BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Thomas Nelson

The Governess of Penwythe Hall, #1 The Cornwall Novels by Sarah Ladd

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About the Book

 

Book: The Governess of Penwythe Hall

Author: Sarah Laddpro_pbid_4172296

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: April 16, 2019

In the first of a new series from beloved Regency romance author, Sarah Ladd, Delia, a governess to five recently orphaned children, would risk anything to protect them . . . even her heart.

Cornwall was in her blood, and Delia feared she’d never escape its hold.

Cornwall, England, 1811

Blamed for her husband’s death, Cordelia Greythorne fled Cornwall and accepted a governess position to begin a new life. Years later her employer’s unexpected death and his last request to watch over his five children force her to reevaluate. She can’t abandon the children now that they’ve lost both parents, but their new guardian lives at the timeworn Penwythe Hall . . . back on the Cornish coast, she tries desperately to forget.

Jac Trethewey is determined to revive Penwythe Hall’s once-flourishing apple orchards, and he’ll stop at nothing to see his struggling estate profitable again. He hasn’t heard from his brother in years, so when his nieces, nephews, and their governess arrive unannounced at Penwythe Hall, he battles both grief of this brother’s death and bewilderment over this sudden responsibility. Jac’s priorities shift as the children take up residence in the ancient halls, but their secretive governess—and the mystery shrouding her past—proves to be a disruption to his carefully laid plans.

Rich with family secrets, lingering danger, and the captivating allure of new love, this first book in the Cornwall Novels series introduces us to the Twethewey family and their search for peace, justice, and love on the Cornish coast.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

My Review

Timing is everything. Sarah E. Ladd’s Governess of Penwythe Hall has an orchard-setting cover, filled with soft spring colors. This beautiful book with nature’s long-awaited colors of olive, grass green, lilac, rose, and pink releases during blossom time here where fruit trees are abundant. Score for Thomas Nelson publishing.
This was the first novel I had read by Sarah Ladd. Ladd is quite the anglophile and quickly makes the reader want to visit the moors and marshes, or at least the craggy seacoast. I do wish mightily for a map, which may be included in the final copy.
This story had all the ingredients I needed for a very enjoyable tale. A young, attractive governess; a passel of children who depend on her and whom she loves; a rather unwilling, handsome guardian; and enough secondary characters to help steer the tale into interesting and dangerous waters.
Besides Delia and Jac, Jac’s aunt is my favorite character. She is very insightful. She seems to understand Delia’s struggles, she loves the Lord, and she understands the importance of relationships over things or business.
In short, The Governess of Penwythe Hall is a great choice if you are looking for a Regency novel of faith, fear, learning to open one’s heart to others, and facing down the giants from the past that would threaten the future. Delia especially has to figure out which relationships to build and which to cut off and how.

Notable quotables:

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“Sometimes, whether we like it or not, things do not happen the way we think they should.” How true. We must then rise to the occasion in maturity.
“…walls alone do not make children feel safe. People do.”
“People, ah, people. That’s where the real success lies.”
“Fear knew no bounds and came in so many forms…”
second tihumbnail governess
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. This in no way affects my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

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About the Author

 

Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood. She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of

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marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing family and spunky golden retriever. Visit her online at SarahLadd.com; Facebook: SarahLaddAuthor; Twitter: @SarahLaddAuthor.

More About The Governess of Penwythe Hall

5 things to know about Cornwall, England:

  1. Throughout its early history, Cornwall’s inhabitants called the country Kernow.
  2. Early inhabitants largely spoke their own language known as “Cornish,” which became nearly extinct in the 1800s
  3. The country has a long and rugged coastline and there were frequent shipwrecks.
  4. Fishing was a major industry, with herring, mackerel, and sardines being common catches.
  5. In 1870, novelist and poet Thomas Hardy called Cornwall “the region of dream and mystery.”

