Saturday, December 17, 2016

Book review with a giveaway: Sweet on You by Chautona Havig


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the BookIt is my hypothesis that social conventions are created to test our fortitude.
Rockland circa 1900-
As the mayor’s daughter, Madeline Brown enjoys a rich social life that many might envy. But a sharp mind but a growing talent for observation leaves Madeline torn between avoiding social censure and exploring the world around her.

With an aunt who considers higher education and employment equally unsuitable for the mayor’s daughter, there is little to amuse her save endless committee meetings, evening socials, and her favorite pastime: curling up with an exciting detective novel. The temperance and suffrage movements hold little interest for a young woman who has just endured the rigors of her father’s mayoral campaign.

So when a young man shows interest in her friend, Madeline’s interest piques–until his actions hint that he might not be the upstanding gentleman everyone presumes him to be. Unable to ignore her concerns, Madeline finds herself in the middle of an investigation into his character and discovers a side of Rockland she’s never encountered.

Will her new hobby reduce the tedium of her life, or will her “meddling” create tension for herself and her father? Will she be forced to squelch this budding skill of hers or has Madeline finally found her calling in life?

Meddlin’ Madeline: Sweet on You.

Welcome to Rockland’s infancy.

Sweet on You is the first book in the Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries. Watch for the second book in the series, Such a Tease, in winter, 2017

My Review

Quirky.  Fun.  Persistent.  Delightful.  Perceptive.  So many words to describe Madeline Brown, the main character of this new self-titled series.  As the mayor's daughter, Madeline is a part of the high society in her city, but she cares not for it.  She feels trapped by society's expectations and prohibitions, but she remains loyal to her friends and father.  I loved how the author's writing style in this book matches the personality of Madeline, and how the language used was authentic to the time period.

Those who enjoy a good, cozy mystery will certainly enjoy this story, beginning with the exquisite cover!

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

I am fortunate enough to live in the great state of California (in the Mojave Desert) with my husband Kevin and five of my nine children. My eldest is married with five children, so I have the fun of a son-in-law and grandbabies to enjoy. I’ve graduated six out of my nine children from our home school, and they’re all doing quite well in their lives. My younger children keep me from getting too selfish, and someday I’ll be fully retired as their teacher. I have to say, I’m lookin’ forward to it. Teaching about gerunds was fun the first time… not so much anymore. I salute all of those in the education field. You are my heroes.

When I’m not writing (which I admit isn’t often) I enjoy blogging (a totally different kind of writing, trust me), paper crafts, sewing, smocking, photo editing, and old music. No, really, I like OLD stuff… the Beatles are too newfangled for me. Yeah,I know they’re before my time… but I like stuff before my PARENTS time.

Guest Post from Chautona
The idea for Madeline came while I was searching for photos for another book idea (one I still haven’t fleshed out yet!). I came across an intriguing picture of a girl wearing a bowler and loved it. I wondered who she was and what she was reading. Well… then I turned the page and… wow! Dozens of photos appeared—all in the same general theme. Bowler hat, gloves, late Victorian/early Edwardian clothes…. I could just see her riding through town on a “wheel” and solving crimes. And well, the rest was born. I had to narrow down about twenty pictures to five. I couldn’t do it. So, I did six. I just hope I can limit myself to six.

Fun Facts:

Fact #1:

This is a historical novel, so that meant lots of research. Well, in the sense that it takes place in another period, anyway. Research proved much more difficult than you might imagine. You see, the world was in a state of flux in 1901. Victorian mores gave way way to a new, modern era—a new century! Though an exciting time in history, because everything was in a perpetual state of change, finding truly historically accurate information was almost impossible!

Additionally, the writing style is very different. This is partly due to a quirk of Madeline’s, but it is also because people used broader vocabularies back then. I wrote the book with a style that fit the era. It was difficult not to lapse into modern vernacular or even something a bit more twenties. After all, the series title was inspired by a song from the 1920’s!

