Sunday, August 12, 2018

Book Review with a Giveaway: A Promise Forged by Cara Putnam


About the Book

Book Title: A Promise Forged
Author: Cara Putman
Genre: World War 2 Romance
Release date: Originally released in 2010, Re-released in 2017


Kat transformed in front of him. Her chin came up, her fingers stopped twitching with the fabric of her gown, and a real sparkle bubbled in her eyes. It was like watching Snow White come to life when the prince kissed her.
A heartwarming WWII historical from award-winning author Cara Putman:

Kat Miller has dreamed of playing baseball her entire life. When she earns a spot on a team in the All-American Girls Professional Softball League, she finds that things aren’t as glamorous as she imagined. She struggles with long roadtrips, grueling practices, and older teammates who are jealous of her success. And to top it all off, an irritating reporter is constantly getting under Kat’s skin.

Events in Jack Raymond’s career have left him cynical and distanced from God. He never wanted to write at a small paper, and he certainly didn’t want to be assigned to something as inconsequential as a women’s softball team. Then Kat walks into his life. The fiery, young softball player somehow climbs the walls around his heart and makes him want to hope again.

When lies fly and the league appears to fail, will Kat and Jack’s new love survive?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Kat was just a girl who wanted to play ball.  Jack, unable to serve in the armed forces, worked as a reporter for a local paper, until he could get something better.  I loved how Kat was so focused on doing her best for the team and honoring the Lord in doing so.  She was spunky and fun, and knew how to work the crowd.  Yet she was humble and did not seek the spotlight.  It took me a while to be able to trust Jack, but he eventually proved himself.

It was fun being an insider to the All-American Girls Softball League, but it was eye-opening to see what a challenging job that was.

If you're familiar with the movie A League of Their Own, you will appreciate this book.  It's great for anyone who wants to learn more about America's favorite pastime, the WWII era, and experience a little romance in the midst of 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

Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara has wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 she attended a book signing at her local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, was history. There she met a fellow Indiana writer Colleen Coble. With prompting from her husband, Cara shared her dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, Cara’s been writing award-winning books. She is currently working on book 30 and 31.

Cara Putman is an active member of ACFW, and currently serves on its Executive Board. She has also been the Indiana ACFW chapter president and served as the Area Coordinator for Indiana.

Cara is also an attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women’s ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband and her kids that is. She graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!) and George Mason Law School, and Krannert School of Management. You can learn more about Cara at www.caraputman.com.

Guest Post from Cara


Each of my books starts with a hook that engages my interest, and then as I play with it, I think it will engage readers. A Promise Forged was no different. For this book I was writing a series of three World War II novels for Barbour. I already had two historical hooks that fascinated me: children evacuated from London to Ohio, a top secret project to break Engima in Dayton, but I needed one more. I knew the lead characters were going to be siblings, but I wasn’t sure what to do with the kid sister. Then I remembered the All-American Girls Professional Softball/Baseball League.

And I started thinking.

What would it have been like to desperately want a chance to play a sport you loved professionally?

And to be part of the nascent league when no one was sure whether it was a good or bad idea?

I decided that was the perfect place for Kat. She was the kid sister with fire and passion. She wanted a chance to prove herself, and this would be the perfect place. Then she needed a hero worthy of her. One who could go toe-to-toe with her and still see who she could be.

He came in the form of Jack, a cynical reporter who is disappointed to be assigned to cover girls’ baseball. But then he gets to know Kat and some of the others. And he sees something in her that she doesn’t see in herself. It’s the beginning of fireworks that he doesn’t think can go anywhere because she has to go home to her senior year of high school.

As I began researching the history of the league, I learned that the AAGPS/BL archives were kept at a small museum in South Bend, a couple hours from where I live. I spent a day there talking with the curator and exploring all the records. Because the league wasn’t expected to last there weren’t many records from the first year. That meant I had to guess about some things like schedules based on what happened in the years after.

A Promise Forged became a book I loved writing. Kat was feisty, Jack was cynical, and baseball provided a great setting. I can’t believe this football loving woman can admit that!

