ARC, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, PB, Purchase, Revell

Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Title: Tidewater Bride

Author: Laura Frantz

Publisher: Revell

Released: January 2021

Genre: Historical Romance

Selah Hopewell, Virginia Colony’s most eligible woman, is busy matchmaking for a ship of brides, though she has no wish to wed.

Xander Renick is perhaps the most eligible tobacco lord in the settlement, but he is already wedded to his business and still grieves the loss of his wife, daughter of the Powhatan chief.

Can two fiercely independent people find happiness and fulfillment on their own? Or will they discover that what they’ve been missing in life has been right in front of them all along?

My Impressions

For those who know the story of Jamestown, John Rolfe, and Pocahontas; comes this amazing reimagining from the pen of historical fiction maestro Laura Frantz. In Tidewater Bride, we reconnect with bits and pieces of the past lives of three friends, to find out what keeps two of them from being romantically involved after the death of the beloved third. Frantz paints beautiful Virginia scenery, two, make that many, cultures at odds with each other, striving for survival and supremacy in a wild and untamed land. Romance beckons but struggles to stay aflame amidst the winds of distrust and treachery which threaten. When you finish with this novel, you will be amazed at what you have learned about the political climate of the times, the way people groups treated each other, and the strength that some individuals showed in standing true to honest principles. “True Word” is a name given Alexander Renick because he was one of very few the “Naturals” I love that designation) could trust.

The premise for peace among the settlers and the Naturals is amazing, and my heart broke and cheered for those brave souls involved. I loved the growth we see in Selah, Renick, and Shay. May there be more parents like Selah’s and Shay’s, who taught their children to be colorblind to skin tone, but to examine the mettle of another’s the soul. And may we be careful not to assume and judge that which we don’t know for fact about another.
So much history woven into fiction from Laura Frantz, and so much romance, suspense, and intrigue that you’ll be spellbound.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and the publisher and through NetGalley and Library Thing. I also bought copies as prized gifts. All opinions are my own. No positive review was required.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!!

I love Laura Frantz’s books. Tidewater Bride may be one of my faves.

About the Author

Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. When she’s not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.

According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Foreign language editions include French, Dutch, Spanish, Slovakian, & Polish.

Readers can find Laura Frantz at http://www.laurafrantz.net

Giveaway

Doesn’t EVERYBODY Love to Read Laura Frantz?

If YOU would like to win a free copy of the book, Tidewater Bride, by Laura Frantz, I have two paperback copies to give away. Some things you want to know:

  1. You must live in the continental US to enter.
  2. This is a quick giveaway, closing Wednesday evening, 9pm EST.
  3. You must reply comment on this post with your email so I can contact you if you win.
  4. I will be drawing two names of entrants out of a hat, and mailing the books parcel post the end of this week. Good luck!!
Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

A Bride of Convenience, #3 The Bride Ships by Jody Hedlund

About the Book

Title: A Bride of Convenience

Series: #3 The Bride Ships

Author: Jody Hedlund

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: June 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Unemployed mill worker Zoe Hart jumps at the opportunity to emigrate to British Columbia in 1863 to find a better life and be reunited with her brother, who fled from home after being accused of a crime.

Pastor to miners in the mountains, Abe Merivale discovers an abandoned baby during a routine visit to Victoria and joins efforts with Zoe, one of the newly arrived bride-ship women, to care for the infant. While there, he’s devastated by the news from his fiancee in England that she’s marrying another man.

With mounting pressure to find the baby a home, Zoe accepts a proposal from a miner of questionable character after he promises to help her locate her brother. Intent on protecting Zoe and frustrated by his failed engagement, Abe offers his own hand as groom. After a hasty wedding, they soon realize their marriage of convenience is not so convenient after all. 

My Impressions

Reading A Bride of Convenience by Jody Hedlund, I wondered how I waited so long to read this book. Hedlund’s The Bride Ships series’ third book was a real pleasure. I enjoyed the history Hedlund accurately wove into the narrative about Canadian mining towns, English brides, and the smallpox epidemic that the Vancouver native Americans endured in the mid-late 1800s. It was sad to see such a great amount of prejudice and mistreatment against the native Americans.