Fun Fact #2

This book begins a journey of self-discovery for Madeline. One of the things I wanted most to do with this book was to explore the “birth” of a detective—to show what it might be like for someone to realize that he or she notices things that others don’t. Through Madeline, I explored how people would react to having their secrets exposed, and I tried to show just how difficult it would be to investigate suspicious things without becoming deceitful or putting oneself in compromising positions. It’s easy to assume people would appreciate knowing if they were being taken advantage of, but would they really? Would pride not get in the way of things? I suspect it would.

Each book does have a definite “mystery”. But, these aren’t traditional mysteries. There won’t be a murder until the final book, but each one will increase in difficulty for Madeline and the reader to decipher the truth and will add a new element of danger and self-discovery. Additionally, there’s an overarching story over the entire series that won’t be resolved until the end.

Fun Fact #3

We have five more books to go! We’re just getting started with Madeline’s adventures. A sneak peek into the rest of the series: we’ll get to learn more about her best friend, Amy. I haven’t decided just what kind of girl Amy is, but I suspect she’s quite beautiful. I think that’ll play a part in a future book. She’s also likely to meet someone in her European tour. Will she be the friend with the suspicious letter in book four? Who knows? Not me!

Madeline’s Unofficial Glossary

One of the best parts about writing this series is playing with words that I grew up using and reading, but most people don’t use anymore. I had parents of a literary turn of mind, so I grew up being told to, “Slow down and enunciate.” This began at age 3. So, while other kids were told to “go potty,” I was told to “use the facilities.” I’ll never forget in second grade telling a classmate, “That’s your prerogative,” when she said, “I don’t like you.” She was… confused, I think.

Add to that the fun slang of the day, not to mention a quirk I’m not giving away, and I can honestly say I had a blast writing this book. However, I know not everyone is fond of sesquipedalian words or erudite language. So, with that in mind, I decided to write this glossary of words you will find in the book. Please note: definitions are mine and written with my tongue super-glued to the inside of my cheek.
Diffidence: noun
Pretending to be reserved in an attempt to hide the truth. Desperate. A misguided notion that pretending not to notice someone will create interest.
Vicissitude: noun
The quality of never being able to make up your mind. A woman.

Multi-eloquent: adjective
The misguided notion that one must be like Nellie Olson in These Happy Golden Years and allow one’s tongue to go “flippity-flop.” Example: Gossips are often multi-eloquent.

Jitney: noun
Slang for a nickel. Also, a horse-drawn “cab.” Because it has fewer syll–nope. Not that. Because people like to confuse one another in speech. “Hey, do you have a jitney?” Gee… let’s see. I’ve got a nickel, but I left my horse and carriage in my other pants at home…

Copacetic: adjective
Doesn’t matter, because I had to remove it from the book. I didn’t read the entire dictionary entry when I chose the word, and only saw 1880 mentioned. Alas, the first known use is 1919. Eighteen years after this book takes place. I consider the coiner to be tardy, and would appreciate that in the future, words be coined by the dates I need. Thank you. (Do you see the amount of research I must do. I have to check if words were even IN USE before I use them. And I still almost flubbed it.)

Recalcitrant: adjective
Madeline… wait. That’s not quite right. But close enough. Okay. Madeline Brown when she has a bee in her bowler. Resisting authority or convention.

Dialogue de sourds: noun (French)
Literally: a worthless conversation where both parties speak to a glass wall, hearing only themselves. Example: political conversations, theological conversations, ideological conversations, Facebook wall “discussions,” and arguments with toddlers.

Asinine: adjective
Ridiculous or silly–like the assertion that someone saying the word is using foul language.

Penurious: adjective
Marked by an inability to part with money. A lickpenny. (see how I did that?)

Scintillating: adjective
A word meaning amusing or extremely interesting that lends itself more to sarcasm than plain speaking.

Hawkshaw: noun
A nosy person who gets away with it under the guise of “helping.” Sometimes known as a detective.

Fustian: noun
Um… yeah. This glossary. Madeline does lend herself to the fustian.

There you go. It’s just a taste of what’s ahead. Happy reading!

