Saturday, March 31, 2018

Book Review with a giveaway: The Heart's Appeal by Jennifer Delamere

About the Book

Book Title: The Heart’s Appeal
Author: Jennifer Delamere
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It’s only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women’s medical school. He’s supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he’s made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

The Heart's Appeal was a book that kept my attention from the first page on, because of the heroine, Julia.  She was single-minded in her purpose of becoming a doctor in order to serve as a medical missionary in Africa.  She was ambitious and hard-working, sensible and frugal, outspoken yet kind, determined and devoted.  She was unwaveringly self-assured about her skills and ability to learn.  This book was a pleasure to read because of this amazing, yet imperfect woman.  The other characters were well-written, with a story line that moved at a comfortable pace.  

The second of the London Beginnings series, it stood alone exceedingly well.

I recommend this book for fans of historical fiction, 1880s London, and stories about strong women.

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

Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.

Guest Post from Jennifer Delamere
Power couples?

Perhaps that’s not a concept that initially comes to mind when one thinks of Victorian England! And yet, they did exist. I love to include real people from history in my books, and in The Heart’s Appeal, Julia Bernay meets two inspiring real-life couples who will make a positive impact in her life.

In 1865, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first woman to qualify as a physician in Britain. She did this through a legal loophole, but soon the laws were changed to open the medical field to all women. In 1874, Dr. Anderson co-founded the London School of Medicine for Women. She remained involved in the school in various capacities for the rest of her life, even as she continued to run her own busy practice. In The Heart’s Appeal, she becomes a mentor for Julia, opening doors for her education and introducing Julia to people who can help her succeed in medical school.

Dr. Anderson’s husband, James Anderson (Jamie), was the joint-owner of a successful shipping line and also served on the boards of several organizations (including a children’s hospital). He was a handsome man, very much in love with his wife, and fervent in supporting her choice of a career.

In a letter he wrote to her while they were engaged, Jamie explained his vision for their future—how they could keep their professional and private lives separate, yet still give each other plenty of love and support:

“I think we had better lay it down once for all as a rule that I am under no circumstances to bring people ‘favorably under your notice’ or ‘exert any influence’ or anything of the sort. It will give people a wrong idea of you unless I take a decided line in this matter — and as I mean to be if I can a successful man of business, neither interfering with your pursuits nor being interfered with by you (but having our confidences on all feasible subjects at off times of the day and week and mutually advising and fortifying one another), I must let people know unmistakably not to come bothering me about your public affairs. Will you think about this, dearest?”

Who couldn’t love a man like that?

Jamie Anderson’s outlook on life comes into play later on in The Heart’s Appeal, when he provides advice and aid to Michael Stephenson, the book’s hero, at a critical time.

Julia also has an inspiring encounter with Dr. Anderson’s sister, Millicent Fawcett. Millicent was married to a Member of Parliament and actively supported her husband’s career in many ways, including acting as a scribe for him since he was blind. She is most remembered for her role in the women’s suffrage movement. In fact, a statue of her will be placed in Parliament Square in London this summer. She was not a militant suffragette, but rather campaigned for suffrage under the banner “Law-Abiding Suffragists.”

Both couples raised families, too, and their children’s successes in life show they were raised to have the same energetic and “can-do” attitudes that their parents had.

Julia initially believes she must remain single to achieve her life’s goals. But soon she finds her heart drawn to successful barrister Michael Stephenson, who admires Julia’s intelligence and ambition. She learns that love and the freedom to pursue her dreams do not have to be mutually exclusive. A meeting of minds to spark a true romance? Yes, please! I hope readers will agree this can be the most satisfying of all.

