Nantucket women gained a reputation for being strong and capable. Their competence was encouraged by the Society of Friends (Quakers), the island’s dominant religion, which believed in the equality of men and women in all aspects of life. That hasn’t changed. Today, half of all Nantucket businesses are run by women.

Petticoat Row stuck in my mind, and eventually became the hook to contract a series of historical fiction with Revell Books. The ‘Nantucket Legacy’ series covers the rise and fall of Nantucket’s whaling period, when it became the wealthiest port in the world.

First up is Phoebe’s Light, releasing in February 2018, a novel about a spirited young woman who seeks her fortune only to find out she already had it.

After reading about Phoebe, I hope you’ll consider planning a trip to Nantucket (though try to go off-season. The population swells five times in the summer!). When you go, include a stop at the Petticoat Row Bakery (35 Centre Street)—the very location where Phoebe grew up, albeit a few centuries ago. Don’t leave the island without trying the Morning Glory Muffins, an island favorite. So worth the trip!

Nantucket’s Famous Morning Glory Muffins


1 ¼ cup sugar
2 ¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup raisins
2 cup grated carrots (4 large)
1 apple, shredded
8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup pecans or walnuts
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla


Sift together sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the fruit, carrots and nuts and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with oil and vanilla. Combine with dry ingredients and blend well.

Spoon batter into cupcake tins lined with muffin papers. Fill each cup to the brim. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. These muffins needs 24 hours to ripen their full flavor. They freeze extremely well.

Recipe courtesy of Pamela A. McKinstry, Sconset Café

Blog Stops

Aryn The Libraryan, February 15
A Simply Enchanted Life, February 15
Moments Dipped in Ink, February 15
Kaylee’s Kind of Writes, February 15
Girls in White Dresses Blog, February 16
With a Joyful Noise, February 16
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 16
A Greater Yes, February 16
ASC Book Reviews, February 17
Locks, Hooks and Books, February 17
Book by Book, February 17
Texas Book-aholic, February 18
The Power of Words, February 18
Two Points of Interest, February 18
Splashes of Joy, February 18
A Reader’s Brain, February 19
Karen Sue Hadley, February 19
Blossoms and Blessings, February 19
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 20
The Fizzy Pop Collection, February 20
All of a kind Mom, February 20
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 20
Reading Is My SuperPower, February 21
Baker Kella, February 21
Mommynificent, February 21
Janices book reviews, February 21
Lighthouse Academy, February 22
Readers cozy corner, February 22
Mary Hake, February 22
Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 22
Pause for Tales, February 23
Have A Wonderful Day, February 23
Faery Tales Are Real, February 23
Blogging With Carol, February 24
Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, February 24
Among the Reads, February 24
Carpe Diem, February 24
Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot, February 25
Red Headed Book Lady, February 25
Just the Write Escape, February 25
A Baker’s Perspective, February 25
By The Book, February 26
For The Love of Books, February 26
Margaret Kazmierczak, February 26
Simple Harvest Reads, February 26 (Guest post from Mindy)
Maureen’s Musings, February 27
Connie’s History Classroom, February 27
proud to be an autism mom, February 27
Bigreadersite, February 27
Bibliophile Reviews, February 28
Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 28
Pink Granny’s Journey, February 28
Pursuing Stacie, February 28


To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grand prize of a Kindle!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Book review: A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

About the book:

Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love for each other, for their God, and for His tabernacle at Shiloh. Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer. But nothing changes as the years pass. Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.

Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband's new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah's cruelty count for nothing? Why does God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?

Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored.

My review:

Getting into the heads of Biblical characters is something I love about biblical fiction, and in A Passionate Hope it is done well.  I loved Hannah, with her love, joy, and devotion to God.  She repays ridicule with kindness, and took her pain and disappointment to God.  Elkanah was a hard-working, loving husband who carried the weight of everyone else's expectations.  He sought to honor the Lord in his life.  As well as chronicling their account from the Bible, we read a story of a couple for whom living life gets in the way of living.  Through hope in God's plan, they find their way.

As well as great characterization, the book had interesting sub-plots that carried throughout the book.  

I highly recommend this book for those who want an insider's view into the life and times of Hannah, mother of Samuel.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Revell, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the author:

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, the Daughters of the Promised Land, the Wives of the Patriarchs, and The Loves of King Solomon series. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Contact Jill through email (, her website (, Facebook (, or Twitter (

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Book Review: Judah's Wife by Angela Hunt

About the book:

Seeking peace and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she can rest easily. But the land is ruled by Antiochus IV, descended from one of Alexander the Great's generals, and when he issues a decree that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws upon pain of death, devout Jews risk everything to follow the law of Moses.

Judah's father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands his son to pick up his sword and continue the fight--or bear responsibility for the obliteration of the land of Judah. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband's decision--what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long?

The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah's wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice.

My review:

Angela Hunt immerses her readers in an era that most know nothing about, and not only brings to life the history of the Maccabees, but teaches many lessons through the lives of the characters.

