Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Book Review: Home for Christmas by Candee Fick

About the Book

Grace Mitchell's dream of creating music derailed when she saw firsthand how fame could change a person. After choosing a more stable career, she's content to build her future in backwoods Missouri until the reminder of her broken heart walks in the door of her father's bait shop.

Tyler Sherwood left it all behind for a chance at the national spotlight, but a backstage revelation changed everything. Embarrassed to face his family after his failure, he retreats to a rustic cabin to regroup...and comes face to face with an intriguing young woman and an old guitar.

When sparks fly, will they leave her singing or singed? Can the message and the music reignite dormant dreams and bring him home for Christmas?

If you like prodigals, faith-filled romance, and country music, then you'll love this final chapter from the Wardrobe series by Candee Fick.

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review

I enjoyed reading the final installment of the Wardrobe series by Candee Fick.  Being that it was a novella, some things felt like they happened a little too quickly, like Tyler's change of heart, and I also felt like I didn't get to know Grace or Tyler as well as I would have in a full-length novel.  But, Tyler did learn his lesson, and Grace was able to step out in faith toward her future, so the outcome was good, and I did enjoy the story.  Both characters were likable.  Anyone who has been reading this series will want to read the concluding book.  Those who enjoy stories that take place in the music industry will certainly enjoy this one.

I received an eARC of this novella 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.

Book Review: Seconds to Live by Susan Sleeman

About the Book

When cybercriminals hack into the US Marshals' Witness Protection database and auction off witnesses' personal details to the highest bidders, the RED Team led by FBI Agent Sean Nichols begins a high-stakes chase to find the hacker. But before he can even get started, the first witness is targeted and barely escapes with her life. Sean believes Phantom, an obsessed hacker who previously outwitted the top minds in the field, is behind the attack, and Sean needs this witness's help, as she's the person who has come closest to discovering Phantom's identity.

Trouble is, she's a witness under the care of US Marshal Taylor Mills, and Sean is reluctant to work with the captivating marshal who knows his deepest secrets. But Phantom claims he knows where the witness is hiding and will kill her, so to stop the hacker, Sean and Taylor must work through their personal pain and learn to trust each other. . . . The seconds are ticking down before someone dies.

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review

This book captured my attention from the first page and kept my diligent attention until the very end.  Just the premise is interesting, but author Susan Sleeman has written a book that was so hard to put down because the action just kept happening!   Threats from within and without kept the tension high throughout the entire story.

It was quite interesting to witness Sean and Taylor's relationship transition from internet-only to real life.  That was a complication on top of having to work together in a high-stress environment, but that also kept it real.

For those who enjoy suspense, romantic suspense, police drama, or CSI-type books, this one is top-notch, and I highly recommend it for both men and women.  This is the first book of the Homeland Heroes series by Sleeman, and I can't wait for more!

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

About the Author

Susan Sleeman is the bestselling author of more than thirty-five romantic suspense novels with more than 1 million books sold. She has won several awards, including the ACFW Carol Award for Suspense for Fatal Mistake. In addition to writing, Susan also hosts www.thesuspensezone.com. She has lived in nine states but now calls Portland, Oregon, home. To learn more about Susan, visit her website at www.susansleeman.com.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Book review with a giveaway: The Wedding Dress Christmas by Rachael Hauck

About the Book

Book: The Wedding Dress Christmas
Author: Rachel Hauck
Genre: Romance, Christmas
Release Date: October 22, 2019


December covers quaint Heart’s Bend, Tennessee with a blanket of white and the glitter of Christmas lights.

For JoJo Castle there’s no place like home. It’s her safe place. Her one-time love of adventure ended when life in the big city shattered her hopes and dreams. Now that she’s returned to Hearts Bend, she never wants to leave again.

Buck Mathews, the biggest country singing sensation in decades, has the world on a string – his guitar strings, to be exact. However, when news of his mother’s illness sends him back to Hearts Bend for the holiday season, he remembers how good it can be to live among family and friends.