Blog Stops

History, Mystery & Faith, August 4
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 4
Among the Reads, August 4
The Power of Words, August 4
C Jane Read, August 5
The Christian Fiction Girl, August 5
Christian Bookaholic, August 5
Texas Book-aholic, August 5
Reading Is My SuperPower, August 6
Genesis 5020, August 6
lady ansel book vibes, August 6
Kat’s Corner Books, August 7
Carpe Diem, August 7
proud to be an autism mom, August 7
Janices book reviews, August 7
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 8
A Baker’s Perspective, August 8
Blossoms and Blessings, August 8
Mary Hake, August 8
By The Book, August 9
Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, August 9
Simple Harvest Reads, August 9 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, August 10
Lighthouse Academy, August 10
Remembrancy, August 10
Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 10
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, August 11
100 Pages per Hour, August 11
Luv’N Lambert Life, August 11
Bigreadersite, August 11
Godly Book Reviews, August 12
Cafinated Reads, August 12
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 12
A Reader’s Brain, August 13
a good book and cup of tea, August 13
Book by Book, August 13
All-of-a-kind Mom, August 14
Maureen’s Musings, August 14
Daysong Reflections, August 14
The Morning Chapter, August 15
amandainpa, August 15
Inklings and notions, August 15
Connie’s History Classroom, August 16
All 4 and About Books, August 16
Bibliophile Reviews, August 16
Pause for Tales, August 17
Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 17
For the Love of Books, August 17

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a grand prize that includes the movie League of Their Own, a box of cracker jacks, M&Ms and a $20 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d2ac/a-promise-forged-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, August 6, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: Argosy Junction by Chautona Havig


About the Book

Book Title: Argosy Junction
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Christian Fiction/Romance
Release date: 1st edition: March 11, 2010 ; 2nd edition: August, 2018


“I want nothing to do with Jesus or God.”

After over twenty years of abuses from the cult-like church she grew up in, Lane Argosy has had it with God and His people. Though the Brethren try to make Lane and her family’s lives unbearable, freedom from their warped brand of Christianity is sweet. She’ll never go back… never.

He just wanted to visit the country he’d explored through books. So, when Matt Rushby arrives in Argosy Junction, Montana, he expects idyllic meadows and craggy rocks towering above, old-fashioned friendliness and at least one or two cowboys. Instead, he finds familiar hatred and factions very much like the ones back home in Rockland’s inner-city gangs.

The Argosy family is disillusioned, broken, and floundering. Matt knows the answer is Jesus—just Him and not the trappings of a faith He never designed.

But how can Matt help them turn their hearts back to the Lord when he suspects Lane has stolen his?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

When different worlds collide, will Matt and Lane find any way to make their love work?

It's a theme we've seen before-city boy meets county girl.  But when it's given to readers by Chautona Havig, it is hilarious, heart-wrenching, and hopeful.  Havig's story was full of believable characters whose struggle was real.  It didn't take long for me to love Matt, and then he delightfully surprised me throughout the book.  Lane and her family were delicious characters as well.  I wanted to hang out with them.

And oh!  the plot twists!  The things that happened to the characters I love!

One of the most endearing qualities of this book was the correspondence between the characters.  It was delightful and pulled the plot along uniquely.

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





The author of dozens of books in a variety of genres, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert where she uses story to nudge her readers to the feet of the Master Storyteller.








Guest Post from Chautona

What Do You Do When the Church Becomes Toxic?


You know how TV shows and movies like to make fun of bridezillas?

Yeah. I know. It can be funny.

But bridezillas aren’t just those gals on reality shows. They’re all over the church, too. People who allow their focus to get off the Bridegroom and onto “their day.” Instead of focusing on the One who loves them so dearly, Who has rescued them from the gutter and holds them close and tenderly, they focus on getting all the trappings right. The right wording, the right clothes, the right rules of…

UGH.

So many friendships have been ruined by a bride gone wild—so focused on details that she forgets the people she hopes will celebrate it with her. She forgets her groom. Unreasonable expectations of the day and of people lead to broken relationships and an ugly taint to what should be a beautiful occasion.

What I find interesting is that people will forgive a lot from a bridezilla. You hear things like, “Well, it’s such a stressful time,” or “She’ll come around after she settles in.”

And it’s true.

So, why don’t we have the same grace for the “bridezillas” of the church? When that deacon decides to become judge and jury of people’s spiritual state based upon what he thinks or knows someone has contributed to the church, why do we write off him and the rest of the congregation (or all congregations out there)? When the church gossip shares private information… or even false information, why do we lash out with thinly-veiled, passive-aggressive rants on Facebook about brutes in the church before flouncing off in a spiritually-superior rejection of that “religious nightmare, otherwise known as the church?” (Yes, I’ve heard it called that).