Blog Stops

December 13: Bigreadersite
December 13: Jeanette’s Thoughts
December 13: History, Mystery & Faith
December 14: Daysong Reflections
December 14: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
December 14: Baker Kella
December 15: Back Porch Reads
December 15: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 16: Pause for Tales
December 16: Quiet Quilter
December 17: cherylbbookblog
December 17: A Baker’s Perspective
December 18: ASC Book Reviews
December 18: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses
December 19: Reading Is My SuperPower
December 19: A Greater Yes
December 20: Lane Hill House
December 20: A Simple Life, really?!
December 21: Books for Christian Girls
December 21: Reader’s cozy corner
December 22: Two Girls and a Book
December 22: Blogging With Carol
December 23: His Grace is Sufficient
December 23: 1983
December 24: Neverending Stories
December 24: Carpe Diem
December 25: Bibliophile Reviews
December 25: The Scribbler
December 26: History, Hope, Laughter & Happily-ever-after
December 26: For The Love of Books
December 26: Ashley’s Bookshelf

Giveaway 

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/aa59

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book review with a Giveaway: A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck



To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book
Genre: Christian Romance/Christmas
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Book Format: Paperback & Ebook

Avery Truitt aches for true love—the kind she once shared with Prince Colin. Can she dare to hope for happily ever after, or is a fairy-tale ending beyond reach?

College volleyball star Avery Truitt has not seen her former flame, Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom, since he suddenly pushed her away five years ago. But now, the sadness of losing her father and the joy of her sister Susanna’s pregnancy have brought Avery back to Brighton just in time for Cathedral City’s enchanting Christmas season.

Avery knows she can’t avoid seeing Colin—now the Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor—whether or not her heart is ready to relive the pain. But seeing him again might bring her the closure she needs after all this time.

When Colin finds himself at the center of a centuries-old Brighton tradition, he must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or follow his heart to the only woman for whom he would ring the Pembroke Chapel Bell.

Can Colin convince Avery to meet him at the chapel on Christmas morning—as tradition dictates—or will Avery run back to her St. Simons home and pursue a coaching career as planned?

In the fourth installment of the Royal Wedding Series, New York Times bestselling novelist, Rachel Hauck, weaves a charming story of holiday romance as two broken hearts seek the love they once knew.

My Review

Christmas in Brighton Kingdom.  Be still my heart.  Does it get any better than that?

This was the fourth and, sadly, final book in the Royal Wedding Series by Rachel Hauck.  I have adored this series, and this current book did not disappoint.  Like the previous novels, A Royal Christmas Wedding blended fairy tale romance with the miraculous in a contemporary setting.

What stood out to me about Prince Colin was his desire to honor his father.  Avery was determined not to drive a wedge in that relationship.  Both of them were determined to follow God's leading, and they were blessed because of it.

Words fail me to describe how much I loved this book.  I laughed out loud, I cringed at the heartache, and I celebrated the Christmas season alongside the Brightonians.  It is a great stand-alone Christmas or romance novel, and previous Brighton Kingdom visitors will love it.

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

Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling, and award-winning author.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in an uncomfortable chair to write full-time in 2004.

She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker.

Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets, and writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.


Guest Post from Rachel Hauck
I don’t think we can ever get enough of royals or Christmas, do you? The two just seem to go together.

The Bible tells us eternity is written on our hearts. (Ecc. 3:11) I wonder if it’s also written on our hearts to be princesses in a grand, beautiful, perfect kingdom.

That being said, welcome to The Royal Christmas Wedding blog tour. My deepest thanks to all the bloggers, reviewers, and readers for hosting and visiting this tour. I’m excited to share this story with you all.

The hero and heroine, Prince Colin and Avery Truitt, first met in Once Upon A Prince at King Nathaniel’s coronation.

I hadn’t planned to write a spinoff story with the two of them. In fact, I didn’t even know Prince Colin existed until Avery walked into the abbey for the coronation and glanced across the sanctuary into his eyes.

Here’s his introduction:

Lean, aristocratic with an outdoorsman ruddiness, he nearly made Susanna swoon when he winked at Avery.

I liked Colin immediately. So did Avery. As well as a lot of you.