 

Imagine yourself in The Governess of Penwythe Hall with these pictures of 19thCentury life in Cornwall

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/gallery/2016/may/19/everyday-life-in-cornwall-captured-in-the-19th-century-in-pictures

 

Sources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/empire_seapower/cornish_nation_01.shtml

https://www.maritimeheritage.org/ports/Cornwall.html

http://www.cornwallgoodseafoodguide.org.uk/cornish-fishing/history-of-the-cornish-fishing-industry.php

 

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, April 11

LifeofLiterature, April 11

Moments, April 11

Genesis 5020, April 11

Maureen’s Musings, April 12

The Power of Words, April 12

Mary Hake, April 12

To Everything A Season, April 12

KarenSueHadley, April 13

EmpowerMoms, April 13

For the Love of Literature, April 13

Inklings and notions, April 13

The Avid Reader, April 14

Blogging With Carol, April 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 14

Rachel’s Back Talk, April 15

Wishful Endings, April 15

Simple Harvest Reads, April 15 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Kat’s Corner Books, April 16

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 16

Daysong Reflections, April 16

The Becca Files, April 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 17

Blossoms and Blessings, April 17

Remembrancy, April 17

Worthy2Read, April 18

By The Book, April 18

Texas Book-aholic, April 18

Just the Write Escape, April 19

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, April 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 19

Babbling Becky’s Book Impressions, April 20

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 20

For HIm and My Family, April 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 21

Inspiration Clothesline, April 21

Pause for Tales, April 21

Through the Fire Blogs, April 22

Bigreadersite, April 22

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 22

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, April 22

Inspired by fiction, April 23

A Reader’s Brain, April 23

Hallie Reads, April 23

Henry Happens, April 24

Connect in Fiction, April 24

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 24

janicesbookreviews, April 24

 

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away a grand prize of a finished paperback copy of The Governess of Penwythe  Hall!!

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/de80/the-governess-of-penwythe-hall-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Beauty in Hiding:#1 Beauty in Flight by Robin Patchen

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About the Book

Book: Beauty in Hiding

Author: Robin Patchen

Genre: Christian romantic suspense

Release Date: March 12, 2019

Book 2 in the Beauty in Flight series:43608957

Harper’s second chance at life will become a second stint in prison if anyone connects those two dead men to her.

Nutfield, New Hampshire, is as good a place as any to hide from the murderer Harper left behind in Maryland. All she has to do is lie low and make enough money to keep herself and Red alive until she can figure out who her enemies are.

Jack Rossi isn’t sure what to make of his beautiful new tenant and her confused grandfather. Something’s not right, but the love he sees between them and the care she takes of the old man convinces Jack they’re trustworthy. As drawn as he is to Harper, she’s his tenant, so she’s off limits.

Derrick, Harper’s ex-boyfriend, and Red’s grandson, needs to find his grandfather and get his hands on the old man’s money before Derrick ends up with a bullet in the skull. And when he gets his hands on Harper, she’ll be sorry for what she’s put him through.

Harper and Jack grow closer, but so do her enemies. If Harper can’t trust Jack with the truth, she may lose more than just this glimpse of true love. She may lose her freedom—or her life.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

MY REVIEW:

Robin Patchen has won me over to her style of romantic suspense with this novel, Beauty in Hiding. You will notice in my meme that there are three books pictured. Beauty in Hiding is book two of a series of three titled, “Beauty in Flight” (also the title of book one). Why do I belabor this point? I strongly urge you to purchase all three books before starting any. You will want to read them all together. I read two and three without one, but these seem to be a continuing story. ‘Nuff said.
What a whirlwind of action and intrigue this book is. An elderly man with dementia; his young, beautiful caretaker, who moves them both far from home; a great-looking landlord who wants to share his faith and some friendship with these two; numerous squirrelly and questionable characters who are best avoided at all costs. It took me very little time to become engrossed in the story and personally interested in sweet, scared Harper; friendly, undemanding Jack, and uncertain Red.
Why am I laughing (or is it sighing) over the town name of Nutfield where one character has dementia and another’s actions seem nutty if one doesn’t know her backstory? The faith element is real, timely, and appropriately woven into the novel.
Beauty in Hiding meme
Some shareable quotes:
“If not for the kindness of strangers, I do not know where I would be. So I will be a kind stranger to you.”“She needed more than a drive in the country and some ice cream. She needed a brain transplant.”

“Harper’s perch was her floor and her knees, and her prayers were for a glimpse of freedom from this crazy situation she’d found herself in. A hope for the future.”

“My brain…I used to be able to rely on it. Now it’s turning against me. Now, I never know if I can trust what I remember.” (This one made me want to cry.)

Run to your nearest bookstore and purchase the entire series, Beauty in Flight, Bks 1-3, to add to your collection if you like sinister Christian romantic suspense. I bought books one and three but was given a complimentary copy of Beauty in Hiding by the author through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my responsibility.