Zoe is a great heroine, rising from a ”nobody” to somebody who stands tall because of her character. And then there’s loveable, rather hapless Abe, struggling to figure out exactly what direction God wants his life to take. I felt like Abe was torn between what people such as the Bishop told him he should do, and what God was leading him to actually do. Will Abe choose comfort or honor? My favorite secondary character is Mrs. Moresby. What a difference she made in the brides’ lives.

A Bride of Convenience is a delicious serving of English bride ships and Vancouver history with a side of social commentary wrapped up in compelling romantic prose that will keep you eagerly reading from the first page to last. A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the author and publisher through NetGalley. I am voluntarily leaving this review. All opinions are my own. 

About the Author

Jody Hedlund is the author of over thirty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

ARC, Barbour, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, PB, Purchase

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep

About the Book

Title: The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

Author: Michelle Griep

Publisher: Barbour

Released: January 1, 2021

Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Mystery

There’s Often a Fine Line Between a Criminal and a Saint
 
Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that’s Kit Turner’s domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way—conning the rich to give to the poor. When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit’s help. If Jackson doesn’t find the cabby, he’ll be fired. If Kit doesn’t help Jackson, he’ll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.

My Impressions

Love historicals of the Victorian era? Love a Christian message seamlessly woven into the narrative? Michelle Griep has such a “silver pen” (compare to a “silver tongue” that our heroine Kit Turner has), that I could easily follow her into the underbelly of London. Not many authors could describe the shenanigans of Constable Jackson Forge and his enemy-turned-conspirator Kit the way Griep does. Griep tucks historical fact, English geography, and mystery, romance, and suspense into one mesmerizing, achingly beautiful story. The Thief of Blackfriars Lane grips you and refuses to be expunged from your mind much like the horrible smells of the sewer refuse to leave our unlikely hero’s clothes. For those who love surprises, there are plenty of twists and turns. There are also some very thought-provoking questions raised. Why does God allow failure and tragedy, instead of rescuing us from them? Kit doesn’t understand, and Jack helps console her:

“Yet it is often in tragedy where we find our life’s purpose, and that purpose is to love God and man.”

Are right and wrong clear-cut and absolute? Jack thinks they are. Can Kit teach him to think differently?

“…most of life dwells in the murky grey between right and wrong. Misfortunes will come and go, but through it all, our main duty is to keep loving God and keep loving man.”

Can you judge a book by its cover? If we’re referring to people, Griep proves that to judge based on the apparent cover is faulty at best, dangerous at worst. If we are referring to a book, I judge any of Michelle Griep’s books by one criterion: if her name is on it, it bears the mark of excellence. You would do well to buy it.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author and publisher. I also bought a copy, because a Griep is too good not to share. I am voluntarily leaving my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!!

(I have yet to find anything by Michelle Griep that I haven’t loved!)

About the Author

I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the latter. Way cheaper. I’ve been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write…except for that graffiti phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley

The Red Ribbon, #8 True Colors by Pepper Basham Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Red Ribbon

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian historical/suspense

Release Date: October, 2020

Red Ribbon

An Appalachian Feud Blows Up in 1912

Book 8 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

In Carroll County, a corn shucking is the social event of the season, until a mischievous kiss leads to one of the biggest tragedies in Virginia history. Ava Burcham isn’t your typical Blue Ridge Mountain girl. She has a bad habit of courtin’ trouble, and her curiosity has opened a rift in the middle of a feud between politicians and would-be outlaws, the Allen family. Ava’s tenacious desire to find a story worth reporting may land her and her best friend, Jeremiah Sutphin, into more trouble than either of them planned. The end result? The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre of 1912.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions


The Red Ribbon, #8 True Colors Series by Pepper Basham is one of the best novels in the series so far. Each book seems better than the one before, if possible. Why did I love this book?
First, I loved this story for its setting, taking place in the Appalachian Mountains in 1911. A time when mountain life was a culture unto itself, stills were known but not discussed, bootlegging was common, and families held unto feuds for generations.
Second, Pepper Basham writes with such an engaging style. Flowing and descriptive, Basham’s beautifully painted details plunk the reader down smack dab in the middle of the uncertainty of unrest between two mountain clans.
Thirdly, the romance between Ava and Jeremiah is so wonderfully sweet as it swings from childhood friends to grown young adults in love.
Fourth, there are so many pearls of wisdom from both Ava’s granny and Jeremiah’s grandfather. Each chapter opens with a quote from one or the other. Solid wisdom.
Fifth, there are so many repeated Scripture nuggets and truths that are life-changing. They help Ava overcome her struggles and some of them are truths I am reminded to cling to in hard times. A book is great when it seamlessly includes these.
Sixth, last but not least, the horrific crime that is not what it seems. All compelling factors to produce an exciting book. A must-read!
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. I am voluntarily leaving these opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains where her family have lived for generations. She’s the mom of five kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at the award winning Writer’s Alley blog. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015, and the second in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuted in April 2016.

