Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Blue Cloak: True Colors by Shannon McNear with Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  The Blue  Cloak

Author: Shannon McNear

Genre:  Christian Historical/Suspense 9781643523149-197x300

Release Date: March 2020

Evil Incarnate Leaves a Trail of Destruction across the Frontier

Book 5 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence in 1797 at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend Sally Rice’s wedding only to watch the marriage dissolve into horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin Micajah become murderers on the run, who drag their families along. Declaring a “war on all humanity,” the Harpes won’t be stopped, and Ben Langford is on their trail to see if his own cousin was one of their latest victims.

How many will die before peace can return to the frontier?

 

Click here for your copy.

My Review

“Today it”  (the wilderness ) ”held a definite air of menace.” While I’m quoting this line out of context, it could be said of the whole tone of The Blue Cloak by Shannon McNear. The latest in the True Colors: Historical Stories of True Crimes series, there is an ominous feeling of dread, if you, the reader, start reading not with chapter one, but with the words,  “Dear Reader.” 
Nine long months of terror seize the wilderness of Tennessee and Kentucky at the turn of the nineteenth century. Two brothers, Big and Little Harpe, with their three wives, prowl the beautiful countryside and turn it into a place of gruesome murders and fear, anxiety breathing down every settler’s neck. 

 

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Some phrases seemed so applicable to what our country is going through currently.  “It seemed, though, that the entire country held its breath, waiting, watching—.” 
I loved that McNear’s characters put a high value on prayer. This is mentioned many times throughout the unsettling narrative. I appreciated one such time as Rachel’s brother knows the business of the day needs to start,  “but I’m thinking we’ve a greater need to pray before you go any further on your journey.” 
How could a marriage that started with a few misgivings on the part of witnesses turn into a component of a horrible killing spree? What if one of those in the Harpe party wishes to escape? Rachel is sure her friend Sally had no idea of the fiend Little was when Sally and he wed. But can Rachel and her new friend Ben do anything to rescue a person that resists help? 
McNear is good to explain why she wrote this very intense novel, which can be hard to read at times. Much prayer and research went into this novel. I found the notes at the beginning most helpful. Is God indeed greater than man’s worst evil? Can God redeem even evil situations? (That is not to say there won’t be hurt from the terrible crimes.) So many questions brought to the forefront. 

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Now, about the hero. Ben is so unselfish, wishing he could take his cousin’s place. Ben is closer to Thomas than his elder brother, as Ben’s uncle and aunt raised him after his parents died. Ben stays on the hunt for the Harpes for many months, motivated by love for his cousin, his uncle, and eventually Rachel. Ben also comes to understand that the social class distinctions of the East do not truly tell the mettle of a man. 
 “He already knew that the amount of a man’s coin did not necessarily correlate to the amount of wisdom he possessed, not gentility equate completely with pedigree.” 
I am amazed at both Ben and Rachel’s care for Sally. It took such gumption, courage, and incredible determination to even try to help her and the other wives. Yet, especially in Rachel’s mind, was the conviction that her friend was worth such loyalty. 
All in all, a good book, thoroughly researched, a real page-turner, but oh, so chilling! 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Celebrate Lit through NetGalley. This in no way influenced my opinions, which are solely my own. 

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot When I Want a Chiller

 

 

About the Author

Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South ShannonMcNear-219x300Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When she’s not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. Connect with her at www.shannonmcnear.com, or on Facebook and Goodreads.

 

More from Shannon

How dark is too dark for a Christian to write?

That was the question I wrestled with when deciding whether or not to take on the story of the Harpes. The histories in Scripture itself aren’t rated G, but writing fiction requires a level of detail and depth of emotion I wasn’t sure would be wise, or helpful, to explore in this case. But as I prayed and sought the counsel of those whose discernment I trust, the answer came back, overwhelmingly …

Is God stronger than the darkness, or not?

Well, of course He is. And nothing in human history has ever escaped His notice, or taken Him by surprise.

So, was there something redeeming to be found in the tale of the Harpes?

For the first few weeks of research, I walked around in a state of shock at the horror of the historical accounts, but details surfaced that helped me shape my fictional characters Rachel and Ben. With Rachel working in her family’s trading post near the wild frontier town of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Ben a lawyer who recently passed the bar, the real-life Hugh Lawson White provided a handy connection point between them. Many other details fell together in ways I had not foreseen when I began developing the story. Sally Rice Harpe, however, rose to the forefront. This was more her story than anyone’s, but realizing I couldn’t properly write the book without using her point of view? That was scary. I knew the moments I’d have to visit, some of them in real-time.

