Monday, April 29, 2019

Book Review: Secrets and Wishes by Kathleen Rouser

About the Book

Stone Creek, Michigan, April, 1901 — Maggie Galloway and Thomas Harper clash after their sons collide in a fistfight. Both widowed, they’re each doing their best as single-parents. Outgoing Maggie has dreams for a home of her own and a business to provide for her son as she searches for God’s path for her life as a widow. Reserved Thomas struggles to establish his new pharmacy and take care of his four rambunctious children, while wondering how a loving God could take his beloved wife.

When Thomas becomes deathly ill, Maggie is recruited to nurse him back to health. Taking the children in hand, as well, is more than she bargained for, but she is drawn to help the grieving family. Both nurse and patient find themselves drawn to each other but promptly deny their feelings.

A baking contest sponsored by the Silver Leaf Flour Company brings former beau, Giles Prescott, back into Maggie’s life. When Giles offers Maggie a position at their test kitchen in Chicago, he hints that, along with assuring her a good job, it will allow them to possibly rekindle their relationship.

But then a charlatan comes to town, and tragedy soon follows. Maggie and Thomas discover the miracle potions he hawks aren’t so harmless when an epidemic hits Stone Creek. Thomas and Maggie realize they must work together to save lives.

Maggie finds herself caught up in battles within and without—the battle to help the townsfolk in the midst of illness and chicanery, and the battle to know which man—Thomas or Giles—deserves to win her heart.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

Now that Maggie's brother is married, she is no longer needed to help him manage his household.  She is ready to take the next step in her life.  Should she explore a new love, rekindle an old flame, or move away and start over entirely?  As she ponders her decision, she is involved in the community, helping where she is needed.  I enjoyed getting to know feisty, hardworking Maggie.  The story was paced well, with believable characters.  Fans of historical romance will enjoy their visit to Stone Creek, Michigan, at the turn of the century.

Secrets and Wishes is a sequel to Rumors and Promises, but reads well as a stand-alone novel.

I received an ARC of this book from the author, and a digital version through Celebrate Lit.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Kathleen Rouser is the multi-published author of the 2017 Bookvana Award winner, Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and its sequel, Secrets and Wishes. She is a longtime member in good standing of American Christian Fiction Writers. Kathleen has loved making up stories since she was a little girl and wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She longs to create characters who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives. A former homeschool instructor, mild-mannered dental assistant, and current Community Bible Study kids’ teacher, she lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of thirty-some years, and the sassy tail-less cat who found a home in their empty nest. Connect with Kathleen on her website at kathleenrouser.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kathleenerouser/, and on Twitter @KathleenRouser.

Website: kathleenrouser.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kerouser
Facebook Author Page:https://www.facebook.com/kathleenerouser/
Twitter: @KathleenRouser
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kerouser/

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Book review: To Win Her Heart by Candee Fick

About the Book:

A deathbed promise puts one man at odds with the desire of his heart while one woman’s duty to family may cost her everything she’d ever dreamed of.

Despite Emma Richards's fanciful dreams growing up in the shadow of King Arthur’s castle and the manor on the cliff, the orphan is now trapped inland serving her wealthy cousins with no hope for her own future.

Sir Grayson Wentworth spent his years at Cambridge dreaming of the Cornwall coast and wishing he could return to the happy days of his youth. Called home to his father’s deathbed, the young baron soon learns he has inherited a title, a neglected estate, and a betrothal agreement he knew nothing about.

When the new Lord Danvers travels to execute the last matters of his father’s will, he finds himself promised to one woman and falling for another. Can he keep his vow to find a wife and win her heart? Or will honor be sacrificed in the name of love?

If you like historical romance set in the pre-Regency era and rooting for the underdog in a love triangle, then you’ll love this next installment of the Within the Castle Gates series by Candee Fick. Get it today and start your journey to the Cornwall coast in the height of the smuggler’s reign.

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review:

What a delight it was to read this book!  Both Grayson and Emma found themselves stuck in dire circumstances not of their doing, yet sought truth and honor in their reactions to those predicaments.  It was easy to love those characters.  The minor characters were quite believably written, as well.

