Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book review with a giveaway: The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson



Click here to purchase.

About the Book

Book title: The Girl Who could See
Author: Kara Swanson
Release date: June 1, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy/Young Adult


All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?

Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.

Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.

My Review

So many things impressed me about this book!  First of all, the author immediately made me sympathetic to a teenage girl who was certifiably crazy!  Then she drew me in to her life, which was pretty much Fern against the world.  Then the conflict between our world and another kept the pace moving quickly, which I loved!  The first person narrative really worked, and the deepening relationship between Fern and Tristan was believable.

This book is perfectly suited for its intended audience, and I recommend it.  I received an e-ARC of this book from the author, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

As the daughter of missionaries, KARA SWANSON spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre and was soon penning stories herself. At seventeen, she independently published her debut fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story is included in Kathy Ide’s 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine, and she received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer award in 2015.






Guest Post from Kara Swanson

Did you have an imaginary friend growing up? I did. And I think most of us probably understood what it was like to use our childhood imaginations to create friends and take us places.

The Girl Who Could See follows Fern Johnson, a young woman whose imaginary friend, Tristan, first appeared in her life when she was eight years old—and has never left. Now nineteen, Fern still sees Tristan, only he is no longer her friend. Now he is her curse. The source of her insanity. The reason Fern cannot keep a job and has been passed from one psychologist to another. The reason she is one step away from a psych ward. However, Tristan disagrees. He says that he’s not a figment of Fern’s imagination and is determined to prove it. But, if his existence is real, it has dangerous implications not only for Fern, but for her world. Because the creature that decimated Tristan’s planet is coming for Earth—and only the girl everyone says is crazy can stop it.

I wrote the novella as a way to explore the idea of what would happen if someone had an imaginary friend who never left. What would the psychological and daily implications be? And what if that imaginary friend wasn’t imaginary? The story that grew from those sparks of ideas became an adventure that I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did.

Blog Stops


June 27: A Baker’s Perspective

June 27: A Simply Enchanted Life

June 27: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 28: Kristin’s Book Reviews

June 28: Christian Chick’s Thoughts

June 29: Fiction Aficionado

June 29: Genesis 5020

June 30: Smiling Book Reviews

June 30: The Fizzy Pop Collection

July 1: Blogging With Carol

July 1: remembrancy

July 2: Inklings and notions

July 2: Ashley’s Bookshelf

July 3: Zerina Blossom’s Books

July 3: Margaret Kazmierczak

July 4: Book by Book

July 4: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

July 5: Dragons Read History

July 5: Through the Open Window

July 6: It’s Storytime with Van Daniker

July 6: Baker Kella

July 7: Pause for Tales

July 7: Edits and Reviews By Leslie

July 8: Books, Books, and More Books.

July 8: Pursuing Stacie

July 8: The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate

July 9: Reader’s cozy corner

July 9: A path of joy

July 10: Neverending Stories

July 10: Henry Happens

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kara is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b7f6

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book review with a giveaway: None So Blind by Chautona Havig


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book title: None So Blind
Author: Chautona Havig
Release date: September 29, 2013
Genre: Contemporary


Dani and Ella Weeks–two women who share one thing in common. The same life, the same family, and the same body.

When Dani wakes with no knowledge of who or where she is–no memories of her life at all–David and Dani Weeks discover that “til death do us part” takes on an entirely unexpected meaning. Practically speaking, Dani died. But she didn’t.

What’s a gal to do?

In a desperate attempt to separate the old life from the new, Dani insists on a new name, a twist of her old one–Ella.

Ella’s doctors can’t explain what happened. Her children can’t understand why she doesn’t know them. David, her husband, finds himself torn between admiration for the “new” version of his wife and missing the woman he’s known for over fifteen years.

Will Ella ever regain her memory? Why does their pastor suspect it’s one great hoax?

My Review

This book was fabulous!  It had a unique premise, and it stood true to that throughout the story.  The characters were real, as well.  I loved how the author gave insight into the supporting characters' personality as deeply as the main characters.  I also appreciated how the characters had to learn to trust in the truth of Scripture rather than feelings or circumstances for guidance.

Fans of contemporary Christian fiction will enjoy this book!