MY RATING:

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About the Author

Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit everyRobin-Patchen-300x199
place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Robin to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

 

More from Robin

I was raised in a Christian home. Our parents took my sister, my brother, and me to church every Sunday. They taught us right from wrong, but eventually, kids have to make their own choices. In my case, I chose wrong for a long time.

Don’t misunderstand: I was always a pretty nice person. I wasn’t a thief, and I didn’t kill anybody, but I made a lot of bad decisions. Sinful decisions. I discovered that one bad choice often led to the next and the next until I was trapped in a life of my own making with no idea how to get out.

But God… two of my favorite words in the English language.

God had a different plan, and He pulled me out of the muck and changed my life. He showed me that I was not the person I’d been acting like. He showed me who I was, and He taught me to walk in the truth of my identity.

Harper Cloud isn’t me, not at all. First of all, she is tall and blond and drop-dead gorgeous. More than that, her choices are nothing like mine were. But she’s in the same boat I was. Thanks to a series of bad decisions, Harper was in a hole, and she didn’t know how to get herself out of it. She used drugs to quiet the condemning voices and told herself lies to make herself feel better. Someday, she told herself, she’d get her life together enough to go home to her parents. Because she couldn’t go when she was a mess. She couldn’t go until she’d done something they could be proud of.

Thanks to a bad choice in boyfriend, Harper not only didn’t go home, she ended up in prison.

Harper’s story begins two years after she’s released. It’s the story of a woman desperate to be free of her past, clinging to hope when there’s every reason to despair, and desperate to believe what she’s been told about this Savior, Jesus Christ.

Harper will learn about love and redemption and salvation in the course of the three books that make up the Beauty in Flight series. That is, if she can survive the danger that seems to follow her wherever she goes.

 

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 13

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 13

amandainpa , April 13

Through the Fire Blogs, April 14

Blogging With Carol, April 14

Ashley’s Bookshelf, April 14

Genesis 5020, April 15

Spoken from the Heart, April 15

Lights in a Dark World, April 15

Through the Lens of Scripture, April 16

Among the Reads, April 16

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 16

Godly Book Reviews, April 17

Living Life Free In christ, April 17

Remembrancy, April 18

Just One More, April 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 18

Emily Yager, April 19

Reader’s Cozy Corner, April 19

Texas Book-aholic, April 19

Daysong Reflections, April 20

Carla Loves To Read, April 20

janicesbookreviews, April 20

Just the Write Escape, April 21

For Him and My Family, April 21

EmpowerMoms, April 22

Simple Harvest Reads, April 22 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Maureen’s Musings, April 23

Bigreadersite, April 23

A Reader’s Brain, April 23

Real World Bible Study, April 24

The Lit Addict, April 24

Older & Smarter?, April 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 25

Inklings and notions, April 25

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 26

Pause for Tales, April 26

The Becca Files, April 26

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and the entire Beauty in Flight Series!!
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/de7a/beauty-in-hiding-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, LPC, NetGalley

The Songbird and the Spy

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About the Book

 

Book: The Songbird and the Spy43080349

Author: J’Nell Ciesielski

Genre: Clean historical romance

Release Date: Feb 19, 2019

As shells explode over Nazi-occupied France, American music student Claire Baudin is trapped behind enemy lines, struggling to protect her identity. Singing as a barmaid while she plans her escape, a handsome Third Reich captain threatens everything she knows to be true about the enemy.

Nazi Captain Michael Reiner isn’t who he claims to be. A British language expert turned spy, he discovers the truth about Claire, but he knows the importance of a secret. Struggling to resist his attraction to the songbird, he’s determined to complete his assignment, no matter the cost. His cover is threatened when a ruthless female Gestapo officer arrives hunting Resistance fighters. The raid forces Michael’s hand: complete the mission or save Claire.

As the war threatens to tear them apart, they must rely on each other for survival. Is there hope—and a future—for an American songbird and a British spy?

Click here to purchase your copy!

