BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

A Love to Behold, #3 Forever Freedom by Sharlene McLaren

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About the Book

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Title: A Love to Behold

Author: Sharlene MacLaren

Genre: Christian romance, historical

Release date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Whitaker House

Two years after the Civil War, Lydia Albright, 27, is an established teacher in Boston when she senses God’s call to leave the comfort and security of her job and go south. She accepts a position to teach in a school for former slaves in Charleston, South Carolina. A church there that’s affiliated with the American Missionary Association offers support, along with room and board at the parsonage.

The Ku Klux men are hell-bent on seeing that the new school fails. Lydia’s life is threatened, and the parsonage, church, and school are vandalized.

But they haven’t contended with a strong, determined woman like Lydia before. It also helps that she has a couple potential suitors on her side.

A Love to Behold is a tale of people who grow strong in the face of adversity and a church that learns love, compassion, and acceptance, even in the face of cruelty and hatred.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review:

Sharlene McLaren’s A Love to Behold is a beautiful, thought-provoking story about the Reconstructionist South. A time of the country being deeply divided, neighbors hating neighbors, and people not recognizing the worth of others made in God’s image. Although it sounds like it could be a tale of today, it is in reality, a tale of over one hundred fifty years ago.
I loved the spunk and spirit of Lydia. She has a mission and nothing can dissuade her. She is a “Steel Magnolia” from the North, determined to help the oppressed. I enjoyed the love triangle that develops. Of course, I always wonder why the characters let it go on as long as they do.
What added life and breadth to the novel was the colloquialisms that McLaren uses that were native to the area. Examples are “ fine as sifted flour,” “ heap of tired,” and, “I don’t give a skunk’s ear!”The best part of the book, though, is that the protagonists base their character upon Scriptural principles and pray about their problems.

There is plenty of suspense, mystery, action, and a bit of romance to keep the reader flipping pages to see how God (and McLaren)allow things to level out.

Favorite quote?
“But if the current generation wishes to stop the hatred, they can do it, one step at a time, one person at a time. We all have to work together, and then, with God’s help, we can achieve peace. God is love and He commands us to love one another. In fact, loving God and others is the greatest, most important commandment of all.”
Second?
“They calls her a half-breed, but she ain’t half t’ God, is she? She be whole t’ Him.”

I highly recommend this book, possibly in light of today’s animosity in our country. I never realized this was part of a series as I was reading it, so it stands on its own quite well.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.

I also apologize to the author and other readers who looked for my review earlier.  Due to a mistake on my part, it did not appear on time on my blog.  Totally my fault and I ask your forgiveness.

My Rating:

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About the Authorsharlene-maclaren-214x300

Born and raised in west Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. Upon graduating in 1971 with an education degree, she taught second grade for two years, then accepted an invitation to travel internationally with a singing ensemble for one year. In 1975, she came home, returned to her teaching job, and married her childhood sweetheart. Together, they raised two lovely daughters, both of whom are now happily married and enjoying families of their own. Retired in 2003 after thirty-one years of teaching, “Shar” loves to read, sing, travel, and spend time with her family—in particular, her adorable grandchildren!
A Christian for over fifty years, and a lover of the English language, Shar always enjoyed dabbling in writing. She remembers well the short stories she wrote in high school and watching them circulate from girl to girl during government and civics classes. “Psst,” someone would whisper from two rows over, always when the teacher’s back was turned, “pass me the next page.”
In the early 2000s, Shar felt God’s call upon her heart to take her writing pleasures a step further, and in 2006, she signed a contract for her first faith-based novel, Through Every Storm, thereby launching her writing career. With eighteen published novels now gracing store shelves and being sold online, she daily gives God all the glory. She dedicated her last novel, Their Daring Hearts, to Jesus.
Shar has done numerous countrywide book signings and made several television appearances and radio interviews. She loves speaking for community organizations, libraries, church groups, and women’s conferences. In her church, she is active in women’s ministries, regularly facilitating Bible studies and other events. She and her husband, Cecil, live in Spring Lake, Michigan, with their beautiful white collie, Peyton, and their ragdoll cat, Blue.
Shar loves hearing from her readers. If you wish to contact her as a potential speaker for a church function or would simply like to chat with her, please feel free to send her an e-mail at sharlenemaclaren@yahoo.com. She will do her best to answer in a timely manner. You may also find her on Facebook.