More From Pepper

Feuds, Moonshine, and Family Loyalties by Pepper Basham

My upcoming release for Barbour’s True Colors series is really close to my heart…and pretty close to my house.

The Red Ribbon, my first foray into a historical suspense novel, takes place in the county where I grew up. Carroll County, Virginia, is a county on the border of Virginia and North Carolina, not too far from Mt. Airy (Mayberry).  Nestled in the foothills and mountains of the Blue Ridge, it is a part of the Appalachian Mountains, and with that comes similar histories as other backwoods Appalachian communities: feuds, moonshine, and family loyalties.

One thing I love most about my Appalachian upbringing is the intense closeness of family – and when I say ‘family’ I mean, of course, my mom, dad, and brother, but also my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents…the whole “gang”, as my granny used to say.

The closeness of family, and the protection of the family name, is a big deal in Appalachia. There’s a lot of pride in the way your ‘name’ is thought of throughout the community, so when someone insults your name, there’s a good chance the repercussions aren’t going to be pleasant. Especially back in the early 1900s, when The Red Ribbon takes place. In fact, insulting someone by “stealing a kiss” is one of the events that leads to The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre/Tragedy.

A long-time feud between the Allen family and the “Courthouse Clan” came to a head inside the Hillsville Courthouse in March 1912 and this event resulted in the largest shootout within a courthouse in Virginia history. The story followed with a nationwide manhunt and made national news until the sinking of the Titanic the following month.

Growing up in Carroll County, I knew a few things about this story. Rumors and whispers, really. Most folks didn’t talk about it because it still caused a stir among those who were descendants (because another thing about Appalachia is that families tend to stay on or around family land for generations). People still took “sides”. So, when I decided to write this book, I knew I was stepping into precarious territory. Not that anyone would start up a shootout nowadays because of a book, but because people still have some deep feelings about how their ancestors are portrayed in history, and since many of my family members still live in Carroll County, I wanted to tread carefully into the events of “The Allen Tragedy”.

What I discovered was a story that still held a whole lot of mystery even one hundred years later. Bullet holes still mark the courthouse steps from that fateful day, rumors still circulate about who was to blame, and no one knows who fired the first gunshot that began the tragic shooting.

I’m not a “scary” book writer or reader, but I love a good adventure, so this book takes the reader on an adventure into Appalachia to my neck of the woods, and follows the journey of Ava Burcham and Jeremiah Sutphin as they live among the illegal moonshiners, dirty cops, and mountain gunslingers of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

(To learn more about the true events of the Courthouse Tragedy, you can read about it here: https://roanoke.com/news/virginia/the-courthouse-tragedy-gunfight-in-hillsville-in-1912/article_45d0d7f3-6e1f-57c4-83be-fceb3d98dafd.html)

Have you ever read a book set in Appalachia? If so, what was the title and what did you learn about the Appalachian culture? Have you ever visited the Blue Ridge Mountains?

Let’s chat mountain people, mountain ways, and mountain books 😊

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 29

Fiction Aficionado, October 29

deb’s Book Review, October 29

Blossoms and Blessings, October 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 30

Texas Book-aholic, October 30

Blogging With Carol, October 30

Inklings and notions, October 31

Emily Yager, October 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, October 31

Hallie Reads, October 31

For Him and My Family, November 1

reviewingbooksplusmore, November 1

Christian Bookaholic, November 1

Betti Mace, November 2

Genesis 5020, November 2

For the Love of Literature, November 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , November 2

Rebecca Tews, November 3

Robin’s Nest, November 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 3

Connect in Fiction, November 4

Older & Smarter?, November 4

To Everything There Is A Season, November 4

Artistic Nobody, November 4 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 5

