Sunday, December 30, 2018

Book Review: Gone Too Soon by Melody Carlson

About the Book:

An icy road. A car crash.
A family changed forever.


Hannah Josephson had always been the “perfect” daughter. Kiera couldn’t live up to her before, and she certainly can’t now that her older sister has died in a car accident. But the image she carried resentfully of Hannah is challenged when she finds her dead sister’s diary and begins to read. Apparently Hannah’s final year wasn’t as perfect as everyone thought.

Caught in a pattern of blaming each other, the Josephson family is falling apart. Their father has left, their mother is mixing opiates and alcohol, little sister Maddie has been shipped off to spend the whole summer with their grandmother, and Kiera feels utterly alone with her grief and anger. A summer job helping at a park in a poor section of town provides a friend and a purpose.

But it’s Hannah’s diary that fills her thoughts. For the first time in years, she feels close to the sister she’s lost. But can the knowledge she gleans about her possibly help her patch back together the family that seems determined to implode?

You can purchase your copy here.

My Review:

I never know what to expect when I pick up a Young Adult novel, but this one hooked me right away.  Much of the novel was first person, in Kiera's voice, which was a good technique.  In real life, I don't think I would have liked Kiera, but being inside her head gave me compassion for her.  I grew to appreciate her gutsiness, and applauded the steps she took to grow up.

For being a YA novel, it was not too angsty, which I appreciate.  It deals with many difficult topics in a way that is real, yet appropriate for teen readers.  As I was reading, my thoughts were that I really wanted to share this book.  Because of a varied cast of characters, there is someone for everyone to relate to, so teens and their parents can enjoy this book.

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

About the Author:

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That's a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a "storyteller." Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, Truecolors, etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She's won a number of awards (including Romantic Time's Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Book Review with a giveaway: Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock

About the Book

Book: Catching Christmas
Author: Terri Blackstock
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Christmas
Release Date: October 9, 2018


This Year, Christmas Comes Just in Time.


As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current court case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.

The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is making his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.

When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure that she’s never needed help finding a date. Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfill Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

Finn was just trying to make a buck to pay his rent.  Sydney was doing the best she could on her own.  Callie needed to make her doctor's appointment.  Callie brought Finn and Syndey together in ways they would never have expected.  Callie was a force to be reckoned with, when she wasn't sleeping in the back of Finn's cab.  This was a fun book to read, as the characters were very real, and the perspective went back and forth between Finn and Sydney.   

It's a lighthearted, yet very touching contemporary read that I really enjoyed and highly recommend.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Catching Christmas is her first Christmas romance. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter: @terriblackstock








From Terri Blackstock

Enjoy this premium excerpt from Catching Christmas.


https://aerbook.com/books/-128993.html?utm_source=pubpage


To get you in the Christmas mood, here’s an early holiday playlist:


“White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby

“I Heard the Bells” sung by MercyMe

“Light of the World” sung by Lauren Daigle

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sung by Amy Grant

“Don’t Save it All for Christmas Day” sung by Avalon

“Till the Season Comes ‘Round Again” sung by the Katinas


Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 15
Daysong Reflections, December 15
Genesis 5020, December 15
Back Porch Reads, December 15
The Power of Words, December 16
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 16
Quiet Quilter, December 16
Among the Reads, December 17
Kathleen Denly, December 17
By The Book, December 17
Lighthouse Academy, December 17
Cultivating Us, December 18
Simple Harvest Reads, December 18 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Remembrancy, December 18
Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, December 19
Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 19
Christian Author, J.E. Grace, December 19
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 20
amandainpa, December 20
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 20
Multifarious, December 21
Cathe Swanson, December 21
Stories By Gina, December 21
Connect in Fiction, December 22
Have A Wonderful Day, December 22
Splashes of Joy, December 22
Bibliophile Reviews, December 22
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 23
Lis Loves Reading, December 23
Mary Hake, December 23
Bigreadersite, December 23
Book by Book, December 24
Pause for Tales, December 24
To Everything A Season, December 24
Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 25
A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 25
Vicky Sluiter, December 25
Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 26
Inklings and notions, December 26
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 26
Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 27
Captive Dreams Window, December 27
Texas Book-aholic, December 27
A Baker’s Perspective, December 27
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28
Older & Smarter?, December 28
Janices book reviews, December 28
Carpe Diem, December 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away a grand prize of a finished copy of Catching Christmas and a Christmas Tree Ornament!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d776/catching-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Book Review: Searching For You by Jody Hedlund

About the Book

Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won't abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.

Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he's in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?

My Review

She is amazing.  In this beautiful conclusion to the Orphan Train series, author Jody Hedlund uses her pen to create a story that brings out amazing depth of feeling.  I felt all of the uncertainty, the desperation, and the despair, love, joy and passion that Sophie Neumann felt throughout the book.  And the passion!!  Hedlund describes the physical desire between Sophie and Reinhold in a very believable way, but always keeps it clean.

This book can be read as a stand-alone, but it was especially wonderful to have read it as a part of the series.  I recommend it for fans of historical romance, and for those who have an interest in the orphan trains that began in the 1850s.

I received a copy from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Book Review: Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette

About the Book

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?

My Review

Having read all of Cossette's previous novels, I was intrigued at the introduction to Sofea and Prezi in their native homeland.  What a heart wrenching, yet exciting beginning to this book!  Then this book continued to take me from the depths of despair to the heights of elation.

It was wonderful to join Moriyah's family eleven years later.  Her dreams had come true, and this book chronicles the emotional and spiritual journey of her adopted son, Eitan.

I really appreciated knowing the background of all the characters, but the book does stand alone.  I highly recommend it to those who enjoy Biblical fiction.

I received a copy from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Connilyn Cossette is the Christy Award Nominated and CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series from Bethany House Publishers. There's not much she enjoys more than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Book Review with a Giveaway: The Three Faces of Nellie by Robynne Elizabeth Miller


About the Book

Book: The Three Faces of Nellie
Author: Robynne Elizabeth Miller
Genre: Non-fiction, Historical
Release Date: November, 2016
Publisher: Practical Pioneer Press


Whether you love her, hate her, or love to hate her, Nellie Oleson is one of the most recognizable literary figures of the 20th century. But Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie series in which Nellie appears, had a secret. . .Nellie wasn’t a real person! Instead, she was a composite character created from three girls Laura knew in childhood: Nellie Owens, Genevieve Masters, and Estella Gilbert.

The Little House character of Nellie Oleson is one-dimensional: snobbish, selfish, and thoroughly unpleasant. But what about the real women behind Laura’s creation? They were an intriguing mix of the not-so-nice and the unexpectedly redeemable. In short, they were human.

Discovering the true stories behind Nellie, Genevieve, and Estella has been a fascinating journey. All three ended up on the West Coast at one point. . .true westward movement! One was widowed twice, one ended up divorced, and one died way too young. Two only had one child, and one had three, though she outlived her youngest by a very long time. There’s even some “Nellie-like” drama in there: Embezzlement. Lying on censuses. Shady land deals.

But there are some beautiful things, too. . .like the enduring love of a husband after his young wife died. Or the rare closeness of a mother and daughter who shared their lives as adults. Or the strength of a young widowed mother who not only cared for her son, but headed out west, in true pioneer fashion, while she did so.

Laura Ingalls Wilder did a masterful job of creating the character of Nellie Oleson. But the three real-life women behind that iconic character are, in my opinion, infinitely more intriguing.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Who knew?!  I consider my self a huge Little House fan, but obviously I'm not as huge a fan as those who already knew this little tidbit:  Apparently, Nellie Oleson of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books was a character created by Laura, but was based on three different girls in her childhood.  This book details those three girls' lives, such as when they traveled west, when they lived, when they knew Laura, and what they did in their adult lives.  The author presented substantiated research, and acknowledged when there may have been gaps in the knowledge.

I was very impressed with the amount of research that went into this book.  It was a fairly quick read, and sometimes was a little dry (think of the biblical begats), but yet fascinating to learn more of these girls who comprised the Nellie Oleson character.

It is worth the read for Little House fans, or others that appreciate genealogical research.

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

About the Author

Robynne Elizabeth Miller is a speaker, writing coach, and author of multiple books, articles, and essays. Her larger projects include From the Mouth of Ma, Pioneer Mixology, The Three Faces of Nellie, and Nonfiction, Memoir, or Fiction? Dissecting the Works of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Robynne speaks nationally at writing and historical venues and teaches at writer’s workshops and conferences. She also serves as the Board President of Inspire Christian Writers, as well as their Director of Leadership, and leads two Northern California critique groups.