When we’re blackballed by people who used to call us family, why do we reject all parts of the bride? Why do we cut off an arm, a leg, a hand, and whack away from the body known as Jesus’ bride until only a piece of an eyelash is left—us?

I get it. The bride of Christ gets ugly—like many bridezillas do. But do we love our Groom? Do we trust that He will stay faithful to us even when parts of our body fails us? When we get old, frail, and forgetful, will He remember us? Will He stay faithful and true when we wander to other loves? Can we trust that?

If Jesus can die for that person in the pew across the way, if He can forgive their sins, if He can forgive your sins, can’t you forgive His beloved?

Look, I get it. Sometimes part of the body of Christ becomes ill—gangrenous. Toxic.

When that happens, you need to remove yourself before you become ill, too. I get that. But that local body is just a tiny finger or toe of the whole body. We need to do what we can to help the rest of the body stay healthy while we pray and do what we can to help the sick part.

And I’m not condoning sin. Please understand that. This isn’t about me saying, “It doesn’t matter if the church sins against us. It does. It’s why Jesus gave us a way to deal with that.

But regardless of how someone else behaves, we still have to do what’s right. And I Peter 4:8 reminds us that “Love covers a multitude of sins.”

If you thought I’d wax eloquent about how evil the church is, how we should just abolish the “institution,” and why it’s just so bad…

You’ll be disappointed. I won’t do it.

So, What Do You Do When the Church Becomes Toxic?

I can answer the question in a word.

Love.

And really, that’s all Matt does in this book. Loves. Okay, and maybe a little prayerful ranting as well.

It’s what Jesus did when His creation—you and me—when we became toxic. He loved.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34

Blog Stops


Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 7
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 7
The Power of Words, August 8
Bigreadersite, August 8
Among the Reads, August 9
Multifarious, August 10
Blogging With Carol, August 11
proud to be an autism mom, August 12
A Baker’s Perspective, August 12
Texas Book-aholic, August 13
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 14
Janices book reviews, August 15
Maureen’s Musings, August 16
Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 17
Bibliophile Reviews, August 18
Carpe Diem, August 19
Godly Book Reviews, August 20

Giveaway




To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize package that includes a paperback copy of Argosy Junction, “Matt’s” copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and a $25 gift certificate!!

Click below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d143/argosy-junction-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, July 23, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: Revealed by Elaine Manders

About the Book

Title: Revealed
Author: Elaine Manders
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release Date: December 27, 2018


Nothing can be hidden that won’t be revealed.

When her father dies, Katherine Levinson discovers her parents have kept secrets that render her happy childhood a farce. She and her gravely ill mother face eviction, and she has no choice but to appeal to the brother she’s never seen, the famous cattle baron, Rhyan Cason. Over her gravely ill mother’s objections, they move to Nebraska and the sprawling cattle ranch, Sollano.

Instead of the warm welcome Katherine expects, she and her mother are met with whispers and scorn in the little prairie town near Sollano. Gradually, the sins of her parents’ past surface, and Katherine begins to doubt her very identify. With her brother busy with cattle rustlers and her mother too ill to be bothered, Katherine turns to Colt Holliman, a soft-spoken neighboring rancher, for comfort.

Tired of waiting for the right woman to come along, Colt has promised to wait for Charley Ryder, an acclaimed female sharp shooter and equestrian acrobat with the Wild West Show, but it’s becoming clear Charley loves the show more than him. As his attraction to Katherine grows, he finds himself spiritually conflicted. How can he break from past commitments and follow his heart?

Then unexpected danger strikes, testing Katherine’s and Colt’s faith in God—and each other.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Cowboys, cattle rustlers, and Stetsons.

There was much to like about this book.  As a western, the setting, characters, and plot were all in harmony.  The plot kept moving with plenty of action throughout the story.  The dialog was realistic and believable.  The characters faced hardships with grace.

This was the third book in a series, and it is helpful to have read the previous books before this one, but the author included just enough background information so that it could stand on its own.  

If you are looking for an-action-packed western romance, I recommend this book.  It is a solid read.

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

About the Author

Elaine Manders writes wholesome Christian romance and suspense about the bold, capable women of history and the strong, dependable men who love them. Her stories twist, turn, and surprise, told by characters who aren’t afraid to show their love for God and each other. She grew up a small town country girl and now lives in Central Georgia with her fur baby. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, sewing, crafts, and spending time with her family.