By The Book, November 5

Remembrancy, November 5

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 6

Britt Reads Fiction, November 6

Life of Literature, November 6

Connie’s History Classroom, November 7

Splashes of Joy, November 7

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 7

A Reader’s Brain, November 8

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 8

Through the Fire Blogs, November 8

Godly Book Reviews, November 8

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, November 9

Bigreadersite, November 9

Where Faith and books Meet, November 9

Books I’ve Read, November 10

Just the Write Escape, November 10

Adventures of a Travelers Life, November 10

Amanda Tero, blog, November 11

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 11

Pause for Tales, November 11

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1032d/the-red-ribbon-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite

The Secret Life of Lady Evangeline, #1 Secrets, by Jan Davis Warren, Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  The Secret Life of Lady Evangeline

Author: Jan Davis Warren

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: September 22, 2020

LadyEvangeline

Everyone believes Lady Evangeline is dead, so why not let them? Her survival depends on it.

After escaping from assassins and healing from her injuries, Evangeline Stanton finds refuge in a crumbling abbey. Her physical scars are nothing to the wounds left by the death of her daughter and abandonment of her husband. She spends most days disguised as Sister Margaret Mary, but when necessary, she dons the disguise of the recently deceased bandit, the Fox, to steal from the rich and help the starving children and widows who come for aid.

Lord Henry Stanton still grieves the death of his beloved wife, Evangeline. Raising their young daughter is now the most important role in his life, even though the child serves as a daily reminder of the love he and his wife once shared. He may never shed the weight of his guilt for not protecting Evangeline from the band of outlaws who killed her, as well as the lies sown by his sister-in-law, which he allowed to separate him from his wife just before her death.

When Henry’s ailing father-in-law sends an urgent request for help to manage his lands, he has no choice but to take his daughter with him to Castle Brighton. But the nun who comes to care for the sick man catches Henry’s notice from the first moment he catches sight of her. When the life of their precious daughter is threatened, can they overcome the lies and secrets of the past and join forces to save their daughter before it is too late?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

The Secret Life of Lady Evangeline, #1, Secrets, by Jan Davis Warren is a thrilling medieval adventure that I found totally enthralling. Warren starts her novel with prickles of danger warning Evangeline Stanton that something is very wrong. The suspense never lets up. As one situation starts to resolve, another quickly presents itself. The pacing was very even and well-balanced. At no time did my attention wane. I did chuckle a few times as the twists and turns were fulfilled in pleasing, yet surprising ways. I found Warren to be a great, thorough writer. Many separate elements are introduced, yet Warren brings every single one to a satisfying conclusion. This is a rare talent.


It was heartbreaking to see Evangeline and Henry struggle so to overcome the past. I loved that they kept on trying, and forgiveness was part of Evangeline’s attitude towards others. She determines that a course is right spiritually, and commits to it verbally, and lets the feelings happen later.
Recommended for those who dream of the world of lords and ladies, medieval castles, pirates, and Robin Hood-type lore. Also, for those who enjoy a suspenseful struggle between good and evil with spiritual lessons woven in.


I cannot wait to get ahold of the next book in this series! May it live up to its predecessor!
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are solely my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!!

About the Author

Jan Davis Warren is a mother, grandmother, and a young-at-heart great-grandmother. Her wonderful husband passed away the same year she won the ACFW Genesis Award for Romantic Suspense. That win and many others are encouraging reminders that God wants her to continue writing even in the tough times. Learn more at http://www.janwarrenbooks.com.

More from Jan

Hello Dear Reader,

That you are reading this means you come from some hearty and courageous ancestors. Over thousands of years, they survived good times and bad, plagues, famines, wars, and all manner of tribulations. No matter how many different places around the globe your ancestors ventured, or where they lived and died, you are living proof they existed.

This thought never crossed my mind while writing and winning awards with contemporary romantic suspense, westerns, and even sci-fi. It wasn’t until Lady Evangeline stirred me with her story that I was lured into writing about the Middle Ages. I was even more surprised when I won RWA Faith Hope & Love chapter’s, Touched by Love historical category and the overall award with The Secret Life of Lady Evangeline. Thus began my next exciting adventure, for I had never written a medieval.

While doing research for the time period, I was humbled by the revelation that I’m alive because of ancestors further back than my genealogy has thus far revealed. They survived not only the medieval era, but many other difficult, even horrific times over the centuries before my birth. You and I are truly blessed by our ancestors’ perseverance. We are alive at such a time as this for a reason. Help us Lord to be the light so others might find You and through You life eternal.

Blessings!