When my publisher asked me to write their story, it would be two years before the book would release. Plenty of time, right?

But “time crunch” is the name of the game with most writers. Between life, rewrites, edits, and promotional activity, we often find ourselves hurrying toward a deadline. Well, at least I do.

In the fall of 2015 I was writing The Wedding Shop and A Royal Christmas Wedding at the same time.

I’d also dealt with a physical issue that left me shaky. Could I write two books in five months? Did I want to even make the attempt?

If I said no, publication dates would be pushed out, causing a year delay on A Royal Christmas Wedding. And I knew that was something I did not want to do.

Publishing is a long game. Books are contracted and due 12 to 18, even 24 months, before release dates. Time must be carved out for rewrites and editing, marketing and promotion. Review copies go out at least five months in advance.

So I agreed to write both books. I told my editor, “Diamonds come from pressure.”

Coming up with Avery and Prince Colin’s story wasn’t as easy as I’d planned. Since they met in Once Upon A Prince as teenagers, I struggled with how to advance their age and relationship, and how to present them as the book opened.

Where had their relationship gone “between the books?”

When I came up with the idea of the Pembroke Chapel bell, the story magic began to happen. One of the things I love in the royal wedding books is the fairytale aspect. Looking for something out of the ordinary.

Even though my writing time was tight, writing Avery and Colin’s story was a joy. Once again I wish I could visit Brighton, eat a puff, and royal watch for the Strattons!

I hope you found a few sweet spots in the story, all wrapped in Christmas holiday cheer, and enjoyed your time with me in Brighton Kingdom.

Merry Christmas!

Blog Stops

December 8: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
December 8: New Horizon Reviews
December 8: inklings and notions
December 9: Reading Is My SuperPower
December 9: Redeemed Hope Dweller
December 9: Book by Book
December 10: His Grace is Sufficient
December 10: Blossoms and Blessings
December 10: Pause for Tales
December 11: Quiet Quilter
December 11: Ashley’s Bookshelf
December 11: Reviewing Novels Online
December 12: Bibliophile Reviews
December 12: Lights in a Dark World
December 12: Splashes of Joy
December 13: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 13: Neverending Stories
December 13: Through the Open Window
December 14: The Power of Words
December 14: Counting Pinecones
December 14: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
December 15: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses
December 15: Genesis 5020
December 15: CTF Devourer
December 16: Lighthouse Academy
December 16: God’s Little Bookworm
December 16: Christian Bookaholic
December 17: Smiling Book Reviews
December 17: God is Love
December 17: A Simple Life, really?!
December 18: A Holland Reads
December 18: The Scribbler
December 18: Faith * Love * Books
December 19: By The Book
December 19: Karen Sue Hadley
December 19: Southern Chelle
December 20: Faithfully Bookish
December 20: Books. Books. And More Books
December 20: A Baker’s Perspective
December 21: ASC Book Reviews
December 21: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card plus a copy of A Royal Christmas Wedding and a copy of The Wedding Shop. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/aaeb

Monday, December 12, 2016

Book review with a giveaway: Surround Me by Marguerite Martin Gray





To purchase your own copy, click here.

About the Book

Returning to Charles Town, Louis faces obstacles surrounding his engagement to Elizabeth and a city questioning its role in a volatile resistance to British rule.

As the dark curtain of the rumors of revolution threatens to descend, Louis Lestarjette pursues his relationship with Elizabeth even as the emotion and physical struggles set the course for a life of changes. Will his commitment to God stay firm or will the tide of change cause fear and flight?

The chance of reconciliation with England moves further out to sea leaving Elizabeth Elliott on the shores of surrender to a greater challenge. Although others of unwavering courage give her strength, she must choose to allow God’s love to surround her. How can she enter into a marriage during a time of uncertainty? Will selfish, safer options take her away from Louis and his love?