She holds an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Westmont College and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction and Fiction from Ashland University.

She lives with her wonderful British husband and the youngest of their four cheeky children in the snowy woods of the Sierra Nevada mountains. When not writing, Robynne loves singing, felling trees, and making bacon from scratch.

Guest Post from Robynne

Nasty Nellie Oleson. One of the most iconic literary characters in literature. Whether you loved her … or hated her … or loved to hate her, she probably left a lasting impression on you. At least if you were a fan of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder like I was growing up!

As a young girl, I loved Wilder’s tales of wagons, prairies, and grand westward adventures. Strangely, growing up didn’t change my love for all things Little House one tiny bit. But I did become deeply curious about the real life people behind some of the more fascinating Little House characters.

Namely, Nellie Oleson.

As I began to research Nellie, I learned a ton of interesting things. She wasn’t one person, for example. Laura Ingalls Wilder wove three girls she knew in childhood into one composite character for her books. One of the first “Nellie’s,” Nellie Owens, did have a brother named Willy, but did you know that he went blind from two separate incidents, one in childhood and one in adulthood? And did you know that all three of the “Nellies” ended up on the west coast at one point? Talk about true westward movement! One married a man who eventually went to prison for embezzlement, one did some shady land deals, and one shouldn’t have been a “Nellie” at all.

I suppose I was hoping for a good, old-fashioned redemption story. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if the mean girl in Wilder’s stories grew up to work with orphans or rescue unwanted animals? Alas, that’s not exactly what happened. But the stories of these three women were fascinating all the same.

I hope you have as much fun discovering the real stories behind the famous Nellie Oleson as I did!

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 6
Blogging With Carol, December 6
multifarious, December 7
Carpe Diem, December 7
Bibliophile Reviews, December 8
The Morning Chapter, December 8
Just the Write Escape, December 9
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 9
A Reader’s Brain, December 10
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 10
Maureen’s Musings, December 11
A Baker’s Perspective, December 11
Girls in White Dresses, December 12
Artistic Nobody, December 13
Connie;s HIstory Classroom, December 14
Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 14
Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 15
Pause for Tales, December 15
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 16
Texas Book-aholic, December 16
Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 17
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 17
Janices book reviews, December 18
margaret kazmierczak, December 18
Lots of Helpers, December 19
Bigreadersite, December 19

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Robynne is giving away a grand prize of a Little House Treasures basket that includes an authenticated piece of the original Loftus Store is De Smet, authenticated sand from Laura’s Plum Creek in Walnut Grove, a Loftus Store slate and slate pencil, chokecherry preserves from De Smet, a Christmas Tree ornament from De Smet, a corn-cob doll kit, a tin cup, maple syrup, a set of pioneer recipe books, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s actual gingerbread recipes, and other treasures from various Little House sites!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries in to the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d774/the-three-faces-of-nellie-olson-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, December 10, 2018

Book review: A Honey of a Christmas by Jessica R. Patch

About the Book

They say opposites attract; it’ll take a Christmas miracle to keep this couple from killing one another!

Agnes Piercy is finally going to make her mark now that she’s in charge of the Honeyhaven Winter Wonderland. She’s created a new event this year—Santa’s Village—which will bring in tons of tourists and money for charities and church ministries, and secure her a full client list when she opens up her own event planning business. But things go haywire from the get-go, including her feelings for one Tuck Renner.

Tuck Renner has been tasked (against his will) with building the Santa’s Village which means taking orders from Miss Bossy Pants herself—Agnes Piercy. Sadly, she’s off to a seriously rocky start. Feeling sorry for her, and a lot sorry for himself having to hear about it day in and out, he vows to make this the greatest event ever. Except nothing goes as planned. But everything may end up exactly like it was meant to.

You can purchase a copy of this book here.

My Review

This contemporary novella took place in a small southern town, where everyone knows everyone else, and everyone knows everyone else's business.  But it was great seeing the whole town come together for a special Christmas celebration.  Having been friends for so long, Agnes and Tuck are both surprised and recalcitrant as they develop feelings for each other.  Having been irritants to each other for so long, there conversations tended to be somewhat harsh as they negotiated this turn in their relationship.

