BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Pretending to Wed, #2 Frontier Vows by Melissa Jagears Celebrate Lit Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Pretending to Wed

Author: Melissa Jagears

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: May 28, 2020

PretendingToWed_Ebook

It’s a match made in heaven…as long as they don’t fall in love!

The ranch Nolan Key has spent decades working for, even lost a leg for, is now his—or at least it should be. But an absurd clause in his father’s will means he’s in danger of losing the place to his lazy, undeserving cousin. Nolan finds himself scrambling to save his home—by proposing marriage to the town laundress.

Corinne Stillwater’s hands have betrayed her. Numb from hours of doing the same work over and over, her hands will only heal, according to the town doctor, if she gives up the laundry and marries. But she’s been stung repeatedly by love before, so that is one remedy she can’t swallow.

When Nolan offers Corinne a marriage in name only, how can she refuse? Such a partnership could give them the security they seek, but what if the ranch isn’t as secure as they believe, and their lives—and dreams—aren’t quite as compatible as they thought?

Pretending to Wed is the second book in the Frontier Vows Series by award-winning Christian romance author Melissa Jagears. If you like marriage-of-convenience stories that deal with the nitty-gritty of making a relationship work, you’ll love this authentic romance set in a time gone by that tackles issues still relevant for today.

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions

Travel back to a hot summer in 1884 in Wyoming Territory. Nolan Key is desperate, as the ranch he stood to inherit from his father will only pass to him if he marries within 3 months. Otherwise, his unbearable cousin Matt, whom his father always seemed to prefer over his own son, will own the spread.


Pretending to Wed is my first Melissa Jagears novel, but I will be on the lookout for more. I enjoyed the marriage of convenience trope. I liked how some of Nolan’s attitudes were due to his pain, but was amazed at the lengths to which he would go, to be self-sufficient.
I found it amazing to think that there were prosthetic limbs to be had way back then.
Corrine Stillwater, the town laundress, was as stubbornly self- sufficient as Nolan. She also lived with constant pain and was just as determined not to marry as Nolan.
I was happy to see the apparent growth in Uncle Matthias and the softening of some attitudes. Matt was so irritating and arrogant. He seemed to have few redeeming qualities. While Matt may have been two-dimensional, it made for a lighter read.


One thing that did frustrate me, was the unwillingness of either Nolan or
Corrine to be open about their feelings.
While part of a series, Pretending to Wed can stand alone well. Recommended for those who like light historical romance.
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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Author

Melissa jagears

Award winning author, Melissa Jagears, is a homeschooling mom who writes Christian Historical Romance into the wee hours of the night. She lives in Kansas with her husband and three children. Her ebook novella, Love by the Letter, is her ACFW Carol Award winning novella and free to try. You can learn more about her, her books, and where she hangs out online at www.melissajagears.com

More from Melissa

The Elusive Electrical Spark to Awaken Frankenstein’s Monster

The plot of Pretending to Wed just wasn’t coming together for me. I had the romantic dilemma, but I didn’t love the characters. They were boring. And if I’m going to write a book, a.k.a. read it a bazillion times, I have to really want to read the book myself. I decided to take a break from the weeks of struggle and read. I was recommended a book because of the author’s great voice (I can’t recommend it because it’s not a clean novel), but I loved the fact that the heroine was a scientific illustrator. I wondered if I could give my heroine a scientific hobby and came up with inventing. That single character tidbit was the jolt that awakened Frankenstein’s Monster. She came alive! The research into what she could have patented at the time led my imagination to the egg hatching romance scene in the middle of the story and I was hooked! I couldn’t wait to read my book that didn’t yet exist.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 17

Writing from the Heart Land, September 17

Through the Lens of Scripture, September 17

Texas Book-aholic, September 18

Inklings and notions, September 18

For Him and My Family, September 19

Connie’s History Classroom, September 19

deb’s Book Review, September 19

Batya’s Bits, September 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 20

lakesidelivingsite, September 21

Genesis 5020, September 21

The Book Chic Blog, September 21

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, September 22

The Collaborative Press, September 22

Betti Mace, September 22

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 23

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 23

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, September 24

Remembrancy, September 24

Wishful Endings, September 24

Life of Literature, September 25

Book Love, September 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Bizwings Blog, September 25

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 26

Bigreadersite, September 26

Labor Not in Vain, September 26

CarpeDiem, September 27

Hookmeinabook, September 27

Splashes of Joy , September 27

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, September 28

Artistic Nobody, September 28 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 29

Adventures Of A Travelers Wife, September 29

Blessed & Bookish, September 29

Simple Harvest Reads, September 30 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Maureen’s Musings, September 30

NovelsCorner, September 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a Gift Certificate for the winner’s Choice of Book (up to 16.99 plus S&H) from Melissa’s Local Christian Bookstore, Faith & Life Bookstore, and a signed copy of Pretending to Wed!!