Guest Post from Elaine Manders

My Backstory

Intrigue under Western Skies Series, Book 3
Revealed

Back when I watched television, drama series were my favorite—Little House of the Prairie, the Waltons, the Virginian. I was caught up in the lives of these characters and looked forward to seeing what they were up to each week. For much the same reason, I enjoy writing episodic series.

Intrigue under Western Skies, a blended genre, historical romantic suspense series falls in this category. Some of the characters show up in every book, with new ones added along the way. But the books can be read out of sequence since each one has a different premise and plot.
In Revealed, Book 3 of Intrigue under Western Skies, I wanted to give Colt Holliman, previously introduced as a secondary character, his own HEA. Also, it seemed the time to reveal what happened to Rhyan Cason’s mother, the woman who’d caused so much angst in the first two books. More importantly, it gave me the opportunity to introduce Katherine, the sister he never knew existed.

Unexpectedly, my research led me to the history of show business, and how it developed through the Wild West shows of the nineteenth century. From that, a mystery evolved.

The spiritual thread running through Revealed explores the emotions of a young woman who discovers blood relatives have been hidden from her. Can she accept and love her new family and forgive the sins of her parents?

Maybe the greatest insight I gained from writing Revealed is that one can never trust his own heart without first trusting God.

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, July 17
A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 17
The Avid Reader, July 18
Moments Dipped in Ink, July 18
Remembrancy, July 19
A Baker’s Perspective, July 19
The Christian Fiction Girl, July 20
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, July 20
Mary Hake, July 20
Connie’s History Classroom, July 21
Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, July 21
Bibliophile Reviews, July 22
proud to be an autism mom, July 22
A Reader’s Brain, July 23
100 Pages per Hour, July 23
Daysong Reflections, July 24
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 24
Maureen’s Musings, July 25
Two Points of Interest, July 25
Inklings and notions, July 26
Texas Book-aholic, July 26
cherylbbookblog, July 27
Pause for Tales, July 27
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 27
Karen Sue Hadley, July 28
Janices book reviews, July 28
Henry Happens, July 29
Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 29
Bigreadersite, July 29
Godly Book Reviews, July 30
The Morning Chapter, July 30
For The Love of Books, July 30

Giveaway
To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away a grand prize of a $50 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/cee6/revealed-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: Firestorm by Laura Hilton

About the Book

Title: Firestorm
Author: Laura Hilton
Genre: Christian Amish
Release Date: July, 2018


Bridget Behr and her family migrate from the bustling Amish community where she grew up in Ohio to the mostly unpopulated Upper Peninsula of Michigan after a stalker breaks into their home. While her father and brother try to find work in the area, the family is forced to reside in a borrowed RV until the house and barn are rebuilt. While Bridget is hoping for a fresh start, she’s afraid to trust anyone—even Gabriel, the overly-friendly Amish man who lives nearby. Bridget thinks he’s a flirt who serial dates and doesn’t even remember the girls’ names.

Due to not enough construction work in his Florida community to keep him out of trouble, Gabriel Lapp has been sent to Michigan to work. His father is desperate for his son to settle down. When the family walks into Gabe’s home in the middle of a thunderstorm and he discovers their circumstances, he offers to help with construction. For Gabe, the beautiful girl he teasingly calls “the recluse” once he discovers she doesn’t attend youth events, confuses him like none other.

As Gabriel and Bridget grow closer, they realize there is more to a person than meets the eye. Just as Bridget is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding love, tragedy strikes. Now Bridget and her family must decide if they should move to another Amish community, or dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

What I really like about Laura Hilton's books is that the characters are very real.  Their thoughts, motivations, and words are very relatable.  Bridget and Gabe connected immediately when they first met, but Gabe had to overcome a bad reputation that preceded him.    As the story progresses, Gabe especially took steps to grow as a man, and in his relationship with God.  The book demonstrates through several characters that we all have faults, but by being open to correction and admitting our shortcomings, we can become better people.

The story got better and better as I read through it.  Although fans of Amish fiction will enjoy it,  I believe it is a story that most readers of Christian fiction will appreciate.

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

About the Author

Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and home schools her two youngest children.

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.

