Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Book review with a giveaway: Finding Margo by Jen Turano



Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Off the charts and on the run.

International pop star Margo Hartman could use a night off. A grueling tour and overbearing entourage have sent her over the edge. It’s time for this diva to disappear. And who would think to look for the superstar in a small town in Ohio?

Sheriff’s deputy Brock Moore is undercover as well. He knows Margo isn’t who she appears to be, but her uncanny resemblance to a local Amish woman is raising all sorts of questions . . . the kinds that make her a target for a killer.

Both are determined to find answers, but their mutual attraction stands in the way of either of them doing it alone. Is finding Margo the solution to Brock’s problems or the just the beginning . . . ?

My Review

When you can't wait to dig into a book because you know, without hesitation, that it is going to be amazing.  That's what happened to me.  Then the book begins, and hilarity ensues, as well as mystery, suspense, romance, and Amish.  This book has everything!  It was fast-paced, so entertaining, and enthralling.

The mystery builds throughout the book, and the romance moves slowly, which is good, considering the characters were in life-or-death situations.  I love that, because we get to know the characters better.

I loved this book, and readers of all genres will, too.  And it's the first of a series!   I can't wait to read more!

I received a free copy of this book through Celebrate Lit for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own, and I was not required to give a positive review.

About the Author






USA Today best-selling author Jen Turano writes contemporary and historical romances with quirky characters and unusual storylines. Just outside Denver, Colorado, Jen and her husband live as empty-nesters, and they do so fabulously. Contact Jen at jenturano.com.








Guest Post from Jen Turano

The Making of “Finding Margo”

By Jen Turano

To say that my entrance into the publishing world was a tad difficult is certainly an understatement. My very first attempt at writing was centered around a middle grade book, specifically written for my son who was in the third grade at the time. After finishing that, and sending it out to all of five companies, none of whom represented middle grade, I then moved on to young adult with a little more interest sent my way, but no success story to report in the end. Not one to embrace the idea of complete and utter failure, I then tried my hand at a contemporary romance, moved on to what I assumed was a delightful regency romance, but one that turned out to be not that delightful, at least according to numerous agents, and finally landed on gilded age stories, filled with quirky heroines. That is when I finally received my very first publishing contract, which then saw me catapulted into the very weird world of publishing. After completing the second gilded age story of my two-book contract, I found myself with some time on my hands as I waited to see if anyone would read my stories, which might then result in an offer of additional book contracts. As I waited, I decided I might as well keep writing, so decided to try another contemporary story, although my agent at that time suggested I try to write an Amish book since she had numerous requests from publishers for those specific books.

Because my writing voice is not what anyone might consider normal, I really didn’t believe I’d be able to do justice to an authentic Amish story.

Because of that, I settled on the idea of writing a contemporary romantic suspense, being a huge fan of that genre. I had a vague notion of exploring a theme centered around a dog walker who might stumble on a body while walking her pack of dogs, or perhaps have a storyline that centered around a makeup artist who witnessed a crime while setting out her makeup for a client, but those ideas went straight away when I pulled out the vacuum one fine day.

Vacuuming, as well as staining the deck, cleaning the shower, and power-washing the garage, are my go-to activities when I need to get the muse working right before I start a first draft. On that particular day, as I pushed the vacuum around the house, I suddenly had the most intriguing idea – an idea that started off with two delightful little words…What…and…If.

That was all it took for a premise to begin festering through my mind, a fester that grew into this – What if three Amish children were stolen straight out of their beds, never to be seen or heard from again until… Now here’s where it gets interesting. I decided to have a woman by the name of Margo Hartman, an international superstar no less, stumble into this small Ohio town quite by accident, and…she happens to bear an uncommon resemblance to an Amish woman who lives in this town. To add an addition sense of intrigue, someone immediately begins trying their very best to kill poor Margo.

By the time I was done vacuuming, the storyline for “Finding Margo” was firmly cemented in my mind, which translates into Jen had no choice other than to write the story. However, before my agent at that time found a home for the manuscript, I signed another contract for more gilded age books, which meant I did not have the time to commit to what was certainly going to have to be a three-book series since, well, there were three Amish children who’d gone missing.

Fast forward around five years and I found myself a little ahead of schedule at exactly the right time. There was a new publishing house in town, my current agent remembered me talking about this quirky book I’d written long ago, and as luck would have it, I found the flash drive that’s been home to “Finding Margo” for all these years.

Since my writing style has certainly changed since I first wrote Margo’s story, I ended up rewriting the entire book, and I must say that I’m still just as intrigued with the storyline as I was when it popped to mind while vacuuming what seems like ages ago. I’m just tickled to death that Margo Hartman has finally found her way out of a flash drive and onto the pages of a book. I’m hoping readers will enjoy her as much as I enjoyed writing her.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me today, and for supporting my books over the years. I cannot properly express how important all my readers have become to me, and I’m incredibly thankful for every one of you. You’ve brightened up my life and without you, well, I wouldn’t have anyone to share the stories that always seem to rumble around my mind.