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/100e6/pretending-to-wed-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, LPC

The Shopkeeper’s Widow by Izzy James Celebrate Lit Tour with Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  The Shopkeeper’s Widow

Author: Izzy James

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: August 21, 2020

TheShopkeepersWidow_w12605_750

Delany Fleet, a widowed former indentured servant living in the colonial port of Norfolk, Virginia, dreams of having an estate of her own where she will never have to compromise her freedom.

When the only man she ever loved shows up with a load of smuggled firearms, Delany is forced to leave her home and her livelihood to protect her family and property from Lord Dunmore’s raids and the conniving plots of a man who claims to be her friend.

Now, with her destiny forever altered, Delany must find a new way to happiness. Can reconnecting with her husband’s family and a former love be the path that God has for her?

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions

Historical romance. Colonial Virginia, 1775. A young girl falls into an unlikely crush with a rich landowner’s son, only to meet him years later under different circumstances.
My reading juices are salivating over such a description of The Shopkeeper’s Widow by Izzy James. This book’s rating was a conundrum for me, as I sorted out what I liked (a lot) and what I think would like to see different (sometime it would be fun to have an author write a story and have different people finish it, just to see the different opinions.) I would like to highlight that these wishes, especially for a different take, are MY OPINION.
Delaney Button Fleet, widowed owner of a toy shop in Norfolk, becomes an outspoken advocate of abolition, though it may not have been referred to as such in 1775.
Delaney chooses to align with the colonists when the British loot a local print shop.
First wish: I wished the book would have ended without the epilogue. I expected some rewarding tidbit to be uncovered but felt it was too abrupt.
Secondly, when I finished the book, I was left with a few loose ends, which I didn’t know how to secure.


For happy points, I did like that we were shown how much Delany enjoyed her nieces and nephews. A book always gains my interest when children are involved in a loving, wholesome way. I did appreciate how Ms. James shows that brothers can be very different and have very disparate values. Tom Fleet is the antithesis of his brother, Sam. Also, George and Freewill were opposites. One can only assume that children raised in the same home by the same parents still can make very different life-defining choices.
The novel is a little preachy in spots. I would prefer a more naturally flowing message, but I do agree it is life’s most important message.
I like romance but got a little impatient with Delany in her unwillingness to give Field Archer room to grow. However, Ms. James was on it. I loved that Sarah reminded Delany, “you have to allow for growth to happen at its own pace.” So, the heroine is flawed. Well and good, because so was the hero.

Now, with the list of pros and cons presented against each other, I gladly rate this historical novel a solid four stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are solely my own and no positive review was required.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Author

izzy_james

Izzy James grew up surrounded by history and story in coastal Virginia. She still lives there with her fabulous husband in a house brimming with books.

More from Izzy

Hello! My name is Izzy James. My new book is The Shopkeeper’s Widow. It’s about freedom and second chances. I learned quite a bit of history while researching and writing this book. Did you know that the first showers began to appear in the early 1760’s? I gave Delany one of them in Shopkeeper’s just for fun. It is not likely she would have had a shower at that time, but it is fiction and as such I thought it would be a fun detail to add. We do know that some people did rig up for themselves a semblance of a daily shower by using a bucket full of water suspended above them.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 29

Inklings and notions, August 30

Texas Book-aholic, August 31

For Him and My Family, September 1

lakesidelivingsite, September 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 2

Artistic Nobody, September 3 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

deb’s Book Review, September 3

Connie’s History Classroom, September 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 5

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 5

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 6

Connect in Fiction, September 7

Batya’s Bits, September 8

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 9

The Book Chic Blog, September 9

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 10

HookMeInABook, September 11

Books I’ve Read, September 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Izzy is giving away the grand prize package of a a book, a can of tea and an Ingenuitea teapot!!

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/fff4/thce-shopkeeper-s-widow-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Rescued Hearts by Hope Toler Dougherty with Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Rescued Hearts

Author: Hope Toler Dougherty

Genre:  Romantic Suspense

Release Date: September 19, 2017

Rescued Hearts cover

Children’s clothing designer Mary Wade Kimball’s soft spot for  animals leads to a hostage situation when she spots a briar-entangled kitten in front of an abandoned house. Beaten, bound, and gagged by the two thugs inside, Mary Wade loses hope for escape when a third villain returns with supplies.Discovering the kidnapped, innocent woman ratchets the complications for undercover agent Brett Davis. Weighing the difference of ruining his three months’ investigation against the woman’s safety, Brett forsakes his mission and helps her escape, the bent-on-revenge brutes following behind.When Mary Wade’s safety is threatened once more, Brett rescues her again. This time, her personal safety isn’t the only thing in jeopardy. Her heart is endangered as well.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Hmm, maybe not, but you sure can increase the chances of a reader picking it up if it has an enticing look to it. I chose Rescued Hearts by Hope Toler Dougherty first because of the irresistible cover. The kitten, the rundown cottage, and sinister clouds produce just the right effect.
Mary Wade Kimball is house-sitting when she stumbles into an undercover operation and finds herself kidnapped by two fiendish characters. What happens next is incredible, but works for this romantic suspense novel.


Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t really connect with the characters until about 40% of the way through.
Once I got that far, I began to enjoy the novel much more, and the relationship, or possible relationship, between Mary Wade and Brett Davis. Brett has been hurt before and is super cautious, confusing Mary Wade. Mary Wade tries hard to forget him, but circumstances conspire against her.
Gigi, Brett’s grandmother, is a wonderful source of support for Brett. She is a great cook and has a sharp mind and impeccable timing. She’s a card well-played.
I liked the end but wasn’t really comfortable with the settling of one of the problems. It seemed a little simple, give the amount of time spent on setting up the conflict.


Still, a fun read all in all. The road to true love is never smooth. Try an afternoon with Rescued Hearts and be ready for a bumpy ride.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own. No positive review was required.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Author

Hope holds a Master’s degree and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Her novels include Irish Encounter and Mars…With Venus Rising, Rescued Hearts, and Forever Music. She’s a member of ACFW and RWA. Residing in North Carolina, she and her husband enjoy visits with their daughters and twin sons.

More from Hope

I live in the country on land my great grandfather owned. For exercise, I ride my bike on our two-lane roads. One afternoon a few years ago, I took a detour off the paved road and onto a dirt path not too far from my house.

The lane meanders by the location of a distant cousin’s long-since demolished house. Trees and a few bushes still outline the phantom house’s parameters, but no boards or bricks mark the spot. Farm equipment waits under nearby shelters.

As I passed the lonely trees and silent tractors, a creepy sensation tickled the back of my neck. My imagination kicked into gear. What if a bike rider rode by an abandoned house? What if she saw a kitten entangled in a honeysuckle vine at the porch steps? What if, while she tried to free the kitten, someone grabbed her and dragged her inside where she was beaten and threatened with rape?

My pedaling picked up speed, and I reached home in record time.

Those questions continued popping up in my mind, however. I began seeing the characters, then hearing them speak every night as I dropped off to sleep. I’d never written a romantic suspense story before, but the characters refused to leave me alone.

Those initial questions led to the first chapter of Rescued Hearts.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 26

Betti Mace, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 28

deb’s Book Review, August 28

Inklings and notions, August 29

For Him and My Family, August 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 1

Batya’s Bits, September 2

Older & Smarter?, September 3

CarpeDiem, September 4

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 6

Life, Love, Writing, September 6

Artistic Nobody, September 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Hope is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a print copy of Rescued Hearts!!

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/ffb5/rescued-hearts-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

No Small Caper, #1 A Tiny House Mystery, by Cynthia Hickey Plus Giveaway

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About the Book 

Book: No Small Caper45452718._SX318_

Author: Cynthia Hickey

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release Date: May 3, 2019

 

“No one does a final suspense scene like Cynthia Hickey!” – Stewart Writing Services

A rash of burglaries?

What kind of job had she been hired to do?

CJ Turley is excited to begin her new life as overseer of Heavenly Acres, a tiny house community in the Ozark mountains. As she’s handed the keys to her new house, by a woman who seems far too eager to leave the job to someone else, CJ is told the community is experiencing a rash of burglaries and she should visit the nearby Park Ranger for help.

Can CJ and her new friends stop a thieving murderer before they lose something far more precious than jewels? Their life!

From first day, to spending time with handsome ranger, Eric Drake, to a cast of quirky characters who are all suspect in CJ’s mind, you’re bound for a fun, hilarious, romp in this first book of a new small town, cozy mystery series by best-selling and award-winning author.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

“It’s your job now to keep these crazies in line, Miss Turley.” Opening with this engaging first line from No Small Caper, #1 A Tiny House Mystery, Cynthia Hickey has my attention. I loved meeting Heavenly Acres’ new overseer, CJ. Young, energetic, and enthusiastic, she is unafraid of anything or anyone.

i stared at her and she stared right back both knowing the other was as fake as a glass diamond.
As CJ meets the people in the tiny home park, she attracts followers, besides her dog, Caper. There’s Mags, a crusty older lady that won’t be set on the shelf, a gorgeous hunk of a ranger, Eric, and Amanda, a nurse and possible alternate love interest for Eric. What a great concoction these four make. I am very excited to see that there are more books already published in the series. No waiting for sequels.

untitled design
I was a little confused by the number of men in the story that I couldn’t keep straight. Perhaps there could have been fewer minor characters to keep tabs on?
The ending was very satisfying. Huzzah! What I took exception to, was, murder was not the main problem being solved, as in typical cozy. Maybe this was Ms. Hickey’s way of changing the cozy formula up a bit. Definitely a fun, clean read with more sequels available immediately for the asking.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

4 Stars- Excellent – I Would Recommend

About the Author

 

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Multi-published and Amazon and ECPA Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey has sold close to a million copies of her works since 2013. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference, several small ACFW chapters and RWA chapters, and small writer retreats. She and her husband run the small press, Winged Publications, which includes some of the CBA’s best well-known authors. She lives in Arizona and Arkansas, becoming a snowbird, with her husband and one dog. She has ten grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”.