Guest Post from Laura Hilton

I read a series of books a year or so ago by another Amish author who had set her books in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. As a Michigan native, I was curious, and I researched, but found nothing about Upper Peninsula Amish except a notation that one had tried and failed. So I contacted the author. She told me that she’d never been there, and her research had all been hearsay, so with that lack of firsthand knowledge and no trip to the Upper Peninsula planned, no trip to see for myself would be possible. At least at that time.

Then God intervened. My son who is in the United States Coast Guard was stationed in the Upper Peninsula this past summer (2017.) He saw the Amish driving around in their buggies. And he felt like a stalker as he followed one to see where he went and drove through the area. He even sent pictures. (Shhhh.)

Yes, there are Amish in the Upper Peninsula – at least at the time this book was written.

Okay, as a Michigan native, I used some terms that may not be familiar to non-Michiganders. A Yooper is someone who lives in the Upper Peninsula. A Troll is someone from the Lower Peninsula. A pastie is kind of like a Hot Pocket, except it’s a meat pie made with root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and rutabagas. They are so good. And the straits are the area of the Great Lakes connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

As for the wildfire, the earliest wildfire I could find any documentation on in the Upper Peninsula was in April. It is generally a snowy area — trust me. I lived near the Muskegon area and saw snow drifts in May. We sometimes had over six feet of snow on the ground at one time. So, to get the wildfire when I wanted/needed the wildfire I used artistic license. Yes, fires really happened in Michigan’s history. Just not in the month mentioned in the book.



I am attaching a meme about Michigan seasons. We’ll call the fire set in “fool’s spring.” My son got married during the “third winter” this year. April 21 and there’s snow on the ground. He and his beautiful bride got married at a water fall (Tahquomenon Falls) very near where the story is set.














Thanks for reading Firestorm!!








Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, July 10
Blogging With Carol, July 10
Reading Is My SuperPower, July 11
Moments Dipped in Ink, July 11
The Avid Reader, July 12
Blossoms and Blessings, July 12
Texas Book-aholic, July 12
God’s Little Bookworm, July 13
Inklings and notions, July 13
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 13
Among the Reads, July 14
Because I said so- adventures in parenting, July 14
Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, July 15
Random Thoughts From a Bookworm, July 15
A Reader’s Brain, July 16
Luv’N Lambert Life, July 16
Daysong Reflections, July 17
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 17
Janices book reviews, July 17
Inspiration Clothesline, July 18
lady ansel book blog, July 18
Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 18
cherylbbookblog, July 19
Two Points of Interest, July 19
A Baker’s Perspective, July 19
Pause for Tales, July 20
Ashley’s bookshelf, July 20
amandainpa, July 21
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, July 21
Bigreadersite, July 21
proud to be an autism mom, July 22
Bibliophile Reviews, July 22
For The Love of Books, July 23
Pink Granny’s Journey, July 23
Little Homeschool on the Praire, July 23

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away

Grand prize: Firefighter Puppet 9 (Melissa & Doug), Copies of Amish Firefighter and Firestorm by Laura Hilton.

First place prize of “I Love You to the Cross & Back” Mug (Gardenfire) & Firestorm by Laura Hilton!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cf87/firestorm-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Book Review with a Giveaway: Minding the Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

About the Book

Book Title: Minding the Light
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Historical Romance
Release date: July 3, 2018


Six long years ago, Captain Reynolds Macy sailed away from his bride, looking forward to the day when he would return to Nantucket Island with a ship’s hold full of whale oil. But when that momentous day finally arrives, Ren soon discovers that everything has changed in his absence. Everything. “Is nothing on this island as it appears to be?” he whispers in despair.

Unlike most islanders, bold and spirited Daphne Coffin doesn’t defer to Ren as an authoritative whalemaster, but sees through his aloofness to the aching heart beneath. She encourages him to return to his Quaker roots and “mind the Light,” finding solace in God and community. As Ren becomes the man she believes him to be–honorable, wise, faithful–she finds herself falling in love with him.

But how can she, when her heart is spoken for? Tristram Macy is Ren’s business partner, cousin, and best friend–and Daphne’s fiancĂ©. Love always comes at a cost, but when is the price too high?