 

Guest Post from Sharlene

My dear readers,

It has indeed been my great privilege and pleasure to write this series set in Civil War times. What a thought-provoking, amazing, and heart-wrenching era in American history.

If you read all three books in the “Forever Freedom” series—Summer on Sunset Ridge, Their Daring Hearts, and A Love to Behold—you will have gotten some history lessons regarding the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers; Abolition; the Underground Railroad, which the Quakers were instrumental in launching; life as a Union soldier in the Civil War; the Freedmen’s Bureau; and Reconstruction, that period following the war when the south had fallen into great disrepair. Also prevalent in this third book is a bit of history regarding the origin of the Ku Klux Klan, a hate group that formed during the Reconstruction period.

Although I did not appreciate history as a young girl, as an older adult, I’m quite fascinated by it. History itself is a great teacher. Learning about it can be everything from exhilarating to depressing, challenging and yet exciting. It is my prayer that as you read my books, you’ll not only find them entertaining, but also inspiring and uplifting. I aim to encourage, not discourage. Much of history—if we dwell on it—can be disheartening, but focusing our hearts and minds on Christ gives us courage and confidence. Let us learn from history, but let us look to the future with hope in our hearts.

With love and a prayer for God’s best blessings,

Shar

 

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, January 22

Maureen’s Musings, January 22

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 23

Genesis 5020, January 23

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, January 24

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 24

Splashes of Joy, January 25

Blossoms and Blessings, January 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 26

Mary Hake, January 26

Godly Book Reviews, January 27

Daysong Reflections, January 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 28

Robin is Bookish, January 28

My Devotional Thoughts, January 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 29

The Becca Files, January 30

For the Love of Literature, January 30

Texas Book-aholic, January 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 1

Janices book reviews, February 1

A Baker’s Perspective, February 2

Bibliophile Reviews, February 3

Carpe Diem, February 4

Bigreadersite, February 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sharlene is giving away a grand prize of a $20 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/d8d2/a-love-to-behold-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

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BLOG, NetGalley, Revell

In Too Deep, #2 Dive Team Investigations by Lynn H. Blackburn

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ABOUT THE BOOK

AUTHOR: Lynn Blackburn

SERIES: Dive Team Investigations, #2

PUBLISHER, PUBLISHED: Revell; November 2018

When the dive team is called in to recover a body from a submerged car, they aren’t prepared to find an encrypted laptop–or an unsettling connection between investigator Adam Campbell and the dead accountant.

Adam turns to his friend Dr. Sabrina Fleming–a professor at the local university with unparalleled computer security and forensics skills–to recover the files from the laptop. But the deeper they dig, the deadlier the investigation becomes. When evidence uncovers a human trafficking ring and implicates members of Adam’s own family, he and Sabrina will have to risk everything to solve the case.

The truth could set hundreds free–but someone is willing to do whatever it takes to silence anyone who threatens to reveal their secrets. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn invites readers back to Carrington, North Carolina, where everything is not as it seems and sinister elements lurk behind the idyllic façade.

 

MY REVIEW:

A forensic dive team in North Carolina is the focus of Lynn H Blackburn’s series, Dive Team Investigations. In book one, we met the team members and focused on Ryan and Leigh’s story. Book two, In Too Deep, tells the chilling tale of Adam and Sabrina. While I believe the book could stand on its own, I started out feeling that the team members were already my friends, not people I had just met.

What’s to love about this book? Blackburn strikes a good balance between great romantic suspense and relationship-driven narrative. What I loved most is that Sabrina is intelligent beyond belief, yet that character trait is countered by an unusual lack of common social skills. In other words, a great, but lovable, flawed protagonist.

Heavy topics are handled within these pages. My antennae went up. We’re talking about sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Where is the author taking me? Guilt, awareness, action? For me, I choose awareness.

I loved that prayers are a part of everyday needs in the novel, and some are spoken aloud. They’re not preachy, but natural, clear, and honest.

Points to Blackburn for exhibiting a sense of humor at a few critical points. Some thoughts just made me laugh. Try “baby cops.” Another was a paragraph listing Sabrina’s many injuries, followed by the statement she had never looked more beautiful. That just tickled my funny bone.