My Review

Surround Me continues the story of Louis and Elizabeth in pre-Revolutionary War Charles Town, South Carolina that was begun in Hold Me Close.  Again, I loved the perspective of the era from the different locale, and it was exciting to have famous Americans from that time make an appearance in this story.  One thing I appreciated about both Louis and Elizabeth, was that along with strong and growing faith in God, they were able to surround themselves, in that uncertain time, with people who loved and supported them.  They also remained loving to those who were not of the same political persuasion as they. 

There were some very descriptive and detailed passages in this book that I loved, like of the house that they were preparing.  I did, however, have trouble reading some clunky dialogue, and I wished that time transitions and transitions from narrative to dialogue had been smoother.  However, I am looking forward to the continuation of Louis and Elizabeth's story, and I love that it is a story from the author's ancestry!  Other historical fiction readers will certainly appreciate that.

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
Marguerite Martin Gray is the author of Hold Me Close—Revolutionary Faith Book One. She enjoys the study of history and writing fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Marguerite is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Abilene Writers Guild, and Daughters of the American Revolution. Originally from Louisiana, she currently lives in Abilene with her husband.

Guest Post from Marguerite Martin Gray

About ten years ago I stood in the front bedroom of my parent’s antebellum house listening to my father tell stories about his ancestors–my ancestors while waving around a silver candlestick–my eight times great-grandfather’s gift to his bride. A story was born and I was off to Charleston, S.C.

Blog Stops


December 1: Reading Is My SuperPower
December 2: A Reader’s Brain
December 3: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 4: Lane Hill House
December 4: Karen Sue Hadley
December 5: A Simple Life, really?!
December 5: Through the Open Window
December 6: A Greater Yes
December 7: Proverbial Reads
December 8: Singing Librarian Books
December 9: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
December 10: Bigreadersite
December 10: Bibliophile Reviews
December 11: His Grace is Sufficient
December 12: Pause for Tales
December 12: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses
December 13: A Path of Joy
December 14: A Baker’s Perspective

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, Marguerite is giving away a print copy of Hold Me Close and Surround Me, a print copy of A Spy’s Devotion by Melanie Dickerson, a $10 Amazon Card, and a Yorkshire Gold Box of Tea! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/aa5c

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Book review with a giveaway: Giver of Wonders by Roseanna M. White


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

A miracle once saved her life ~ will another give her a future?

Cyprus was little more than a child when a fall left her paralyzed…and when the boy known as the wonder-worker healed her. Ever since, she has wondered why the Lord spared her, what he has in store for her. But her pagan father thinks she was spared solely so she could be introduced to the wealthy wonder-worker, Nikolaos.

Nikolaos has never questioned that his call in life is to dedicate himself to the church and to God. Never, that is, until he and his cousin Petros meet the compelling Cyprus Visibullis. For years he struggles with the feelings she inspires…and with the sure knowledge that Petros loves her too.

Petros knows he will never be good enough for Cyprus’s father to consider him as a match for his favorite daughter not as long as Nikolaos is there. But when tragedy strikes the Visibullis family, he will do anything to save his beloved. Unfortunately, his beloved is determined to do anything to save her sisters ~ even at the cost of herself.

As the festival of lights bathes their Greek city in beauty, Cyprus, Petros, and Nikolaos celebrate the miracle of their Savior s birth together one last time. And in remembrance of their Lord’s greatest gift, one of them will make the ultimate sacrifice for the others…and a centuries-long tradition will be born.

My Review

Miraculous.  Heartbreaking.  Wonderful.  Roseanna M. White has weaved these amazing elements into her latest story, Giver of Wonders.  I was drawn into this long-ago Grecian world from the first exciting scene, and my heart became fuller to get to know the early believers in this well-written story.  Those who have an interest in early church history will especially enjoy this book.

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

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 small children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.







Guest Post from Roseanna White

I was fed up with Christmas.

Or, no. I was fed up with the Christmas the world kept shoving at me. The one that was all about presentes. I’d always enjoyed gift giving and receiving, but I began to wonder: What was it I really valued—my Savior . . . or the stuff? We all say the right thing when this question is brought up. But we also all talk about “giving people Christmas” who can’t afford it. About how disappointed our kids might be if they wake to few packages under the tree. And you know, that belies our claims that it’s all about Jesus, doesn’t it?