 

More from Cynthia

I’ve always been fascinated by tiny houses and love writing cozy mysteries. What’s better than a cozy mystery series in a tiny house community? Not an inch of space wasted. You’ve got to be creative with your storage. Even hiding things in the floor which occurs when CJ Turley takes over as manager of Heavenly Acres. The pup she inherited when her grandmother died has a nose for diamonds. Who’d guess there were so many places in a tiny house to stash things?

 

I don’t live in a tiny house, but my husband and I downsized from a 2100 sq. ft home to a 1,000 sq. ft. home. Guess which one we prefer? The smaller one 😊 We always know where things are, it’s easier to keep clean, and no stairs to go up and down when we forget something. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t live in anything less than 400 sq. ft. if I lived alone, but it was fun to write about those who do.

 

I’ve watched so many tiny house shows, I’m pretty sure I could design one with everything I’d need. We even told our son that if he moved where we live, we’d build him one in the backyard! He wasn’t amused.

 

On a serious note, just kidding. While my cozy series have humor, they also have murder and mayhem with quirky characters and a dash of romance. I like my readers to chuckle as the characters strive to take down the culprit without too much danger to themselves.

 

Happy reading!

 

 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 7

21st Century Keeper at Home, August 7

Sara Jane Jacobs, August 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 9

Genesis 5020, August 10

deb’s Book Review, August 10

She Lives To Read, August 11

Artistic Nobody, August 12 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 13

Blogging With Carol , August 13

Texas Book-aholic, August 14

Inklings and notions, August 15

For Him and My Family, August 16

Mary Hake, August 16

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 17

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 18

CarpeDiem, August 19

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cynthia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 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/ff4f/no-small-caper-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes

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About the Book

Title: Set the Stars Alight

Author: Amanda Dykes

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: June 2020

Genre: Christian fiction, Timeslip

Lucy Clairmont’s family treasured the magic of the past, and her childhood fascination with stories of the high seas led her to become a marine archaeologist. But when tragedy strikes, it’s Dashel, an American forensic astronomer, and his knowledge of the stars that may help her unearth the truth behind the puzzle she’s discovered in her family home.

Two hundred years earlier, the seeds of love are sown between a boy and a girl who spend their days playing in a secret sea cave, while the privileged young son of the estate looks on, wishing to join. As the children grow and war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption unfolds, held secret by the passage of time.

As Lucy and Dash journey to a mysterious old estate on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers–and the healing–they so desperately seek.

 

My Review

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes is a book that I had to get my hands on. I hope you will want to, also. This is a realistic story, yet stirred into it are the timeless allure of magical inklings, coupled with family ties swelling and shrinking. Love slowly takes root and blossoms, yet is carefully guarded until the right time. And the wondrous fact is, that this is actually true of both subplots of this amazing novel, which comprise this split-time tale.
One portion of our adventure concerns Lucy, born to a clockmaker in London in recent times. Lucy’s warm, welcoming family time is built around tales spun by her enigmatic father and amended by her jovial mother. Dash, a young misfit, American boy, is welcomed into their familial atmosphere. Suddenly, life flips and flops, and Lucy finds herself alone and floundering with only her marine interest to keep her afloat.
The second saga is a melodrama about a young son of a military hero in the war against Napoleon. Frederick tries hard to make his father proud, but loyalty and fate interfere.

Set the Stars Alight 1
Split-time stories depend upon the author’s fantastic ability to draw two separate, believable strands, at first totally disparate paths, then cause them to become parallel roads, then bring those parallel roads into an obvious intersection where the highways then become one. I had trouble suspending disbelief at some points. I wanted more communication in others. Some issues dragged on too long between people because of a fear of communication that I didn’t find realistic.
So, I thought this was a great book, but it stopped short of the terrific level of Ms. Dykes’s debut novel. Still a very worthy read. Get ahold of Set the Stars Alight and judge for yourself.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.
Notable Quotables:

“When things seem dark…that’s when you fight for the light.”

“The God of the stars . . . He is coming, and coming, and coming after you. Always. The heart of a father who will never forget his daughter.”

“But it started with smaller things, which bigger things built on again and again until the big betrayal no longer felt like a plunge to him. It was a small—almost natural—next step.”

“‘Impossible?’…The word had been gifted to them all their lives as a challenge. A lens to see wonder where others saw walls.”

 

My Rating

4 Stars- Great, Almost Terrific!

 

About the Author

517ufoFnplL._US230_Amanda Dykes is the author of Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale, the critically-acclaimed bicycle story that invited readers together to fund bicycles for missionaries in Asia. A former English teacher, she has a soft spot for classic literature and happy endings. She is a drinker of tea, a dweller of Truth, and a spinner of hope-filled tales, grateful for the grace of a God who loves extravagantly.