The pace of this book was just right, and I was always surprised at the turns of events throughout the story.  I recommend this book for readers of historical 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:

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.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Book review with a giveaway: Moriah's Wings by Iris Carignan

About the Book

Book: Moriah’s Wings
Author: Iris Carignan
Genre: Christian Children’s Fiction
Release Date: March 26, 2019


She’s just a slave girl. What does she know? Desparity’s life couldn’t have been worse, she thought. However, when she’s captured and sold into slavery, Despairity discovers that things can get worse—much worse. However, her new mistress, Naaman’s wife, gives her a new name. Moriah Asha—a name that means “chosen of God” and “hope.” Moriah now can only pray that her new name will bring a little of that hope to her life. When Moriah discovers a hidden treasure in her doll’s pocket, she discovers a mystery that changes everything. With her faith in God to guide her and complete trust in His goodness, Moriah may be able to do more than be a living testimony to God… she may be able to save Naaman’s life! A fictionalized imagining of what the little servant girl in II Kings may have been like, Moriah’s Wings tells the story through word imagery and stunning illustrations. Discussion questions provided to enrich the reader’s faith.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

This book fleshed out the story of Naaman's healing from 2 Kings in the Bible, through the perspective of his servant girl.  It was appropriate for young chapter book readers, and included beautiful illustrations.  The pace was good, and in spite of the seriousness of the subject matter (kidnapping, slavery, leprosy) the tone was light, because of Moriah's faith in God.  This made it appropriate for young readers.  It was a quick read, but as a child, I would have re-read this book many times.  I also liked how the author led readers to discern between what was fact (from the Bible) and fiction (made up for the story) through questions at the end of the story.

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

About the Author

Iris Carignan’s passion for writing and art finds inspiration through faith and family. She is the author of “Fresh Eyes: Seeing God in the Unexpected,” a published poet, and has written several children’s books. “Moriah’s Wings” debuts Iris as both author and illustrator.










More from Iris

An Author Peers Deeper


As an author, I have learned that writing is a most revealing craft. Consuming a story may fill the reader with insights for their own life, but it may also peer into the heart of the author’s own soul.

If that sounds a little backwards, it probably is. But, for me, writing has always been an overflow of my own experiences, hopes, dreams, and soul-searching wounds. So, naturally, some or all of those may float to the surface of a fluid story. Perhaps that is why my latest book, Moriah’s Wings, reflects so much of my own seasoning.

Most surprising, though, is how my own words sometimes return full circle to me. Just recently, I was struggling with some new tasks and responsibilities that were not resolving. Frustration overflowed as all my best efforts continued to fail. Then I picked up my book, “Fresh Eyes: Seeing God in the Unexpected,” and began reading. There, shouting from the pages of my own hand, lay wisdom, inspiration and a reminder of God’s solution to my dilemma. The title of the story-“Keeping the Goal in Sight,” was about how we can reach our goals.

Using the powerful racehorse, Secretariat, in comparison to its jockey, it read:

“I considered how the rider must feel as he becomes one with the horse, experiencing its power, strength, and exhilarating force flow through his spirit…” “What a beautiful metaphor for all believers, equestrian or not, as we ride through life…” “When we become one with the Lord in purpose and goal, we harness His power, like a jockey whose horse takes him to the finish line. Whether we are at the pinnacle of a life changing moment or working our way through everyday stuff, only through His might and strength, will we run the race He has set before us.”


So there is was all laid-out before me, clear as day and speaking back into my own soul. The irony wasn’t lost on me as I began to think about a biography I’d written for “Moriah’s Wings.” Though it wasn’t my first, that particular one unearthed an epiphany. All the puzzle pieces came together as an amazing trifecta. I suddenly realized that it was at the age of nine that three key factors had a profound effect on my life. At nine, I took my first painting lesson, wrote my first book and I came to faith in Christ. All three became my fountainhead as an author, artist and woman of faith.

In many ways, the story in “Moriah’s Wings” is a tapestry of these same experiences. Its inspiration struck as I read II Kings 5 about Naaman and a young girl who was captured and sold into slavery. When I came to the part where she suggests that Naaman go to Elisha for healing, the story began to develop. I visualized what the girl must have felt and experienced. I saw how she served a godly purpose and pictured Naaman’s wife giving her a new and hopeful name. Then, using mental clippings from my own childhood, the story completed its course and message.

So, just as that first book I wrote as a nine year old was based on a true story, “Moriah’s Wings,” has its foundation in a Bible story. Uniquely, though, it brings together truth and fiction creatively illustrating its message.

