Sunday, June 17, 2018

What I'm Reading

Timeless Love: Romantic Stories that Span the Ages

This is what I'm reading right now.  It is a historical novella collection, in which various time periods are represented.  I haven't gotten all the way through yet, but I've really enjoyed what I have read so far.  Even though each title is a novella, the characters and plots have been well-developed.  I have been caught up in each of the stories, and have enjoyed the variety of time periods and settings.  This collection releases on Tuesday, June 19.  If you click here you can read more about each story and purchase the Kindle edition.

I received an e-ARC of this collection for review purposes from one of the authors, Dawn Crandall, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Book Review: Hopeless by Golden Keyes Parsons

Hopeless:  The Woman with the Issue of Blood by Golden Keyes Parsons

About the Book

Author: Golden Keyes Parsons
Series: Hidden Faces, Book 4
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Year: April 7, 2014
Length: Novella


Zahava has a husband who loves her... but after twelve years of bleeding that has left her unclean and cut off from him, can a forbidden touch give her the hope so long denied her?

You can purchase your copy here.

My Review

Being a novella, this book is small, but in its brevity, it is an enjoyable and meaningful book.  It reads quickly, but really adds depth to the account of the woman with the issue of blood mentioned in Scripture.  The author was great at inserting details to fill our the story and make it true to the setting.

I loved the relationship between Zahava and her husband Gideon.  His devotion to her was heartwarming.  What really stood out to me, though, was the desperation and hopelessness that Zahava felt, and how those feelings built throughout the course of the novella.

I enjoyed this book, and recommended it to readers of biblical fiction.  I also think that it would be great for a women's book club or Bible study; there is much to be discussed in this story.  Discussion questions are included at the end of the book.

I received this book from the publisher, Whitefire, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Golden and her husband, Blaine, retired from the pastorate and moved to Waco, Texas. She is survived by her husband of almost 55 years, her three daughters and eight grandchildren.

Golden published four full length novels, four novellas, and a woman’s Bible study. Her works of fiction have inspired thousands of readers. Through detailed historical research, gripping story lines, and developed characters, she brought to life themes of hope, redemption, and the great adventure that God offers to everyone.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: Together Forever by Jody Helund

About the Book

Title: Together Forever, Orphan Train Book 2
Author: Jody Hedlund
Genre: Inspirational historical romance
Release Date: May, 2018

Determined to find her lost younger sister, Marianne Neumann takes a job as a placing agent with the Children’s Aid Society in 1858 New York. She not only hopes to offer children a better life, but prays she’ll be able to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train so they can finally be reunited.

Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing-out trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children, firm but tender and friendly. Underneath his charm and handsome looks, though, seems to linger a grief that won’t go away–and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden.

As the two team up, placing orphans in the small railroad towns of Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

In Together Forever, the second of the Orphan Train series, the reader realizes how gifted author Jody Hedlund is.  As she describes the angst over the orphan's plights, or the tension building between Marianne and Drew, or the devastation of one's own shortcomings, the reader truly experiences those feelings.  It was fun to witness the banter between Drew and Marianne, which carried throughout the book.  I took courage as the characters made decisions to leave the past in their pasts and move forward in their lives.  And I was reminded again of how devastating the consequences of deception can be.

With plenty of touching moments, heart-wrenching scenes, characters that are easy to love, and a plot that kept moving, just like the train, I found this to be quite an enjoyable read.  Although it stands alone, I really can't wait to get my hands on Book #3!  This book is recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction and romance.

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

About the Author


Jody Hedlund is the author of over a dozen novels, including Love Unexpected, Captured by Love, Unending Devotion, The Preacher’s Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog at www.jodyhedlund.com.







Guest Post from Jody Hedlund

30,000 Abandoned Children

By Jody Hedlund

Imagine a city where 30,000 abandoned and homeless children live on the streets.

Sounds like something from a futuristic dystopian novel, doesn’t it? Or something that might happen after a war or apocalypse or major disaster, right?

This exact thing actually happened in the 1850’s. And the city was New York City.

It’s hard to believe, but an estimated 30,000 homeless children roamed the dirty city streets and alleys of New York City.

30,000. Children. Let that sink in for a minute. That’s the size of a town.

Historians look back on that time and try to make sense what led to such horrific conditions for children. Of course, the influx of immigrants was at an all time high. Jobs and housing were scarce. Diseases were rampant. Hunger and poverty became a norm. (Orphan Train Depot)

As more and more people became aware of the enormous problem within the crowded slums, courageous heroes rose up and attempted to do their part to make a difference.

While we may not always agree with the methods that were used to save the thousands of homeless children, we can admire the men and women who could no longer sit idly by.