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, March 22
Inspiration Clothesline, March 22
Texas Book-aholic, March 22
A Greater Yes, March 23
Among the Reads, March 23
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 23
Splashes of Joy, March 23
Fiction Aficionado, March 24
History, Mystery & Faith, March 24
Red Headed Book Lady, March 24
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 24
The Power of Words, March 25
Mary Hake, March 25
Remembrancy, March 25
Janices book reviews, March 25
Cordially, Barbara, March 26
Genesis 5020, March 26
Moments Dipped in Ink, March 26
Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 26
Kat’s Corner Books, March 27
The Fizzy Pop Collection, March 27
Maureen’s Musings, March 27
Carpe Diem, March 27
Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 28
Seasons of opportunities, March 28
Singing Librarian Books, March 28
A Baker’s Perspective, March 28
Baker Kella, March 29
All-of-a-kind Mom, March 29
Inklings and Notions, March 29
Simple Harvest Reads, March 29 (Guest post from Mindy)
Pause for Tales, March 30
Cafinated Reads, March 30
Have A Wonderful Day, March 30
Pursuing Stacie, March 30

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a grand prize package of that includes All four March Bethany House historical releases (The Heart’s Appeal, plus A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason, A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears, In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson) and a $20 Starbucks gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: A Loyal Heart by Jody Hedlund

About the Book

Title: A Loyal Heart
Author: Jody Hedlund
Genre: Young Adult medieval romance
Release Date: March 6, 2018

He’s taken her as his prisoner. But she’s holding his heart captive. In gaining their freedom, will they lose what matters most?

When Lady Olivia’s castle is besieged, she and her sister are taken captive and held for ransom by her father’s enemy, Lord Pitt. Loyalty to family means everything to Olivia. She’ll save her sister at any cost and do whatever her father asks—even if that means obeying his order to steal a sacred relic from her captor.

As Lord Pitt’s commander, Sir Aldric is in charge of the beautiful but feisty new prisoner. He has his hands full attempting to keep Lady Olivia out of trouble. When Lord Pitt throws her in the dungeon and threatens to hang her for stealing, Aldric conceives a plot to save Olivia’s life—betrothal to him.

Can Olivia give up the prestigious match her father has arranged with a wealthy marquess in order to marry a lowly knight like Aldric? And can Aldric move beyond his past mistakes to embrace love again? When loyalties are tested, they’re thrust into danger that could cost them their love and their lives.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Sword fights, castles, knights, and battles abound in this latest YA release from Jody Hedlund.  This is a page-turner, filled with peril, intrigue, and passion, yet it's appropriately written for a teen reader.  This adult certainly enjoyed it!  This is the fourth novel in Hedlund's YA medieval romance series, and while knowing the history of the characters is helpful, this novel does stand alone.

A feisty, red-headed heroine and a handsome knight are brought together by circumstances, and as they get to know each other, Olivia learns an important lesson about loyalty.  Aldric learns not to let fear control him.

I recommend this book for those who like medieval settings and clean YA romance.  I received a digital copy of this book from the author through Celebrate Lit, 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.

Guest Post from Jody Hedlund

The Growing Need for Sweet Young Adult Romances
By Jody Hedlund

This past year my youngest daughter turned twelve and entered seventh grade. And she decided that she wanted to read my books.

Of course I was thrilled that she was taking an interest in my writing. But since my adult historical romances are more intense and contain some mature themes, I handed her the young adult series I’ve written.

As she started the first book, I peeked in her room a time or two to ask her how she liked it.

“It’s the best book you’ve ever read, right?” I teased.

“It’s okay,” she replied, teasing me right back.

The true test for how much she liked the series came when she couldn’t put the book down. She hid away in her room and read all day. Then she read the second book the next day and the third book the day after that.

She never did gush over the series. But she didn’t need to. Her serious reading marathon told me all I needed to know! Then when I was writing the fourth book in the series, she asked me if she could read it early before it was published which was another testament to how much she enjoyed the series.

“As long as you promise to say that I’m your favorite author,” I said, teasing her again.

I’m happy to say that she finished A Loyal Heart just as quickly as the others. Although I’m not sure that I’m her favorite author, I’m satisfied that she loved the series.

Even more, I’m thrilled that I could hand her sweet romances full of chivalrous qualities—like courage, sacrifice, honor, and loyalty. As she’s being entertained, she’s learning lessons about character traits that are important in relationships.

