Sunday, April 24, 2016

Book review with a giveaway: The Reluctant Duchess




About the book:

Will Fleeing the Scottish Highlands Only Leave Her in More Danger?

Lady Rowena Kinnaird may be the heiress to a Highland earldom, but she’s never felt good enough–not for her father, not for the man she thought she’d marry, not for God. But after a shocking attack, she’s willing to be forever an outcast if it means escaping those threatening her life.

Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, has never been one to shy away from manor-born ladies, yet the last thing he needs is the distraction of the newly introduced Lady Rowena. He has enough on his plate having recently come into possession of a rare treasure for which many would kill, yet those around him seem intent on pairing him with this desperate but beguiling girl.

Rowena is reluctant to marry this notorious flirt. And when she learns that Brice is mixed up in some kind of questionable business with a stolen treasure, she fears she’ll end up in more danger than she fled.

My thoughts:

Once again, Rosanna M. White has written a book that is meant to be savored.  She takes her time, and fully develops the characters and storyline.  Readers of The Lost Heiress will recognize many characters, and the plot line of the Fire Eyes jewels, but this book stands on its own.  

Rowena's transformation throughout the story is laudable, considering that she necessarily is in a self-preservation mode.  It is encouraging to see her accept truth, friendship, and love from those around her as the story progresses.  Brice, introduced in The Lost Heiress, is lovable for his strength of character, patience, and loyalty.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy Edwardian fiction and romance.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, and Celebrate Lit, in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.


About the author:



Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. The Reluctant Duchess is Roseanna’s eleventh published book. Her novels range from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

A guest post from the author:

Though I’ve written nearly thirty books, thirteen of which will be out by the end of 2016, there’s something very special about the Ladies of the Manor Series. The first book, The Lost Heiress, is a rewrite of the first novel I ever wrote—at the age of 12-13. Once I finished that first novel, I made it my goal to keep adding more manuscripts to my “finished” file. I started in immediately on the sequel . . . and soon ran into a problem. You see, I knew who I wanted these characters to be. Brice Myerston, a duke, whom readers would have met in the first book. And a young lady from Scotland who had suffered abuse.

That’s it. That’s all I knew. And it stymied 13-year-old me, who hadn’t a clue what it felt like to suffer such things, and whose imagination, while rich, just lacked a certain basis in the realities of human nature. Probably a good thing that I gave up on the story back then, and didn’t dust it off again until my mid-20s, when I was reworking the series. And better still that Rowena had many more drafts to go through before she finally took to the printed page in The Reluctant Duchess.

I narrowed my setting down, during those years, to the Highlands, and I chose Loch Morar because of how perfectly the region of Lochaber suited the story I wanted to tell. Isolated. Stark. Rugged. Beautiful. Sometimes cruel. This was a land utterly perfect for my heroine’s family, for her back story. Then came the challenge of picking a clan for her to belong to—because lemme just tell you, one could quite easily offend with such choices, if not portrayed properly, LOL. And because I wanted her father to be chief of her clan, I ran the risk of people mistaking him for the actual chief, if I chose an actual clan.

A writing friend came to rescue and offered her last name for my heroine: Kinnaird (pronounced “kin-AIRD”), which is a sept (branch) of another clan in reality, so had no chief of its own, but was still a well-established Scottish name. Perfect!

So Rowena Kinnaird was born after many years of her character floating in and around my head and computer screen. And I got to pair this backward, sometimes shy, sometimes stubborn Scottish lass with the charming, suave, polished English duke I’d had planned out since I was 13.

I went to great pains in The Lost Heiress to make Brice Myerston a favorite character, so that readers HAD to read his story. Mwa ha ha ha. 😉 So far, so good on that score! Brice is a hero who has his faults, but he also has character. He has faith. He has a good heart, he’s considerate, he’s understanding. And he’s also so accustomed to charming everything female that he doesn’t quite know what to do when Rowena doesn’t seem inclined to be charmed.

There are clashes. There is tension. There’s much healing on Rowena’s part. Many trials for them both. But I hope that through this story of The Reluctant Duchess readers see what it means to triumph over past hurts. And how brightly God shines against the darkness.

The giveaway:

To celebrate the release of her book, Roseanna is giving away a few of Roseanna’s favorite things. Click the link to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e146afbf20/?.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book review and giveaway: White by Denise Weimer


Purchase your copy in paperback here or in ebook here.