Working with her cousin Haley in The Wedding Shop, JoJo has no aspirations of love. Leaving home, surrendering her heart again, is just too risky.

When she runs into her friend and high school crush Buck Mathews, she discovers Love might have other plans for her.

Buck’s career is on the verge of an momentous leap. But seeing JoJo awakens feelings he’d buried long ago. Falling in love is easy, but winning her heart will take more than one of his melodic tunes and clever lyrics.

JoJo and Buck want opposite things for their lives, leaving no room for compromise. Can love, especially the kind that touches hearts at Christmastime, overcome her fears and his quest for greatness?

When a very special gown – the wedding dress – begins to make its presence known, JoJo and Buck’s hearts bend in a way neither ever thought possible.

Click here to get your copy.

My Review

This book was a delightful return to the characters and setting of previous Rachel Hauck books.  I was immediately drawn into the story and can recommend it to those not already acquainted with the Wedding Collection series.  It is a novella, so the size is small, but it chock-full of story.

There is a magical, miraculous quality to the dress, and it was exciting to read another story about its use.  The small-town setting was immediately comfortable and I felt like I fit right in.

Country music star Buck Mathews is home and ready to soak in his home-town atmosphere and slower pace.  In spite of his fame, his heart was still grounded in his home-town, family values.  He was easy to like.  JoJo Castle loved where she fit within the community, but she was still controlled by fears from past events.  How she is freed from those fears is an amazing highlight of the story.

If you're already a Rachel Hauck fan, you won't want to miss this novella.  Otherwise, this story is a great introduction to her books.

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

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie.

Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.

A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.

She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

More From Rachel

Hello Royal Rockstar Readers!

I’m thrilled to share The Wedding Dress Christmas with you. I’ve heard from so many how much The Wedding Dress has touched them, and as I noodled over new story ideas, my thoughts drifted toward the wedding dress and Christmas. What’s more romantic than a Christmas wedding?

This novella is set in Hearts Bend, Tennessee, the fictional town of The Wedding Chapel and The Wedding Shop. Even if you’ve never read one of books in The Wedding Collection, you’ll enjoy this story, the mystery of the dress, and the women whose lives it changed.

I love weddings. They remind us of the purity and the hope of love, the power of commitment. Something powerful is released when two people pledge to spend their lives together, loving and serving one another in both good and bad times. Every wedding I attend reminds me of the vows I made to my husband and I sign up all over again.

Stories are a powerful reflection of life. Yes, fictional stories are often told with wild hyperbole, but that’s what makes them fun to read.

I also love wedding stories because they remind us of God’s love for us, and that one day there will be the grandest wedding of them all. Isn’t it wonderful that God planned a wedding before He created the earth?

In The Wedding Dress Christmas, JoJo and Buck have their issues, but love proves strong enough to conquer them all.
Thanks for going on this little tour with me and The Wedding Dress Christmas.

Yours,

Rachel

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, December 18
Through the Fire Blogs, December 18
Livin’ Lit, December 18
Robin’s Nest, December 18
Reading Is My SuperPower, December 19
By The Book, December 19
Wishful Endings, December 19
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 19
Among the Reads, December 20
Genesis 5020, December 20
Life as Lanhams, December 20
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 21
Daysong Reflections, December 21
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 21
Bigreadersite, December 21
Simple Harvest Reads, December 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Remembrancy, December 22
Britt Reads Fiction, December 22
She Lives to Read, December 23
Empowermoms, December 23
Inside the Wong Mind, December 23
Mia Reads Blog, December 23
Splashes of Joy, December 24
Christian Bookaholic, December 24
Hallie Reads, December 24
Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 25
Where Faith and Books Meet, December 25
Blogging With Carol, December 25
For Him and My Family, December 26
Hebrews 12 Endurance, December 26
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 26
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 26
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 27
My Devotional Thoughts, December 27
Locks, Hooks and Books, December 27
Mamma Loves Books, December 27
Betti Mace, December 28
Batya’s Bits, December 28
The Christian Fiction Girl, December 28
Quiet Quilter, December 29
mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 29
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 29
janicesbookreviews, December 29
A Reader’s Brain, December 30
Inklings and notions, December 30
Texas Book-aholic, December 30
Carla Loves to Read, December 30
Back Porch Reads, December 31
CarpeDiem, December 31
Stephanie’s Life of Determination, December 31

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a print copy of the book and a Visa gift card for $25. Swag!!