Thought-provoking quotes:
“You love the victims and the victimizers. We don’t understand that, Lord.”(How true!)
and
“…it’s not about how big our faith is. What matters is how big our God is.”~Sabrina

I highly recommend this series, and can’t wait for Gabe and Anissa’s story. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are solely my own, and no positive review was required.

 

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

17521786Lynn H. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, COVERT JUSTICE, won the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery/Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Her second book, HIDDEN LEGACY, released in June 2017. She began a new series, Dive Team Investigations with BENEATH THE SURFACE in March of 2018.

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Texas, My Texas:#2Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga by Caryl McAdoo

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About the Book

 

Title: Texas My Texas

Author: Caryl McAdootexas-my-texas-200x300

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: February 11, 2019

He who puts his trust in God will possess the land and inherit the blessings.

Scripture tells a husband to love his wife, but what if she loves the memory of a dead man? Lured to the Texas frontier by more free land than they could ever buy, four families struggle to carve a home and a living out of the wilderness. And though love isn’t always easy coming, like bees to sweet flowers, a neighbor and his partner swoop in hoping to steal the hearts of the clan’s two young beauties. Will their infants spoil the ointment? Wild animals, Indians on the warpath, and living hand-to-mouth never make it easy, but my oh my—Texas my Texas! What a land!

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

MY REVIEW

“Family Saga” describes this new novel by Caryl McAdoo so well. In 1841 Texas Territory, we meet one of the main protagonists, Gabrielle. She has been blessed with a young baby, yet is extremely jealous of another “clan member” throughout the book. Gabby has a hard time telling herself the truth or letting others tell it to her. Because of her negative thoughts and downward -spiraling emotions, this book was a little gloomier than I had hoped.
Having read an earlier book in the series, I found myself adrift at first, desperately wishing for a family tree. There are a lot of characters, and I wanted to be reminded of how they all fit together sooner than later. I really was amazed at the depth of the love and the lack of conditions Thomas placed on the love he offered. So Christlike, yet so rare in our world.
The love that Gabrielle’s Pap shows both of his daughters is nothing short of amazing to me, as well. He changed from being a drunk to being a very godly, wise man who could counsel and support either daughter in her separate needs.
I appreciated that people could be sorry that their actions hurt others, yet realize those actions were the best choice possible. This seemed to happen several times, perhaps because mature people were repeatedly dealing with immature people.
Because of mature themes, this is a book I would recommend for older readers.  Grammar mistakes or typos made for a bit of a disjointed read in spots.
A favorite quote:
“Worry doesn’t do anything but make you sick. Plus, it’s just a slap in God’s face. As if you can’t trust Him or He isn’t able to keep your husband safe.”
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.

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 caryl-mcadoo-1-216x300Christian readers around the world. With thirty-eight titles, it’s obvious she loves writing almost as much as singing the new songs the Lord gives her—listen to a few at YouTube. She and high school sweetheart Ron celebrated fifty years of marriage in June 2018; they share four children and eighteen grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, the seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.

 

Guest Post from Caryl

It’s always good to give thanks. And I’m thankful for you! I appreciate you stopping by my awesome Celebrate Lit Blog Tour! I’m thankful for each of the bloggers who signed up to participate in the tour for my January release Texas My Texas, book two in my new Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga series! And I’m so thankful the Lord is blessing Celebrate Lit as Sandy Barela blesses so many Christian authors! She is deserving of all God’s best!

 

In Book One, Gone to Texas, I got seventeen souls to their new home in the Republic. Texas My Texas has all the same pioneers with a few new added as they establish hearth and home in the wooly, untamed Trinity River Bottoms of North Central Texas—which later in history, becomes the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. They’re settling in what now is Irving—my home for fifty-plus years.

 

Only a few months has passed for my characters, Book One ends in November, Book Two picks up in March, 1841. In real life, it’s been just that long since Book One launched, too! It debuted in September and Book Two launching now is also four months! Isn’t that fun? Originally, I’d planned a different January title but pushed it back a couple of months to release Texas My Texason the heels of Gone to Texas.