Blog Stops



To celebrate her tour, Iris 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/e403/moriah-s-wings-celebration-tour-giveaway

Friday, April 5, 2019

Book Review with a Giveaway: When You Are Near by Tracie Peterson

About the Book

Book: When You Are Near
Author: Tracie Peterson
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release Date: March 5, 2018


After her father’s death, Lizzy Brookstone, a trick rider in the all-female Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza, wants nothing more than to quit her role as the star of the show and live a quiet life on her family’s ranch. But returning home would bring Wesley DeShazer, the ranch’s foreman and the man who broke her heart, back into her life. In addition, the Brookstones’ new manager fears that Lizzy’s departure could doom the already cash-strapped show.

Hope grows in Lizzy during a stopover at Fleming Farm. Ella Fleming not only has a natural talent for trick riding and could easily replace Lizzy, but she’s eager to join the show to flee a forced betrothal. However, while there, one of the show’s wranglers is killed in a manner Lizzy finds suspicious. And during her escape from the farm, Ella stumbles across a secret that could affect all of their lives, as well as the future of the Brookstone Extravaganza.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

I can trust Tracie Peterson to give me a book in which I can get lost.  In this series opener, it's as part of a traveling Wild West show.  As always, it was well-written, with an interesting plot, many sub-plots, and believable characters.  It was clean, but the characters faced evil people and circumstances.  There were many loose ends that weren't tied up at the end, so I am really looking forward to the next book in this series. 

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

Tracie Peterson (www.traciepeterson.com) is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.







Guest Post from Tracie

Introducing…When You Are Near!

I’m excited about the new Brookstone Brides series and had so much fun researching for the various characters and locations. This is a story about a fictional Wild West show with all female performers. Prior to the rodeos we see today, the Wild West shows traveled throughout America and Europe to entertain people and give city dwellers a taste of what the American frontier was like. At least their version.

Buffalo Bill Cody was famous for his shows, which brought Native Americans and their culture into the world of people who might otherwise never have even seen an “Indian.” Pawnee Bill was another entertainer who sought to keep these shows alive.

For the fictional show in my novels, I wanted to focus on three female characters who became a part of the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza for varying reasons. Lizzy Brookstone is the heroine in book one, When You Are Near, and as the daughter of one of the show’s owners, she has enjoyed a starring role as a trick rider.

For research I went to Pueblo, Colorado to the ranch of Karen Vold, a famous trick rider and rodeo star. Linda Scholtz, a famed trick rider, was teaching a clinic there along with Karen at the Red Top Ranch Trickriding School.

These are two remarkable Christian trick riders who have long worked to keep the sport alive. I spent three days getting to know them and what they do and learned so much. And just to prove that we weren’t all work and no play, I thought I’d share my attempt at trick riding. What I won’t do for research!

The series will have three books, as usual, and each book will focus on a different lady and her skills. Mary is a trick shooter like Annie Oakley, and Ella is a Roman rider who stands on the backs of two horses for her part in the act. It was so interesting learning about each of these types of performers, and I hope you’ll get a chance to read all three and enjoy the stories of the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, March 26
The Power of Words, March 26
Christian Author, J.E. Grace, March 26
Inklings and notions, March 26
The Meanderings of a bookworm, March 27
Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, March 27
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 27
Vicky Sluiter, March 27
Carpe Diem, March 28
The Avid Reader, March 28
Genesis 5020, March 28
Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 29
Back Porch Reads, March 29
Just the Write Escape, March 30
Splashes of Joy, March 30
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 30
Emily Yager, March 31
Daysong Reflections, March 31
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 31
Life of Literature, April 1
EmpowerMoms, April 1
For the Love of Literature, April 1
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 2
Through the Fire Blogs, April 2
Stephanie’s Life of Determination, April 2
For Him and My Family, April 3
Remembrancy, April 3


To celebrate her tour, Tracie is giving away a grand prize of When You Are Near, Tracie’s A $25 Barnes and Noble Gift card, and the three books in The Heart of Alaska series and three other winners will receive a copy of When You Are Near!!