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/f1fe/the-wedding-dress-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Book Review: Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

About the Book

Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn't always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, "Where's the snow?" Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista's Christmas spirit before the big day?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you to spend this holiday season in a town you'll never forget--and never want to leave.

You can purchase a copy here.

My Review

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is reading a new Christmas book by Melody Carlson.  Carlson creates a holiday atmosphere in which the reader is fully immersed in the town's Christmas celebration.  More than that, the characters are people that the reader could expect to meet in any day's comings and goings.  Krista, the main character, has to be tough, both professionally and as a single mother, but she also knows the value of integrity, truthfulness, and compassion.  This was a short book, but one in which the reader can join the town of Winter Hill in their Christmasville celebration.

I received a copy of this book from the author 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/


Friday, December 20, 2019

Book Review with a Giveaway: Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole by Auralee Arkinsly

About the Book
Book: Darling Hedgehog Goes Down A Foxhole
Author: Auralee Arkinsly
Genre: Early reader chapter book
Release Date: September 13, 2019


Darling Hedgehog learns about the animal nature of things in high humor and carefree, cute, and winning episodes. This childhood story reads a bit like Aesop’s Fables or a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, for children 4-8 or preschool and kindergarten, as a read-to-me picture book, and first grade and second grade as a chapter book.

Pictures similar to the Mercy Watson series are characterized and painted in full-color, though the pages are set up like a chapter book.

This book helps to train children in natural wisdom, analysis, and discernment. It helps to balance the teachings of acceptance of everyone and friendliness to all. There may be good purposes for everyone to exist under heaven, yet all purposes may not be good for a child. So, beware, be discrete, and flee from crafty foxes especially when they are holding your parents in the pantry.

Click here to purchase your copy.
My Review
Darling Hedgehog really is darling.  And even if she is easily distracted, she has a good heart.  But she has much to learn about the nature of animals.
Children will enjoy this book either as a picture book to have read to them, or as an Easy Reader to read on their own.  There are lessons to be learned throughout the book, so readers can discover  something new each time they read it.  It is divided into three chapters so a new reader will have the freedom to put it down and return to it at a later time.  
The illustrations are cute.  The pink and green found throughout the book really pop and tie the story and pictures together.
Both listeners and young readers will enjoy this book, as well as the adults with whom it is shared.
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

Auralee Arkinsly writes in good humor about serious subjects because kids of all ages can learn a lot from laughing. She is a strong believer in right and wrong but knows that getting onto the right path can mean falling down a slippery slope. She reckons if she can save some from the bumps and bruises, then she has done her job






More from Auralee
I’m so excited to launch my children’s book, Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole with the Celebrate Lit crew! You are a river of hope for a new author.

So, here’s the story behind the story.

My friend and fellow author, Kathy Joy, left me a small hedgehog in a tutu as a going away gift on her guest bed after she had been visiting. I put it on the windowsill in my bedroom, and every morning, I would see it when I awoke.

I don’t know if you can relate to this experience, but I often wake up from a good night’s sleep with the gift of a problem being solved. Sometimes, I wake up with a creative idea. Well, one day, I awoke to find that I had the beginnings of a child’s story about where the hedgehog found her tutu.

Initially, it was a simple story about Darling Hedgehog finding a foxy friend who helps Darling find her calling.
I wrote out the story and then asked a talented neighborhood girl if she would like to draw the pictures for the tall tale. Having seen a lot of Julia’s sketches as she grew up, I thought that she might like to know what it felt like to earn money from her talents and at the same time, learn about the process of creating a book with an author to propose to a publishing company.