 

In this new story, the two young women—Gabrielle and Isabel Harrell—elicit the attention of suitors who come calling even in the wild west territory. Thomas Baldwin (a neighbor introduced in Gone To Texas) has an eye for Gabrielle and uses many excuses to visit, including taking his friend Monroe Humble to the clan’s little settlement to meet the lovey, hardworking Isabel.

 

But Gabrielle is pining hard for her love back home and deals with pretty severe melancholy—what they called depression back in those days. In Texas My Texas, readers will spend time with the characters they came to love in Gone To Texas. As always, I pray my story gives God glory! And that readers will enjoy the new even better than the old! BLESSINGS!

 

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book ImpressionsJanuary 12

The Mimosa Blossom, January 12

Inklings and notionsJanuary 13

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis & Christ Collide, January 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 15

Moments, January 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 16

Captive Dreams Window, January 17

Robin is Bookish, January 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 18

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 19

BigreadersiteJanuary 19

My Devotional ThoughtsJanuary 20

Bibliophile Reviews, January 20

Texas Book-aholic, January 21

Janices book reviewsJanuary 22

Margaret Kazmierczak, January 23

Carpe Diem, January 24

A Baker’s Perspective, January 25

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 Texas my Texas,

3rd Prize – eBook copy of Texas My Texas,

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/d941/texas-my-texas-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

 

 

Bethany House, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley

Flights of Fancy, #1 American Heiresses by Jen Turano

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About the Book

 

Title: Flights of Fancy

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Gilded Age flights-of-fancy-194x300

Release date: January 1, 2019

Publisher: Bethany House

Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she’s always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.

 

Click here to order your copy!

MY REVIEW

Just when I think Jen Turano can’t come up with any fresh ideas for her hilarious historic comedies, she proves me wrong again. I loved the spirit of adventure and positivity that Isadora (“Izzie”) possesses. The Duke of Montrose sounded like a “monstrosity” of a man and nuisance. On the other hand, how many readers will find themselves enthralled with Ian and his love for his fellow man (well, his looks COULD play into the picture.) Uncle Amos and Aunt Birdie are pure strokes of literary genius and the four children are beyond lovable. Now I can’t wait for the next books in this series.
Some favorite quotes:
“…God occasionally throws obstacles our way so we’re forced to grow into the people he wants us to be.”
“…what with how often people forget to show kindness to those most vulnerable. I imagine it must pain God no small amount when He witnesses us ignoring those in need.”
During the time I was reading this, I heard, “Good, Good Father” by Chris Tomlin on the radio. Somehow it seemed very apropos to the book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. All opinions are my own and no positive review was required.

MY RATING

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About the Author

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred jen-turano-200x300 reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.

 

 

 

Guest post from Jen

Q & A With Jen Turano

 

“Flights of Fancy” is the first book in the American Heiress Series. What inspired you to write this series?

The inspiration for this entire series started off with a What If? All of my proposals for new series start off that way, and this time it was – What if Consuelo Vanderbilt had balked when her mother insisted she marry the Duke of Marlborough – and then that led to – What if she’d run away until her mother came to her senses? Just like that, an entire series was born – a bit of a different take on American heiresses because in all three books, my heiresses might decide to go a tad…rogue. We start off with Miss Isadora Delafield – who does run off to avoid marriage to a duke, then we get to meet Miss Poppy Garrison, who is an unexpected heiress but who can’t quite seem to get a handle on the expected social decorum of the day, and then the final book revolves around Miss Beatrix Waterbury – who gets banished to Chicago after she annoys her mother one too many times, and once there, well, gets up to a bit of mischief.

 

How do you come up with the names of your characters?

I find most of my names as I research the New York Four-Hundred, although I normally take a first name here, a last name there so I’m not stepping on any toes by writing about an actual historical figure – except for some of the main figures in New York society back then, such as Mr. Ward McAllister – who was the social arbiter of the day, or Mrs. William Astor, who was the queen of that society. What I don’t do is simply make up names, no matter how outrageous they may appear. And, no matter how I may love a certain name, if the character decides it doesn’t suit them, that’s it, it’s out and I’m back to the drawing board.

 

How do you picture your character? Do you use Pinterest, magazines, movies?

Odd as this may seem, I don’t use pictures for my characters. They start off in my mind as a blurry figure, and then, they develop from there – I like to keep my descriptions of them somewhat vague on the pages so that the reader can imagine them exactly the way they’d like them to be.