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

About the Author


Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert with her husband and five of her nine children. Through her novels, she hopes to encourage Christians in their walk with Jesus.







Guest post from Chautona Havig


“Who are you, again?”

“I’m Joe’s, daughter. Vyonie.” My sister pointed to me. “This is Chautona.”

For some odd reason, the niece she spent the least amount of time with, Aunt Doris remembered—somewhat. But she didn’t remember Vyonie from what I could tell. She smiled at me, that amazing, sweet smile I’d never forget. She asked how I was. I always thought that Mrs. Sanderson—mother of John, Alicia, and Carl on the TV show, Little House on the Prairie—looked and sounded like Aunt Doris. Of course, that memory of me didn’t last. A minute or two later, she gave me a big smile and asked if she knew me.

It gave me a picture of what it must have been like for my character, Ella Weeks—to wake up every day with these children there—children who knew her, but she didn’t remember. The hurt she caused every time she had to struggle to admit she didn’t know something she probably should—again. So, I thought I’d ask her to tell us about it.

Ella: People often assume that the worst part of losing my memory are the memories that disappeared, too. But it’s not. A much as I’d love to remember my wedding day, my daughter’s first steps, my son’s first words, or that moment I realized I was pregnant with my third, those are blessings that I don’t think about often. No, what hurts most is seeing the pain in my children’s eyes when they need me to remember something and I can’t. For me, not remembering their first day of kindergarten is an inconvenience. For them, it’s a further reminder that if they didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t know them. That without them pushing themselves into my life, I wouldn’t care about them any more than any other human in my path. I do now, of course, but not at first. I hate that they heard David say once, “…she doesn’t know me. She doesn’t trust me. She doesn’t know our children. She tries, but she could walk out of our lives tomorrow and never miss us.”

Living so close to it every day, I missed those little bits of pain that I inflicted without meaning to, but when I went with our Bible study to a nursing home and visited with the residents, then I saw it. Women with tears running down their cheeks as loved ones patted their hands and tried to comfort. I heard one man offer to find a woman’s father. She squeezed him close and whispered, “It’s okay, Daddy. I love you. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The man promised to try to find her father in the meantime.

Those people there—most of them didn’t realize they didn’t remember someone important. They didn’t struggle to remember this or that. Their dementia had gotten bad enough that their lives had gone from constant frustration to, by comparison, blissful oblivion.

And their families withered with each forgotten face, name, moment.

That’s what my “episode” did for my family. It caused them pain that just resurfaced every time something new happened. Pain that I didn’t know I inflicted. And since that visit, I have a greater compassion and awareness of just how amazing and powerful memories are.

I also have a greater appreciation for those beautiful words in Isaiah when the Lord promised… “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”

You see, there’s a lifetime of the sins that Jesus died for buried somewhere in my brain—or, at least at one time there was. I know that those sins were in there, because the ones I committed yesterday are there today. The ones I’ve already confessed and been forgiven for—I beat myself up for the next morning. A week later. A month. But the Lord has wiped them clean. I just keep smearing them back out there again as if to say, “But You don’t get how BAD I was.” Yeah. The arrogance, right? Because an almighty, holy God can’t possibly understand how sinful a sinner that He had to DIE to save from those sins… is. The arrogance? That’s an understatement.

But all those years before that horrible morning… gone. Maybe I stole something. I don’t know. It was forgiven, wiped clean, and then wiped from my memory. I can’t rehash it with the Lord over and over. I can’t drag it back up like a wife who won’t let her husband forget the one time he forgot her birthday. I can’t use it as a whip to beat myself up with. And I think there’s something beautiful in that.

Do I wish I could stop hurting my family with my blank past? Of course. But am I also grateful for a living picture of the fresh start the Lord gives His people at salvation? Definitely. I hope I never take it for granted again.