She agreed. Julia was in ninth grade. She was at the age where she was beginning to think about high school jobs and even to make plans for college and a career.

The same day we wrote out our contract, Julia sent me her first image of what she imagined Darling to look like. It clearly was not a mistake to hire this young artist!

When I awoke another morning, I believed God had given me another bit of advice. I needed to do better research on the nature of hedgehogs and foxes, their habitats and characteristics. The outcome caused the story to take a turn towards intrigue. It became a fable. It became an action-adventure animal story. It became better.

A librarian encouraged us to continue with it no longer as a picture book for very small children but as an early reader chapter book for second graders learning about similes.

I hope that we can teach children to notice facts and objective truth as they are being trained for life. So, I’ve accepted that my child’s fantasy had to grow some legs of gravity and wisdom. I’ve trusted my editors and beta readers that this is true, but I’m not above being told off.

Blog Stops
A Baker’s Perspective, December 11
A Diva’s Heart, December 11
Girls in White Dresses, December 11
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 12
For Him and My Family, December 12
Older & Smarter?, December 13
Emily Yager, December 13
For the Love of Literature, December 13
Just the Write Escape, December 14
Blogging With Carol, December 14
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 15
Bigreadersite, December 15
janicesbookreviews, December 15
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 16
Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 16
Blossoms and Blessings, December 17
Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 17
A Reader’s Brain, December 17
Aryn The Libraryan 📚 , December 18
Lights in a Dark World, December 18
Remembrancy, December 19
Inklings and notions, December 19
Lighthouse Academy, December 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 20
Live.Love.Read., December 20
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 21
Sara Jane Jacobs, December 21
The Christian Fiction Girl, December 22
Where Crisis & Christ Collide, December 22
Maureen’s Musings, December 23
With a Joyful Noise, December 23
Texas Book-aholic, December 24
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

Giveaway
To celebrate her tour, Auralee is giving away the grand prize of a set of Darling Hedgehog greeting cards!!

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/f33e/darling-hedgehog-goes-down-a-foxhole-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: When Silence Sings by Sarah Loudin Thomas

About the Book

Colman Harpe works for the C&O in the Appalachian rail town of Thurmond, West Virginia, but he'd rather be a preacher and lead his own congregation. When a member of the rival McLean clan guns down his cousin and the clan matriarch, Serepta McLean, taunts the Harpes by coming to a tent revival in their territory, Colman chooses peace over seeking revenge with the rest of his family.

Colman, known for an unnaturally keen sense of hearing, is shocked when he hears God tell him to preach to the McLeans. A failed attempt to run away leaves Colman sick and suffering in the last place he wanted to be--McLean territory. Nursed by herbalist Ivy Gordon--a woman whose unusual appearance has made her an outcast--he's hindered in his calling by Serepta's iron grip on the region and his uncle's desire to break that grip. But appearances can be deceiving, and he soon learns that the face of evil doesn't look like he expected.

This book is available here.

My Review

What I love about Sarah Loudin Thomas' stories is the miraculous surprises found within, and in When Silence Sings there are plenty of them.  Thomas took the conflict, hatred, and danger of a Hatfield vs. McCoy-like feud, threw in a Jonah-like situation, and added some special characters and events to make this a very worthwhile and satisfying read.Thomas gives the reader many points to ponder.  Of course, it all fits perfectly in the 1930s West Virginia setting.

There was so much going on in this story that even though the book concluded naturally, it had been messy, and many questions were left unanswered.  I mean this in a good way, that perhaps there could be a sequel, and if not, it's okay because that was the nature of the story.

Men and women who appreciate historical fiction and the West Virginia setting and culture will enjoy this book.

