Monday, July 23, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: Revealed by Elaine Manders

About the Book

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

Nothing can be hidden that won’t be revealed.

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

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

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

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

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Cowboys, cattle rustlers, and Stetsons.

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

Guest Post from Elaine Manders

My Backstory

Intrigue under Western Skies Series, Book 3

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Stops

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

To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Book review with a giveaway: Firestorm by Laura Hilton

About the Book

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

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

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

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

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

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

Guest Post from Laura Hilton

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading Firestorm!!

Blog Stops

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


To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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

About the Book

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

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

About the Author

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

Guest Post from Suzanne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Stops

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

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

Be sure to leave a comment on one of the blog stops for 9 extra entries into the giveaway. Click link below to enter.

Friday, July 6, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Video from Joanne Bischof

Blog Stops

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


To celebrate her tour, Joanne is giving away

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

Click below to enter.