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley

This Wandering Heart, #1 Madison River Romance by Janine Rosche with Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  This Wandering Heart

Author: Janine Rosche

Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance

Release Date: May 5, 2020

In the first entry in the Madison River Romance series, Keira Knudsen gets the traveling opportunity of a lifetime, but when she reunites with her first love, Robbie, she learns that even a wandering heart needs a home….

No one in the quaint town of West Yellowstone, Montana, knows that unassuming geography teacher Keira Knudsen moonlights as sensational travel blogger Kat Wanderfull. No one, that is, except for her first love, Robbie Matthews, who has just discovered the woman he is falling for online is the same one that broke his heart five years ago.

But Robbie has another problem: the mother of his daughter, Anabelle, has resurfaced after a three-year absence determined to rip Anabelle away from him. Robbie needs a steady paycheck for a chance at custody, and now, on the eve of a grand adventure that could give Keira a chance to flee her old, troubled life once and for all, she is in need of assistance.

With so much broken trust between them, Keira and Robbie must keep an arms-length away to make this partnership work. But the more time they spend together, exploring majestic places and sharing new experiences, the closer they get–until their secrets and dreams threaten to cost them everything.

My Review

Can Keira, a history teacher by day and a travel social media presence by weekend; and Robbie, an expert builder but non-intellectual; get honest enough with each other to explain their past issues and build a new future?

This Wandering Heart, #1 Madison River Romance by Janine Rosche was a Hallmark-type Christian romance. I wasn’t sure what to think of Keira. I really liked her, but she didn’t seem to know her own mind. She had a rough past, but when things got tough, it was hard to predict which way the wind would blow. She does show tremendous growth when she finally stands up to her father and tells her mother, “…courage isn’t something we’re born with. It’s a choice.” Kiera does find the bravery needed to make some other changes in her life that create great life choices for her.

I immediately liked Robbie for his great, tender care of his daughter by himself. He was totally dedicated to Annabelle. Robbie has several issues to sort out, all coming to a head at once. He was wise enough to lean on God and his family to help him produce the resources he needed to weather some very tough storms.

Annabelle was another show stopper. How could anyone not fall in love with this sweetheart?

I even loved how Vivian was drawn as more than 2- dimensional. Sometimes the villian only seems to have one side- bad. But I could actually identify with Vivian as Ms. Rosche wrote her.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. This in no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent- Will be Glad to Recommend

About the Author

Prone to wander, Janine Rosche finds as much comfort on the open road as she does at home. This longing to chase adventure, behold splendor, and experience redemption is woven into her Madison River Romance series. When she isn’t writing or traveling, she teaches family life education courses to college students, takes too many pictures of her sleeping dogs, and embarrasses her four children and husband with boy band serenades.

More from Janine

Do you remember that weird kid who would sit at their desk in elementary school and stare into space for minutes at a time? If you don’t, then chances are, you were that weird kid. Welcome to the club—you know, the club for people who believe that what could be is worth imagining.

“If you imagine it, then it will never happen,” my junior high friends said.

“You’re setting yourself up for disappointment,” my high school mentor advised.

“Close your mouth, or you’ll catch a fly,” my second grade teacher warned.

While that last one scared me into buttoning my lips while staring blankly at the chalkboard, those early naysayers didn’t keep me from daydreaming. I couldn’t help it. I loved imagining a world far more exciting, awe-inspiring, and romantic than my own. Even when I’d finish books or movies, I would happily dream myself into the story where courage abounds and heroes are truly larger-than-life.

Of course, through the years, disappointment did come, and so did reality. In love, my heart was broken. In my career aspirations, my confidence was shattered. My daydreams almost stopped entirely.

People often ask me if it was a lifelong dream of mine to publish a book. The answer to that is yes…and no. It had been once, but holding on too tightly to that while also believing it was too far out of reach for someone like me created such an overwhelming ache in my heart. And so, I buried it. However, that dream, along with the storylines and characters in my mind weren’t content to stay buried. For eight years they awakened me at night and distracted me by day, until finally, I chose to spit out the words in a blank spiral notebook. I’d hoped that by writing down the story that had festered, I’d finally have peace, but then the next story came, and the next.

“I’ve learned that courage isn’t something we’re born with. It’s a choice.” That line of dialogue comes from a key moment in my debut novel, This Wandering Heart. In the story, my heroine, Keira, rises above an awful childhood to live a life of adventure. The line was quite autobiographical. I could have chosen to keep believing the naysayers. That would have been easy. It took no courage–no risk at all—to believe the lies, the criticism, and the discouragingly low probability statistics of publication.

Pursuing your dream, though, requires a lot of courage. Courage to be laughed at, to fail, to be rejected. Courage to be terrible at this new thing you’re trying. Certainly more courage than I carried in my spirit. So I prayed. I climbed onto that metaphorical rope dangling from the hand of God, and swung.

It was a choice. To be completely honest, it still is a choice to believe these daydreams of mine. Each day, it takes faith to chase this dream of writing novels and to imagine what could be. I guess you could say that I’ve found my way into the story after all. And it truly is exciting, awe-inspiring, and—dare I say?—romantic.