God bless!

~ Jen ~

Blog Stops

November 17: Book by Book
November 17: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
November 17: cherylbbookblog
November 17: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
November 18: A Reader’s Brain
November 18: I Hope You Dance
November 18: Blogging with Carol
November 19: ASC Book Reviews
November 19: Bibliophile Reviews
November 20: Lighthouse Academy
November 20: Karen Sue Hadley
November 20: Back Porch Reads
November 21: Reading Is My SuperPower
November 21: Genesis 5020
November 21: 100 Pages per Hour
November 22: Pause for Tales
November 22: Quiet Quilter
November 22: Bigreadersite
November 23: Just Commonly
November 23: A Greater Yes
November 23: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
November 24: Smiling Book Reviews
November 24: Ashley’s Bookshelf
November 24: Singing Librarian Books
November 25: It’s Storytime With Van Daniker
November 25: History, Mystery & Faith
November 25: inklings and notions
November 26: Daysong Reflections
November 26: The Scribbler
November 26: Blossoms and Blessings
November 27: Christian Chick’s Thoughts
November 27: A Baker’s Perspective
November 27: Through the Open Window
November 28: The Power of Words
November 28: His Grace is Sufficient
November 28: Reader’s Cozy Corner
November 29: Fiction, Faith, and Fun
November 29: Faithfully Bookish
November 29: Christian Bookaholic
November 30: Raining Butterfly Kisses
November 30: Book Bites, Bee Stings & Butterfly Kisses

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copies of her book! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine entries on the giveaway!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Book review with a giveaway: Love in the Seams by Jodie Wolfe




Click here to purchase your copy.


About the Book

Mae Stafford longs for the companionship and unconditional love her sister has found in her new husband. But after years of refusing potential suitors because of a pact they made as children, Mae no longer has any choices left once their agreement is broken. She has no hope that God will give her what she desires most, a family of her own. Instead of dwelling on what she doesn’t have, she throws herself into her work as the recent sole owner of the local dress shop.


As a promise made to his late wife, Johannes Mueller agrees to travel west to be a school teacher in Calder Springs, Texas, away from the bigotry associated with being an immigrant in New York City. He hopes to improve his life and forget his loss. Johannes isn’t counting on his five-year-old daughter’s search for a new mother when they arrive. His little LillyAnn finds ways to bring the seamstress and him together…often. Can he learn to embrace his German heritage and unlock his heart to love again?


My Review


Mae Stafford had to come to terms with the fact that her heart's desire was to be a wife and mother, but she hadn't allowed herself to consider it. She was a business woman, and she had her dress shop to manage. But when a darling little girl comes in and asks her to be her new mama, the longing becomes real.

I enjoyed this book. It was short, easy to read, and the storyline was direct. The author had an easygoing style to her writing. That it was the second book in a series was not a difficulty whatsoever; I was able to catch the relevant details about the previous book easily.

Those who like historical romance will enjoy this story.

I received an ARC of this book for review purposes. The thoughts expressed here are my own.


About the Author




Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests and is a member of ACFW. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.










Guest Post from Jodie Wolfe


I’m so excited to be a part of a Celebrate Lit tour. Thank you for the opportunity to give a small peek into my world. Love in the Seams is book two in my Twins & Needles series. Mae Stafford’s journey to believe and have hope that God will give her the desires of her heart echo the ups and downs of my writing adventure.

I wrote my first novel as a teen quite a number of years ago. Ahem. We won’t say how many years that have passed since then. Let’s just say it’s quite a few. My next novel didn’t get written until my early twenties…and then soon after I had children. Fiction writing took a back seat as I raised my sons and home schooled them all the way through high school.

Over seven years ago I felt God nudging me back to writing. I still had a son at home, so the progress was a little slow at first. Since then I’ve written four novels, three novellas, and have pitched a half dozen other ideas at various conferences or through my amazing agent.

God dropped my agent, Linda S. Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency, into my lap when I least expected it, but that’s a different story. I’ve had quite a number of rejections over the past few years as she’s tried to drum up interest for my books. We’ve had some nibbles and times when an editor or two was interested, but things didn’t progress any further than that.

I’ve entered contests and have experienced mixed results. I semi-finaled in American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis contest a few years ago, and this past summer I found out I’m a finalist in three different contests. But there also have been quite a few where the responses weren’t so great.