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

About the Author

Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fund-raiser for a children's ministry who has also written for Mountain Homes Southern Style and Now & Then magazines, as well as the Asheville Citizen-Times. She is the author of Miracle in a Dry Season, Until the Harvest, A Tapestry of Secrets, and The Sound of Rain. She holds a BA in English from Coastal Carolina University. She and her husband reside in Asheville, North Carolina. She can be found online at www.sarahloudinthomas.com.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Book review with a giveaway: Breath of Joy! Winter Whispers by Kathy Joy


About the Book

Book: Breath of Joy! Winter Whispers
Author: Kathy Joy
Genre: Non-fiction, Gift Book, Picture Book
Release Date: October 1, 2019


The final book in the series, Breath of Joy, Winter Whispers speaks of the deep quiet earth movements that echo human proving grounds and transitions during rest. Photo Art and Prose. Three everyday celebrations on every page spread are not commercially Christmas but rather interrelational and spiritually poised. This is simply because in Winter when the earth’s axis is the farthest away from the sun, people warm themselves and grow in the wonder of darkness, where God still sees us, breathing life.

Click here to get your copy. 

My Review

Winter Whispers is a delightful gift book.  It is filled with beautiful photography, and text that may make you consider, or pause, or just feel the awe and joy that come in winter.   It is a book that you will want to spend time with, reflect upon, savor, and revisit. It celebrates winter holidays, and also acknowledges that winter can be hard for those who are missing loved ones, dealing with depression, or other difficult circumstances.

The photography is beautiful, and integrates well with the text.  If you love a book that can help with the warm fuzzies of winter, this is it.  Or if you need something to offer up hope when life is difficult, this is a book intended to minister to your heart.

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

About the Author

Kathy Joy enjoyed being a popular Christian radio D.J. in Colorado for many years. When her husband wanted to move to Pennsylvania to take over the family farm, Kathy Joy accompanied him with their two young daughters. Four years later, Kathy Joy found herself a widow raising two teenagers. To stave off despair, she began writing three every day celebrations in a journal. Friends on Facebook began prompting her to write a book, and so the beginning of the Breath of Joy series began. Kathy Joy now works in human services, speaking wonder on the weekends to grief therapy groups, motivational corporate meetings, and women’s retreats. Some of her topics include Vision Board workshops, Being a Harbor Pilot, Mirroring the Savior, The Fifth Season, and A Christmas Tea.

More from Kathy

I’m so excited to join Celebrate Lit for this first real blog tour of my Breath of Joy series!

As a collector of celebrations, curating pithy delights and sharing them with my readers, I do hope you enjoy the visual experience and personal comfort offered in my Winter Whispers book.

Wintertime, especially Christmas and Valentine’s day, can be some of the toughest times of the year for people who have experienced trauma, or significant loss and grief. I’m one of those people. Collecting three everyday celebrations for me was a means of refocusing on common joys in my life. They were a means of turning my despair into faith. Now, by publishing four books in less than two years, I have encountered another ladder of faith and I continue to face fear in order to live the adventure that God has for me.

Don’t you know, the Lord gives us many different kinds of gifts, and some of those gifts we would rather return to Him? However, my seasonal “Breath of Joy!” books helped me not only to be thankful for the phase of life in which I found myself, but writing these books also built depth into my relationship with my real self, not my public persona, and specifically with the real God of the Bible.

It brings joy to my heart to collect snapshots of life and give my readers an opportunity to experience simple blessings in fresh, new ways. My books were borne out of sudden loss and grief when my husband of 23 years died of a massive heart attack. Gathering up my will to go forward, I remembered he always encouraged me to collect “beautiful moments” and write them down.

Now, when people connect with me, they say things like, “I couldn’t sleep, and so I picked up your book, and it gave me a new perspective that has helped me go on. If you can do it, so can I.” / “I went to one of Kathy Joy’s vision board making workshops. When I posted my board on the refrigerator, I had no idea how much I would rely on it to get me through the next year. I am writing this to thank you for helping me stay out of the hospital for a full year.” /

”Just downloaded your file/book. Absolutely beautiful. I thought you wrote prose/poetry. Forgive me for putting you off. I loved perusing the pages. I went through it too fast. I need to sip it. I will peruse it again tomorrow. Totally different from what I thought it’d be. Hmmm. It’s more than a coffee table book. Gift book. Calming book. Nice, very nice. Let me sit with it and ponder it. Lovely creation.