MY REVIEW

J’nell Ciesielski’s second novel, The Songbird and the Spy is a masterpiece of espionage, secrets, divided loyalties, and suspense. While not usually a WWII novel fan, I am a new devoted fan. Ciesielski’s characters covertly work their way off the page into your heart. Poor Claire only wants to return to her music studies in unoccupied France. But finding a safe route back is impossible and Claire must pose as a bar singer, attracting both the French nationals and the German soldiers.
One of those soldiers is Captain Michael Reichner, whose true identity is a carefully guarded secret.
This a very heart- wrenching story, lightened by a love that cannot be denied, yet must stay under wraps. I liked Michael’s strong sense of confidence. This can be very appealing in a man.
The tension is drawn even tighter when a female Gestapo agent, eager to earn her way to Berlin, begins to haunt Michael and his men and the very bar where Claire earns her keep.
I found it very interesting that the butcher’s son was named “Savon,” which means “soap” or “soap maker.” The Germans are determined to cleanse the land of undesirables, the French are desperate to wash the German army out of their land. Definitely a story worth reading and sharing.
One note: I was thrilled to see a map at the beginning of the book. The author’s short note was also appreciated.
Some great quotes:

“Trust is rather unreliable in your line of work.”

“If you give him a name, he becomes a person, a man. He is anything but!” 

“…the situation was so tangled that she could no longer determine if lies or truth were the better option.”

“She was the most important mission he’d ever undertaken.” 

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher and Celebrate Lit. I was not required to leave a positive review and all opinions are my own.

MY RATING

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About the Author

Believing she was born in the wrong era, J’nell Ciesielski spends her days creating heart-stopping heroes, brave heroines, and adventurous exploits in times gone by. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages contest and Maggie Award, J’nell can often be found 17735994dreaming of a second home in Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Born a Florida girl, she now calls Virginia home, along with her very understanding husband, young daughter, and one lazy beagle. Find out more at www.jnellciesielski.com.

More from J’nell

The most popular question an author is asked is where did the inspiration come from. Most of the time, if not always, my inspiration comes from a trifecta of resources: movies, music, or books. A single song lyric, or secondary character, or novel setting can trigger a whole world of possibilities that has to be explored. In the case of Songbird and the Spy, it was a movie. A Quentin Tarantino movie to be exact set during WWII where one of the characters is a British officer posing as a Nazi meets up with other spies in a French bar. Another character was a Jewish woman posing as a theater-owning Frenchwoman. My brain immediately tingled with ideas. What if identities were all in question? What if you fell in love with the wrong person? Not just the wrong person, but the enemy? The drama and tension in such a situation would be unbelievable!

And that is how Songbird was born.

Here are a few bits of trivia for you:

  • Songbird was originally titled Iron Shepherd for Michael’s call sign.
  • There have been three or four different endings written.
  • Michael Reiner was based off of Michael (see what I did there?!) Fassbender’s character in Inglorious Basterds. The actor was born in Germany to German and Irish parents, and later grew up in Ireland J Art imitating life.
  • Music always makes its way into my stories and here it takes center stage.
  • I’ve always wanted to write a USO story so the ending was my perfect chance to squeeze it in.
  • Ilsa von Ziegler was based off of Elsa Schneider from Indiana Jones.
  • There was a scene showing Michael at SOE training in Scotland, but it was later cut.
  • Nazi headquarters in Paris really was located on Foch Ave. The building is still there.
  • The molten lead that Michael’s new assistant talks about is a German New Year’s tradition to divine fortune in the coming year. A small bit of lead or tin is melted, and then dropped in water. The form created by the metal predicts the future.
  • Chanteuse is a female singer. Edith Piaf, the most famous French singer of all, was known as The Little Sparrow. Songbird and chanteuse are both used to reference Claire and pay homage to Piaf.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 2

For Him and My Family, April 2

Among the Reads, April 3

Where Faith and Books Meet, April 3

Wishful Endings, April 4

Carpe Diem, April 4

Connect in Fiction, April 5

Emily Yager, April 5

Through the Fire Blogs, April 6

The Christian Fiction Girl, April 6

Hallie Reads, April 7

Lis Loves Reading, April 7

Babbling Becky’s Book Impressions, April 8

Genesis 5020, April 8

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 9

Godly Book Reviews, April 9

Stories By Gina, April 10

Maureen’s Musings, April 10

Carla Loves To Read, April 11

Mary Hake, April 11

Inklings and notions, April 11

Inspired by Fiction, April 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 12