Despite the tragedy, however, I could see an overarching story of spiritual warfare. Felt a growing conviction that prayer must have played a vital role in bringing the Harpes’ reign of terror to an end. So it is my hope that against the backdrop of one of the most chilling episodes of our country’s early history, the hand of God shows clearly, and that yes, the reader finds it redemptive.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, March 24

Texas Book-aholic, March 24

Inklings and notions, March 25

Girls in White Dresses, March 25

Emily Yager, March 25

Godly Book Reviews, March 26

Genesis 5020, March 26

Remembrancy, March 26

Among the Reads, March 27

Through the Fire Blogs, March 27

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 28

Christian Bookaholic, March 28

Inside the Wong Mind, March 28

For the Love of Literature, March 29

For Him and My Family, March 29

Betti Mace, March 30

Older & Smarter?, March 30

deb’s Book Review, March 30

Robin’s Nest, March 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 1

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 1

Stories By Gina, April 1

By The Book, April 2

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, April 2

Blossoms and Blessings, April 2

A Reader’s Brain, April 3

Connie’s History Classroom, April 3

Artistic Nobody, April 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 4

Back Porch Reads, April 4

Daysong Reflections, April 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 5

Pause for Tales, April 5

Britt Reads Fiction, April 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 6

Hallie Reads, April 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 6

Giveaway 

To celebrate her tour, Shannon is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of The Blue Cloak and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f7a3/the-blue-cloak-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock

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About the Book

Title: The Gray Chamber

Series: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crimes

Author: Grace Hitchcock

Publisher: Barbour

Released: January 2020

Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Will Edyth prove her sanity before it is too late?

On Blackwell Island, New York, a hospital was built to keep its patients from ever leaving.

With her late father’s fortune under her uncle’s care until her twenty-fifth birthday in the year 1887, Edyth Foster does not feel pressured to marry or to bow to society’s demands. She freely indulges in eccentric hobbies like fencing and riding her velocipede in her cycling costume about the city for all to see. Finding a loophole in the will, though, her uncle whisks Edyth off to the women’s lunatic asylum just weeks before her birthday. Do any of Edyth’s friends care that she disappeared?

At the asylum, she meets another inmate, who upon discovering Edyth’s plight, confesses that she is Nellie Bly, an undercover journalist for The World. Will either woman find a way to leave the terrifying island and reclaim her true self?

 

My Review

Grace Hitchcock’s The Gray Chamber would probably win my “Sleeper of the Year” award. (And, yes, I know it’s only January.) I thought this book would be fun and interesting. I did not bargain for a love in danger of being lost nor a trip to Blackwell’s Island, infamous in its time for housing “insane” women. This series of historical American crimes gives a fictional façade to journalist Nellie Bly’s visit to the island. 

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At first, we are immersed in an enjoyable turn-of-the-century account of Edyth and fencing master Raoul Banebridge. Edyth is dying to have her best friend Raoul “Bane” notice her as a woman, but her eccentricities seem to block his view. When finally, he begins to see Edyth for the woman she is, her eccentricities have enabled other shocking developments. 
This book is the stuff my nightmares are made of. It made perfect sense, and I could visualize it all happening. The evil mankind can perpetrate on another, made in the image of the same God!! My only hope as I read with elevated blood pressure and eyes scurrying over the pages was for a happy ending. Certainly, a chiller. However, as I think more about it, I can think of the Great Shepherd going after that one lost sheep, as well. The ultimate love that conquers hate. 

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Having read Hitchcock’s previous novel in this collection, The White City, I was pleased to meet Jude Law again. I always like it when novelists include fun tie-ins like this to their other works. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way influences my opinions, which are my own. 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

Grace Hitchcock is the author of The White City and The Gray Chamber from Barbour 16145482Publishing. She has written multiple novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

 

 

 

 

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Rebel Bride, #10 Daughters of the Mayflower by Shannon McNear

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About the Book

Title: The Rebel Bride

Series: The Daughters of the Mayflower

Author: Shannon McNear

Publisher: Barbour

Released: December 2019

During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family’s farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause—until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still, he is desperate to regain his footing—as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian—in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union—if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger.

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear.

More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)
The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1849 San Francisco (April 2019)
The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1860 Utah (July 2019)
The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1863 Tennessee (December 2019)
The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietze – set 1888 Nebraska (February 2020)
The Chisholm Trail Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – (April 2020)

My Review

I was really looking forward to this book after reading an earlier Daughters of the Mayflower novel by Shannon McNear. While her previous book brought to mind authors such as Laura Frantz, Michelle Griep, or Jocelyn Green; The Rebel Bride fights for its place in a full field of Civil War novels. It alternately is compelling and then more of a textbook. The first sign of struggle is when the author, Shannon McNear, pens a very cautious “note from the author.” While I was impressed McNear wants me to follow her way of thinking, I did not feel she came across as confident in her ability to convince me.