These kinds of receptions make my day. They let me know that God still has adventures for me to take and purposes for me to speak wonder into other people’s lives.

Blog Stops


To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away the grand prize of a copy of the book in reader’s choice of format!!

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/f1fc/breath-of-joy-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review with a Giveaway: Heart of a Royal by Hannah Currie


About the Book

Book: Heart Of A Royal
Author: Hannah Currie
Genre: Young Adult/Royalty

Brought to the palace as a newborn, the royal life bestowed upon Mackenna Sparrow was never meant to last forever. With Princess Alina engaged to be married, Mackenna’s presence as companion is no longer required and, like it or not, she must return to the birthright which should have been hers – that of a commoner. But not everyone at the palace wants her gone. When the truths she’s based her life on start crumbling as fast as her future, will she find the courage to trust, both herself and the prince she’s fallen in love with?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

I just loved this book! From the mesmerizing cover to the beautiful realm within, this book is a treasure. For a debut author, I was super impressed with Hannah Currie's ability to pen such believable characters with a layered plot in a modern fairy-tale setting.

Although Kenna had been raised with all the privileges of a princess, she knew her place and was not spoiled.  She loved the people of the kingdom and did what she could to help the poor.  This book was written in the first person, and it was interesting as a reader to compare Mackenna's thoughts with the reality of what was happening around her.  

The setting of the kingdom and of palace life was sumptuous, as was the plot, which was revealed in layers that led to a very satisfying conclusion.  Readers will appreciate the moral and spiritual themes that are presented very naturally.

I love a good princess story, and I highly recommend this one.  Fans of Lori Wick's The Princess or Rachel Hauck's Royal Wedding series will be thrilled with this book.  It is a Young Adult novel, so you can read it and pass it on to your daughter.

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

About the Author

Aussie author Hannah Currie loves God, family, people (in small numbers, let’s not go crazy here!) and writing. She and her husband live with their three adorable kids in sunny Queensland, where it really is beautiful one day and perfect the next. Except, maybe, during heatwaves. They’re not so fun. She loves to connect with readers at www.hannahcurrie.com.



More from Hannah

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by royalty. Real ones like Queen Elizabeth II, who is such an incredible woman and a total hero of mine (not to mention, as a proud Australian and member of the Commonwealth, my monarch) but also the not-so-real ones. Those found in fairy tales. Romances. Narnia.

I’m one of those people who blocks out an entire day to watch a royal wedding, sighs like a hopeless romantic through cheesy princess movies, reads just about any novel I find with a crown on the front and loves a full-spread photo souvenir magazine. I may have even written a short story starring a princess for an English assignment at school. More than once. [Side note, if you’re going to write a story about a princess who is totally adorable but can’t spell, don’t use a misspelled word as the title. It takes a lot of explaining to make sure the teacher knows you did it on purpose and doesn’t mark you down for it… sorry Ninth Grade English teacher!].

The glamour draws me in, the beautiful clothes, the history and romance of it all, but it’s the expectations they have on them which hold me there. Every title comes with a million expectations, whether or not they’re realistic. We expect royals, both real and fictional, to behave in a certain way. To be honourable (assuming they’re the good guys). To care for their people and put them first. To always be there. Yes, even to be beautiful.

But what happens when they’re not? When they’re shy? Fight anxiety? Hate the spotlight? Are blemished in some way? What happens when what’s best for the people isn’t what’s best for them? Or when they make a mistake? Something which, for anyone else, would be easily fixed or glossed over but for a royal, gets written into the history books forever. Purely because of their title.