Earlier this year I decided to put out a novella independently and Hearts Tightly Knit was the result. It told the tale of Mae’s twin sister, Ellie, and their pact to always stay together and never marry. When Ellie ended up with her happily-ever-after, I knew that Mae needed one too. The only thing is Mae isn’t sure if her hopes for a family will ever come to fruition.

Highs and lows are part of a writer’s life. Well, actually for all of us. Sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down in the negatives, the ‘rejections’ and not be able to see past them. Believe me, at times I wallow there for a little bit, but my aim is to write books that share about the hope we have in Christ. How can I convey that if I don’t believe and experience it myself?

One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 11:1 (HCSB) which says, “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” One of the things I have hoped for many years was a writing contract. That finally happened in September when I signed for a novelette with Celebrate Lit that will be coming out in the spring. In the process of waiting, I’ve found God has refined and honed me in this journey of hope.

My prayer is that my books will touch your heart and give you a glimmer of the hope we have in Christ. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity into your world.

Blog Stops

November 8: History, Mystery &Faith

November 9: Artistic Nobody (Spotlight)

November 10: Pause for Tales

November 11: Reading Is My SuperPower

November 12: Quiet Quilter

November 13: A Greater Yes

November 13: Blossoms and Blessings

November 14: God’s Little Bookworm

November 14: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

November 15: Lane Hill House

November 15: Ashley’s Bookshelf

November 16: ASC Book Reviews

November 17: Christian Bookaholic

November 17: Through the Open Window

November 18: Daysong Reflections

November 19: bigreadersite

November 19: Reviewing Novels Online

November 20: Splashes of Joy

November 20: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

November 21: A Baker’s Perspective


Giveaway





In honor of her tour, Jodie is giving away a wooden decorated basket, a 24 thread spools with needles and threader, a pack of 30 needles, a tape measure, a tomato pin cushion, embroidery scissors, a thimble, 15 piece sewing kit, and a $10 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter; be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine bonus entries for this giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a88d

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Book review: Flash Point by Thomas Locke




About the book:

What if the limits of time and space were breached?

Lena Fennan is a low-level financial analyst with a high-powered conviction. Just as she’s on the verge of a life-transforming windfall, a mysterious invitation draws her into a series of events that threatens to crush her. But captivated by a glimpse into a breathtaking future, Lena refuses to give in.

Reese Clawson emerges from prison gripped by the slow burn of revenge. She aims to track down everyone who had a hand in destroying her—and take them out. First on the list is Charlie Hazard, who will be snared by their shared secret.

As events and places become tangled, Lena and Reese are pulled into a collision course that could redefine everything—even the limits of human possibilities.

Flash Point released August 2, 2016, from Revell. #flashpoint

My review:

This second book in the Fault Lines series was a great continuation of the story begun in Trial Run.  It added a very engrossing banking and finance aspect on top of the expanded science and technology scenario.  I was actually able to follow the back and forth action from Reese and her team to Lena and her team more easily in this book than I did in the first one.  Characters from the first book remained true to their selves, and new characters were well-drawn.  The pacing moved the book forward to an ending that made me long for the next book now.

As always, this book by Thomas Locke will keep you turning pages and appreciating the details that give credence to the stories he writes.  Here is my favorite quote from this book:

"Roger softly interrupted, 'You made a thousand percent profit?  In two weeks?'"

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

About the author:

Thomas Locke is an award-winning novelist with total worldwide sales of seven million copies.

His work has been published in twenty languages, and critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction and his 2014 induction into the Christy Hall of Fame.

Thomas divides his time between Florida and England, where he serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College at The University of Oxford. Visit Thomas at http://tlocke.com.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Book review: Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti



About the book

Alexis Blake has one chance to land her own show on the Home Project Network and nothing, not an uncooperative client, a job site without indoor plumbing, or a challenging videographer, is going to stand in her way. Elsie, at seventy-plus, is far from the ideal client, but she knows exactly what she wants her fieldstone house to look like, and no designer can tell her otherwise. Gabe Langley, the man with the camera, is caught in the middle and it is his wisdom and warmth that just may be the bridge that will bring these two women together. Can they restore more than just a house and bring about special, almost lost forever Christmas memories?

My review

Author Cynthia Ruchti awakens all the coziness, warmth, and good feelings about Christmas, then amidst that backdrop tells a story that hits home with its truth:  Christmas is about restoration.  

This book is not long, but the characters become likable and are well-developed.  There is such a fun relationship that develops between Alexis and Gabe, but what I liked most was the transformation that took place in each one as they allowed God to restore them from past hurts and problems.

Grab your hot cider, tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, and curl up in a blanket near the fire, and enjoy all the warmth and coziness of Christmas as you read this book.  I highly recommend it for your holiday reading!

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


About the author

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She's the award-winning author of more than fifteen books and a frequent speaker for women's ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin. Visit her online at CynthiaRuchti.com.