My daughter, like other young teens I’ve talked to, really enjoys medieval settings and stories. In some ways, those kinds of stories connect them to the princess fairy tales they used to love when they were little. Let’s face it, even adult readers still love stories about knights and castles and daring damsels!

In a book market for teens that has grown increasingly dark, jaded, and sexual, I only wish I had more to offer my daughter and other young women. It’s my passion to continue providing wholesome, clean romances for teens, books I know will encourage and uplift as well as entertain.

How about YOU? Is there a teen reader you know who needs an alternative to what’s available in the market? I encourage you to gift them with A Loyal Heart. And make sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win the entire series that you can read, pass along, or even gift to your library.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, March 27
Lighthouse Academy, March 27
Neverending Stories, March 27
Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 28
books n baubles, March 28
Blossoms and Blessings, March 28
By The Book, March 29
Reading Is My SuperPower, March 29
Genesis 5020, March 29
Books, Books, and More Books., March 29
Have A Wonderful Day, March 30
Blogging With Carol, March 30
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 30
Cover to Cover and Everything in Between, March 31
Book by Book, March 31
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 31
God’s Little Bookworm, April 1
The Christian Fiction Girl, April 1
Mary Hake, April 1
Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, April 2
Daysong Reflections, April 2
Novels Corner, April 2
Remembrancy, April 3
proud to be an autism mom, April 3
Texas Book-aholic, April 3
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 4
Janices book reviews, April 4
Jeanette’s Thoughts, April 4
Romances of the Cross, April 5
Carpe Diem, April 5
A Baker’s Perspective, April 5
Ashley’s Bookshelf, April 6
Karen Sue Hadley, April 6
Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, April 6
Red Headed Book Lady, April 7
Bibliophile Reviews, April 7
Simple Harvest Reads, April 7 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Pursuing Stacie, April 8
Bigreadersite, April 8
margaret kazmierczak, April 8 (interview)
Henry Happens, April 9
Faery Tales Are Real, April 9
Joy of Reading, April 9


To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away a grand prize of An Uncertain Choice, A Daring Sacrifice, For Love & Honor, and A Loyal Heart!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Book review: A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

About the Book:

Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.

Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies--and unexpected allies--she will encounter on her way.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review:

Oh, the heartbreak, the joy, the danger, and the suspense!  A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette is the first book of a new series, Cities of Refuge.  It continues the story begun in the Out From Egypt series, yet it stands alone well.  Cossette expertly takes some brief passages of Scripture and fills in an amazing story line based on those.  I was caught by surprise several times at the events unfolding in this story.

The character development was amazing!  We met Moriyah in Wings of  the Wind, where she was a lively young girl.  Circumstances have changed her, and she has been living almost hermetically since her rescue.  Under dire situations, she must revisit her time in Jericho, and come out from her shell to save herself and her companions.  I was always amazed and thrilled at what she could do as a result of her captivity in Jericho.

Biblical fiction readers, I'm sure you will love this book, like I did.  Those who like action, suspense, and romance will enjoy this book, as well.

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:

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

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Book spotlight with a giveaway: Fine Print by Chautona Havig

About the Book

Book Title: Meddlin’ Madeline Fine Print
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Historical, Mystery
Release Date: February 20, 2018

Budding detective, Miss Madeline Brown, has gained quite the reputation for “meddling” in the circa 1900 city of Rockland. With two successful “cases” under her belt, it was only a matter of time before she found something new to interest her insatiable curiosity.

This time, however, the “curiosity” found her.

Challenged by Edward Gastrel, to prove her deductive prowess, Madeline embarks on riddling out the puzzle of a journal left to him by his grandfather. If she can decode the contents, the local gentleman may find himself in the possession of something quite valuable.

As usual, however, things aren’t as they seem, and Madeline finds herself in a race against more than time and ambiguity.

Click here to get your copy.

My Review

I adore Meddlin' Madeline!

First, the book.  Again, I loved how the writing style matches the time period, I love the quirky "thought bubbles" throughout the story, and I love how I just couldn't figure it out. 

Secondly, I love Madeline even more now.  This girl is intensely loyal where loyalty is deserved, she is intelligent, and oh, does this girl have some vocabulary!  She is realistic and humble, yet feisty and independent.  I also loved seeing her taking steps to deepen her faith.