Kenna, the main character in Heart of a Royal, never meant to be a princess. She wasn’t born into royalty, neither did she choose it. And yet, due to circumstances far beyond her control, there she is. Living in a palace. Part of that life.

Very few of us are royalty but I think we all know how heavy expectations can be and the pain of being thrust into situations beyond our control. And yet, even in those moments and seasons, just like Kenna, we have choices. They might seem small, maybe even insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they’re there. Who we put our trust in. What we do with the circumstances we’ve been given. Where we go from there.

Heart of a Royal is as much my story as it is Kenna’s. No, I’m not a princess (thankfully!) but I have struggled through finding hope and purpose when life flies out of control and the expectations prove too much. And here’s what I’ve found – God is good. There is hope and God is good. I hope, through Kenna’s story, you are reminded of that too.

Blog Stops

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 28
CarpeDiem, November 28
Hebrews 12 Endurance, November 28
Hallie Reads, November 28
Emily Yager, November 29
For the Love of Literature, November 29
Through the Fire Blogs, November 29
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 30
Back Porch Reads, November 30
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 30
To Everything There Is A Season, November 30
Books, Life, and Christ, December 1
Mia Reads Blog, December 1
Bigreadersite , December 1
Kathleen Denly, December 2
Genesis 5020, December 2
She Lives To Read, December 2
Texas Book-aholic, December 2
A Baker’s Perspective, December 3
Livin’ Lit, December 3
Kat’s Corner Books, December 3
The Becca Files, December 4
Becka Jiménez , December 4
HookMeInABook, December 4
janicesbookreviews, December 4
Blossoms and Blessings, December 5
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 5
Just the Write Escape, December 5
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 5
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 6
Avid Reader Nurse, December 6
For Him and My Family, December 6
A Reader’s Brain, December 6
Adventures of a Travelers Wife, December 7
Moments, December 7
Simple Harvest Reads, December 7
Remembrancy, December 8
Locks, Hooks and Books, December 8
Pause for Tales , December 8
Inklings and notions, December 8
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 9
Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 9
For The Love of Books, December 9
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 10
Just Your Average reviews, December 10
A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 10
Living Life Free in Christ, December 11
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 11
Batya’s Bits, December 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour Hannah is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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/f1a8/heart-of-a-royal-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Book review with a giveaway: The Barn Quilt by Patti Michels


About the Book

Book: The Barn Quilt
Author: Patti Michels
Genre: Children’s Book
Release Date: November 19, 2019


Farmer Max and Miz Patti have a big red barn on their Maple Shade Farm, but one thing is missing—they need a barn quilt. But what pattern should they hang on the side of their barn? The pineapple quilt, or the corn and beans quilt, or what about a quilt with animals on it? None of them are quite right though. Since it’s Christmas, they wonder what barn quilt would have been just right for the stable where Jesus was born. Work along with their neighbor boy, Dennis, as he helps Farmer Max and Miz Patti decide on and make the perfect barn quilt.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Children will be drawn to this book for any number of the themes within.  It may be for the general farm theme, or the animals, or learning about barn quilts, or Christmas.  Readers will enjoy descriptions of many different activities that take place on the farm, such as raising animals, raising crops, keeping bees, finding eggs, plus carpentry and design.

Plenty of dialogue keeps the story moving, and I was drawn into the farm atmosphere as I read.  I could remember the feeling of time spent on the farm as I read.

I liked the illustrations.  They were pleasing to look at, and are well done.  The text is placed well on each page  There area lot of words on each page, so this is a book that an adult will be reading to a child, initially.

I recommend this story to listeners and readers who love farms, or who want to learn more about barn quilts.

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

Patti Michels has lived in the same rural midwestern county her entire life, thirty-nine of those with her husband. She loves designing her family’s Christmas card and working with senior citizens. At the end of a long day, she enjoys returning to the farm and looking out her kitchen window at her own barn quilt.











More from Patti

Believe it or not, the idea for this children’s book started out as a Christmas card. Each year the Michels family produces their own original Christmas card. This tradition started out simple, in the early 1980’s, as the Michels’ two small daughters helped with the coloring, cutting, and gluing!