I’m honored to have you all join me on this incredible journey! But it’s not all about me. What daydream are you tempted to believe in your life?

Everyone is eligible to receive a free subscription to the Love Wander Read Journal, a quarterly digital magazine from Janine Rosche that aims to provide inspiration for a life well-lived. Link: http://janinerosche.com/the-love-wander-read-journal/

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, June 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 8

Texas Book-aholic, June 9

Read Review Rejoice, June 9

My Devotional Thoughts, June 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 12

Get Cozy Book Nook, June 12

Batya’s Bits, June 13

deb’s Book Review, June 13

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 14

The Becca Files, June 14

Older & Smarter ?, June 15

Through the Fire Blogs, June 15

For Him and My Family, June 16

Vicky Sluiter, June 17

Pause for Tales, June 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 19

Britt Reads Fiction, June 19

Life of Literature, June 20

Hallie Reads, June 21

Livin’ Lit, June 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Janine is giving away the grand prize package of a set of GelConnie leather bracelets, a 2020 National Geographic Road Atlas, and a $50 Visa 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/fc1c/this-wandering-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, NetGalley, Waterbrook-Multnomah

Being Known, #2 Haven Makers by Robin Jones Gunn

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About the Book

Title: Being Known

Series: #2 Haven Makers

Author: Robin Jones Gunn

Genre: Inspirational Contemporary

After her mom passed away, Jennalyn was in the midst of moving, having a baby, and helping her husband work toward his dream job. At the time, she thought she processed the shock and loss, but only now that Jennalyn has two small children, a lovely new home, a lucrative side hustle with her art, and a husband who is always working does she feel the full impact of the loss.

Enter an old boyfriend who knew Jennalyn well and who shares many fond memories of her mom. Jennalyn begins to doubt her marriage and all her other life choices ever since her mom passed away. It takes the power of truth, close friends who know her well, and a series of choices at the heart level before Jennalyn can surface from the confusion and see with clarity where her life is headed.

 

My Review

I’ve never read a novel like this one. The story is almost a “reality novel,” as true-to-life as possible, about the lives of five young women. Most of the ladies are married with children. This narrative centers mostly on Jennalynn and her marriage to Joel, but it also highlights the other women, especially Tess. While second in a series, the book stands alone well.
I loved how Jennalynn, Christy, and their friends have developed a very special Christian support group. As such they are not only physically present for each other, but help guard each other emotionally and spiritually.

“Love grows in fields of grace, not in ruts of shame.”
Jennalyn finds her relationship with Joel on slippery ground as a result of his long work hours and her not being willing to confide her innermost issues.
While the book isn’t “preachy,” its goal is to teach and guide through some of the life issues that occur. It could possibly be used in counseling, and every young Christian wife should read it to gain real insight in how to make wise choices.
About the edible oils…Many will argue that NO oils should be ingested.
Notable Quotables:

“Love grows in fields of grace, not in ruts of shame.”

“...your word for the year was like
“…your word for the year was like a love note from the Lord.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Waterbrook-Multnomah. This in no way influences my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent – I Would Recommend This Book

 

About the Author

41954

ROBIN JONES GUNN is the much loved author of over 100 books with more than 5.5 million copies of her titles sold worldwide. Her Father Christmas books have been made into 3 Hallmark movies. Her popular Christy Miller series now continues in Christy & Todd: The Married Years and The Baby Years. Robin’s novels and non-fiction works have received multiple awards and are a favorite with book clubs and study groups. Robin and her husband have a grown son and daughter and live in Hawaii.

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Leaf Me Alone, #3 Relatively Speaking by Julie Cosgrove

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About the Book

Title: Leaf Me Alone

Series: Relatively Speaking, #3

Author: Julie B. Cosgrove

Publisher: Pursued Books, an imprint of White Integrity Press

Released: February 2020

A long lost child . . . and secrets that insist the lost remain lost!

Word spreads through town about the genealogy researches of Shannon, Bailey, and Jessica. So far, it’s been a fun hobby and an eye-opening experience as they helped to solve two murders. But when old Mrs. Perkins, their Bible study leader, wants to hire Shannon and her husband Jayden to find her long-lost nephew, the couple soon learns that moving forward along the Perkins family tree may leave them dangling out on a limb . . .
and someone is holding a saw!

 

My Review

“Who knew finding relatives could be so dangerous?”  Yikes. A dear older friend suddenly confides she has cancer and enters a hospice facility, but the patients at said facility are dying at an alarming rate. In the meantime, several friends risk their lives looking for a missing man.
I would recommend Julie Cosgrove and her Relatively Seeking Mysteries to other readers looking for a good mystery filled with lots of twists and surprises, plus faith and suspense. Leaf Me Alone is the first book I’ve read by Julie Cosgrove, but I am certain it won’t be the last.
I enjoyed the romance included between Shannon Johnson and her
husband, Jayden. So many times married people are not portrayed as still able to romance or appreciate each other.