The Children’s Aid Society was started by Charles Loring Brace as one such attempt to help the hordes of homeless children. His “Emigration Plan” is better known today by the term “Orphan Trains.”

My latest series tackles various elements of the orphan train movement. Together Forever, releasing in May, highlights the placing agents, those devoted people who rode the trains with the orphans. The agents spent weeks and months on the road caring for the children, all the while trying to place them in loving homes.

(If you’d like to try out the series, start with my FREE novella, An Awakened Heart.)

Like the brave men and women who came before us, may we always strive to do our part to make a difference!




Blog Stops


By The Book, May 22
Pink Granny’s Journey, May 22
Blogging With Carol, May 22
ansel book blog, May 22
Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 23
Moments Dipped in Ink, May 23
Genesis 5020, May 23
Blossoms and Blessings, May 23
Reading Is My SuperPower, May 24
Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, May 24
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, May 24
Christian Bookaholic, May 24
Just the Write Escape, May 25
Among the Reads, May 25
The Power of Words, May 25
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 25
Radiant Light, May 26
The Christian Fiction Girl, May 26
The Avid Reader, May 26
Janices book reviews, May 26
Daysong Reflections, May 27
Mary Hake, May 27
Carpe Diem, May 27
Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 27
Kathleen Denly, May 28
History, Mystery & Faith, May 28
A Baker’s Perspective, May 28
Simple Harvest Reads, May 28 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Faithfully Bookish,  May 29
God’s Little Bookworm, May 29
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, May 29
Cover to Cover and Everything in Between, May 30
Neverending Stories, May 30
Maureen’s Musing, May 30
Bigreadersite, May 30
Inklings and notions, May 31
To Everything A Season, May 31
Two Points of Interest, May 31
Christian Author, J.E.Grace, May 31
Have A Wonderful Day, June 1
Lighthouse Academy, June 1
Godly Book Reviews, June 1
Red Headed Book Lady, June 2
For the Love of Books, June 2
Vicky Sluiter, June 2
proud to be an autism mom, June 3
Bibliophile Reviews, June 3
Texas Book-aholic, June 3
Connie’s History Classroom, June 4
Pause for Tales, June 4
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 4
Reader’s cozy corner, June 4

Giveaway
To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Click below to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/cee5/together-forever-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Book review: Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason

About the Book:

Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. With three brothers and two sisters, she's never without someone to hang out with--or fight with. And she knows they'll be there for her when things get tough. Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.

Determined to discover exactly what happened, Izzy's investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll--including someone from her own family. With her dead partner's handsome homicide detective brother Ryan shadowing her every move, Izzy's head is spinning. How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? And how will she guard her heart when the man she's had a secret crush on for years won't leave her side?

With her signature fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Lynette Eason invites readers into a captivating new series where justice is a family affair.

My Review:

If you're looking for can't-put-it-down suspense, this is the book for you!

Lynette Eason has again written a gripping page-turner!  The plot is multi-layered and the characters are well-drawn.  Blue Justice is a new series about law enforcement officers, and they use modern technology as well as quick wits and solid thinking to get the job done.  This book would translate well to the screen.

Oath of Honor would appeal to men and women who enjoy police dramas or suspense.  I highly recommend it.

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

About the Author:

Award-winning, best-selling author, Lynette Eason writes for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense line and for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Her books have hit the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won numerous awards such as the prestigious Carol Award, the Selah, the Daphne, the IRCC award and more. Lynette is married, has two children, and lives in Greenville, SC.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Book review: A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason

About the Book:

When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl's heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.

Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope--believing that once their marriage is sanctioned by God, Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between pleasing Hannah and living up to his father's demanding expectations.

At every turn, forces work to keep the couple apart, and a solution to remain together seems further and further away. With Nolan's new life pulling him irrevocably away from the woman he loves, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.

You can get your copy here.

My Review:

After having read and enjoyed Mason's previous series of books, it was refreshing to read a stand-alone with a different setting.  This book is set in 1880s England, where there are definite boundaries between the classes.  I found the unique premise of this book, that a stable hand was truly the earl's son, to be intriguing.  The characters were very real-lovable, yet flawed.  Most were willing to be changed and grown by their circumstances, which made them even more endearing.  The plot kept moving, and just when I thought everything was about to be wrapped up, there was more action.  

Two takeaways that I had from this book-
1.  Everyone should have an Aunt Iris.  Read this book so you can meet her!

2.  Susan Anne Mason is the Queen of the Double Romance!

I enjoyed this book and recommend it to fans of historical fiction.

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:

Susan lives in a suburb near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she works part-time as a church secretary. She is a wife and the mother of two amazing kids, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). In addition to writing, she likes to scrapbook and to research her family history on-line. You can connect with her on Facebook or on her website www.susanannemason.net.