 

What are some of your favorite resources for historical research?

I’ve been building up a research library over the past few years and now have over 200 books dedicated to the Gilded Age. My favorites are – “A Season of Splendor” by Greg King, “Society as I Have Found It” by Ward McAllister, “The Gilded Age in New York – 1870-1910” by Esther Crain, and “ ‘King Lehr’ and the Gilded Age” by Elizabeth Drexel Lehr.

 

The setting for “Flights of Fancy” is a bit of a departure for you since it’s set in and outside of Pittsburgh. Any reason for that?

My mom was born in Pittsburgh, and unfortunately, her father, a prominent attorney back in the day, died when she was only four. I thought it would be cool to set a story in Pittsburgh, which would then allow me to really dive into some research. And get this – while I was doing that research, I found this obscure journal called “Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In that journal was a bit about my great-grandfather, Fred, his wife, Susie, my grandfather, and his brother and sister, but I’d never heard about this brother, who apparently died quite young. One of the most fabulous research tidbits I’ve uncovered to date.

 

What are you working on now?

I’ve just recently turned in the content edits for the second book in this series, “Diamond in the Rough,” and I’ve also turned in a novella about the Harvey Girls that will be coming out in a novella collection in Fall, 2019. With those out of the way, I’m now starting the third and final book in the American Heiress series, Miss Beatrix Waterbury’s story, but I’m having a bit of a struggle with the hero at the moment – he was supposed to be Edward, but he doesn’t want to be an Edward – I think he wants to be Norman – but, time will tell on that one – don’t hold me to the name – it’ll depend on if he changes his mind or not – pesky characters.

 

You seem to enjoy adding animals in many of your stories. Will we find any animals in “Flights of Fancy?”

Since Miss Isadora Delafield ends up on a farm, I do believe you will find a few animals, such as an adorable cow by the name of Buttercup, a few goats that seem to have a great liking for laundry, and…there might be some chickens.

 

Thanks for stopping by today, everyone! Always enjoy visiting with all of you – in fact, that’s the best part of my job!

All the best,

~ Jen ~

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, January 10

Among the Reads, January 10

Through the Fire, January 10

To Everything A Season, January 10

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 11

Blogging With Carol, January 11

Southern Gal loves to Read, January 11

Back Porch ReadsJanuary 12

KarenSueHadleyJanuary 12

Godly Book Reviews, January 12

Daysong ReflectionsJanuary 12

Livin Lit, January 13

The Christian Fiction Girl, January 13

The Becca Files, January 13

Texas Book-aholic, January 13

Rebekah’s Quill, January 14

Blossoms and Blessings, January 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 15

Just the Write Escape, January 15

Stories By Gina, January 15

God’s Little Bookworm, January 16

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, January 16

Splashes of JoyJanuary 16

Janices book reviews, January 16

Happily Managing A Household of Boys, January 17

Mary Hake, January 17

Maureen’s Musings, January 17

Bibliophile Reviews, January 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 18

Baker Kella, January 18

Simple Harvest ReadsJanuary 18 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 19

Captive Dreams Window, January 19

Robin is Bookish, January 19

Carpe Diem, January 19

Have A Wonderful DayJanuary 20

Life with the Tribe, January 20

Inklings and NotionsJanuary 20

Rachel’s Back Talk, January 21

Inspiration Clothesline, January 21

amandainpaJanuary 21

A Baker’s Perspective, January 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 22

Pause for Tales, January 22

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 22

Raining Butterfly Kisses, January 23

Live Love Read, January 23

A Rup Life, January 23

Bigreadersite, January 23

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a grand prize of a trunk filled with all of Jen’s full-length novels released to date!!

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/d8d1/flights-of-fancy-celebration-tour-giveaway

Revell

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: A Bound Heart

AUTHOR: Laura Frantz

PUBLISHER, PUBLISHED: Revell, January 2019

GENRE: Christian Historical Romance

Though Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is but the keeper of his bees and the woman he is hoping will provide a tincture that might help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Yet even when all hope seems dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony, it may be that in this New World the two of them could make a new beginning–together.

Laura Frantz’s prose sparkles with authenticity and deep feeling as she digs into her own family history to share this breathless tale of love, exile, and courage in Colonial America.