And of course, when one thinks of gifts at Christmas, a jolly old elf springs to mind. So I started thinking that if I wanted my kids to understand the meaning of Christmas, it might be time to pull the plug on the embodiment of the commercialism: Santa Claus.

But I’m a historical novelist, and I believe in looking at the real history before making decisions. So one morning before our homeschool day began, I sat down and did some online research about Saint Nicholas. About the traditions he began that persist to this day. Who was he, before the Victorians turned him into the figure we know today as Santa?

I read. And I was awed.

Within fifteen minutes, I realized that St. Nick wasn’t the problem with Christmas. This was a man who was committed, above all, to honoring Jesus. Who believed in giving anonymously, so that all the glory went to God. Who performed miracles. Who healed and shepherded a flock under persecution.

St. Nicholas was a man who deserves my honor and respect. Who should be my inspiration for what Christmas is really about, not my scapegoat.
Nicholas gave generously—and in secret. It wasn’t until after his death that the stories started making their rounds about the many times he quietly gave of his wealth. But for centuries afterward, whenever someone wanted to give a gift anonymously, they would sign it from St. Nicholas—it was like saying, “This is because God loves you.”

Why are we giving? Is it to give God glory . . . or to please ourselves and our families? Would you still give if you got no credit for it? If no one even knew it was from you?

That day I read about St. Nicholas, I also decided I’d write a book with him as one of the main characters. A novel that brings one of our traditions—gifts coming down chimneys, stockings stuffed with goodies—to life. And so, we have Giver of Wonders.

Is it a Christmas story? It is. But not like the others out there.

Is it about Santa Claus? It is, but not the version you see all over your TV. Is it about giving? It is. But not about presents wrapped and put under the tree. It’s about sacrifice. And it’s about Jesus. And it’s about what He really asks of us, and what He really did for us. And what we’re willing to give for love of Him.

Because that, my friends, is Christmas.

Blog Stops

December 6: Neverending Stories
December 7: A Greater Yes
December 8: Book by Book
December 9: Stuff & Nonsense
December 10: Blogging With Carol
December 10: Giveaway Lady
December 11: New Horizon Reviews
December 12: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
December 12: Genesis 5020
December 13: Daysong Reflections
December 14: A Reader’s Brain
December 14: Pause for Tales
December 15: Redeemed Hope Dweller
December 15: simple harvest reads
December 16: Baker Kella
December 16: For The Love of Books
December 17: Bibliophile Reviews
December 18: Henry Happens
December 18: Bigreadersite 

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a stocking full of wonder! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Book review with a giveaway: Undiscovered Treasures by Carole Brown



Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Caroline Gibson is co-owner of Undiscovered Treasures, a shop of antiques, collectibles, and junk in rural West Virginia. Inside the shop is a music box that Caroline particularly relates to, believing that her own life is similar: forever spinning and never going anywhere.

She dreams and prays for the right man to turn up. But when family and friends hint that the local artist could be the guy, Caroline forgets about trusting God and takes matters into her own hands.

Besides, she could never love a man who paints such depressing pictures.

Andrew Carrington, painter of said depressing pictures, insists there’s always one redeeming trait to each of his works.

He’s loved Caroline since they were kids and thinks he’s not handsome enough, strong enough, or rich enough to impress this woman. But when God—or is it?—suddenly sends contracts begging for his signature, Andy thinks this just might be the way to win the only woman he can ever love.
But there’s a hitch in their plans. Someone is stealing Andy’s pictures, and why would they do that when he’s an unknown–so far? Do they know something Caroline and Andy don’t know? Is it mischief? Or something deeper that neither understand? Andy gets the chance to work with Caroline, and she must put aside her on-going battle to avoid Andy and his art so they can discover the art thief in Appleton before Andy loses the chance of a life time to ‘make it big.’