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The storyline itself was sound and seemed at times strong, at other times weaker. A Sergeant from the Union Army, Joshua Wheeler, has had an arm amputated. He finds himself and several other very ill, POW Union soldiers billeted in a humble house in Georgia, following the Battle of Chickamauga. Pearl McFarlane, on the other hand, is the one pressed into caring for these grievously ill enemies. Can she handle the events God allows into her life around this time?
I liked the secondary characters that McNear factored into the story.
A father who is progressing through dementia; a wandering, curiously absent brother when work needs doing; and a shunned sister-in-law.
There were times the narrative shone, but it just didn’t flow smoothly, consistently, as I would have liked.

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The author’s ending note was quite long and a little off-putting because of said length. In retrospect, I believe there may have been too much information the author wanted to share, and the pressure of that came across in the written page. Please remember this is only my opinion and others, including yourself, may see the book quite differently.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley, which in no way influenced my opinions.

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent – I Would Recommend This Book.

About the Author

6880909Shannon has been writing one thing or another since third grade and finished her first novel at age fifteen—but waited more than thirty years for her first book contract. In the meantime, she graduated from high school, attended college, met and married her husband, birthed nine children, lost one, taught five to drive, revised that first story innumerable times, and completed six others.

Her first published novella, Defending Truth, in A Pioneer Christmas Collection (Barbour, 2013 & 2015), was a 2014 RITA® nominee. She writes regularly for Colonial Quills, is a member of ACFW and RWA, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, she loves losing herself in local history. When this homeschooling mom isn’t sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies.

Connect with Shannon online at https://www.shannonmcnear.com/ or on Twitter @ShannonMcNear.

 

 

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Love’s Allegiance #4 Wartime Brides by Linda Shenton Matchett

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About the Book

Book: Love’s Allegiance

Author: Linda Shenton Matchett

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: August 15, 2019

Loves-Allegiance-ebook-jpg-cover-198x300With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.

Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.

Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?

Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Set in Pennsylvania in 1943, this war romance introduces Rochelle Addams and Irwin Terrell. Linda Shenton Matchett has written Love’s Allegiance with two goals in mind, maybe three. First, Matchett provides a modern-day retelling of Isaac and Rebekkah. Secondly, we get a glimpse inside mental hospitals at the time, and thirdly, we are shown the poor treatment of Conscientious Objectors during World War II.

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We need more people who think like Irwin working with our mentally ill and special needs people. He realized the value of a person and gave that person the dignity of having space to prove himself.
The romance seemed to be written in a minor key. I kept hoping the “song” would hit some major key phrases, but they didn’t stand out. I wanted to be shown more than told. I really did appreciate the education I received about Co’s role in WWII. I didn’t realize things were quite so difficult once they volunteered.

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I think there are many who might really enjoy this book. You may want to check this book out. Points to Matchett for the reader’s guide with questions and the historical notes at the end.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via Celebrate Lit. This in no way influenced my opinion, which is solely my own.

My Rating

4 Stars- Excellent- I Would Recommend This Book.

About the Author

Linda-Matchett-Head-Shot-200x300Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

 

More from Linda

Love’s Allegiance is the fourth book in the Wartime Brides series that retells biblical stories by setting them during World War II. Each story was challenging to write in some way, and this novella was no different.

While brainstorming ways to twist Rebekkah’s and Isaacs’s love story, I happened to take a phone call from my younger brother who is a pastor. I mentioned my quandary that I wasn’t sure which aspect of the home front to address with their story, and he suggested the topic of conscientious objectors (COs).

After we hung up, I realized I knew very little about COs and that I wasn’t sure how I felt about them. Were they cowards, as many people assumed? Were they right? Wrong? Were their convictions biblically based?

I began my research by reading first-person account articles and watched oral history interviews with men who served in the Civilian Public Service, a government organization created to use COs who refused military service as medics and other non-combatant roles. More than 12,000 conscientious objectors chose not to take up arms during the war, and I knew I had to tell their side of the story.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 8

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 9

Batya’s Bits, November 9

Blossoms and Blessings, November 10

Betti Mace, November 11

Rebecca Tews, November 11

Genesis 5020, November 12

mpbooks, November 13

As He Leads is Joy, November 13

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , November 14

Back Porch Reads, November 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 16

Texas Book-aholic, November 17

For Him and My Family, November 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 18

janicesbookreviews, November 19

Inspired by fiction, November 19

A Reader’s Brain, November 20

Inklings and notions , November 21

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away all four books in the Wartime Brides series and a $10 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/f029/love-s-allegiance-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley, Thomas Nelson

The Painted Castle, #3 Lost Castle series by Kristy Cambron

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 About the Book

Book: The Painted Castle

Author: Kristy Cambron

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: October 15, 2019

44441963Bestselling author Kristy Cambron concludes the Lost Castle novels with this sweeping tale of art and secrets long buried in England.