Blog Stops

June 15: Blogging With Carol

June 15: Genesis 5020

June 15: Lane Hill House

June 16: Red Headed Book Lady

June 16: The Scribbler

June 16: Moments Dipped in Ink

June 17: Back Porch Reads

June 17: The Power of Words

June 17: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 18: Carpe Diem

June 18: A Baker’s Perspective

June 19: Christian Bookaholic

June 19: Quiet Quilter

June 20: The Fizzy Pop Collection

June 20: Mommynificent

June 21: Seasons of Opportunities

June 21: Truth and Grace Writing and Life Coaching

June 22: Pursuing Stacie

June 22: Remembrancy

June 23: Pause for Tales

June 23: Avid Reader Book Reviews

June 23: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

June 24: Bigreadersite

June 24: CAFINATED READS

June 25: Lots of Helpers

June 25: Ashley’s Bookshelf

June 26: Blossoms and Blessings

June 26: A Reader’s Brain

June 27: Margaret Kazmierczak

June 27: His Grace is Sufficient

June 28: Just Jo’Anne

June 28: Henry Happens

June 28: Reader’s Cozy Corner

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes:

1 $25 Amazon Gift Card
1 Paperback Copy of None So Blind
1 Paperback Copy of Will Not See
1 Lampwork Necklace
1 Cool denim mini-backpack (to hold your stuff!)
1 Custom Travel Mug (with quote from book)
1 FREE eBook code to share with a friend!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/ba35

Friday, June 9, 2017

Book review with a giveaway: Sailing Out of Darkness by Normandie Fischer









Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Sailing out of Darkness
Author: Normandie Fischer
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: February 25, 2017 (2nd Edition)


Love conquers all? Maybe for some people.

When Samantha flies to Italy to gain distance from a disastrous affair with her childhood best friend, the last thing on her mind is romance. But Teo Anderson is nothing like her philandering ex-husband or her sailing buddy, Jack, who, despite his live-in girlfriend, caught her off guard with his flashing black eyes.

Teo has his own scars, both physical and emotional, that he represses by writing mysteries—until one strange and compelling vision comes to life in the person of Sam. Seeking answers, he offers friendship to this obviously hurting woman, a friendship that threatens to upend his fragile peace of mind.

But not even sailing the cobalt waters of the Mediterranean can assuage Sam’s guilt for destroying Jack’s relationship and hurting another woman. Soon the consequences of her behavior escalate, and the fallout threatens them all.

Sailing out of Darkness is the haunting story of mistakes and loss…and the grace that abounds through forgiveness.

Awarded: Aspen Gold, Selah, and Maggie Finalist 2014 (1st edition)

My Review

What I really liked about Sailing Out of Darkness was the depth of character.  Sam wasn't easy to figure out.  The hurts of her past made her a complex character.  I loved that she had people close to her that were encouragers, who would speak to her heart, and to whom she would listen.  I also appreciated that the trip was not a quick fix to help her move beyond her past.  Even though the new setting and plenty of alone time helped, she still had plenty of hurt to get over.  

This book is recommended for women who are looking for a solid read.  It's not fluffy.  Also those mourning the pain of loss, especially divorce, will appreciate this book.

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

About the Author

Normandie Fischer is a sailor who writes and a writer who sails. After studying sculpture in Italy, she returned to the States, graduated suma cum laude, and went to work in the publishing field as an editor. She and her husband retired from cruising Pacific Mexico on their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, to care of her aging mother and enjoy her two grown children and her grandchildren. She is the author of six books: Becalmed (2013), Heavy Weather (2015), Twilight Christmas (2016), Two from Isaac’s House (2015), From Fire into Fire (2016), and Sailing out of Darkness (2013 and 2017).
Guest Post from Normandie Fischer

In Sailing out of Darkness, the female protagonist longs for something, anything that will validate her after her husband leaves. She’s propelled into such an emotional wasteland that she becomes vulnerable to what seems a safe friendship.

It isn’t. And so she flees to Italy, but the repercussions of her actions continue to affect her and others—as consequences are wont to do.

After my divorce, hurting women seemed to flock to my vicinity. (Either that, or suddenly husbands in the church were leaving in droves.) These were abandoned women, angry women, women searching for love in the wrong places. I wasn’t in any shape to minister to them as I too was struggling at the cross, but that period helped me understand how woefully ignorant and unprepared many church goers are when it comes to hearing the cries of the hurting. I know of two women (to whom I dedicated the book) who actually killed themselves because no one listened or reached out a hand when they needed it.