My Review

The title says it all.  Undiscovered Treasures surround Caroline in the antique shop in which she works, and in the people who surround her, specifically Andy Carrington.  Having grown up with him being her brother's best friend, Caroline takes Andy for granted and is overly critical of him.  She knows he likes her, but she is looking for someone to sweep her off her feet.  Caroline has many wonderful characteristics.  She is loyal to her friends and her church, and she is devoted to working with the youth of her church. But she tends to put her foot in her mouth quite a bit.  Andy is devoted to God and to Caroline, and is content to live simply as an artist.  He is amazingly patient with her.

This book was the third in a series, and although I missed knowing about some relationships from the previous books, this one was not confusing as a stand-alone.  I wished that some of the dialogue and scenes had been fleshed out more, but overall I enjoyed this book.  Cozy mystery lovers will enjoy this book, as well as romance fans, and those who enjoy a peek into the art world.

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

About the Author


Besides being an active participant of many writing groups, Carole enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense, tough topics, romance and whimsy into her books, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?



Guest Post from Carole Brown

Fun Tidbits About Undiscovered Treasures

(Book Three of the Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery series)

By Carole Brown

Why did I write this book? Several years ago, my agent urged me to write a romance novel for a certain publishing group. I did, and while I was at it, decided to write about three friends, all living in the made up town of Appleton, WV. Each had their own story, but the romance books didn’t go anywhere (because I’m not a “per se” romance writer. But when a current editor asked me for a new series, I thought about these three books and wondered if I could turn them into light mysteries. Ta da: the Appleton, WV series was born!

How much of myself do I put into my books? Almost always little dabs of this and that. I love antiques and flea markets, cats, flowers (including Caroline’s favorite: daisies) and coffee. If I drink tea, I’m a Tea Snob (same as Caroline). I’m clumsy and fall over practically nothing (Caroline too!).

What is your main character like? In Undiscovered Treasures, Caroline Gibson is a “home-town” girl. She doesn’t have a lot of confidence in her own looks, is clumsy, and sometimes quite outspoken. But she’s loyal, trustworthy, and soft-hearted, always watching out for the “underdog,” helps her brother run a successful business, writes plays, and oversees the local youth organization at her church.

Andy Carrington, on the other hand, is quiet, but confident in his own abilities, friendly, a dedicated Christian, and an up-and-coming famous artist. He’s best friends with Caroline’s brother, and grew up with him and Caroline. Best of all, he’s loved Caroline forever and trusts God to direct his and her life.

Where did I get the title for this book? When I plotted for the third friend (Caroline), I decided a junk/antique/collectibles store would be fun and unique. It also fit her personality. Having a brother and sister run the store worked well with the plot and giving them both a bit of wittiness added interest to the novel. I also thought this title played into the emotional love story part of the plot. Caroline, always dreaming of a real live prince for her life, doesn’t realize that she already has one. It’s only when she discovers Andy’s virtues that she finally clasps the truth: Andy is her treasure, chosen by God, just for her.

Why a cat in the story? It played into Caroline’s personality very well. I can just see her volunteering at the local pet shelter. Angel, the cat, also was a ready (or not) listener when Caroline needed a sounding board.

How does the music box play into the plot? It’s a constant reminder–and not a very welcome one–that her life is somewhat unsatisfactory. She thinks it’s because she doesn’t have a “prince” riding up to save her from a mundane existence, but really, it’s more like the proverbial ostrich inserting his head into the sand, and unwilling to accept the will of God for her life.

Why have Caroline travel out of the U.S. when she’s such a homebody? Having her travel, which she isn’t totally fond of, forces her to climb out of her comfort zone. She knows what she has to do–make an apology–whether everything turns out the way she wants it to or not, and because she has to travel a distance, she has plenty of time to ruminate on her “follies.” Overall, a good disciplinarian action for her.

Is there a spiritual thread? Yes. Accepting God’s will for our lives. We can’t make things happen the way we want, and if we force the issue, most times, it turns out to be an unsatisfactory situation. Caroline has to learn that, and once she does, she couldn’t be happier.