Bigreadersite, April 13

As He Leads is Joy, April 13

Texas Book-aholic, April 14

The Becca Files, April 14

janicesbookreviews, April 15

A Reader’s Brain, April 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away a grand prize of a print copy of Songbird and $25 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/dfe9/the-songbird-and-the-spy-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Hannah Claire’s Wilderness, Bk #2 The Revivalist Trilogy, by Caryl McAdoo

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About the Book

Book: Hannah Claire’s Wilderness

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction

Right after she marries in 1970, love carries Hannah Claire to Nigeria, following her husband David to the mission field—for only two years, she thinks. Miracle upon miracle 43704864brings five-year-old African orphan Adaolisa into the young wife’s life and she becomes a mother. Can the love for a child keep her where she doesn’t want to be? The children of wickedness threaten to make her a widow; they threaten everything, and danger abounds! Only by obedience can Hannah and her revivalist husband survive and prosper in a land torn by violence.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

MY REVIEW

Surprise! Having read another of the author’s novels, I really expected this to be a historical romance, as in the 1800s or so. What Caryl McAdoo serves up in Hannah Claire’s Wilderness couldn’t have been further from my expectations. A very young, freshly married couple heads to Nigeria to preach the gospel. Reflecting the Jesus movement popular in the 1970s, David and Hannah praise loudly and often; expect unbelievable miracles as if ordinary; and also expect God’s financial blessings. While some of this makes me slightly uncomfortable, McAdoo also tackles gritty life problems including human trafficking, martyrdom, adultery, and honesty. Trusting God, obeying Him, praising Him and overcoming fear with meditation and Scripture are key themes, as is forgiveness. I must say, the themes are so relevant to today that I applaud the book much more than I anticipated when I started. McAdoo has given me much to chew on for some time to come. 
Favorite quotes: 
“That’s between you and God though, I can’t be your Holy Spirit.” 
“…either God was on the throne in control or He wasn’t. She had nothing to worry about.” 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required and all opinions are my own. 

 

MY RATING

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About the Author

Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory which is what she lives to do. Her award-winning, best-selling novels enjoy a lion’s share of 5-Star ratings from Christian readers around the world. With forty titles, it’s obvious she loves writing almost as much as caryl-mcadoo-1-216x300singing the new songs the Lord gives her—listen to a few at YouTube. She and high school sweetheart Ron celebrated fifty years of marriage June 22, 2018, and share four children and eighteen grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.

 

Guest Post from Caryl

Have you ever thought you heard from God, and acted on that in obedience—oft at great sacrifice—only to doubt that you heard Him at all when things don’t go as you’d planned? Actually, everything almost goes just the opposite, and your world is turned upside down.

Did you really hear Him?

That’s what my heroine Hannah Claire faces, when a two-year stint looks like it’s turning into a lifetime commitment. Though I’ve never been abroad to the mission field, I’ve faced much the same thing as Hannah, believing I heard Him and then nothing happening as expected!

Personally, I’ve been waiting over thirty years, but have found great peace in that waiting and trusting God—knowing that He is on the throne and in control. I will never doubt that the vision He’s given, the call He’s placed on mine and Ron’s lives WILL come to pass, just as it did for Abraham.

Hannah doesn’t have to wait that long, but her experience takes her to the depths of fear and depression before she comes to know her Heavenly Father is altogether trustworthy. The Shepherd walks her through the valley of the shadow of death and makes her to lie down in green pastures. He stills the raging waters and leads her beside them.

Book three, King David’s Tabernacle, coming sometime in 2020, will bring the reward and give you glory bumps every step of the way as God makes Himself known in a mighty way, but first . . . there’s the refining. Gold is passed through the fire seven times to be purified.

Silver as well, until the smith can see his reflection. Followers of Christ are all being made into the image of God’s Beloved Son, and we can rest in the fact that He who began that good work in us at salvation will be faithful to complete it until His coming again.

I pray you will enjoy your journey through Hannah Claire’s Wilderness.

 

Blog Stops

The Becca Files, March 21

Inklings and notions, March 21

Through the Fire Blogs, March 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 23

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 25

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 28

Texas Book-aholic, March 29

janicesbookreviews, March 30

Bigreadersite, March 31

A Reader’s Brain, April 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 2

Real World Bible Study, April 3

Giveaway

 

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To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away

Grand Prize – $50 Gift Amazon Card

1st Prize – Signed, Paperback copy of CHOICE of all my books

2nd Prize – Signed copy of Hannah Claire’s Wilderness

3rd Prize – eBook copy of Hannah Claire’s Wilderness

4th Prize – eBook copy of CHOICE of all my books

5th Prize $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/dcad/hannah-claire-s-wilderness-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley, Uncategorized

The Seamstress by Allison Pittman

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About the Book

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Title: The Seamstress

Author: Allison Pittman

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Tyndale

A beautifully crafted story breathes life into the cameo character from the classic novel A Tale of Two Cities.