It was supposed to be a one-week job: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Kiera Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mysteries surrounding the old English manor and the enigmatic art thief who’s employed her stir more questions than answers. Then, Kiera finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin-a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria.

Set in three time periods-the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day-The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith, family, and stories that are generations in the making.

 

Click here to grab your copy.

My Review

Kristy Cambron closes out her Lost Castle series with The Painted Castle, the story of Kiera and Emory. Reminiscent of an old movie, the accused art thief and the art historian/evaluator work together until the fire of rumors and truth gets too hot and combustion takes place.
Happily, we are simultaneously fed snippets of the survival of the castle manor and its inhabitants during WW II, plus another possible love development.
To make things even better, if not more complicated, Cambron weaves in and out yet a third tale of a young girl who sees her father murdered and grows up vowing to get revenge.
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This is one tapestry that shows the immense skill of the author, working so many different strands seamlessly together into a beautiful, satisfying and educational product. Authors like Cambron are opening my eyes to the world of WWII. I have always avoided reading about this time due to the great pain and terror it produced, but Cambron shows there is life between the times of terror. Love, kindness, and a desire to help others can flourish like a determined weed between cracks of cement in an otherwise ugly, resistant world of hate and war. I love seeing the best of humanity come out and shine forth brightly when it seems the worst of humanity is winning for a season. I especially saw this in Amelia and Wyatt’s story, which takes place at Parham Hill during WWII.
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My recommendation? You can read this book as a stand-alone. If you do, hurry and get the first two books like I plan to, and find out the riches you ‘ve missed out on.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

KRISTY CAMBRON is an award-winning author of historical fiction, including her Cambron-headshot-300x300bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She’s a Women’s Ministry Leader at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, and a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10Library Journal Reviews’ Best BooksRT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation, working with such companies as the Disney Institute, IBM/Kenexa, and Gallup. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

 

More from Kristy

About The Painted Castle

A war-torn estate holding its secrets close. A lost library bricked off from the world. And a portrait-maker’s unknown masterpiece of a Queen named Victoria… What stories do they long to tell?

It was supposed to be a one-week snatch-and-grab: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Kiera Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mystery of an old English manor, a crumbling beekeeper’s cottage, and a library that had long ago been sealed off brick by brick, all stir more questions than answers. What begins as a novice assignment instead peels back layers, lulling Keira into the depths of the estate’s long-forgotten history.

Despite questions swirling around the enigmatic, rumored art thief who’s employed her, Keira finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin—a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria…

1842— In order to salvage what’s left of her family’s shaky circumstances, artist Elizabeth Meade knows her duty must be to marry well. But she hopes looks can be deceiving enough to hide her true motives behind a congenial smile and gain entry into the ballrooms of England’s noble elite. Instead of husband-hunting, Elizabeth searches for the one thing that’s seared to her memory—the eyes of her father’s killer, whom she unwittingly sketched one snowy night in Piccadilly ten years before. She never expects to find answers tucked away in the countryside at Parham Hill, in the form of a portrait-maker who could help her artist dreams come true, if only she could forget the highwayman she’s hunted for the last decade—the estate-owner who unwittingly selects her as his betrothed…

1942—When the 390th Bomb Group arrives at Amelia Woods’ Parham Hill Estate, the American flyboys bring playing cards, B-17 “flying fortresses”, and enough bravado to believe they can triumph over Hitler just by staring him down. Amelia isn’t certain, and she’s unwilling to compromise the safety and security in a carefully-crafted world she’s built for the dozens of London-evacuated children left in her charge. But with Anderson shelters buried in the gardens and an Allied airfield a stone’s throw away, Amelia may have no choice but to wait out the war under blackouts and bombs, and accept help from the captain who offers it—even if it means risking all she has left of her late husband’s memory…

From the streets of Piccadilly and the lavish halls of Buckingham Palace to the countryside surrounding Framlingham Castle, a warn-torn estate, a hidden library, and the lost portrait of a queen come together to write the final chapter in the Lost Castle series. Set in three time periods—the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day—The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith and the family we fight for, of risk and reward, and the artful crafting of a story that can be generations in the making… yet still change everything about a single life.