Blog Stops

November 29: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
November 30: autism mom
November 30: Carpe Diem
December 1: Quiet Quilter
December 2: Reviewing Novels Online
December 2: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
December 3: On Jenna’s Shelf
December 3: White Pine Cozy Mystery Page
December 4: Pause for Tales
December 5: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses
December 6: bigreadersite
December 6: Through the Open Window
December 7: History, Mystery & Faith
December 8: Karen Sue Hadley
December 9: A Reader’s Brain
December 10: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 11: Blogging With Carol
December 12: A Baker’s Perspective

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Carole is giving away a themed basket including (but not limited to) 2 kitchen towels, 4 fun coasters, a travel journal w/ photo frames, a “happiness” picture, a recipe box and recipe cards, a fridge magnet, a magnetic phone list w/notepad, and a print copy of Undiscovered Treasures! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a934

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Book review with a giveaway: Healing of the Heart by Loree Lough




Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

When Ruby McCoy and her mother arrive in Fairplay and promptly move into the biggest mansion around, they are the talk of the town. But while Mrs. McCoy worries about ribbons, trunks, and wallpaper, Ruby rolls up her sleeves. Since the hanging of her notorious gangster father five years ago, Ruby, hiding under an assumed name, is on a mission to right her father’s wrongs. She is determined to spend every penny of her inherited “blood money” helping those who paid the price for her father’s crimes. But she didn’t plan on falling in love.

Sheriff Rex Truett doesn’t trust Ruby and doesn’t care who knows it. The keeper of Fairplay’s law and order makes it his business to find out why a stranger—especially a beautiful, rich, female stranger—would set up businesses, donate to schools, hire workmen to rebuild houses, and provide access to the best medical care. But when a cholera epidemic sweeps through the city, he is forced to reconsider.

Will Ruby have the courage to tell Rex her family secret? And will love or justice win in Rex’s heart?

My Review

I thought the premise of this book was really original, and I enjoyed seeing how it all played out.  I was as curious about the newcomers in town as the townspeople were.

The characters were easy to like.  It was admirable that Ruby put not only her money, but herself into making restitution in Fairplay.  Rex was an honorable man, devoted to doing his job well, and caring for his family to the best of his ability.  Through the events of this book, they were able to find healing from the tragedy that connected them.

This was the third book in the Secrets on Sterling Street series, and I think it would be enjoyable to spend more time with the hard-working citizens of Fairplay, Colorado.  I recommend this book to those who like historical fiction based in the Old West and romance.

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

About the Author
A prolific writer, Loree Lough has 108 books, 68 short stories, and more than 2,500 articles in print. Her novels have earned dozens of industry and Reader’s Choice awards. A frequent guest speaker for writers’ organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, corporations, and college and high school writing programs, Loree and her husband, Larry, divide their time between a home in the Baltimore suburbs and a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains.

Her books have over 3700 ratings on Goodreads with the first two books in The Secrets of Sterling Street series, Currency of the Heartand Guardians of the Heart receiving multiple four and five star reviews on book review and retail sites.




Blog Stops

November 22: Bibliophile Reviews
November 22: Jeanette’s Thoughts
November 23: Neverending Stories
November 23: Lane Hill House
November 24: Reviewing Novels Online
November 24: Christian Bookaholic
November 25: Christian Author: A.M. Heath
November 25: Redeemed Hope Dweller
November 26: A Simple Life, really?!
November 26: Moments Dipped in Ink
November 27: inklings and notions
November 27: Splashes of Joy
November 28: Ashley’s Bookshelf
November 28: Daysong Reflections
November 29: Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot
November 29: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
November 30: Bigreadersite
November 30: Singing Librarian Books
December 1: Pause for Tales
December 1: Smiling Book Reviews
December 2: A Greater Yes
December 2: Genesis 5020
December 3: Reader’s cozy corner
December 4: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses
December 4: Karen Sue Hadley
December 5: A Baker’s Perspective
December 5: Rhonda’s Doings

Giveaway



In honor of her tour, Loree is giving away her books: Secrets on Sterling Street series, Prevailing Love (3 in 1), Priscilla Hires a Husband, Lone Wolf, and Emma’s Orphans, a KJVER Study Bible, and an Abba pillar candle in a wicker basket! 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/a81c