Patti Michels and Max, her farmer husband of 39 years, live on a small farm in Southern Illinois. The girls have grown and moved on, and the empty-nesters have joined others in their small farm community, in creating a barn quilt to hang on their barn.

While Max was preparing the 36″ X 36″ wood panel for Patti to paint, Patti was drawing and designing and dreaming up the best barn quilt pattern to display on the barn at Maple Shade Farm. As Patti painted their special barn quilt, a Christmas card idea popped into her head. ”What if the stable where Jesus was born had a barn quilt?”

Patti feels like ideas are a gift from God, as is her husband, who helps her pull off one after another completed “project”. Whether it’s feeding cows, baling hay, making Christmas cards, or creating a barn quilt, they continue to work side by side. This book, based on the real life story of creating the barn quilt, gives kids a glimpse into a small farm family life, while also enjoying and celebrating those things that make Christmas so special, like hot chocolate, cookies and God’s love.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, November 26
Remembrancy, November 26
Reading Is My SuperPower, November 27
For Him and My Family, November 27
Locks, Hooks and Books, November 28
Older & Smarter?, November 29
Seasons of Opportunities, November 29
Vicky Sluiter, November 30
Sara Jane Jacobs, November 30
Bigreadersite, December 1
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 1
Maureen’s Musings, December 2
Texas Book-aholic, December 2
janicesbookreviews, December 3
A Reader’s Brain, December 3
For the Love of Literature, December 4
Mary Hake, December 4
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 5
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 6
Emily Yager, December 6
She Lives to Read, December 7
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 8
Inklings and notions, December 8
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 9

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour Patti is giving away the grand prize of a signed copy of The Barn Quilt, and a $25 gift card from Amazon!!

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/f197/the-barn-quilt-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, December 2, 2019

Book Review: The End of the Magi by Patrick W. Carr

About the Book

Following his vision of the coming Messiah, the prophet Daniel creates a select group of men who will count down the calendar to the arrival of Israel's promised king. Centuries later, as the day nears, Myrad, a young magi acolyte, flees for his life when his adoptive father and others are put to death by a ruthless Parthian queen.

Having grabbed only a few possessions, Myrad escapes the city, and searching for a way to hide from the soldiers scouring the trade routes, he tries to join the caravan of the merchant Walagash. The merchant senses that Myrad is hiding secrets, but when the young man proves himself a valuable traveler, an epic journey filled with peril, close escapes, and dangerous battles begins.

With every day that passes, the calendar creeps closer to the coming Messiah. And over everything shines the dream of a star that Myrad can't forget and the promise that the world will never be the same.

My Review

Author Patrick W. Carr excellently describes the account and the significance of the Messiah's coming, death, and resurrection through the eyes of an apprentice magi.  It was just amazing to experience the Biblical prophecies of the Messiah as they happened.  And, true to Scripture, not everyone got it, in spite of living it.

Myrad was such a survivor.  Though born into difficult circumstances, he takes full advantage of the opportunities he is given to make the most of any situation, and thereby his life.  He was a great example of learning well, and applying his knowledge appropriately.  He was easy to sympathize with, but even better, he was a character that was easy to like and admire.

Carr did a great job of interpreting the geography of the region, the many cultures that were represented, and the political situation of the day, and how that affected Myrad and his companions.  If you can read this book at Christmas time, that is great, but the story is epic and can be enjoyed throughout the year.  It is also a story that will be enjoyed equally by men and women.

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

Patrick W. Carr is the author of the acclaimed fantasy series The Darkwater Saga and The Staff and the Sword. A Cast of Stones won the 2014 Carol Award for Speculative Fiction and the 2014 Clive Staples Award. The Shock of Night won the 2016 INSPY Award for Speculative Fiction. Patrick teaches high school math and makes his home in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Mary, and their four sons. Learn more at www.patrickwcarr.com.