There were many great lessons learned in this book, about forgiveness, trust, and speaking the truth.  This was second in a series, and enough background was given from the first book so I was informed, but not bogged down.

I recommend this book for those who love a  good Christmas romance!

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

About the Author

Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. When she's not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her watching way too much Netflix with her family and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she'll probably never cook. Sign up for her newsletter at www.jessicarpatch.com. Jessica is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Book review: Cold Case Christmas by Jessica R. Patch

About the Book

Secrets lie buried in ice...

One of them can kill her.

Home for Christmas after her long-missing mother’s body is found, nothing will keep Nora Livingstone from uncovering the truth about the cold case. Especially not Deputy Sheriff Rush Buchanan, whom she once loved and left. Even when threats become attempts on her life, Rush can’t dissuade her—but he will protect her. Because someone is determined to bury the truth…or bury Nora.

My Review

No warm fuzzies in this Christmas story.

This is an incredibly suspenseful story set at Christmas time.  You'll be watching over your shoulder as Nora and Rush try to unravel the mystery of her mother's untimely death seventeen years ago.  As Nora seeks answers to questions regarding this tragedy, she and Rush investigate the possibility of rekindling the relationship they once had.  Readers of romantic suspense will be thrilled with this can't-put-it-down novel.

I received and e-ARC of this book from the author for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. When she's not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her watching way too much Netflix with her family and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she'll probably never cook. Sign up for her newsletter at www.jessicarpatch.com. Jessica is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Book Review with a giveaway: Lost Christmas Memories by Dana Mentink


About the Book

Book: Lost Christmas Memories
Author: Dana Mentink
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense/Christmas
Release Date: November 1, 2018


A witness with amnesia

Can she trust this Gold Country Cowboy with her life?

Tracy Wilson witnessed a murder—but after a head injury, she can’t remember what she saw. Now someone plans to silence her for good, and only cowboy Keegan Thorn believes her. With a killer after her at Christmas, Tracy is running out of time to remember…and falling dangerously hard for the cowboy who could break her heart.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

The action and suspense in this novel is non-stop, beginning on the very first page.  I was always surprised at the many plot twists.  I was also pleased with the character development in this novel.  Keegan Thorn, although he wanted to be Tracy's hero, could not be what he needed to be for her, until he made peace with the other people around him.

I highly recommend this novel for fans of romantic suspense.  Those who enjoy westerns will appreciate the horse-loving setting, also.

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

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over thirty five titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. Dana was thrilled to be a semi-finalist in the Jeanne Robertson Comedy With Class Competition. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com.



Guest Post from Dana
Writing this book was bittersweet for me. It was lovely to finally be able to tell youngest Thorn brother Keegan’s story, but I sure am sorry to say goodbye to this series! It was such fun to write about these four kinsmen and the family bonds that held them together through all manner of murder and mayhem! Here at Mentink Manor, we have recently sent a bear cub away to college for the first time. It feels like I have lost a limb now that my Boo Boo is gone! Fortunately, we will enjoy having her home for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Though it won’t be a cozy country Christmas like it is for Keegan (we live in a city of 80,000 here in Northern, CA) we will be thrilled to have all our family home to celebrate together (Mama Bear, Papa Bear, two cubs, a naughty terrier, and a senior citizen box turtle!) I hope you enjoy this last installment in the Gold Country Cowboy series. I am sending along our best wishes for a blessed holiday season, from our Mentink household to yours!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 22
Christian Bookaholic, November 22
Among the Reads, November 22
Inklings and Notions, November 23
Just Your Average reviews, November 23
Blogging With Carol, November 23
Because I said so -adventures in parenting, November 24
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 24
Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, November 24
Moments, November 25
Simple Harvest Reads, November 25
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 25
Genesis 5020, November 26
SusanLovesBooks, November 26
Remembrancy, November 26
Kat’s Corner Books, November 27
Pause for Tales, November 27
Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 27
Quiet quilter, November 28
Reading Is My SuperPower, November 28
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 28
Book by Book, November 29
A Rup Life, November 29
To Everything A Season, November 29
Older & Smarter?, November 30
Have A Wonderful Day, November 30
Cafinated Reads, November 30
KarenSueHadley, December 1
Lighthouse Academy, December 1
Daysong Reflections, December 1
Bibliophile Reviews, December 2
A Baker’s Perspective, December 2
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 2
Janices book reviews, December 3
Bigreadersite, December 3
Texas Book-aholic, December 4
Carpe Diem, December 4
Godly Book Reviews, December 5
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 5

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away a grand prize of a copy of Lost Christmas Memories, a $50 Amazon gift card and this cute reading charms necklace!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d626/lost-christmas-memories-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Book Review: How to Be a Perfect Christian

About the Book:

With a biting, satirical style reminiscent of The Onion, How to Be a Perfect Christian takes a humorous look at the quirks of cultural Christianity while subtly challenging the reader to search for more than a cultural faith.