Leaf Me Alone 1
I liked the small, close-knit circle of friends Shannon has with her two sleuthing and Bible study pals, Bailey and Jess, with an 82 year-old mentor, Grace Perkins. The ladies enjoy, support and encourage each other. Mrs. Perkins wants Shannon and Jayden, with help from Shannon’s friends, to find her missing, wanted nephew before she dies.
I got a few cases of whiplash as the possible culprit changes many times. I was very disappointed in Bob’s character, whose actions just don’t jive with the rest of his what we see. Is that because we all stumble? Or did it just make for a better story? I felt like he had to be consistent across the board to be effective in his position that affected Manny, the long-lost nephew.
Now for the fun stuff I noticed.
”…her phone barked.” Oh, yes, Shannon runs a pet and plant care business. I loved how God used many coincidences, such as Shannon having to ride the bus to get to Florida, to bring about providential help. Someone has said,  “There are no coincidences. Only God-incidences.”

Leaf Me Alone 2
And this quote. I love it. (I am forever talking about losing a file in my brain.) ”He pictured a minuscule elf inside her head flipping through files but unable to locate the right one.”
This second quote covers much of the book: ”To tell only half the truth is to give life to a new lie.”
One more quote that I love, because so many times we are praying for uncertain people doing uncertain things. How do we pray?  “Pray for the truth to be revealed and for God to take care of all concerned.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. This does not affect my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

4 Stars – I Would Happily Recommend This Book

 

About The Author

Freelance writer, award-winning author, and professional speaker, Julie B. Cosgrove leads religious retreats, workshops for churches and writer groups, and Bible studies. She writes regularly for several devotional publications and is on staff with Campus JCosgroveCrusades of Canada’s Power to Change digital ministry as editor and writer for The Life Project. Their websites help to lead thousands of people worldwide to know Christ, one mouse click at a time. Her own blog, Where Did You Find God Today? has readership in 52 countries.

 

Julie has published three Bible studies, a devotional, two inspirational guides, and has fifteen faith-based fiction novels published or contracted, including two cozy mysteries series, The Bunco Biddies Mysteries and the Relatively Seeking Mysteries. All can be viewed on her website: www.juliebcosgrove.com.

 

Awarded one of the 50 Writers You Should Be Reading by the Author’s Show in 2015 and 2016, and Best Religious Fiction 2016, Best Cozy Mystery 2017 by Texas Association of Authors, Julie was also an INSPY semi-finalist and a Grace Awards Finalist in 2016. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and the Christian Authors’ Network. She achieved the highest public speaking level in Toastmasters International, the Advanced Communication Gold, in 2015.

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen

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About the Book

Title: The Bridge to Belle Island

Author: Julie Klassen

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: December 2019

Genre: Christian Regency Mystery

After a humiliating mistake, lawyer Benjamin Booker resolves to never again trust a beautiful woman. When an old friend is killed, the senior partner isn’t satisfied with Bow Street’s efforts and asks Benjamin to investigate. Eager to leave London for a while, Benjamin agrees. Evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames, a world unto itself, shrouded in mist and mystery. Soon he finds himself falling for the main suspect—a woman who claims not to have left the island in ten years. But should he trust her?

On Belle Island, Isabelle feels safe and leads a productive life, but fear keeps her trapped there. When Mr. Booker arrives with news of her trustee’s murder in London, Isabelle is stunned. She has not left the island, yet she has a recurring dream about the man’s death. Or is it a memory? She had been furious with him, but she never intended…this.

When a second person dies, and evidence shockingly points to her, Isabelle doesn’t know who to trust: the attractive lawyer or the admirer and friends who assemble on the island, each with grudges against the victim. Can she even trust her own mind? While they search for the truth, secrets come to light, and danger comes calling.

 

My Review

Julie Klassen presents quite the Regency mystery in Bridge to Belle Island, set in 1819. There are so many levels in which one can relate Klassen’s characters. We start with the hero, Benjamin Booker, a young attorney at a prestigious law firm. Booker is young and eager, but failing, afraid, and angry at his demanding father, who chooses to honor Ben’s brother over Ben. Booker has “adopted” his boss and mentor, Mr. Robert Hardy, one of the firm’s founders, as a “surrogate” father figure. Who can’t relate to failure or the fear of failure? How many of us, whether we had good parents or not, could not also point to at least one other adult who made significant contributions to our lives? Ben will need to decide about two loves… that of a certain lady, and whether his father should ever be given a chance to regain his trust and love again.
“There is no ‘WE’
Our other main character is the very capable, middle-aged spinster, Miss Isabelle Wilder. With her trustee dead, can she finally control her own life, as well as that of her niece, whom she helped raise? Will the old family curse visit Isabelle or will fear of it defeat her? With a bevy of possible suitors, who will she choose?
And, of course, the mystery itself. I love it. We start out with the death of Mr. Norris, Isabelle’s and Rose’s trustee, early on. It will take us a journey through the whole book, with many stops and multiple suspects, to finally discover the true mastermind behind Norris’s death. The novel carries a sense of Edgar Allen Poe, the Clue game, and Charles Dickens all rolled into one. What fun, except for a few times when things were so bleak I wanted to cry. About three-fourths the way through, the narrative lagged, but picked up and surged forward again.
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The faith message includes reminders of Philippians 4:6,7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Faith in God, discernment of whom to trust, and forgiveness are themes in this novel full of twists.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley.
This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent- I Would Gladly Recommend It!