France, 1788
It is the best of times . . .

On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins—Renée and Laurette—have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon’s sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.

It is the worst of times . . .

Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.

It is the story that has never been told.

In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

MY REVIEW:

1788 Paris is dark, gritty, and terrifying; beautiful, lavish and out-of-touch. While the Seamstress by Allison Pittman has much action in the poor countryside, much thought and control are determined in the capricious capital. With its model being The Tale of Two Cities, The Seamstress yet holds forth rays of hope peeking through the backdrop of the dank Bastille on a hot, steamy day. What an incredible, overall effect the completed story has on one’s heart. Abandonment, adoption, intrigue, faith, faithlessness, famine, excess, forgiveness, greed, love, lust, loyalty, rebellion in every form; all are here and present in Paris where the food is scarce and the anger is plentiful. Pittman relates her tale through two cousins, Laurette and Renee. Unsatisfied Laurette’s part is told in the third person, while innocent Renee’s is narrated in first. I half wondered if that encouraged the reader to favor the purer Renee? Silver-tongued Marcel and godly, poor farmer Gagner are major players in the drama. This is certainly a character-driven novel as we see a nation fighting against itself for survival. I loved the great attention to historical detail and political climate, while God’s Word was seamlessly woven into the story in small but efficient sound bites at just the right time. This is a book to leave you reeling!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Celebrate Lit. I was not required to leave a positive review and all opinions are my own.

 

MY RATING:

 

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About the Author

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.

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Guest Post from Allison

My dream of being an author began by “finishing” other author’s works, fleshing out the stories of neglected characters. When I read the final books in the Little House series, I was far more interested in Cap Garland than I was in Almonzo Wilder, and I imagined all kinds of stories in which he was the hero.

This, The Seamstress, is one of those stories that came to me in a single burst of thought. I was teaching my sophomore English class, discussing through the final scenes in A Tale of Two Cities, when the little seamstress in those final pages reached out to me. She is a nameless character, seemingly more symbolic than anything. Dickens, however, gives her an entire backstory in a single phrase: I have a cousin who lives in the country. How will she ever know what became of me? I remember pausing right then and there in front of my students and saying, “Now, there’s the story I want to write.”

Now, years later, I have.

While every word of every Charles Dickens novel is a master class in writing, what he gave to me for The Seamstress is the kind of stuff that brings life and breath to fiction. I have to convey the fact that any character on my pages—no matter how much story space he or she is allotted—has a life between them. Every man was once a child; every woman a vulnerable young girl.

So, Dickens gave me the bones of the story. A seamstress. A cousin in the country. A country ripped apart; family torn from family. I did my very best to put flesh on those bones, but no writer can ever bring the life and breath. Only a reader can do that.

 

Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, February 9

The Lit Addict, February 9

The Power of Words, February 9

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis & Christ Collide, February 10

Lis Loves Reading, February 10

Maureen’s Musings, February 10

Carpe Diem, February 11

A Baker’s Perspective, February 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 12

Emily Yager, February 12

Mary Hake, February 12

Stories By Gina, February 13

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 13

The Christian Fiction Girl, February 13

Inspired by fiction, February 14

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

Remembrancy, February 14

Through the Fire Blogs, February 15

Seasonsofopportunities, February 15

Inspiration Clothesline, February 15

Books, Books, and More Books, February 16

Inklings and Notions, February 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 16

Bibliophile Reviews, February 17

Texas Book-aholic, February 17

Margaret Kazmierczak, February 18

A Reader’s Brain, February 18

By The Book, February 18

Multifarious, February 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 19

Pause for Tales, February 19

Bigreadersite, February 20

Simple Harvest Reads, February 20

Janices book reviews, February 20

For the Love of Books, February 21

Book by Book, February 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 21

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 22

To Everything A Season, February 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 22

 

Giveaway

 

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To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card, a hardcover copy of The Seamstress, and this copy of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens!!