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/dcdd/when-you-are-near-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Book Review with a giveaway: A Very Austen Valentine


About the Book


Book: A Very Austen Valentine
Author: Robin Helm
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency), Religious and Inspirational
Release Date: December 29, 2018


Six beloved authors deliver romantic Valentine novellas set in Jane Austen’s Regency world. Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite, together with Susan Kaye and Mandy Cook, share variations of Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility, featuring your favorite characters in sequels, adaptations, and spinoffs of Austen’s adored novels.

Experience uplifting romance, laugh-out-loud humor, and poignant regret as these authors deftly tug on your heartstrings this Valentine’s Day.

I Dream of You by Robin Helm


Newly-married Elizabeth Darcy has a plan: to charm her too-busy husband into desiring her company as much as he did when he was courting her. A series of romantic dreams gives her just the push she needs to put that plan into action.

Sir Walter Takes a Wife by Laura Hile

Faced with a lonely future and finding himself strapped for cash, Persuasion’s Sir Walter Elliot manfully decides to marry again. But his careful plans go sadly awry! A lighthearted Valentine mash-up featuring two of Jane Austen’s worst snobs.

My Forever Valentine by Wendi Sotis

Jane and Charles Bingley have married, even though Miss Elizabeth Bennet remains certain Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy gave his best effort to keep them apart. After Mr. Darcy refused to stand up with Bingley and did not attend the wedding, she despises the gentleman more than ever and finds his company intolerable. How will she endure her visit to Kent if Mr. Darcy turns up everywhere she goes?

Pretence and Prejudice by Barbara Cornthwaite

A chance encounter with a handsome stranger forces Elizabeth to resort to subterfuge in order to discover his true intentions.

My Valentine by Mandy H. Cook

Little Charlotte was always determined and independent, traits which served her well as she battled a serious childhood illness and later as she took on Polite Society. Will those traits now deprive her of true love? Or would her lifelong Valentine win her heart?

The Lovers’ Ruse by Susan Kaye

In this Persuasion alteration, Anne is so altered by Wentworth’s love in the summer of 1806, she refuses to give him up when both her godmother and father try to persuade her. “The Lovers’ Ruse”follows Frederick and Anne through their whirlwind courtship and their secret engagement. When Wentworth returns for his Annie girl, the cat comes out of the bag.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

The six novellas contained in this collection made for a large book!  Each novella was a good-sized, well-developed story.  A reader will certainly have a favorite of the six, but it was quite interesting to explore the "what ifs" and "then whats" to Austen's work.  Austen fans, romance readers, and lovers of Regency will certainly enjoy this collection.  It's a book that will keep you reading for quite a while!

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

Robin Helm’s books reflect her love of music, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction.

Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy: Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy (a guardian angel protects a supernaturally gifted girl), the Yours by Design series: Accidentally Yours, Sincerely Yours, and Forever Yours (Fitzwilliam Darcy switches places in time with his descendant, Will Darcy), and Understanding Elizabeth (Regency sweet romance).

She contributed to A Very Austen Christmas: Austen Anthologies, Book 1, an anthology featuring like-minded authors, in 2017, and A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 2 which was released on December 29, 2018.

New releases for 2019 include More to Love, a standalone historical sweet romance dealing with body image; Lawfully Innocent, a historical U.S. Marshal romance book in the Lawkeepers series; Maestro, a historical sweet romance featuring a brilliant musician and his student; and A Very Austen Romance: Austen Anthologies, Book 3.

She lives in sunny South Carolina where she teaches piano and adores her one husband, two married daughters, and three grandchildren.

More from Robin

Do you love Historical romance, but avoid “those” covers like the plague?

Would you enjoy an anthology featuring six Valentine-themed novellas set in the Regency period written by Christian authors?

In A Very Austen Valentine, stories range from a young wife searching for a way to bring her marriage back to the way it was, to a laugh-out-loud courtship between Jane Austen’s worst snobs.

Misunderstandings, concealed identities, and romance abound.

There is even a sequel featuring the children of the Darcys and the Brandons.

Every reader will find something to love in this wonderful collection.

Blog Stops


To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away

Grand Prize: a $50 Amazon gift card

1st Place: An autographed paperback of A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 1

2nd Place: An autographed paperback of A Very Austen Christmas: Austen Anthologies, Book 2

3rd Place: A set of three ebooks – Reader’s Choice of any three of my books and

4th Place: a $5 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/ddfa/a-very-austen-valentine-celebration-tour-giveaway