 

MY REVIEW:

Laura Frantz is truly a master of vivid descriptions of beautiful landscapes and sea/skyscapes as she lyrically composes the lives and times of her historical characters. A Bound Heart is set in Scotland. While Ms. Frantz is such a romantic writer she could probably make Antarctica sound like a vacation spot, I had to wonder if I would like the island of Kerrera any more than Isla did.
Smugglers, fighting against unjust taxes, a corrupt court, an ocean voyage of horrors, several love triangles; all make for a very tightly woven story. Frantz’s characters are full of life, passion, and pride in their heritage. When these freedoms are removed, what will remain behind?
It was very interesting to learn about the Scots’ way of life in the 1750s. I must admit, I had a hard time with a love triangle involving a married person. While no wrong actions occurred, I would have preferred to see one party or the other take steps to put physical distance between them. The glossary was a huge help, as was the context in which Frantz used the unfamiliar words. A few wonderful quotes:
On the horrid ship: “Lord, all I have is Ye. Make that enough.”
“Fear had a terrible taste.”
This is a good book, but it will not be my favorite Frantz book. To each his own. Anxiously awaiting the next Frantz novel.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions expressed here are solely my own and no positive review was required.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Frantz is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is 2986307credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Frantz lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Readers can find Laura Frantz at www.laurafrantz.net.

 

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The Sleuth’s Dilemma, #2 The Librarian Sleuth by Kimberly Rose Johnson

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: The Sleuth’s Dilemma, #2 The Librarian Sleuth

AUTHOR: Kimberly Rose Johnson

PUBLISHER, PUBLISHED: Mountain Brook Ink, February 2019

Anna loves her job as a high school English teacher until everything goes sideways. The one bright spot in her life is Titus Gains, the school counselor, who is there for her at every turn.

Titus’ boss complicates his ordered world when she tasks him with running a meeting that changes everything. How had he not noticed Anna earlier? Someone is out to destroy her, and he can’t let that happen.

As the head of the English department, part of Luke Harms’ job is to make sure everything runs smoothly. Things went haywire when Anna was put in charge of the big writing contest. Entries are missing, Anna appears to be in danger, and her job is on the line. Luke is investigating and wants to make things right for this woman he’s starting to care about.

Can a trio of school officials along with Nancy Daley, the town sleuth, stop the saboteur before it’s too late? And will Anna choose the right man, or lose them both?

 

MY REVIEW:

Teachers are notoriously overworked and I could certainly feel, as a former teacher and one who has many teacher friends, the huge weight of an additional, unwanted assignment. English teacher Anna Plum is saddled with running the high school writing contest as the former chair has refused to continue in that role. While Anna agrees to chair the contest, bad things begin to happen and she begins to wonder if it was a huge mistake.

The characters are well-drawn. I especially liked Anna as a former teacher. Her fears were very believable. The whole scenario of a single teacher with a few close friends who would go to bat for her was a home run for me. Nancy Daley, the librarian, is very loyal and would be a great friend to have. I enjoyed the tension between Nancy and her deputy sheriff boyfriend as they learn how to trust each other without necessarily giving up delicate information. I liked the romantic aspect as well as the mystery that kept me guessing. In short, I really loved it, even though I haven’t yet read book one. ( Which is now higher on my TBR pile.) If you are looking for a sweet, mysterious romance that includes asking for God’s guidance, buckle in and come along for the ride Kimberly Rose Johnson provides.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are expressly my own and no positive review was required.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award-winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child, Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. 7082210

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/

2018 Top Ten Books, Barbour, Bethany House, Celebrate Lit Tour, Lyrical Underground, NetGalley, Revell

MY 2018 TOP TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR

Like others whose lists I have already seen, I had difficulty narrowing my list of books I’ve read this year (79) down to the ten most important not to miss. I must include the fact that a particularly good book may be missing just because I didn’t get around to reading it. One book that should probably be on my list, I read last year at this time. With a little creativity to include a few more than 10, here is my list. These are not in order of preference. You can’t ask that from most book lovers. (It can change daily.)

1. A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano. 36394907

This is a rather allegorical novel of a vine keeper who takes over the vineyard of a great vintner. It is the vintner’s daughter who alternately criticizes and pines over the mysterious vine keeper. A romance and allegory so great I knew as I was reading it this would top my list of great books for this year.