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/db0e/the-seamstress-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge: a Biography for Children

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About the Book

 

Title: Katie Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge

Author: Susan Barnett Braun

Genre: Children’s Non-Fiction

Release date: July 25, 2013, and updated with chapters on each of William and Kate’s children

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is known to most of the world as Kate Middleton. She was an ordinary girl on her way to an ordinary life until she met her Prince Charming. Now, she appears on television and in magazines. She wears beautiful, expensive clothing and travels all over the world. One day, she will be Queen of England. But along the way, she was bullied as a schoolgirl and she waited nearly ten years before marrying Prince William. Learn more about Kate’s road to royalty in this book! Written at Lexile level 930 (same as the Little House on the Prairie books), this book will appeal to girls eager to learn more about the most popular royal since Princess Diana. Full-color photos; timeline that places Kate’s life events into context next to world historical events

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

MY REVIEW:

Interesting and informative, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge: A Biography for Children first catches the reader’s attention with the beautiful cover. Being intrigued with all things royal since the days of Diana’s wedding to Charles, this book by Susan Barnett Braun portrays a happier couple than William’s parents, though Kate had to wait many years for her prince to make up his mind. This read is about more than the royal couple though, as we are treated to Kate’s early life with her family and at different schools.
What every royal watcher wants, a picture is included with every chapter. Welcome addendums to the book are chapters on each of Kate and William’s three children. I would happily recommend this book to upper elementary students and even adults who want a quick look into Kate’s life and history. I know I was pleased to learn a few things about this royal.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own and no positive review was required.

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About the AuthorSusan-Braun-1-200x300

Susan Barnett Braun earned a BS in retail management from Indiana University and an MA in education from the University of Alabama. She taught for eight years in northeast Indiana, earning a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Study Scholarship. Susan has had work published in Parents, Children’s Ministry, and The Secret Place. She also writes online for Fort Wayne Visitor’s Bureau and blogs at Girls in White Dresses. She is married with three wonderful young adult daughters. Susan enjoys reading, playing piano and organ, and spending her time with her family and pets (currently three rabbits and a chinchilla). She has loved the British Royal Family since Diana came onto the scene back in the 1980s.

 

Guest Post from Susan

Back in 1981, as a teenager, I woke early to watch Prince Charles marry Lady Diana Spencer. My fascination with the British royal family began with Diana. As a high school senior, I submitted my senior paper topic: Charles and Diana and the royal romance. My teacher was not amused — but once he read the paper, he did enjoy it and asked to keep a copy.

Over the years, I’ve continued following and enjoying the British royals. When I worked as an elementary teacher, and the next generation of royals came along, I felt that there should be books about Prince William’s wife, Kate. I fondly remembered reading books about Diana when I was younger and felt that today’s girls might be fascinated by Kate in a similar way. I didn’t find many books about Kate, so I decided to write one myself. I learned much while researching Kate (or Catherine, as she prefers to be called). She’s a wonderful role model for girls today in many ways. To name just a few examples: she overcame being bullied by other girls at one of the schools she attended. And, she developed lots of patience during her nine-year courtship with Prince William.

I hope you and the young people in your life will enjoy this biography of the Duchess.

 

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, February 7

Multifarious, February 8

Moments, February 9

Texas Book-aholic, February 10

A Reader’s Brain, February 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 13

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 14

Janices book reviews , February 15

Bibliophile Reviews, February 16

Carpe Diem, February 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 18

Just Your Average reviews, February 18

A Baker’s Perspective, February 19

Bigreadersite, February 20

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away a grand prize of a paperback copy of the book and a stuffed Beefeater bear!!

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/d9a7/kate-middleton-the-duchess-of-cambridge-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

 

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

The Amish Candymaker by Laura V. Hilton

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About the Book

 

 

Title: The Amish Candy Maker39302056

Author: Laura V. Hilton

Genre: Amish Christian Fiction

Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: WhitakerHouse

Agnes Zook finds herself on her own in a small Amish community in Mackinac County after a tragedy kills her family. Most of the Amish call her “off in den Kopf” (strange) since she’s starting her own business and forging her own way in the community instead of relying on the bishop to take care of her. Since she’s viewed as non-submissive and too-forward for an Amish woman, she’s not courted by young men in the area.
Isaac Mast is on the verge of leaving the Amish church. He’s become a sought-after auctioneer and has a thriving business, but he feels confined by the strict rules. When his brother is severely injured in a wildfire, Isaac receives a letter from his sister-in-law, begging him to come to Mackinac County to help out while his brother is hospitalized. Isaac agrees but is unsure how to manage their young children when he has weekend auctions he’s expected to attend.
Agnes may be the answer to a prayer. Sparks fly when she and Isaac meet. But could their differences help them form a deeper connection to their faith…and each other?