About the book:

When Jennifer Rushmore accepts a brooding bachelor’s job offer to act as coordinator for the restoration of his family’s historic doctor’s house (White), apothecary (Widow) and log cabin (Witch) in a rural Georgia community, little does she know it’s her own heart that will undergo the greatest renovation. Three stories. Three centuries. Three lessons on the healing of the heart. And one buried mystery that threatens their redemption.

White: As historic preservationist Jennifer and brooding bachelor Michael restore his ancestors’ historic doctor’s residence in a rural Georgia community, they uncover the 1920s-era prejudice and secrets that caused Michael’s branch to fall off the family tree. Recent graduate Jennifer is determined to fulfill her first professional position with integrity even if her employer lacks a proper appreciation of history. Far more challenging—and sinister—than the social landscape of Hermon are the strange accidents hinting that someone doesn’t want them on the Dunham property. Yet Michael’s and Jennifer’s own pasts pose the biggest obstacles to laying a fresh foundation of family and community.

My thoughts:

I was impressed by this book.  Author Denise Weimer has crafted a well-researched story that drew me in to the modern story of Jennifer Rushmore, a grad student on the brink of graduating, who has landed her first real job as a historic preservationist, and of Georgia Pearl Dunham, who had Deep South racial prejudice to contend with in the 1920s.  I found that I could really relate to Jennifer as she struck out on her own in the professional world.  Her insecurities and awkwardness made her a totally believable character.  I also loved how she was willing to grow and develop as a person in her new circumstances.

The book developed themes of the importance of family, and the restoration that is needed in each person's heart from past hurts and disappointments.  My only regret while reading this book is that the ending came too soon!  I'm looking forward to the next installment in the trilogy to continue the story.  I recommend this book to those who enjoy contemporary or historical fiction, since both are intertwined in the story.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.

About the author:


In addition to The Restoration Trilogy, native Georgian Denise Weimer is the author of numerous magazine articles about her home state, romantic novella Redeeming Grace, The Georgia Gold Series (Sautee Shadows, The Gray Divide, The Crimson Bloom, and Bright as Gold). Bright as Gold won the 2015 John Esten Cooke Award for authentic Southern literature. She holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University, is a wife and swim mom of two daughters, and always pauses for coffee, chocolate and old houses.

The giveaway:


In honor of the White Celebration Tour, Denise is giving away a print copy of WHITE: Book One of The Restoration Trilogy, a $15 Starbucks card to representing the coffee-loving modern heroine, and a vintage hat to represent the historical heroine. Click to enter:

https://promosimple.com/ps/96a4


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Book review and giveaway: A Season to Wed

About the Book


Click here to purchase your copy.

They’ve helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples. Now twelve new couples will find themselves in the wedding spotlight in the second Year of Weddings novella collection.

Love at Mistletoe Inn by Cindy Kirk
Sometimes the road to happiness is paved with youthful mistakes. Ten years after what she thought was her almost-wedding, Hope Prentiss discovers that the ceremony counted—and, as fate would have it, the jilted John Burke has just ridden back into town. After spending some time with John and helping plan a Christmas wedding for a mystery couple, Hope begins to wonder if she really wants a divorce . . . or a real wedding of her own.

A Brush with Love by Rachel Hauck
 Revealing the beauty in other women might be Ginger Winters’s specialty—but it will take an unexpected kind of love to help Ginger see the beauty in herself. Ginger Winters will be the “beauty-maker” for the Alabama society wedding of the decade. But when high-school crush Tom Wells shows up looking for a haircut, Ginger’s thinly veiled insecurities threaten to keep her from love once again . . . despite Tom’s best efforts.

Serving Up a Sweetheart by Cheryl Wyatt
Meadow knows how to serve delicious food to match any wedding theme. But can she accept love when it’s served up on a silver platter? Meadow Larson is having the mother of all Mondays when her roof caves in during a blizzard, right before the most important wedding contract of her career. Renovation contractor Colin McGrath offers to fix Meadow’s roof, even though he knows he is the last person she would accept help from. But the more Meadow gets to know the new Colin, the more she realizes God may have something more permanent in store than a new catering kitchen.

My thoughts
The three novellas in A Season to Wed were connected by the winter season, and all the couples had known each other in high school and were reunited back in their hometowns at least ten years later.  The characters had to deal with past hurts that they had either endured or caused.  In each novella, the bride and groom experienced the power of God's forgiveness and grace in their lives.  This was a light read, clean, entertaining, and uplifting, and would be a great read not only for romance fans, but those who love weddings, also.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.

About the Authors

Rachel Hauck Bio:
Rachel Hauck is a USA Today Bestselling author. Her book, The Wedding Dress, was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Her book Once Upon A Prince was a Christy Award finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and two pets and writes from her ivory tower. Visit her online at rachelhauck.com, Facebook: rachelhauck, and Twitter: @RachelHauck.