 

Blog Stops

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 15

The Power of Words, October 15

A Baker’s Perspective, October 15

The Avid Reader, October 16

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 16

Betti Mace, October 16

Reflections From My Bookshelves, October 17

Fiction Aficionado, October 17

Through the Fire Blogs, October 17

Inklings and notions , October 18

AndreaChristenson, October 18

She Lives to Read, October 18

Bloging With Carol, October 18

The Christian Fiction Girl, October 19

Back Porch Reads , October 19

Christian Bookaholic , October 19

KarenSueHadley, October 20

Livin’ Lit, October 20

A Reader’s Brain, October 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 20

Genesis 5020, October 21

Worthy2Read, October 21

Life of Literature, October 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 22

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 22

janicesbookreviews, October 22

For Him and My Family, October 22

Older & Smarter?, October 23

Mia Reads Blog, October 23

The Becca Files, October 23

Daysong Reflections, October 24

Connect in Fiction, October 24

Texas Book-aholic, October 24

Just the Write Escape, October 24

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 25

Moments, October 25

Simple Harvest Reads, October 25

Pause for Tales, October 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 26

Lis Loves Reading, October 26

Hallie Reads, October 26

Living Life Free In Christ, October 27

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 27

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 27

Soutgern Gal Loves to Read, October 28

Remembrancy, October 28

Batya’s Bits, October 28

Leona J. Atkinson, October 28

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

A Perfect Silhouette by Judith Miller

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About the Book 

Title: A Perfect Silhouette

Author: Judith Miller

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: August 2019

In 1850, Mellicent “Mellie” Blanchard takes a job at a mill in Manchester, New Hampshire, to help support her family. In search of additional earning opportunities, she approaches a daguerreotype shop owner with the proposal that he hire her to make paper cuttings or silhouette portraits for those who can’t afford an expensive daguerreotype.

When a particularly charming customer–whose broad smile and twinkling eyes catch her off guard–asks to escort her home, the seeds of romance begin to blossom. All the pieces of her new life seem to have fallen perfectly into place, but when her new venture brings her an unexpected opportunity, she is confronted with the truth that all is not as it seems. Will Mellie, who is keeping secrets of her own, find happiness in the new life she has carved out for herself in the busy mill town?

Get your copy here.

My Review

A Perfect Silhouette by Judith Miller is the second Christian Historical I’ve read recently involving working in the mills. Set in 1850 New Hampshire, we view the mill town, boarding house, and mill itself through the eyes of one young woman, Mellie Blanchard. We see the deplorable conditions within the mill walls, sweating to near-fainting with Mellie and breathing in stifling lint-laden air. The undeniable monotony of watching the loom shuttles whiz back and forth may have threatened to put me to sleep!

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I thought William Morgan was very brave to take on a role beneath his social class in order to discover more about the true workings of his family’s mills.
There were some details about the looms that were hard for me to follow, or I wanted to leave for business people like Morgan and his father.
Trust and forgiveness are themes that are addressed as are loving one’s enemies, plus standing for one’s convictions.
One part of the story I am still puzzling over- could it really have happened like that? I’m not quite convinced.

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I have enjoyed reading Miller’s books as she has lately taken us through several different professions in America’s history.
Quotes:
« He’d stepped into this new identity thinking he could do good, yet each lie had required another. He was beginning to have trouble sifting the lies from the truth. »
« “Prayer is our best hope—in all circumstances… »
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This did not affect my opinions for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

4 Stars = Excellent, just short of hitting my reading “sweet spot”

About the Author

Judith is an award-winning and best-selling author of historical fiction for Bethany House Publishers.206097 With a love of history, a dash of romance and a touch of mystery, Judith transports her readers to another time and place. Her passion for history and love of God keep her inspired. Judith and her husband are empty-nesters who live in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Judy blogs with four other historical novelists at http://www.writespassage.blogspot.com

 

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, NetGalley

The Yellow Lantern: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime #3 by Angie Dicken

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About the Book

Book: The Yellow Lantern

Author: Angie Dicken

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release Date: August 2019

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Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of  Romance and American Crime

In Massachusetts in 1824, Josephine Clayton awakes on the table of the doctor she’s assisted all these months. She was presumed dead by all and has become the doctor’s next corpse for his medical research. Frightened, the doctor tries to kill her, but Josephine begs to be spared. A deal is struck—Josie will leave her village and work at a distant cotton mill. All the while, she’ll await her true mission—posing as a mourner to help his body snatcher procure her replacement. At the mill though, Josie is praised for her medical remedies among the mill girls, gaining attention from the handsome factory manager Braham Taylor. Yet, when Braham’s own loved one becomes the prey for the next grave robbing, Josie must make a choice that could put her dark past behind her or steal away the promise of any future at all.