Written in the trademark style of The Babylon Bee, this book humorously satirizes cultural Christianity while peppering in subtle challenges to the reader. Through humor and sarcasm (and a handy meter to rank your "holiness" as you progress through the book), readers will be called to find a more biblical understanding of the Christian faith, all while poking fun at the quirks of the modern, American Christian community.

You can get your copy here.

My Review:

The writers of the Babylon Bee have used their satirical humor to take a good look at today's cultural Christianity.  They have broken down the quest to be a perfect Christian into doable steps, while tongue-in-cheek exploring current views on church, worship, and lifestyle.

Whether or not you are familiar with The Babylon Bee's satirical articles online, this book will surely cause you to think as you guffaw at the absurdities and extremes it highlights in today's Christian culture.  It's worth the read!

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

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: The Unannounced Christmas Visitor by Patrick Higgins

About the Book

Book: The Unannounced Christmas Visitor
Author: Patrick Higgins
Genre: Christian fiction/Christmas
Release Date: November 18, 2014


What if angels really did come from the most unlikely of places? That’s exactly what happens in this heartwarming story, set in a homeless community in Anywhere USA. Sent to Planet Earth by his Maker, disguised as a homeless person, Enoch was on a mission: to rescue a man whose life was slowly but steadily spiraling out of control.

Inspired by Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” this story will stir your soul like never before, guaranteed! 2016 IPA (INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHER AWARDS) GOLD MEDAL AWARD WINNER.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

This was a lovely story of God miraculously answering a wife's prayers for her husband  The book itself was small, but was jam-packed with small print, and it took me much longer to read than I had anticipated.  This story is mainly dialog-driven, and most of that dialog is Scripture or theological discussions.  So while I enjoyed the story, most of the book just seemed to move from theological discussion to theological discussion.  I also thought that the unbelieving character's reactions to these discussions tended to be unrealistic. 

Many will enjoy this heartwarming Christmas story of miracles and redemption.  Those who enjoy theology will appreciate the discussions in the book.

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

About the Author

Patrick Higgins is the author of “The Pelican Trees”, “Coffee In Manila”, the award-winning “The Unannounced Christmas Visitor”, and the award-winning prophetic end times series, “Chaos In The Blink Of An Eye.”







Guest Post from Patrick

Why I wrote the book: Inspired by Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” this story will stir your soul like never before, guaranteed!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 10
Lighthouse Academy, November 10
The Power of Words, November 11
Christian Centered book Reviews, November 11
Genesis 5020, November 12
Bogging With Carol, November 12
God’s Little Bookworm, November 13
Christian Author, J.E. Grace, November 13
Girls in White Dresses, November 14
Moments, November 14
Mary Hake, November 15
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 15
For the Love of Literature, November 15
Inklings and notions, November 16
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 16
A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 17
Bibliophile Reviews, November 17
Vicky Sluiter, November 18
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18
Godly Book Reviews, November 19
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 19
Luv’N Lambert Life, November 20
Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20
Texas Book-aholic, November 21
Janices book reviews, November 21
Carpe Diem, November 22
Bigreadersite, November 22
amandainpa, November 23
A Baker’s Perspective, November 23

Giveaway
To celebrate his tour, Patrick is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d5c7/the-unannounced-christmas-visitor-tour-giveaway

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Book Review with a Giveaway: An Hour Unspent by Rosanna M. White


About the Book

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancĂ© to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.
As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Having read the two previous novels in the Shadows Over England series, I was so excited to be able to get to know Barclay even better.  He is such a multi-faceted character.  He is the glue that holds his family together.  I loved that his "talents" as a thief had prepared him for excellence in the work he did for the Crown.  