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

MY REVIEW:

The story of two very broken young people who must make peace with their God and their pasts, The Amish Candymaker is a sweet and sour romance. The sweet part is the obvious romance we all expect as the readers. The sour part is all the different obstacles that seem determined to keep “half-Amish” auctioneer Isaac and “old maid” Agnes apart.
It took me a while to appreciate the characters, especially Agnes, who was thinking about marriage within minutes of meeting Isaac. As the book progressed, I began to understand a little more the great emotional pain planted in Agnes by her father, who assured her that his words as a Preacher were inspired by God. How furious I was at Agnes’s father for wounding her so deeply.
Isaac knows his past will keep him from getting close to Agnes. Or will that be his inability to settle down and commit to one woman? Bishop Miah finally tells him, “ Running from your problems is a race you’ll never win,” and,
“The trouble with our past is that it refuses to stay past.”
One more Bishop Miah quote:
“Jesus never leaves the faithful to suffer alone. He heals the limping man’s faith.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own and no positive review was required.

MY RATING:

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About the Author

 

Laura Hilton is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with more than a thousand reviews published Laura-picture-300x225on the web. Her first series with Whitaker was The Amish of Seymour, comprising Patchwork DreamsA Harvest of Hearts(2012 Laurel Award winner, first place in the Amish Genre Clash), and Promised to Another; and her second was The Amish of Webster County, comprising Healing LoveAwakened Love, and Surrendered Love. Her next series was The Amish of Jamesport, featuring The Post CardSnow Globe, and The Birdhouse. Her latest books include The Amish FirefighterThe Amish Wanderer, and Love By the Numbers. Laura and her husband, Steve, live in Arkansas with their five children, whom Laura homeschools.

 

Guest Post from Laura

RECIPE FOR FUDGE À LA AGNES ZOOK

 

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge

Courtesy of Laura V. Hilton

 

1 bag (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips

1 bag (10 ounces) peanut butter chips

2 cans sweetened condensed milk, divided

6 tablespoons butter, divided

20 to 30 miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or six regular-size ones broken into four or five pieces each

For the chocolate layer: Line a greased 8-by-11.5-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine milk chocolate chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 4 tablespoons butter. Stir until melted and smooth.

Pour into prepared baking dish and allow to cool to room temperature, then move to the refrigerator while preparing next layer.

For the peanut butter layer: In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine peanut butter chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until melted and smooth.

Pour on to the milk chocolate fudge layer and press pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into the surface. If desired, group candy pieces in a grid-like fashion for easier cutting later.

Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight or until set.

Remove from refrigerator, lift out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper, and cut into squares, with roughly one miniature peanut butter cup or piece of a cup per square.

Store in the refrigerator.

 

Blog Stops

Christian Author, J. E. Grace, February 5

My Devotional Thoughts, February 5

Carla Loves To Read, February 5

Among the Reads, February 6

Girl’s In White Dresses, February 6

Britt Reads Fiction, February 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 7

The Avid Reader, February 7

Random Thoughts From a Bookworm, February 7

Emily Yager, February 8

Quiet quilter, February 8

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 8

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 9

Maureen’s Musings, February 9

Bibliophile Reviews, February 10

Vicky Sluiter, February 10

Through the Fire Blogs, February 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 11

Daysong Reflections, February 11

Texas Book-aholic, February 12

Janices book reviews, February 12

Carpe Diem, February 13

A Baker’s Perspective, February 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

SusanLovesBooks, February 14

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 14

Blossoms and Blessings, February 15

Stephanie’s Life of Perseverance, February 15

Inspiration Clothesline, February 15

Inklings and Notions, February 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 16

Pause for Tales, February 16

Have A Wonderful Day, February 17

For the Love of Books, February 17

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 17

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 18

Bigreadersite, February 18

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away a grand prize of a large and small spatula set and a $10 Starbucks 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/d9a6/the-amish-candy-maker-celebration-tour-giveaway.