In this dual point-of-view story, we meet Leah and Judah.  Leah has grown up in a violent home, and must learn to trust her husband and her God.  Her personal growth is astounding as she discovers HaShem's purpose for her life.  In contrast, Judah, her husband, having grown up in a God-fearing family, is humble, gentle, and devoted to God.  Judah and his brothers all recognize their own and each other's role in the family, which promotes peace and security with the family.

I was surprised at how quickly I was able to read this book.  It has many short chapters, which kept the pace moving.  Additionally, the book is about many battles that took place, and Hunt knows when to give details and when to summarize events.

Hunt's intensive research allows her to write authoritatively.  Between her knowledge and creativity, she has penned a wonderful story that will enlighten and encourage the reader.  Men and women will enjoy it, especially those who enjoy historical and biblical fiction.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the author:

Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected in novels from this versatile author. With nearly four million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 100 works ranging from picture books (The Tale of Three Trees) to non-fiction books, to novels.  Visit her at

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: Their Daring Hearts by Sharlene MacLaren

About the Book

Author: Sharlene MacLaren
Genre: Christian Historical Romance (Civil War)
Release Date: Jan 9, 2018

Levi Albright rebelled against his Quaker roots to fight for abolition in the Union army in the first year of the Civil War. Two years later, 19-year-old destitute orphan Josephine Winters, with her chopped hair, boy’s clothes, and new name, “Snipp,” enlists in the Union army out of desperation.

Just over five feet tall and barely weighing as much as a newborn calf, Snipp seems to Levi to be barely old enough to hold “his” gun. But despite being teased by the regiment, Snipp quickly earns admiration for skill with a musket and unequaled bravery. When Levi explains one night that he is a Quaker leading a regiment, it leads to a late-night discussion of faith and a developing friendship.

But Snipp’s secret can only be hidden for so long. After an injury forces Josie to reveal her real identity, Levi is angered by her deception. Worse, Josie is marched out of the company without a chance to explain—or even say goodbye. Will their friendship survive? Or will the hatred saturating the war-torn nation affect even the heart of a peace-loving Quaker?

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

I was really impressed with this book.  Set in the midst of the Civil War, it took regular people-people who were dedicated to God, their families, and their country-and made them very real.

Author Sharlene MacLaren penned a very well-researched novel.  Although I didn't fact check, I know that places and battles that were mentioned were actual, because those places are near where I live.  The way the supporting characters were listed so carefully, I wondered if they were actual people.

The action of the battles, combined with the interaction between characters, with some mystery thrown in, kept me turning the pages and thoroughly enjoying this book.  Civil War history fans will certainly appreciate this book as well.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Whitaker House, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Born and raised in western Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren graduated from Spring Arbor University then traveled nationally with a contemporary Christian vocal ensemble. She married Cecil, with whom she’d grown up in Spring Arbor, and the couple had two daughters. Shar embarked on a teaching career that would span over 30 years. As she contemplated retirement, Shar sought God’s guidance, praying for a vocation that would provide the kind of fulfillment and joy she experienced as a teacher and mother. A lifelong gifted story teller, she began to write Christian romance novels. Her first book, Through Every Storm, published in 2007, was met with critical acclaim and brisk sales. The rest, as they say, is history. Whitaker House’s bestselling fiction author, she’s subsequently published 18 books, mostly historical romances. Shar enjoys reading, singing in her church choir and worship team, traveling, and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She’s very interactive on Facebook and Twitter. For more:,, Twitter @ sharzy_lu.

Blog Stops

History, Mystery & Faith, January 25
Genesis 5020, January 25
Inspiration Clothesline, January 25
ASC Book Reviews, January 26
Multifarious, January 26
Christian Bookaholic, January 27
Remembrancy, January 27
Carpe Diem, January 28
Inklings and notions, January 28
Blossoms and Blessings, January 29
Reading Is My SuperPower, January 29
The Fizzy Pop Collection, January 30
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 30
Moments Dipped in Ink, January 31
Mary Hake, January 31
Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 31
Daysong Reflections, February 1
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 1
A Baker’s Perspective, February 1
Pause for Tales, February 2
Have A Wonderful Day, February 2
Connie’s History Classroom, February 3
Cafinated Reads, February 3
proud to be an autism mom, February 4
Bibliophile Reviews, February 4
Red Headed Book Lady, February 5
My Wrtier’s Life, February 5
Simple Harvest Reads, February 5 (Guest Post from Mindy Houg)
Pursuing Stacie, February 6
A Greater Yes, February 6
Texas Book-aholic, February 6
Bigreadersite, February 7
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 7
Janices book reviews, February 7


To celebrate her tour, Whitaker House is giving away:

Grand Prize Package: Their Daring Hearts (Forever Freedom Series) #2 by Sharlene MacLaren; Summer on Sunset Ridge (Forever Freedom Series #1) signed by the author, Sharlene MacLaren, Abba Jerusalem Hyssop 6” Pillar Candle.
1st Place: Their Daring Hearts (Forever Freedom Series) #2 by Sharlene MacLaren; Heart of Mercy (Tennessee Dreams #1) by Sharlene MacLaren; Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book with Colored Pencils.
2nd Place: Their Daring Hearts (Forever Freedom Series) #2 by Sharlene MacLaren; Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book with Colored Pencils.

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!