 

 

 

2. River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart. 36569429

In pre-Civil War times, a small town rallies around a particularly loving and caring slave, as a Caucasian young lady who owes him her life and much of her mindset, decides whether she will support slavery or freedom for all. Heartwarming, also heartbreaking, this novel makes the reader wonder about their own mettle faced with issues of this magnitude.

 

3. Mind Games by Nancy Mehl.                                38484891

Mehl presents such great romantic suspense, yet I always find her characters so believable. Like yes, this really could happen to the average person (nevermind said average person is an extraordinary FBI profiler). This whole book is terrific, I mean terrifying. Yet the ending blew me away and left me wanting more. You will have to read it to understand. This is not your ordinary cliffhanger.

 

4.  The Cumberland Bride, # 5 Daughters of the 36040943Mayflower Series, by Shannon McNear.

Thrills and chills of a small group traversing the dangerous Cumberland Gap during the turbulent time of Daniel Boone. A young woman of eligible age falls for the group’s half-Indian guide. As romantic as they come!

 

5. Nantucket Legacy Series by Suzanne Woods Fisher. This includes (1) Phoebe’s Light; (2) Minding the Light; and (3) The Light of Day.

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Wow! This series about the Quakers of Nantucket Island is a true treasure. Starting with the life of a lady destined to be a leader, “Great Mary,” we find out about her in each book through parts of her diary that are shared. Since each book is a split-time novel, we also learn about another person or person who lived a generation or more later. We see lives of the islanders intertwining, and both evil and good reaching down through later generations, depending upon whether the characters are truly following “the light.” A great historical about the times when whaling was a viable trade.

 

 

6. A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green.

Jocelyn Green does great historical research, yet like Laura Frantz and Michelle Griep, she presents it so well. I had never been in a French class or read a book that looked at Marie Antionette and Louis XVI with anything but disdain and 35069159the attitude “they had it coming.” There’s always another side. imagine my surprise to hear about the Jacobites in America, and the danger they posed to those who appeared loyal to the deposed French crown. I loved this book through and through. French history, Franco-American history, and the Whiskey Rebellion?! Learn on!!

 

7. A Tale of Two Hearts, #2 A Dickens Christmas, by Michelle Griep. 38746239

This is the story of a poor law clerk and an impoverished innkeeper’s daughter who conspire to pretend to be married in order to convince his uncle to leave the uncle’s vast holdings to the law clerk. As I wrote in my review, “Superior story, superior writing, superior read. Period.”

 

8. Catching Christmas, by Terri Blackstock.Catching-Christmas-210x300

I had never known Ms. Blackstock to write anything but Christian romance or romantic suspense. This departure from her usual is a Christmas Hallmark-like tale that has it all. Humor, poignancy, romance, stress, and the message of life’s ultimate meaning.

 

 

9. Shelter of the Most High, # 2 Cities of Refuge by Connilyn Cossette.36436246

Biblical fiction comes to life by a new-to-me author. #2  in The Cities of Refuge series, now I can’t wait to read the other two! A little gritty at first, not for the faint of heart, Cossette
honestly shows what it was like for the non-Jewish people serving other gods. This makes our own God so attractive, both for the protagonist and for the reader. Now I understand all the hype surrounding the name “Connilyn Cossette.”

10. TIE BETWEEN A Caffeine Conundrum by Angela Ruth Strong and The Spice of Life, #1 A Salty Tale by Debbie Viguie.

A) A Caffeine Conundrum-40945129

This is another great Christmas tale but so much more. In typical  Angela Ruth Strong-style, a ton of laughter, a quirky character or two, and some subtle Christian values to hang onto for real life.

 

B) The Spice of Life, #1 A Salty Tale by Debbie Viguie.42597854

The first in a new cozy/romantic suspense/thriller series sure to be even more exciting as it builds book by book. One of the protagonists reminds me strongly of Remington Steele, yay!! If I didn’t already like this one enough, I got to hear parts of it read out loud in person by the author, and parts hilariously acted out singlehandedly by another friend!

 

2018 Runners-Up:

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Thank you for checking out my list! Did you make one? I’d love to compare!