Jan Davis Warren

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 25

Blogging With Carol, September 25

For Him and My Family, September 26

Inklings and notions, September 27

deb’s Book Review, September 27

Texas Book-aholic, September 28

Connect in Fiction, September 28

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 29

Romances of the Cross, September 29

Connie’s History Classroom, September 30

The Book Chic Blog, September 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 1

CarpeDiem, October 1

Older & Smarter?, October 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 3

Life, Love, Writing, October 3

Artistic Nobody, October 4 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Labor Not in Vain, October 4

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 6

Emily Yager, October 6

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 7

Mary Hake, October 7

Splashes of Joy, October 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jan is giving away the grand prize of a $50 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/10116/the-secret-life-of-lady-evangeline-celebration-tour-giveaway

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

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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

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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, Favorite, PB, Revell

An Appalachian Summer by Ann H Gabhart

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About the Book

Title: An Appalachian Summer

Author: Ann H Gabhart

Publisher: Revell

Released:  June 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

In 1933, most people are focused on the Great Depression but all Piper Danson can think about is how to get out of being a debutante and marrying Braxton Crandall. In an act of defiance, Piper volunteers as a frontier nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains where adventure awaits.

My Review

*Sigh* After reading An Appalachian Summer, I wonder how a reader could not consider signing up to be a horse courier for Mrs. Breckenridge’s Nurse-Midwife Service. Sure, the year is 1933, and the locale of most of this unputdownable book is the hills and mountains of Kentucky. The adventure that Ann H Gabhart effortlessly spins rolls from one escapade to the next.
Of course, we might not all be as courageous as Piper Danson, who trades her debutante life for the wild unknown. Who needs to decide between two suitors when there are bigger mountains to climb… literally? What with snakes, men who might shoot before asking questions if a stranger is found on their land, odd jobs the girls have never before dreamed of attempting…life is never dull in these beautiful hills.

An Appalachian Summer 1
This is a journey of faith, friendship, love, and the soul. Faith that the mountain people have and readily share, as one lady on the train does to Piper:
“I’m guessing things has always been easy for you. That can make it harder to recognize what the Lord does for you. You can think maybe you’ve done it all yourself and don’t need him none. But you walk down some rocky trails with troubles on every side , and you’ll be wanting the Lord right there with you.”
Gabhart doesn’t belabor points, but inserts faith as a given for the mountain people.
Friendships. So many different kinds in this story. Some lead to respect. Some lead to good new friends. Some lead to love. *Sigh* It is just so much fun to follow the paths Gabhart winds, almost as twisty as the mountain paths themselves, before allowing her characters to settle their hearts.
There’s magic in those hills. Especially the ones inhabited by Mrs. Breckenridge, Piper, Suze, Dr. Jack, Billy, and on and on. This is a TV show waiting to be picked up.
Be able to say you read the book first.

An Appalachian Summer 2

Notable Quotables:

“…the joy of the song can be in you whether it tickles the ears or not.”

“Sometimes a person had to forget the obstacles and jump into the moment.”

“I think we all have a calling. Sometimes we live up to it, and sometimes we don’t.”

“…every person should be allowed one idiotic dream in her lifetime.”

“You get up high on those hills and the Lord just seems nearer.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Revell Reads. I also bought an ecopy and a copy to bless a special friend with. All opinions are my own, and are freely given.

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot!

 

About the Author

311723Ann 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.blogspot.com.Giveaways several times a year.

BLOG, PB, Revell

A Reckless Love, #3 The Daughtry House Series by Beth White

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About the Book

Title: A Reckless Love

Series: #3 The Daughtry House

Author: Beth White

Publisher: Revell

Released: June 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

On the trail of an elusive enemy, cynical, war-damaged lawman Zane Sager crosses paths once more with Aurora Daughtry, the vivacious Mississippi belle he once admired from a distance. As his defenses start to crumble, the criminal he’s been pursuing reminds him that that no one he loves is safe. Ever.

 

My Review

“Zane’s first thought when he came to was that the world was coming to an end.” With an explosive start like that, Beth White quickly lights a fire under the reader to delve into her last story of the Daughtry House series, A Reckless Love.
I was a little confused at first, because this sister’s chronicle backtracks a little from where the last book ended. But White has her reasons. By the way, this is one series that needs to be read in order.
The year is 1870, and slavery has been abolished. Many on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line struggle with racial equality. When Judge Teague, a beloved mentor of Deputy Marshall Sager, is attacked for ruling over a race-related trial, Sager vows to visit justice upon the guilty. Sager gets to know the Daughtry sisters as he works with Riggins, Selah’s husband, who is also a Pinkerton. Both men are working at ending organized racial intimidation and suppression in the South.