About the Author 928415

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books, The Silent GovernessThe Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Midwest Book Award, the Minnesota Book Award, and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award, and been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. She blogs at http://www.inspiredbylifeandfiction.com.
Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

 

 

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Home on Huckleberry Hill, #9 The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand

 

Home on Huckleberry HillAbout the Book

Title: Home on Huckleberry Hill

Series: #9, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill

Author: Jennifer Beckstrand

Publisher: Zebra Press

Released: June 2018

Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin’s irrepressible eighty-something matchmakers Anna and Felty Helmuth are at it again. And this time they’re willing to rough it to get the job done . . .
 
Mary Anne Neuenschwander knows she should be content with what Gotte has given her. She has a comfortable house, a fruitful farm, and a good, steady husband. But after nearly six years of marriage, she still longs for a baby. Yet her husband, Jethro, seems to care more about fishing than about his wife. Unable to bear Jethro’s indifference, Mary Anne moves into a tent in the woods where he won’t have to be bothered. But when her mammi and dawdi find out what she’s done, they’ll stop at nothing—including a little camping trip of their own—to help save their granddaughter’s marriage . . .

Jethro’s greatest blessing is his beloved wife, Mary Anne. Nothing else in his life has turned out anywhere near the way he expected. Rather than burden Mary Anne with his disappointment, he shields her by spending less and less time at home and more time on the river. But when he finds that she’s moved out, he’s shocked. What will people think? What is Mary Anne thinking? And what clever plans are her grandparents hatching?…

Get your copy here.

 

Home 2

My Review

One good Jennifer Beckstrand deserves another. Or 10, as this series, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill proves. While Home on Huckleberry Hill is my first Huckleberry Hill book, the book stood alone great. Home on Huckleberry Hill, #9 in the series, is a hilarious look at a serious problem. One that a good Amish couple would never, ever have.
Starting with Mary Anne’s octogenarian grandparents, you will be doubling over in laughter by the first page. Ah, the dirty secrets of the Amish.
Mary Anne certainly has one. After a miscarriage four years ago, she has grown so estranged from her husband, Jethro, that she wants a divorce. But, of course, there is no such thing in the Amish church.
Mary Anne creatively finds a way to escape Jethro’s overbearing ways.
If only she could keep her decision between her and Jethro. No such luck. “Gossip traveled faster than a runaway horse in Amish country, but it seemingly traveled like lightning in an Amish grocery store.”As I read this book, it was easy to reflect on the early years of my marriage, and even selfish moments since. Who gives in? Who declares themselves wrong? Who steps up to the plate and magnanimously, truly, forgives and moves forward?

Home on Huckleberry Hill 2

I loved Mary Anne’s mammi and dawdi, but after a while, I did want to tell them to stop insulting Jethro by name-calling. I was half-afraid that, though Jethro had indeed ignored his wife, the whole burden of the failed marriage would land solely on him. Ack! Jethro’s family! Especially his mamm and his brother, Willie Jay.
“Willie Jay had no idea how entertaining he was from a distance.” But up close he’s a terror of a sermon. As the bishop put it so well (and I hope we see more of him in the other books), “I can’t make anybody do anything, and I wouldn’t want to. Gotte will force no man to heaven.” But will Jethro use the Scriptures to force Mary Anne back to him? Or will he finally look at himself and say, “Is it I” causing the problems? Will Mary Anne hold out forever or will she tear down some walls and forgive?

Homeon Huckelberry Hill
If you haven’t read Beckstrand before, you’re in for a treat. Her sense of humor is hilarious and inventive. And you will feel like you’ve grown with the characters along the way.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through Celebrate Lit. This does not affect my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

4 Stars- Excellent

 

About the Author

Jennifer Beckstrand is the two-time RITA-nominated, #1 Amazon bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series, The Honeybee Sisters series, and The Petersheim Brothers series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer and Home on Huckleberry Hill were both nominated for the coveted RITA® Award from Romance Writers of America. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth, the Honeybee sisters’ aendi Bitsy, and Alfie and Benji Petersheim. Jennifer has written twenty-two Amish romances, a historical Western, and the nonfiction book, Big Ideas. Jennifer is represented by Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency. She and her husband have been married for thirty-five years, and she has six children and eight adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Connect with Jennifer on social media.

Website: http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jenniferbeckstrandfans

Twitter: @JenniferBeckst1

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jennifergbeckst/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Beckstrand/e/B0073GHCOG/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1488910908&sr=8-2-ent

Instagram: j.beckstrand

Bookbub: @JenniferBeckstrand https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-beckstrand

Jennifer