The third book of the series, Fine Print was just as good as the previous two, if not more enjoyable.  It has been wonderful to get to know the supporting characters even better.  I believe it could stand alone, but I recommend starting at the beginning of the series.

Those who enjoy historical fiction with some mystery and suspense thrown in will certainly enjoy this novel. 

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

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert where she uses story to point readers to the Master Storyteller.

Guest Post from Chautona

Denny’s. “America’s Diner.” It’s also my “office away from my office away from home.” Most nights I write at our local prayer house. But on Wednesday nights for a few hours, and then all night on Saturday, I sit in booth 14 and write.

It was a cold, frosty Wednesday night. With thoughts from Bible Study still swirling in my mind and heart, I ordered my loaded baked potato soup and began brainstorming with my writing and podcasting buddy, April.

She left around midnightish—as usual. And another evening regular began chatting.

Look. I like this guy. He’s a fascinating conversationalist. We have a lot of fun talking books, movies, politics, history, computers… He’s even given me a great idea for a book (without meaning to, but still).

But… that night, I needed to get a bunch done on Madeline and didn’t have time for chatting. So, when he started talking about his evening, I wanted to bang my head on the table. I kept repeating, “People are more important. People are more important. People are more important,” over and over in my head.

I can’t tell you how often this has happened at Denny’s. Employees stop to chat. Regular diners stop to chat. This guy starts a long conversation and always on nights I can’t afford to spend… chatting!

But everything shifted in an instant.

The man said something—what, I can’t remember—and my brain started churning.

I asked a question.

He answered.

The next thing I knew, he’d moved into my booth and began firing questions at me. Suggestions. Most of what he suggested wouldn’t work with the story, but he had no way of knowing that. Still, every time he did I got a new idea. And I’d ask a question. He’d answer, suggest. I’d counter—ask or answer. Ideas blossomed and exploded into seeds of even more ideas.

And right there, at two o’clock in the morning, with Angela the wonder server keeping me in fresh glasses of Coke, Fine Print went from not only my favorite of the Madelines (thus far) but also became much more exciting.

The whole thing taught me a couple of lessons. First, I always say that people are more important than the “stuff” I do. Sometimes, that’s not so easy to live. But the Lord is always faithful, like He did that night, to remind me that it sometimes helps me, too.

Second, sometimes a mid-book brainstorming session is just what I need to keep my excitement high. And, if that means a “wasted” Wednesday night in booth 14, then I’d say it’s worth it.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, March 6
All-of-a-kind Mom, March 6
Bigreadersite, March 7
proud to be an autism mom, March 7
Pause for Tales, March 8
Multifarious, March 9
Blogging With Carol, March 9
Bibliophile Reviews, March 10
Connie’s History Classroom, March 10
A Greater Yes, March 11
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 11
Lots of Helpers, March 12
Janices book reviews, March 13
Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 13
Carpe Diem, March 14
A Baker’s Perspective, March 14
The April Journal, March 15
Kristin’s Book Reviews, March 15
Mary Hake, March 16
New Horizons Reviews, March 16
Simple Harvest Reads, March 17 (Guest post from Mindy)
Among the Reads, March 17
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 18
Pursuing Stacie, March 18
Aryn the Libraryan, March 19
Have a wonderful Day, March 19


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize package worth over $50 that includes an antique journal, Pilot fountain pen (gold), Pilot refill cartridges, and a print copy of Fine Print!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger

About the Book

Book Title: Someplace Familiar
Author: Teresa Tysinger
Release date: May, 2017

Artist Livy Johnson needs a fresh start. That’s what a broken heart and forgotten dreams can do to a person. On little more than a whim, she reclaims her grandmother’s old home in quaint Laurel Cove, North Carolina and vows to restore its original charm. When she literally collides with childhood friend, Jack Bowdon, Livy wonders if she’s back for an entirely different reason.