The story seemed to build gradually as the realities of residing in London during World War I were presented.  Then once the scene was set, the many plot twists one after another made this book so hard to put down.

I continue to be impressed with Rosanna M. White's ability as an author.  Not only did she tell a great story with characters that we loved, but her word choice as she wove the story was beautiful.  Alternately, during an attack scene, I could feel the terror, and that feeling lasted for days.

This story stands alone, yet is so much better after having read the two previous novels in the series.  Anyone who loves historical romance, or World War I stories will enjoy this book.  Since it is from Barclay's perspective, and full of intrigue and war, I believe men would enjoy this novel as well as the ladies.

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

About the Author



Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.





Guest Post from Roseanna


Last year, as I finished up the writing of An Hour Unspent, my great-grandmother passed away at the age of 103. As I sat at her funeral service and listened to the heartfelt memorial raised up to her by her kids and grandkids, I realized anew that this woman had been a matriarch in the truest sense of the word. She’d taught my family for generations how to love the Lord and each other, how to serve the Lord and each other, and how to trust the Lord and each other. Grandma Seward was, in so many ways, the one who instilled in me my idea of what family really is.

That idea—that it’s those knit together by love more than blood, and that faith is the strongest foundation—is what I built my unusual family of thieves upon in the Shadows Over England series. And strange as it is to liken my twenty-something reformed-thief hero to my 103-year-old-grandmother, Barclay Pearce is very much to his family what Maxine Seward was to mine.

The founder. The caregiver. The leader.

I knew as I began the series that I would write about Barclay in book three, and as I got to know him better throughout the series, I grew so excited to share his story! This is a man who led his family first into and then out of a life a crime, always for the right reasons—so he could provide for the children under his care. All he ever wanted to do was give them what he himself had lost. To show them love. To prove to them that they were worth any sacrifice.

It was truly a blessing for me to get to write the story in which Barclay found someone to come alongside him, to appreciate and learn to understand him. To finally share what started him down this path. I loved the idea that only a reformed thief could steal the time another family needed to overcome their own trials.

There are many historical items in the book that were such fun to explore—watchmaking of the era, the suffrage movement in England, technological advancements of the war—but at the heart, this isn’t a story about any of those.

It’s a story about how far people should go for love. I hope you enjoy Barclay’s story as much as I did!

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 30
The Power of Words, October 30
Back Porch Reads, October 30
Kat’s Corner Books, October 30
Janice’s Book Reviews, October 30
Where Faith and Books Meet, October 31
Reading Is My SuperPower, October 31
Faithfully Bookish, October 31
Genesis 5020, October 31
Fiction Aficionado, November 1
Among the Reads, November 1
The Lit Addict, November 1
Just the Write Escape, November 1
Multifarious, November 2
Godly Book Reviews, November 2
Real World Bible Study, November 2
Madeline Clark, November 2
Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 3
Christian Bookaholic, November 3
Inspirationally Ever After, November 3
Bookworm Mama, November 3
Bigreadersite, November 3
Blogging With Carol , November 4
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 4
Life with the Tribe, November 4
The Becca Files, November 4
Kathleen Denly, November 5
Cordially Barbara, November 5
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 5
Simple Harvest Reads, November 5 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
God’s Little Bookworm, November 6
All-of-a-kind Mom, November 6
Faery Tales Are Real, November 6
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, November 6
Carpe Diem, November 6
Margaret Kazmierczak, November 7
Locks, Hooks and Books, November 7
Christian Author, J.E.Grace, November 7
Blossoms and Blessings , November 7
Maureen’s Musings , November 8
Connie’s History Classroom , November 8
Book by Book, November 8
Just Commonly, November 8
cherylbbookblog, November 9
The Christian Fiction Girl, November 9
Have A Wonderful Day , November 9
With a Joyful Noise, November 9
KarenSueHadley , November 10
Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 10
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 10
Baker kella, November 10
Bibliophile Reviews, November 10
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 11
Inklings and Notions , November 11
Two Points of Interest, November 11
Inspiration Clothesline, November 11
A Baker’s Perspective, November 11
Henry Happens, November 12
Texas Book-aholic, November 12
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 12

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of a signed book, a London mug, and a 48-pack Twinings tea sampler!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d570/an-hour-unspent-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, November 5, 2018

Book review: Caught by Surprise by Jen Turano

About the Book:

Miss Temperance Flowerdew is on her way to work when a stranger suddenly grabs her off the street and sends her on a Chicago-bound train before she can figure out what happened.