The process of divorce and healing taught me about grace in a way that I’d never fully internalized. I’d ministered and counseled for years about the Love of God. I’d preached and written about it, but part of me, the part that needed healing, still held on to the idea that I had to be perfect to be loved by God and by man. I knew better, but the heart and the head weren’t working well together, especially during my years of living with an alcoholic husband and during divorce recovery after he left. As I wrote about Sam’s guilt and helped her find peace, I think new pieces slid into place for me as well. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God. And that’s probably the most powerful message we have to share with this hurting world.

Blog Stops

May 30: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
May 31: Reading Is My SuperPower
June 1: Genesis 5020
June 1: Fiction Aficionado
June 2: Avid Reader Book Reviews
June 3: Moments Dipped in Ink
June 4: Zerina Blossom’s Books
June 5: Pause for Tales
June 5: By The Book
June 7: Carpe Diem
June 8: JosephineAnneWrites
June 9: Edits & Reviews by Leslie
June 9: Cafinated Reads
June 10: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses
June 11: Bigreadersite
June 11: The Power of Words (spotlight)
June 12: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Normandie is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b630

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book review and author interview: With You Always by Jody Hedlund


About the Book

A Riveting Look at the Orphan Train from Historical Novelist Jody Hedlund

When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She’s had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children’s Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn’t want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother’s shadow and is determined to win his father’s challenge. He doesn’t plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.

My Review

With You Always, the first in Jody Hedlund's Orphan Train series, was not what I had imagined it to be, given the series title.  But that is what is so excellent about Hedlund's book.  She took a piece of history that I actually had little knowledge of and brought it to life vividly.

The plot worked, the romance was sweet, and the characters were true to life.  I was sad to come to the end of this book, because I enjoyed it so much, but there are still open plot lines to be explored in the coming books.  

I am a huge fan of Jody Hedlund's books already, but I especially enjoyed this one.  Fans of historical fiction who are looking for a clean romance will definitely want to pick this one up.

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

Winner of 2016 Christian Book Award for fiction and Christy Award for historical romance, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Interview with Jody Hedlund

What is the inspiration behind your new Orphan Train series?

I have long been fascinated by the era of the Orphan Trains and the heart-wrenching stories of the homeless and helpless young orphans that were taken from the streets of New York City and other eastern cities and shipped West by the dozens. I was familiar with stories of those scared orphans who were placed out in what was thought to be a more wholesome, healthy environment of the newly settled Mid-Western states. Some of the orphans found happy endings and were adopted into loving families. Others experienced great abuse and heartache in their new homes.

While stories of the orphans who rode the trains have been told—and rightly so—the stories of the women who were involved in the movement are not as well known. One of the things I particularly like to do when telling my stories, is focus on women who have been overlooked by the pages of history. I consider it a great privilege to be able to bring forgotten women to life for our modern generation. Thus, throughout this series, I’ll be focusing each book on a different aspect of the Orphan Train movement, particularly from the perspective of women who experienced riding the trains in one form or another.

What special research did you do in writing With You Always?


In the beginning phases of writing this series, I did a great deal of reading about the orphan train movement. In particular, I really loved Stephen O’Conor’s book, Orphan Trains, because he includes so many personal stories and details about real orphans, which are heart wrenching.

I also read, A History of New York City to 1898, by Burrows and Wallace, which gave me great insights into the lives of immigrants, particularly immigrant women. Masses of foreigners were arriving into New York City on a daily basis, and the book gave a detailed look into their pathetic housing situation, the difficult working conditions, as well as gang problems and the underworld.

Finally, another important aspect of the story that required a concentrated amount of research was the development of railroads. The mid-1800’s was an incredible period of growth for the railroad industry in the Mid-West. The new railroads aided the orphan train movement but also brought about the settlement of the Midwestern states, including Illinois, which is one of the settings of the book.

What do you hope readers take away from With You Always?

One of my hopes in telling this story is to leave readers with the reminder that God is walking with us in whatever dark valley we’re going through. Often, like Elise, we tend to pull away from God and let the bitterness of our circumstances drive us into a cave of isolation and self-blame and heartache. But God wants us to realize that even if we pull away from Him, He’s still there walking by our side, waiting for us to reach out our hand and grab ahold of Him. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He’s there waiting.