Cindy Kirk Bio:
Cindy Kirk sold her first book in 1999 as a result of a contest win which garnered a critique of the entire manuscript. She’s been writing—and selling—ever since. Cindy has been a Booksellers’ Best Award Winner, a finalist for the National Readers’ Choice Awards and a Publishers Weekly best seller. Cindy has served on the Board of Directors of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) since 2007. In November 2014, she began serving as President of the 10,000+ member organization. She’s a frequent speaker at not only the national RWA conferences, but large regional writing conferences. She has also presented at smaller retreats and conferences across the country. She lives on an acreage in Nebraska with her high school sweetheart husband of too-many-years-to-count and their three “boys” (a shih tzu, a blue heeler and a dorkie). Their daughter lives close by with her wonderful husband and their two little girls. Cindy invites you to check out her websitewww.cindykirk.com. Twitter: @CindyKirkAuthor

Cheryl Wyatt Bio:
Cheryl Wyatt writes romance with virtue. She’s a USA Today bestselling author and has earned RT Top Picks, spots #1 and #4 on her debut publisher’s Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books list, Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence final, and other awards. Cheryl loves readers! Join her newsletter at www.CherylWyatt.com. Facebook: CherylWyattAuthor Twitter: @cherylwyatt

Giveaway

To celebrate the A Season To Wed Celebration Tour, Rachel Hauck is giving away a Kindle Fire! Click to enter https://promosimple.com/ps/953c

Blog Stops

April 6: Giveaway Lady
April 7: CTF Devourer
April 8: Splashes of Joy
April 8: Southern Chelle
April 9: Just Commonly
April 13: Bigreadersite
April 16: A Greater Yes
April 17: Quiet Quilter
April 17: Bukwurmzzzz

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Book review: Risen - The Novelization of the Major Motion Picture by Angela Hunt


I love books that “put me there” in the midst of the story, especially at Christmas and Easter.  Risen, by Angela Hunt, does just that.  It is about a tribune in the Roman army who is there at the crucifixion and burial of Christ, then is assigned to investigate the disappearance of his body three days later.  He is amused by the testimonies people give of their association with Jesus, and is perplexed by the mystery, until he meets Jesus himself.

This book is the novelization of the movie of the same title, released in early 2016.  At this writing, I have not seen the movie, so I cannot compare the two.  However, I know the account of the Easter story well, and when this book kept me asking, “What happens next?” you know it’s a good book.  Angela Hunt tells a compelling story that is full of well-researched details of the time.  The characters are well-developed, and the story is fast-paced.

I give this book a 5-star rating and recommend it for women and men.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

About the author:


The author of more than 100 published books and with nearly 5 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic Times Book Club presented Angela with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, Angela completed her PhD in Biblical Studies in Theology. She and her husband live in Florida with their mastiffs. She can be found online at www.angelahuntbooks.com.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Book review and giveaway: The Imposter by Suzanne Woods Fisher




About the book:

A heart once deceived should not be easily fooled again . . .

Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. But as her plans crumble before her eyes, she struggles to face an uncertain future. When a widow asks for help starting a new business, Katrina quickly agrees. She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose.

What she doesn’t need is attention from Andy Miller, a farmhand who arrives at the widow’s farm just when help is most needed–and who always seems to say the right thing and be in the right place, at the right time. Is Andy for real or too good to be true? She’s been deceived once before, and she isn’t planning on experiencing it again.

My thoughts:

The first thing I loved about this book is that it was readable.  A problem that I have with Amish fiction is that the language is stilted in an attempt to "be authentically Amish."  This book was not that.  Author Suzanne Woods Fisher didn't feel the need to educate me on Amish customs and language; she just told a story that flowed well.

This novel is Book One of The Bishop's Family series, which is one of many book series set in Stoney Ridge.  So, there is a lot of history in this town of which I was unaware, since this is the first of Fisher's books that I have read.  However, I was able to entirely enjoy this book on its own merit, and did not feel lost while reading it.  

So that is what I liked about it.  There were many characters to meet, and they were all in different places in their lives-age, spiritual maturity, marital status, etc.  "Everyone's journey begins somewhere."  The neat thing is that those characters will be there in future installments and we will continue to be able to see the growth in their lives.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

About the author:


Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author whose most recent novels include Anna’s Crossing 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 www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

The giveaway:

Suzanne is graciously giving away a Kindle Fire 7! Click below to enter!