Suzanne Woods Fisher welcomes readers back to the Quaker community on Nantucket Island for this riveting love story, full of unexpected moments.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Minding the Light is the second book of the Nantucket Legacy series.  Having read the first book of the series was helpful as I read this novel, but it stands alone well.  It reads smoothly, which reflects the  tenants of the Quaker faith.  It was a pleasure to revisit this island during two different historical time periods and become even better acquainted with the people there, and experience the connection between characters through the years.  The characters were true, and the plot quite believable.  Many social issues were addressed that continue to translate to our current day.  Fans of historical romance will enjoy this book, as will anyone for whom Nantucket island is a special interest.
I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, Revell, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Carol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing.




Guest Post from Suzanne

8 Curious Facts you Probably Didn’t Know about Nantucket Island

This beautiful island, thirty miles off Cape Cod, is steeped in history. Here are just a few interesting reasons to add a visit to Nantucket to your bucket list.

1) During the first half of the nineteenth century, Nantucket was considered to be the wealthiest port in the world…all because of whale oil.

2) Petticoat Row is a 19th century nickname for a portion of Centre Street between Main Street and Broad Street. Many shops on Nantucket were run by women while the men were off to sea in whaling ships for years at a time. Quakerism, with its emphasis on equality, provided working women with community respect, value and esteem. The next time you’re visiting Nantucket, be sure to stop by the Petticoat Row Bakery for a morning glory muffin.

3) The use of laudanum (opium) was described by a visiting French as prevalent among the women of Nantucket. Loyal Nantucketers vehemently denied his claim. However, in the 1980s, construction workers digging to Nantucket’s sewer lines found heaps of opium bottles buried in the ground.

For centuries, laudanum was considered to be not only harmless but beneficial. Its very name in Latin is landare, which means to praise. Other names for it: Mother’s Helper (to sedate children), Sea Calm (for seasickness). It was used for all kinds of ailments, from sleeplessness to menstrual cramps to treatment of chronic pain, and available without prescription up until the twentieth century, when it was found to be highly addictive.

4) Nantucket Cent Schools were a carryover from England and the cost was exactly what the name implied. In New England they were kept by refined, thrifty women who often taught their own or their neighbors’ children until they were old enough to enter schools of a higher grade. I came across a story of a boy whose mother stuck a penny in his mouth each day so that he would remember to pay the teacher.

5) Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville in 1851, was based on a true-life event that occurred in 1820 to the Nantucket whaleship Essex and her crew. You can find out more about this ill-fated voyage if you visit Nantucket’s awesome whaling museum.

6) Speaking of…the whaling museum on Nantucket Island is called the Peter Foulger Whaling Museum. Peter Foulger was one of the early settlers to the island, and could be considered a Renaissance Man: inventor, surveyor, teacher, missionary to the Wampanoag Indians. And his grandson was none other than Benjamin Franklin.

7) Nantucketers were, for the most part, related to each other in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The prosperous island was settled by a small group of families, with less than a dozen surnames: Coffin, Macy, Starbuck, Bunker, Hussey, Gardner, Mayhew, Swain, Barnard, Coleman, Worth, Mitchell.  Those names are still common on the island.

8) There’s a good reason those surnames sound familiar to you—many of those early settlers had descendants who started business empires. Recognize these? Macy (retailer) and Folger (coffee).

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, July 3
Livin Lit, July 3
midnightbookaholic, July 3
The Avid Reader, July 4
Margaret Kazmierczak, July 4
The Power of Words, July 4
A Baker’s Perspective, July 5
Blossoms and Blessings, July 5
A Reader’s Brain, July 5
Just the Write Escape, July 6
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 6
Bibliophile Reviews, July 7
Mary Hake, July 7
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 7
Texas Book-aholic, July 8
Simple Harvest Reads, July 8 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Janices book reviews, July 9
Captive Dreams Window, July 9
Book by Book, July 9
Back Porch Reads, July 10
Reading Is My SuperPower, July 10
Splashes of Joy, July 10
The Morning Chapter, July 11
Vicky Sluiter, July 11
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 11
Among the Reads, July 12
proud to be an autism mom, July 12
Two Points of Interest, July 12
Abbas Prayer Warrior Princess, July 13
Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 13
Blogging With Carol, July 13
Truth and Grace Writing and Life Coaching, July 14
Maureen’s Musings, July 14
Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 14
Godly Book Reviews, July 15
Inklings and notions, July 15
Bigreadersite, July 15
Connie’s History Classroom , July 16
Locks, Hooks and Books, July 16
Pause for Tales, July 16
Have A Wonderful Day, July 16

Giveaway
To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card to five winners!!