With You Always is the third book you’ve released in 2017. How do you find time to write so many books?

I keep a very rigorous writing schedule, usually writing six days a week. I give myself a challenging word count goal—a certain number of words to write every day. Then, in the morning, I sit down and write until I meet my goals. It’s as simple . . . and as hard as that!

I like to compare being an author to a marathon runner. The person training to run a marathon doesn’t start off running twenty-six miles the first time she runs. Instead she begins with just a few miles, strengthens her muscles, builds her endurance, and slowly adds more miles.

Writing is the same way. Over the years, I’ve strengthened my writing muscles and built up my endurance so that now I can write faster and for longer stretches.

What are you working on next?


The second book in the orphan train series releases next summer in 2018. The story continues with Marianne Neumann. She gets involved in the orphan train movement as one of the placing agents and accompanies the orphans as they ride the trains west. I hope readers will enjoy Marianne’s story and also appreciate learning more about the orphan train movement from the eyes of the compassionate workers who tried to place the orphans into new homes.

Do you have any parting words?


I love hearing from readers! Make sure you stop by one of these places and say hello!

I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund

I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund

My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com

Find me on Instagram: instagram.com/jodyhedlund/

Come pin with me on Pinterest: pinterest.com/jodyhedlund/pins/

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Book review with a giveaway: Return to Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand


Click here to purchase your copy.


About the Book


Book: Return to Huckleberry Hill
Author: Jennifer Beckstrand
Genre: Inspirational Amish Romance
Release Date: May 30, 2017


When it comes to matchmaking, Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin’s unstoppable octogenarians Anna and Felty Helmuth never seem to run out of opportunities—or grandchildren…

Reuben Helmuth is plenty bitter. John King, his best friend—or so he thought—is engaged to the girl Reuben loved. Humiliated, Reuben flees from Ohio to his grandparents’ home on Huckleberry Hill, where he knows he’ll find comfort. He’s enjoying wallowing in his misery—until John’s sister, Fern, shows up. She won’t stop pestering Reuben about forgiveness—or trying to help him find love again. Yet Fern’s efforts only reawaken Reuben’s long-buried feelings—for her…

With her brother too ashamed to face Reuben, it’s fallen to Fern to help mend fences. But as she and the Helmuths do all they can—even organizing a knitting club event filled with eligible girls—it may take one more challenge to inspire Reuben to forget his heartache, recognize his own blunders, and embrace the true love that’s right in front of him…

My Review

This was a fun book to read.  The author pays close attention to detail and is precise in her word choice to bring the most meaning and humor to the scenes.  The main and supporting characters are very well-drawn.  This is physically a thick book, so if you want a great book, because you love to read, or you love Amish fiction, or you love to laugh, this is one you'll want to pick up.  It is part of a series, but entirely stands on its own.

I received an ARC of this book from the author/publisher through Celebrate Lit for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author


Jennifer Beckstrand is the award winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hillseries and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters’ aendi Bitsy. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-two years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and soon-to-be six adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.




Guest post from Jennifer Beckstrand

My family. I have five sisters and no brothers.
I think my mom made every dress in this photo, including her own.
Anna Helmuth is starting a knitting club, but that’s not all she’s got up her sleeve. 

In Return to Huckleberry Hill, Anna Helmuth and Fern King decide to start a knitting club in order to introduce Anna’s grandson Reuben to some girls from Bonduel, Wisconsin. Anna is a very good knitter, with years of practice making baby blankets, scarves, mittens, and potholders. One of Anna’s scarves actually saved someone’s life, and her potholders have helped her make many a match.

When I was a young teenager, I learned how to knit and crochet. My mom taught me how to sew and quilt, and I made several of my own dresses in high school. I never learned to love sewing, but it was an invaluable skill that I am so grateful to have. Now that I’m a little older, I love putting together simple quilts for baby gifts and making quilts for the local children’s hospital. There is nothing like a homemade gift to say, “I care about you.”