What price will Josie pay for love when her secrets begin to unravel?

 

Click here to grab your copy.

My Review

What a fun, ghastly story Angie Dicken writes in The Yellow Lantern. Infusing just the right amounts of romance, horror, intrigue, and family rivalry, Dicken had me swiping the pages as fast as I could. We think nothing of medical colleges using cadavers in our day, but in the 19th century, doctors realized the need for examining dead corpses for research but didn’t have the access to them. « Resurrection men » had ghastly jobs of providing just-buried corpses, much like this book details. Often, the whole trade was done underground and involved dirty money, as people, of course, wanted their dearly departed to rest in peace.
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I loved that the characters were so three dimensional. Some I couldn’t figure out which side of the good guy/ bad guy line I wanted to put them on. There were even a few points where I felt sorry for the mean son, Gerald, as Braham is able to see him through eyes other than his own, and actually, understand why Gerald hates him.
I think anyone who has ever had a nightmare will love this book of a nightmare come to life, with Josephine struggling so hard to break free of her living reality!
Great wording:
«Uncle Bates’ body emptied of life.» What a mental image of the spirit slowly leaking away!
This quote had me thinking: «She focused on the path ahead, begging for God’s protection despite the unholy predicament.» How often we go our own way, then beg God to release us from the consequences!
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A note about the facts that were instilled into the story is helpfully included at the end. While part of the True Crimes series, each book stands on its own merit.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Celebrate Lit through NetGalley. This does not affect my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

About the Author 

Angie Dicken credits her love of story to reading British literature during life as a AngieDicken-300x213military kid in England. Now living in the U.S. heartland, she’s a member of ACFW, sharing about author life with her fellow Alley Cats on The Writer’s Alley blog and Facebook page. Besides writing, she is a busy mom of four and works in Adult Ministry. Angie enjoys eclectic new restaurants, authentic conversation with friends, and date nights with her Texas Aggie husband. Connect with her online at www.angiedicken.com.

 

More from Angie

Barbour’s True Colors Crime concept intrigued me from the very beginning. Being the daughter of a doctor and discovering the ties of grave robbing to the early medical profession, I was excited to dive deep into 19th century Massachusetts. Grave robbing around Boston and New York was often employed by doctors desperate for medical advancement. Men and women were both involved in the procuring of bodies for doctors. Finding these accounts led me to take took a look at the current medical remedies of the time—tinctures, elixirs, and herbal concoctions. My heroine was created in the tension of a desire to heal and the desperation of medical pursuits.

Amidst these medical ties to the historical moment of 1824, something was also shifting among women in rural areas of New England. Many women were employed by newly built cotton mills (Lowell Mill was my inspiration for the fictional Gloughton Mill in The Yellow Lantern). These working opportunities for women offered an escape from their home-bound lives and the rare chance for independence. Of course, with such industrial environments, injuries, and sometimes death, would occur. Noting the accounts of these kind of fatalities in historical articles, my research came full circle.

I found three strong threads to weave into my grave-robbing story—desperate doctors in need of research, a doctor’s assistant needing an escape from her village, and a mill, not only offering that escape, but the chance at bodies for the desperate medical community.

My heroine, Josie Clay, found life in the tangle of these threads of mills, medicine, and grave robbing—all playing out within the pages of The Yellow Lantern.

 

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, August 15

Seasons of Opportunities, August 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, August 15

Bigreadersite, August 16

Emily Yager, August 16

Inspired by fiction, August 16

The Christian Fiction Girl, August 17

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

Daysong Reflections, August 17

Retrospective Spines, August 18

Spoken from the Heart, August 18

Kathleen Denly, August 19

Through the Fire Blogs, August 19

Christian Bookaholic, August 19

Maureen’s Musings, August 20

For the Love of Literature, August 20

Simple Harvest Reads, August 21 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Godly Book Reviews, August 21

A Reader’s Brain, August 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 22

Betti Mace, August 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 22

Hallie Reads, August 23

Mary Hake, August 23

Inklings and notions, August 23

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 24

For Him and My Family, August 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, August 24

Connie’s History Classroom, August 25

Pause for Tales, August 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 26

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 26

amandainpa, August 26

Blossoms and Blessings, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 27

janicesbookreviews, August 27

Back Porch Reads, August 28

Just the Write Escape, August 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Angie is giving away a grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of each of the books in the series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/e71c/the-yellow-lantern-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, NetGalley, Revell

A Reluctant Belle, Daughtry House, #2 by Beth White

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About the Book

Author: Beth White

Title: A Reluctant Belle

Series: Daughtry House

Publisher: Revell

Released: June 2019

With the Civil War over, Mississippi Belle Joelle Daughtry wants to establish a school to teach freed slaves. But she might have to form an alliance with her childhood nemesis and reveal her deepest secret to make changes in her world and her heart.