A Reckless Love 1
I find Aurora amazing in that she has a good business head at nineteen, but she is also high-handed, determined to orchestrate events as she sees fit. Every one else had better get in line behind her. She is a tough cookie but loves anyone with a good heart. She is brave and unconventional.
Sager is independent, also brave, and other than the judge, not one to be close to others. His appearance helps out his tenacious personality, but he is hiding a weakness. Plus, he failed at the protection gig once. He is afraid of failing again. If “there is no fear in love,” then there is no love in fear.
White, like Joelle, has a proclivity towards big words. I had to google quite a few definitions. I very much enjoyed getting to know all three of the Daughtry sisters in this series.

A Reckless Love 2
Notable Quotables:

”Find a man who serves Christ first. Then his love for you will fall rightly.”

“Honey, we all get left behind at some time or another. Only one person is always there.”

“And when somebody gives you a hand out of the mud, you don’t spit on it just because it doesn’t land you exactly where you want to go.”

“…secrets were burdensome things.”

“…he packed more raw emotion into one eye than most people conveyed in two.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Revell Reads program. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

 5 Stars- Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

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

You can get in touch with Beth on Twitter @bethsquill and her website can be found at http://www.bethwhite.net/.

 

 

 

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

The Runaway Bride, #2 The Bride Ships by Jody Hedlund

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About the Book

Title: The Runaway Bride

Series: #2 The Bride Ships

Author: Jody Hedlund

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: March 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Haunted by mistakes in her past, will she ever again trust her heart to another?

Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship, still bearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately attracts suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by making a poor choice.

Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy, held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town’s baker who has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella’s affections, but also clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need—a starving girl left behind by her tribe. Intent on helping the child, Arabella leans on Peter’s advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision, or will seeking what’s right cost both her and Peter everything?

 

My Review

Jody Hedlund won me over in The Runaway Bride, #2 The Bride Ships, with her hero. He
is Pete Kelly, a baker who is well-liked and charismatic. He also has a keen eye out for
injustice done to his fellow-man and is quick to get involved. He is kind, has compassion
even on his enemies, and is really trying to live for God. Which brings up his biggest
question for God: if he’s living according to God’s plan, why is his life so tough? Pete has
to decide if living life God’s way is worthwhile if it doesn’t always result in a life of ease
or happiness.
Runaway Bride #1
Arabella is one very confused lady. She certainly seems to have a severe case of
indecision. She brought to mind that verse in James about a double-minded person that
is “blown and tossed by the wind.” (James‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬) Just when I thought, “Now she’ll come
to her senses and understand which direction to go,” she would falter and backpedal
faster than a carriage whose horses are spooked. Thank goodness for Hedlund’s author’s
notes. Hedlund assures us she’s aware we 21st-century readers might have difficulty
understanding a 19th-century English woman’s hesitation to step outside of societal
norms. By the novel’s end, Arabella develops a very strong spine and I wondered if I
would be that courageous.
Runaway Bride #2
This is a nonlinear story, so we are fed a bit of the present story, then a memory bite of
the past. Eventually, the dichotomous storyline is completed after much danger, soul-
searching, and exciting adventures with a few clean romantic kisses, plus a nice ending
twist.
Perhaps the players I most admired stayed in the background. Mercy taught Arabella so
much by her example. Mrs. Moresby and Hayward were ladies I really wanted to meet
and enjoy knowing.
One other note. Hedlund’s historical research is impeccable and a reader can learn a
great deal about Victoria in the 1860s.
Notable Quotables:

“He’ll give you courage like no other can.”

”I always figured if God thinks the condition of a person’s heart matters more, then I should, too.”

”She’d been satisfied with eating crumbs in her relationships when there were feasts that awaited if she just had enough courage to partake.”

”…when we stand up against injustice, we’ll likely suffer for doing the right thing.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Bethany House through NetGalley. This in no way influences my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars– Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

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Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Find Jody at her website, http://jodyhedlund.com/
or on Twitter as JodyHedlund.