Be sure to leave a comment on one of the blog stops for 9 extra entries into the giveaway. Click link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d1c4/minding-the-light-celebration-tour-giveaway

Friday, July 6, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof


About the Book
Title: Sons of Blackbird Mountain
Author: Joanne Bischof
Genre: Historical Romance


After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of Nineteenth-Century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.


As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?


A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.
My Review

Readers, and especially writers, believe in the power of story as a form of communication.  In this latest novel by Joanne Bischof, the power of communication is especially highlighted as Thor, the middle of three Norwegian brothers living in the mountains of Virginia, is deaf and mute.  Yet through ASL, writing, gestures, and facial expressions, he is able to live a full and productive life.  His cousin's widow, Aven, joins the Norgaard family at the invitation of their now-deceased aunt.  Aven learns to communicate with Thor with insight from a neighbor:  "Just look at him. . .  Look at his eyes, his face.  See him.  See him and be patient.  You'll never wonder . . . Spend ten minutes getting to know Thor Norgaard and you'll forget he silent.  You'll learn and hear things that most men don't even know how to speak."
This story takes place within a three-month period, but in that time we learn much about the Norgaard family as they manage the harvest on their farm, deal with the effects of alcoholism, and work through post-Civil War conflicts with neighbors.
I found it difficult to connect with Thor, but Aven did that for me.  There was much depth to this story, and I recommend it to readers of historical romance.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.
About the Author

JOANNE BISCHOF is an ACFW Carol Award and ECPA Christy Award-winning author. She writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the heartstrings. She was honored to receive the San Diego Christian Writers Guild Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon conference. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews, among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children. Visit her online at JoanneBischof.com, Facebook: Author, JoanneBischof, Instagram: @JoanneBischof.




Guest Video from Joanne Bischof



Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, July 5
Carpe Diem, July 5
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, July 5
All-of-a-kind Mom, July 6
The Power of Words, July 6
Among the Reads, July 6
Fiction Aficionado, July 7
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 7
A Baker’s Perspective, July 7
History, Mystery & Faith, July 8
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, July 8
Luv’N Lambert Life, July 8
Cordially Barbara, July 9
Kathleen Denly, July 9
Inklings and notions, July 11
Just Commonly, July 11
Two Points of Interest, July 11
Maureen’s Musings, July 12
Book by Book, July 12
To Everything A Season, July 12
Inspiration Clothesline, July 13
With a Joyful Noise, July 13
Pause for Tales, July 13
Radiant Light, July 13
The Christian Fiction Girl, July 14
Remembrancy, July 14
proud to be an autism mom, July 14
Just the Write Escape, July 15
Bibliophile Reviews, July 15
Vicky sluiter, July 15
By The Book, July 16
Texas Book-aholic, July 16
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 16
Janices book reviews, July 17
Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 17
Bigreadersite, July 17
Connie’s History Classroom, July 18
amandainpa, July 18
Seasons of Opportunities, July 18
Reader’s cozy corner, July 18

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Joanne is giving away

Grand prize of a country crate, a jar of apple butter, a bag of gummy berries, journal, bath salts, honey spoons, copper earrings, and a blackbird sign!!

Click below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d140/sons-of-blackbird-mountain-celebration-tour-giveaway

Saturday, June 30, 2018


About the Book


Title: The Love Letter
Author: Rachel Hauck
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Genre: Contemporary
Tour Dates: June 21 – July 4


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a story of long-lost love and its redemption in future generations.

Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte—in life or on screen. But everyone knows who to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.

When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.

Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted—something straight from the heart.

Set in stunning upcountry South Carolina, The Love Letter is a beautifully-crafted story of the courage it takes to face down fear and chase after love, even in the darkest of times. And just maybe, all these generations later, love can come home in a way not even Hollywood could imagine.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Author Rachel Hauck has penned a beautiful novel that brings together two couples separated by 250 years.  This book is filled with heartbreak and joy as both couples must navigate past or present obstacles to love.  The transformation of each character was amazing to witness.  I especially loved Chloe for her courage, perseverance, and faith.  It was so neat to see how her life positively affected those around her.

I loved this book, and hope to re-read it soon.  Again, Chloe just got to me on so many levels.  I also adore the heavenly touches that Hauck adds to her novels.

Fans of historical and contemporary romance will enjoy this story.  Those who want a Hollywood insider's perspective of that life will be thrilled.