Get your copy here.

My Review

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Beth White produces vivid descriptions of anarchy in post-Civil War times in The Reluctant Belle, Daughtry House #2. Reconstruction was a very slow, painful process. Some championed it, some quietly supported it, and some outright spoke against it. Others secretly opposed it with an infectious hatred that developed into the KKK. This terror might start in an area slowly, like a glowing ember, then quite quickly fan into a ferocious, deadly flame that was meant to undo the liberation of the slaves. Author White brings the era to exciting, fearful life for a heart-stopping, engaging read.
So many themes presented here. We learn that God sees us all as we are. We see, if we choose, comparisons for racial issues in our own times.

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I really was impressed by how God used each character, especially the main characters, despite their flaws, using the talents He HAD given them.
I saw more than a historical romance. I saw an example of what I want to be for my husband-what Joelle represents to Schuyler. Am I a refuge for my husband, anchoring him the way Joelle anchors Schuyler?
Great quotes, true for today.
“ If you admitted that you loved, you put yourself in danger of rejection.”
“The only way they got through that year had been laying their bruised souls at the feet of Jesus.”
“People who had a lot to lose, he’d noticed, took more time to pray. They relied on each other, trusted one another, became vulnerable as brothers and sisters.”
The author’s notes at the end are interesting and essential for history buffs. Grab this one for yourself and start following Beth White. This book can stand alone, but I enjoyed it, even more, knowing the background of book one.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions which I am for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

 

About the Author

Beth White teaches music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. Her hobbies include playing flute and pennywhistle and painting, but her real passion is 7129454writing historical romance with a Southern drawl.

A native Mississippian, she is a pastor’s wife, mother of two, and grandmother of two–so far.

Also published as Elizabeth White, her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award.

 

 

 

BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, Revell

The Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart

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About the Book

Title: The Refuge

Author: Ann H. Gabhart

Publisher: Revell

Released: April 2019

When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It’s meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique–and lonely–position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?

Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family.

Get your copy here.

My Review

An author who can grab your attention in the first sentence usually is skilled enough to keep it. I found this especially true of Ann H. Gabhart in The Refuge, her latest about a young widow, Darcie, in a Shaker village. ”You can’t cheat death.” Immediately, the reader wants to know why the narrator, Darcie, feels like this. While life in a Shaker village could be monotonous and dreary, devoid of family and marital relations, Gabhart managed to keep me eagerly reading to see what would befall
anxious Darcie. Her experiences in Harmony Hill as Gabhart recounts them are far from boring. 
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For the founders of communes such as this (and we had one similar in our community, set up in 1930 by a woman, where marriage was “wrong”), the Bible speaks plainly against this type of community. First, the Bible is clear that marriage is to be revered, sacred, and ENJOYED. Secondly, God clearly states that one should not add to His Word. Both in the case of the Shakers and our local commune, the leader’s ideas were considered equal, if not above, God’s Word. Of course, this community also died out.
Gabhart has a great cast of three-dimensional characters. Flynn struggles with how to raise his daughter, Leatrice. Silas struggles with how to help Flynn. The answers they choose have far-reaching consequences. I wished we could have seen more of wise Granny Hatchell.
“A body shouldn’t be trying to change other folks just to make things more convenient for her.”
Overarching themes I saw are learning to trust God day by day and not borrow tomorrow’s troubles; taking that step of faith as we see God leading; learning from others and living peaceably with them even not being in total agreement. How much richer Darcie’s life was for her time with Sisters Genna, Ellie, Helene, and even Eldress Maria.The Refuge... marriage quote.png
For those who will feel the ending was rushed: I believe circumstances in times like those often made it so. We need to stay true to history over having a “more satisfying ending” like we would plan.
Quotes:
“Marriage causes stressful living and not the peace and unity we seek here in our village.”
~ Mother Ann- founder of Shakers 

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“You prayed when my heart was too discouraged to hope.” ~Genna on answered prayer, showing the power of intercessory prayer for others. May this be said of me!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This did not affect my opinions, which are solely my own. 

 My Rating

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

About the Author

Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800’s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960’s. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl. Visit Ann’s website http://annhgabhart.com or her two blogs, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com, and the Hollyhill Book of the Strange, www.hollyhillbookofthestrange.blogspo…. Giveaways several times a year.