When Mr. Gilbert Cavendish is called upon to rescue a missing woman, he follows the trail to Chicago only to discover that the woman is his good friend Temperance. Before they can discover who was behind the abduction, they're seen alone together by a New York society matron, putting their reputations at risk.

Gilbert is willing to propose marriage--except Temperance will have none of it. She's finally stepped out of the shadow of her relations and won't give up her independence. But when it becomes clear the misunderstanding in Chicago has escalated into a threat on her life and followed her to New York, accepting Gilbert's help in solving the mystery may lead to more than she ever could have dreamed.

You can purchase your copy here.

My Review:

True to form, the third installation of Apart from the Crowd begins with an outlandish surprise, yet managed well by an intelligent, level-headed Temperance Flowerdew.  She is rescued from her dilemma by her childhood friend Gilbert Cavendish.  The book continues as the situation returns to rights, but their relationship consumes much of the rest of the story, along with several mysteries that evolve.

This novel is set in New York City in the 1880s, in a high-society background.  As such, the characters' speech patterns are very particular, and much of the book is dialog.  It seemed that it took me longer to read this book because of that style, but when the hilarity ensues, the plot twists, and the mysteries are solved, it is worth it.

Fans of Jen Turano's writing will want to read this book, as well as historical romance readers.

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:

Jen Turano is a USA Today Bestselling author, known for her quirky characters and amusing story lines. Her novel, After a Fashion, was a Reviewer's Choice finalist with RT, as well as being named a top ten romance of 2015 from Booklist. Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013, and Booklist has called her "One of the funniest voices in the inspirational genre." When she’s not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver, CO. She can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com. She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: Miles From Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

About the Book

Book Title: Miles from Where We Started
Author: Cynthia Ruchti
Genre: Christian Romance/Family life
Release date: October 16, 2018


These no-longer-newlyweds want out of this road trip—and their marriage. Too bad they can’t find the off ramp.

Weeks away from their one-year wedding anniversary, Mallory and Connor Duncan can’t even agree on how to end their marriage. But when a last-minute crisis lands them on a three-thousand-mile road trip together, Mallory wonders if their story may not be over after all.

The trip begins to unravel before the key is even in the ignition, and an at-risk, trouble-seeking missile of an eleven-year-old is unexpectedly launched into their travel plans. Close quarters get even tighter, and the couple believes this whole experience will spell disaster.

Their first year of marriage hasn’t been the arm-in-arm togetherness they expected. How can they find a new beginning when the road ends?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

When you pick up a book by Cynthia Ruchti, you know it's going to be substantial, and this one did not disappoint.  The book has plenty of pages in it, but it read fairly quickly.  And although there was plenty of levity (there has to be when you are travelling with an eleven-year-old,)  there is plenty of gut-wrenching emotion and lessons learned through the characters' literal journey.  Connor, Mallory, and Judah are drawn to the Lord through through hardships, heartbreak, creation, and the wonderful people they meet as they travel.  

Fans of contemporary Christian fiction will certainly enjoy this book, and those who enjoy travel and camping will appreciate this journey as well.

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

About the Author

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of hope through novels, nonfiction, devotionals, and speaking events. She serves as the professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers and is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences across the country. She married her grade school sweetheart, and the two live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.



Guest Post from Cynthia


I have a confession to make. I heart millennials.

My other novels have had a few millennial characters. Some even played starring roles. But I knew there was more to the heart of millennials than I could gain from listening to the often unfair sighing or comedy routines about that generation. As a person, I wanted to know them better—what are they really like? What challenges do they face with which previous generations saddled them? What strengths to they offer our culture?

Until now, I hadn’t written a story about a millennial couple whose marriage was in crisis. Like, serious crisis. I-don’t-want-to-be-married-to-you-anymore. That kind of crisis.

As any good novelist knows, part of what we do to our characters is make the situation worse. So, millennial couple, approaching their one-year anniversary, ready to call it quits because “This marriage thing is really hard. Is it supposed to be so much work?” But what if…? What if they were forced to be together for three weeks…in a micro-camper…on America’s back roads…with an 11-year-old foster boy troublemaker…and both the husband’s AND the wife’s jobs depended on the trip’s success?