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

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times. She is a double RITA finalist, a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Rachel sits on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, and is the comical sidekick to Susan May Warren at the amazing My Book Therapy. She is a worship leader and speaker.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel is a devoted Ohio State football fan. She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.


Guest Post from Rachel Hauck

I’m always looking for story ideas. My husband does a standard disclaimer when I start drilling into a conversation with questions like:

”Really? So why did you do that?”

”Have you sought help?”

”Was it love at first sight?”

Hubster says, “Warning, anything you say can end up in a book.”

Of course, stories abound! Interesting people abound!

Then again, sometimes ideas just hit out of the blue. A few years ago I had the idea of a young, contemporary couple meeting by “accident” only to learn that their great grandparents were in love but time, life, family, war, or society made their love impossible.

I suppose there are a hundred ways to tell such a story but when it came time to write The Love Letter, I was slightly infatuated with the Poldark series on PBS.

Set in 18th century Cornwall, the story and the characters were so dynamic I had to write my own version of Poldark.

But could I write a split time with a 240 year difference? I mean, they didn’t have electricity or phones in 1780! They didn’t even have a postal system. Letters were carried by traveling friends or family.

What possible conflicts could my historical characters face? What event could be so dark and tragic to keep them apart?

The Revolutionary War created a perfect backdrop for my young lovers.

I set the story in upcountry South Carolina not realizing the battle I chose for the back drop, the Battle of Cowpens, was the inspiration for the movie The Patriot. (A fav movie of mine!)

For the contemporary story, I started with shoes. I mean, doesn’t every thing start with shoes? 

”Nice outfit but what shoes are you wearing?”

”You’re going on a date? You need new shoes.”

What we “walk in” can either empower or defeat us. There’s a spiritual metaphor I’ll mediate on for awhile.

However the shoe angle didn’t quite work so the contemporary story ended up in Hollywood with an actor/screenwriter and an actress.

Both worlds—1780 upcountry South Carolina and contemporary Hollywood—were a bit out of my southern bailiwick.

I did a lot of research on the war and the colonial south. Where I couldn’t find details, I filled in with my imagination.

As for Hollywood, I talked with a screenwriter friend, read books, watched interviews, and then, you know, made the rest up. Don’t you know I eventually ended up on a movie set—Once Upon A Prince—four days after I finished reading the galley proofs for The Love Letter!

One of the hardest parts of the story was the actual love letter. What did it say? Who wrote it and why? Was there more than one? No, only one. But why only one?

I must have written and rewritten the letter five different ways to Sunday before I settled on the magical one.

During the course of the book, I realized I’d never written a love letter. Have you?

I’ve written sentiments to my husband on an anniversary or birthday card. I speak my love and affection out loud all the time. But a bonafide love letter?

A love letter is it’s own art form. They range from sickly sweet with a lot of “darlings” and “sweethearts” to Shakespearean sonnets.

There’s a vulnerability that comes with writing a love letter. Putting one’s heart on the page creates a new level of commitment with your affections.

Will the reader receive your words? Will the reader respond in kind?

It’s fascinating to consider the purpose of a love letter. Have we lost something intrinsic to the human heart with our instant texting and email society?

Can you imagine Romeo texting to Juliet in 2018?

Saw you at your window. You looked hot.

Doesn’t quite have the same ring as: “But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun.”

Scripture is a continuous love letter. “For God so loved the world—”

Whether you write love letters or poems, or quick texts, or put XO’s on cards to loved ones, write a love letter this month.

Write one to yourself, to Jesus, a spouse, child, parent, friend, foe—

See how it will bless your heart! Off to write my love letter…

Blog Stops


Among the Reads, June 21
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 21
The Avid Reader, June 21
Genesis 5020, June 21
ansel book blog, June 22
Blogging With Carol, June 22
Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, June 22
Cover to Cover and Everything in Between, June 23
The Power of Words, June 23
Luv’N Lambert Life, June 23
Janices book reviews, June 23
C Jane Read, June 24
Kristin’s Book Reviews, June 24
Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 25
Faithfully Bookish, June 25
By The Book, June 25
Reading Is My SuperPower, June 25
Kat’s Corner Books, June 26
Maureen’s Musings, June 26
Ladybug Chronicles, June 26
Carpe Diem, June 26


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away

Grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7

Semi-Grand prize of a book basket

2nd – 4th place prize of a copy of The Love Letter!!

Click below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d071/the-love-letter-celebration-tour-giveaway