Jack can’t believe his childhood crush is back. As the owner of Bowdon’s Supplies, and once again the town’s most eligible bachelor, he offers to help Livy with repairs. Together they embark on the project – and an undeniable whirlwind romance.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Can they survive the destructive pain of their pasts and discover God’s grace waiting to renovate their hearts?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Thus was a sweet, clean romance-an enjoyable read.  Livy and Jack were entirely likable characters, and their story of finding each other after having been childhood friends was a lot of fun.  Jack's friends were great, but the exes who had hurt them caused deep wounds from which they needed to heal.  The author was able to convey that small-town, Southern feel very effectively throughout the book, as well as the excitement, yet uncertainty, of a new love.

Romance readers will enjoy this book, a copy of which I received from the author for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Teresa Tysinger is a wife and mother transplanted from North Carolina to North Texas. When not working as the Director of Communications for a large downtown church, she writes charming southern romances inspired by grace. Her debut novel, Someplace Familiar, released this summer. She also is a contributing writer for the Fort Worth Moms Blog (part of the national City Moms Blog Network). A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Religious Communicators’ Council, and the Association for Women in Communications, Teresa has spent over a decade committed to telling stories of faith through written word. She loves coffee, caramel, and stories with happy endings.

Guest Post from Teresa Tysinger

Someplace Familiar began way back in 2014 when I participated in National Novel Writer’s Month, a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. It was an exhilarating, albeit exhausting, experience! Since then, the book was workshopped with a critique group, had large portions rewritten countless times, pitched at workshops, edited by two editors, and even renamed (original title was Good Graces). After a lot of prayer, I decided that self-publishing would give me the greatest flexibility and control while being able to maintain my responsibilities as a wife, mother, and full-time communications director. It’s been a wonderful ride!

About the Inspiration for Someplace Familiar
One thing I’ve learned about myself through writing Someplace Familiar is how much I am personally drawn to setting and place. The idea for the book was born out of my desire to introduce readers to the charming small-town life found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina where I went to college. Laurel Cove, the fictional town where the story is set, is directly based on my best friend’s hometown of Burnsville, NC. The other source of inspiration comes from my great-grandmother’s tiny bungalow home in West Palm Beach, Florida. Long weekends and summer vacations spent there were full of imagination, adventure, and sweet memories. The scents of her garden, feel of the damp earth beneath my feet, slow pace, matching gauzy curtains dancing in the breeze—it all is mirrored in the cottage home of Livy’s Gram in the book. The rest of the story formed around my desire to capture my childhood memories of this home that was so magical and safe for me.

About My Writing Style Here are a few ways I would describe my writing style: Sensory—I aim to provide readers with an experience that enlivens all of their senses. Relatable—It’s my hope that readers see themselves in realistic, flawed characters trying to make their way to discovering grace in a less than perfect world. Charming—Like any good southern fiction, there’s a good dose of charm in these pages.

My prayer is that Someplace Familiar will touch readers with an awareness of God’s grace even during circumstances and within relationships that feel hopeless. Restoration is possible!

Blog Stops

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 1
Just Commonly, March 1
Pursuing Stacie, March 1
Among the Reads, March 2
Faithfully Bookish, March 2
Bigreadersite, March 2
Quiet quilter, March 3
Blogging With Carol, March 3
C Jane Read, March 4
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 4
Remembrancy, March 5
Inklings and notions, March 5
Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, March 6
100 Pages per Hour, March 6
Book by Book, March 7
Red Headed Book Lady, March 7
Ashley’s Bookshelf, March 8
Ladybug Chronicles, March 8
Two Points of Interest, March 9
proud to be an autism mom, March 9
Bibliophile Reviews, March 10
A Greater Yes, March 10
Texas Book-aholic, March 11
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 11
Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 12
Janices book reviews, March 12
Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 13
Carpe Diem, March 13
A Baker’s Perspective, March 14
Simple Harvest Reads, March 14 (Guest post from Mindy)


To celebrate her tour, Teresa is giving away a grand prize of a gift basket that includes a signed copy of the book, an Original Painting by Author’s Sister (artist Cyndi Browning), and a $10 Amazon Gift Card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!