Plot idea in hand, I set off to write Miles from Where We Started, not entirely sure when I began the journey where they would end up or how they’d get there. It was an education for me in so many ways. The impact of the turning point of the story? In the words of my millennial friends, “That’s lit!”

Side note: I’m a big fan of a young teen musician at our church. The boy has mad skills as a keyboard artist. He approaches life as if it’s an endless game of Ninja Warrior. Why walk when you can vault into the room? Why walk up a flight of stairs when you can hop four at a time? He also sports a perpetual smile and is famous for his kindness, but his eyes give away that a little mischief may be hiding behind that smile. I asked Judah’s permission to use his name (and a little bit of his personality) as the foster child character in Miles from Where We Started. I can’t wait for him to read the part he inspired.

Can’t wait for you to read it, too.

Hemmed in Hope,

Cynthia

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 25
Reading Is My SuperPower, October 25
The Power of Words, October 25
All-of-a-kind Mom, October 26
Lighthouse Academy, October 26
Real World Bible Study, October 26
Quiet Quilter, October 27
Kristin’s Book Reviews, October 27
Christian Bookaholic, October 27
cherylbbookblog, October 28
Simple Harvest Reads, October 28 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Remembrancy, October 28
Godly Book Reviews, October 29
Captive Dreams Window, October 29
By The Book, October 29
Maureen’s Musings, October 30
Spoken from the Heart , October 30
SusanLovesBooks, October 30
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 31
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 31
Locks, Hooks and Books, October 31
Mary Hake, November 1
Book by Book, November 1
amandainpa , November 1
Pause for Tales, November 2
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 2
Just Commonly, November 2
Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 3
Baker Kella, November 3
Two Points of Interest, November 3
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 4
Inklings and Notions, November 4
Bibliophile Reviews, November 4
Texas Book-aholic, November 5
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 5
Janice’s Book Reviews, November 6
Carpe Diem, November 6
A Baker’s Perspective, November 6
A Diva’s Heart, November 7
Reader’s Cozy Corner, November 7
Bigreadersite, November 7

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Cynthia is giving away a grand prize of the Adventure begins” large tote bag, “This way to adventure” travel notebook, “Home is Where We Park It” metal wall hanging, a teardrop camper birdhouse, PLUS a $50 gift Visa gift card…to start your adventure fund!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d4ea/miles-from-where-we-started-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Book review: Focus on Love by Candee Fick

About the Book:

Free-spirited Elizabeth Foster turned her back on her father's photography business to pursue musical theater, but a career on the stage remains second to a career behind the camera. The possibility of a one-show contract means she's a few weeks from unemployment forcing her home, and her dreams of pursuing professional photography reemerge. With photography and theater opportunities unfolding before her, Elizabeth faces her biggest challenge yet—listening to her heart.

Meanwhile, sought-after photographer Ryan Callahan has put his career on hold to help his sister's family, but the promise of a bigger assignment could lure him away so he can begin building a family of his own. With professional opportunities and personal obligations pulling at him, Ryan faces his toughest challenge—balancing family, relationships, and work.

If given the choice, what dreams would develop for Elizabeth and Ryan? And will they learn to trust each other enough to focus on love?

You can purchase a copy here, just in time for the holidays!

My Review:

A sweet, clean romance.

It's really exciting to be following Candee Fick's work-it keeps getting better and better!  Focus on Love begins where Dance Over Me ends, so the setting was familiar to me.  The story stands on its own, despite being second in a series.

The main characters were adorable.  I loved how the author drew me in to their relationship through their repartee.  The story line was well-developed and believable.

Readers who appreciate contemporary romance will want to read this book, as well as any photography or musical theater fans.  I have read all of Candee Fick's books and have graduated from reader to a fan!

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

About the Author:

Candee Fick is a multi-published award-winning author. She is also the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy writing, editing, or coaching other authors, she can be found cheering on the home team at sporting events, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.

In addition to writing clean faith-based romance novels and inspirational non-fiction, Candee coaches other authors with their marketing plans and offers content editing to aspiring novelists. She is a member of both American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network. Her fiction has semi-finaled, finaled, and won the ACFW Genesis Contest and Selah Awards.