Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Book Review: The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller

About the Book:

Intriguing Glimpse into the Past by Bestselling Historical Author Judith Miller

With her penchant for seeing the best in everyone, Hope Irvine sees a world full of good people in hard places. When her father accepts a position traveling in a chapel car as an on-the-rail missionary, she is determined to join him in his efforts and put her musical skills to good use by serving the mining families of West Virginia, saving their souls, and bettering their lives.

Luke Hughes shares Hope's love of music and her love of God, but as a poor miner he knows he can offer her no future. Still, the notes she sings resonate in his heart. When she begins to travel with a young mine manager to neighboring counties, Luke can hardly suppress his jealousy. It isn't until he begins to suspect these missions of mercy might be the mine manager's cover for illegal purposes, though, that Luke feels justified in speaking up. But how can he discover the truth without hurting Hope or, worse, putting her in danger?

My Review:

I had never heard of chapel railroad cars before, so it was interesting to learn something new as I read this book.

I appreciated Hope's joy in serving the Lord, whether it was leading the singing during services, teaching the children, or helping to repair people's homes.  Her father, the preacher, also had  a servant's heart.  When he wasn't preparing a sermon, he was counseling, or helping in the community.

The plot moved forward through the conflicts of the mining families with the managers of the mines.

Romance and historical fiction fans will enjoy this cozy romance, set in the coal mining hills of West Virginia in the early 1900's.

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:

Judith is an award winning and best-selling author of historical fiction for Bethany House Publishers. With a love of history, a dash of romance and a touch of mystery, Judith transports her readers to another time and place. Her passion for history and love of God keep her inspired. Judith and her husband are empty-nesters who live in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Judy blogs with four other historical novelists at www.writespassage.blogspot.com


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: The Simple Soul of Susan by Noel Branham



About the Book

Title: The Simple Soul of Susan
Author: Noel Branham
Genre: Romance, YA, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary
Release Date: October 11, 2017


Susan Combs had long ago found the love of her life. The only problem was the other party still didn’t know he had been found.

Every day Susan saw Calder Hurtz, her next door neighbor and childhood best friend. They always enjoyed the short drive to school down the dusty streets of their small Texas town. She was happy in those perfect moments, for her life at home was most imperfect. The challenging homestead she inhabited was also the favorite subject of local gossip.

But one autumn day she overhears Calder and another boy having a conversation. This occasion of accidental audience sets Susan’s life on an unforeseen path. In the seasons to come, her future will be changed by two hospitalizations, two confessions of love, and one betrayal.

Compulsively readable, The Simple Soul of Susan is an engaging, soul-endearing romance and a mesmerizing debut.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

It's in the title:  Simple.  The story line is simple - the journey of a young girl finding her way in life and love.  And although her soul is described as simple, she has very clear aspirations for her life.  When describing Susan, though, she feels deeply, is thoughtful and devoted, and is highly intelligent.

Although Susan is painfully shy, author Noel Branham does a fantastic job of making the reader love Susan.  What Branham really excels at is making us feel Susan's angst as she deals with her shyness, all the mean girls in her life, and the attention of a boy who is grooming her for unsavory intentions, all without going overboard.

I simply enjoyed The Simple Soul of Susan, and I recommend it to reader's of women's fiction, and those who enjoy contemporary coming-of-age stories.  

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
Born and raised in a small Texas town, Noel Branham started her career in digital communications after graduating with a degree in English. An award-winning communicator, she now writes from her residence in Florida about things closest to the heart: home, family, and love.










Guest Post from Noel Branham

Fictional Romance: A Real Relationship Killer?

You’ve heard it before… All romance novels give readers unrealistic expectations of relationships. Yep. They totally do. But I think most of the time, with life in general, we have unrealistic expectations not only of others but of ourselves. We live in a world where there is always something else to try, buy or satisfy our ever-evolving aspirations of happiness and fulfillment. So here are three things to remember while reading romance novels that will lead to having deep, meaningful, romantic, relationships in real life:

Happiness isn’t fulfilled expectations. When you expect your significant other (SO) to see you and romantically sweep you off your feet while pulling flowers from behind your back and force feeding you chocolates… you may have some unrealistic expectations. Would it be nice? Sure! But there is always something more they could do to make you happy, feeling loved, satisfied, etc. It’s a bottomless pit of desire and implied anticipated actions. We have to realize that no matter how many things we want out of a relationship, we can never receive them all… because realistically, we could never live up to the things expected of us either. Romance is a two-way street.

Happiness is the unexpected, fulfilled. Wait… how can you fulfill something that isn’t expected? You can’t. And that’s what makes it so great. Your SO fills your car up with gas, takes you out for a date for no particular reason, watches that Victorian-era PBS drama with you even though they can’t understand the accents… When we get rid of expectations for ourselves and others we are able to really enjoy the things and people we already have and anything else is simply adding to lovely life that we already possess.

Happiness in relationships is what you make of it. Just not feeling the love anymore after five years together? Was it that you chose the wrong person? Was it something they did? Something you did? Love can be a feeling and an action. Your relationship doesn’t have to be defined by feelings. Feelings fade. They aren’t realistic. They change with time as people change with time because all people change. But actions… actions are what you choose to do on a regular basis. They are a daily intentional choice (made by you) to care for another person. You can control your actions, but not so much your feelings. Funny thing is often times your actions create feelings you never thought you could have.

If you are looking for a romance novel with a bit more realism to test out these principals, check out The Simple Soul of Susan. You can have the realistic expectation that you won’t be disappointed 🙂

Blog Stops


Among the Reads, May 10
The Christian Fiction Girl, May 10
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 10
Multifarious, May 11
Remembrancy, May 11
Two Points of interest, May 12
Blogging With Carol, May 12
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 13
Inklings and notions, May 13
Kristin’s Book Reviews, May 14
proud to be an autism mom, May 14
Artistic Nobody, May 15 (Spotlight)
Texas Book-aholic, May 15
Mommynificent, May 16
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 16
The Fizzy Pop Collection, May 17
Janices book reviews, May 17
Pause for Tales, May 18
Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 18
Bibliophile Reviews, May 19
Carpe Diem, May 19
A Baker’s Perspective, May 20
margaret kazmierczak, May 20 (Interview)
Simple Harvest Reads, May 21 (Guest post, Mindy Houng)
Reading is my Super Power, May 21 (Interview)
Christian Author, J.E.Grace, May 22
Bigreadersite, May 22
Reader’s cozy corner, May 23
Josephine’s Thoughts, May 23

Giveaway
To celebrate her tour, Noel is giving away:


Grand Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card

First & Second Place Prize: eBook copy of the Simple Soul of Susan!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cee4/the-simple-soul-of-susan-celebration-tour-giveaway