Bethany House, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley

The Number of Love,#1 the Codebreakers, by Roseanna M. White and a Giveaway

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About the Book

The Toughest Puzzle She’ll Have to Solve    42075376

Might be the Wishes of Her Own Heart

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, she discovers for the first time in her life that numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the intelligent Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

I am always amazed that authors can write stories about war that people like me will want to read. Yet Roseanna M. White has done just that, and admirably so, in The Number of Love. First, in The Codebreakers series, we are introduced to Margot de Wilde, a mathematical whiz who actually thinks and perceives all of life around her in numbers. I struggled some with this. First, it was way beyond my comfort zone. I can learn and even teach a bit of math, but I much prefer words. So even just reading that much about numbers was a little bit of a struggle, but thank goodness God gives everybody different strengths. What an interesting look into the battlefield that was played, not on land, but in minds, in ‘room 40’ in London. I also struggled with someone who saw herself as one of the most intelligent people on earth, next to God. Yes, God gave Margot and the other codebreakers an unusual gift, but I like to think others also have/had very unusual gifts, too. So I guess I felt like she thought a little highly of herself, which, coincidently, I would say, she was on her way to putting things back into perspective by the end of the book.
What I loved about the book was plentiful. There was lots of action. The reader gets to vicariously travel a bit. There are many different storylines going at once, giving a healthy vigor and breadth to the novel. Faith and kindness play huge roles in The Number of Love and actually lead to a remarkable ending.
What I really loved, though, was that Ms. White allowed her character to question God. She asked the tough questions. But it was the answer that she arrived at that I have either never heard, or it hit me afresh. So wonderful! I would suggest reading this book just to find out what her answer from God is. The romances are sweet; I enjoyed the tie-ins to characters from other books; the suspense was palpable; but the answers for life, we can use. Thank you, Ms. White.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher and Celebrate Lit through NetGalley. I was in no way influenced by this fact, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

About the Author

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long Roseanna-2018-218x300 claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

 

More from Roseanna

When I told my best friend and critique partner what book I was pitching next to my publisher, her response was something along the lines of, “That sounds awesome. Also, you’re crazy, and I do not envy you writing that one.”

I laughed…and knew exactly what she meant. Because I was setting out to write a heroine who was a mathematician—which I am definitely not. A heroine who was utterly indifferent to love and marriage—which makes for a difficult story when one writes romance. A character who had an unshakeable faith—which has to be shaken at least a bit in order to make for growth throughout the story. And more, a character who has “issues,” let’s call it, that those familiar with such things will recognize…and which those who aren’t will probably think are quirks.

I was setting out to write a story that would be challenging for me, every step of the way. And the result is a book I’m incredibly in love with and so happy to share with the world.

The Number of Love is all about Margot, who thinks and even prays in numbers. Born and raised in Belgium, she and her family fled to England in 1914 when the Germans invaded her homeland. Thanks to her remarkable abilities with numbers and patterns, she’s now employed at Room 40, the Admiralty’s secret codebreaking branch. But as I was contemplating what sort of man could ever win Margot’s heart, I knew he had to be very different… someone active where she’s still. Someone outgoing where she turns inward. Someone who sees in her what she never can, and who believes she can grasp the dreams that society tells her are unbefitting a woman. This is how Drake was born—a field agent employed by Room 40.

I can honestly say this is the only book I’ve ever written that required me to borrow my daughter’s algebra book while I was writing it, LOL. And though every single scene was a challenge, it was one I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope you’ll join me on the journey that Margot and Drake are on, which answer the question my husband cheekily asked more than once as I was writing it: what is the number of love?

 

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, June 17

Moments, June 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 17

Girls Living For God’s Glory, June 17

Back Porch Reads, June 18

The Avid Reader, June 18

Stories By Gina, June 18

janicesbookreviews, June 18

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 19

Inspired by Fiction, June 19

Worthy2Read, June 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 19

As He Leads is Joy, June 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 20

Blossoms and Blessings, June 20

Real World Bible Study, June 21

Multifarious, June 21

Emily Yager, June 21

A Reader’s Brain, June 21

Bigreadersite, June 22

For the Love of Literature, June 22

Simple Harvest Reads, June 22 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

She Lives to Read, June 23

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 23

Just the Write Escape, June 23

Genesis 5020, June 24

For Him and My Family, June 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 24

Inklings and notions, June 24

Life of Literature, June 25

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 25

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, June 25

Texas Book-aholic, June 25

Just Your Average reviews, June 26

Blogging With Carol, June 26

The Becca Files, June 26

Splashes of Joy, June 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of winner’s choice of TWO signed books, Fruit and Floral Flavors Sugar Shapes, and some Roseanna M. White swag!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/de86/the-number-of-love-celebration-tour-giveaway