I have a friend who is a wonderful cook. Making a delicious, beautiful meal is how she tells her family she loves them. I don’t consider myself a great cook, but I still take pride in putting something nutritious and satisfying on the table for my family.

It seems to me that some of the “home arts” that our mothers and grandmothers practiced are dying out. Who knows how to tat anymore? Or embroider? Some of these arts have died because of expediency. Who doesn’t think today’s stocking choices are more comfortable and practical than knitted wool ones? Others have died out because so few people want to learn.

What about you? Do you still practice any of the home arts that your grandmother did? What do you want to pass on to the next generation?

Blog Stops

May 23: cherylbbookblog
May 23: Lighthouse Academy
May 24: Reading Is My SuperPower
May 24: A Greater Yes
May 25: Just Commonly
May 25: God’s Little Bookworm
May 26: Have A Wonderful Day
May 26: Edits and Reviews by Leslie McKee
May 26: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
May 27: Faithful Acres Body Soul Spirit
May 27: A Bakers Perspective
May 28: Christian Bookaholic
May 28: The Power of Words
May 29: Karen Sue Hadley
May 29: Daysong Reflections
May 29: Inklings and notions
May 30: Quiet Quilter
May 30: my site/autism mom
May 30: Donna’s Bookshelf
May 31: Bibliophile Reviews
May 31: Bigreadersite
June 1: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
June 1: Southern Gal Loves to Read
June 2: Pause for Tales
June 2: Blossoms and Blessings
June 2: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses
June 3: Moments Dipped in Ink
June 3: Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting
June 4: A Room without Books is Empty
June 4: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
June 4: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog
June 5: His Grace Is Sufficient
June 5: Jeanette’s Thoughts
June 5: A Simple Life, really?!

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card to three lucky winners!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b3b2

Monday, May 29, 2017

Book review: Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson


About the Book

Tracie Peterson Begins Compelling New Series Set on the 1840s Frontier

Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters became her responsibility. A hasty marriage to a minister who is heading to the untamed West seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start, but a cholera outbreak along the wagon trail has left Grace a widow in a very precarious position.

Having learned natural remedies and midwifery from her mother, Grace seeks an opportunity to use her skills for the benefit of others. So when she and her sisters arrive at the Whitman mission in "Oregon Country," she decides to stay rather than push on.

With the help of Alex Armistead, a French-American fur trapper, Grace begins to provide care for her neighbors, including some of the native populace. But not everyone welcomes her skills--or her presence--and soon Grace finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.

My Review

This is why I always enjoy what I call "prairie fiction."  The daily struggle of travel and survival is met head on by a strong female character.  Grace has skills, is hardworking and compassionate, and will do what is necessary to keep her family intact.  This is the first fictional account I have read of the Whitman Mission massacre.  Author Tracie Peterson handled it well.  The horrible things that happened were mentioned, but not described in too much detail.  What Peterson excelled at in this book, though, was fostering compassion for the victims of the massacre and the far-reaching effect it had on their lives.  I thought the ending was a little predictable, but the book as a whole was worth the read.  I am already anticipating the next book in the series.

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

About the Author

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than one hundred books. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.

Visit Tracie's web site at: http://www.traciepeterson.com

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Book review: Life After by Katie Ganshert


About the Book

It could have been me.

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.

A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest.

Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.

In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.

My Review

It was real.  

The chaos of family get-togethers.

A parent's terror of having a missing child.

The heartache of betrayal.

The recurring nightmares.

The butterflies of a new attraction.

The joy of playing outside in the rain.

Katie Ganshert did an excellent job of crafting this novel, and especially of getting inside the heads of the main characters.   As I got to know Autumn, I found out how messed up she was, yet I liked her and had compassion for her, which made the joy even greater as she was able to heal and grow throughout the course of this book.

This is a book to pick up when you really want to dig in to a good book, and I highly recommend it for men and women who enjoy contemporary fiction.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for review purposes.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Katie Ganshert was born and raised in the exciting state of Iowa, where she currently resides with her family. She likes to write things and consume large quantities of coffee and chocolate while she writes all the things. She's won some awards. For the writing, not the consuming. Although the latter would be fun. You can learn more about Katie and these things she writes at her website www.katieganshert.com.