BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Better Than Fiction by April W. Gardner and Michelle Massaro

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About the Book

Book: Better than Fiction

Author: April W. Gardner &  Michelle Massaro

Genre: Historical Fiction/Contemporary Fiction  Better-than-Fiction-cover-200x300

Release Date: April 4, 2016

Imagining him was harmless…until it wasn’t.

Romance novelist Meghan Townsend’s marriage is slipping, and no amount of prayer seems to help. She aims to recapture her husband’s waning attention by getting in shape and finds escape by crafting her own fictional love story. Taking inspiration for the hero from a new friend—the attractive, spiritual, and attentive Curtis Jameson—she pours her yearnings onto the page, and craves the kind of pulse-pounding romance found in her book, Racing Hearts…

In 1916 Corona, California, motorcars are all the rage, and racing them is what Meghan’s hero, Russell Keegan, does best. But when his competition vandalizes his car, the only mechanic available is a greasy woman in a man’s overalls.

After a racing accident claimed her father’s life, Winifred became the sole breadwinner for her family. She is disdained as a female mechanic, but her daddy’s trade is all she has left. Can she swallow her hatred of the races and take up Russell’s offer of big bucks to fix his car, or will she lose everything to mounting debt?

Under Meghan’s skillful pen, these two embark on a thrilling, adventurous romance. But she finds that writing those love scenes with Curtis’s face in mind takes her heart places it shouldn’t go. Will she realize in time that real life can be better than fiction?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

Fiction that challenges one to think carefully about real life is always welcome in my book (or Kindle, to be exact.) April W. Gardner and Michelle Massaro have combined to create a time-slip novel of racing, avarice, grease monkeys, and modern-day friends who juggle families, church life, and keeping fit.

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Romance and the lack of it are big themes in this novel. What do you do as a modern married woman in a Christian marriage blown cold? Where do you take refuge? A very fun way to examine a tough but very real topic in the church today.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the authors and publisher via Celebrate Lit. This in no way influenced my opinions, which are solely my own.

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My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent – I would recommend this book!

About the Author

April W Gardner writes Christian historical romance with a focus on our southeastern April-headshot-237x300Native tribes. She is a copyeditor, military wife, and mother of two who lives in South Texas. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Massaro writes contemporary fiction, soaked in grace. She makes her home in  Michelle-Massaro-253x300Southern California with her husband of over two decades and their four children. She’s dabbled in homeschooling, teaching Creation Science, and leading worship. When she isn’t tinkering with words, Michelle enjoys old Rogers and Hammerstein movies, making kefir, and Sudoku. A new lipstick and a good French roast always make her happy.

 

 

More from April and Michelle

April and Michelle get a lot of questions about how exactly co-authors write a book. Who writes which part? Did you have any trouble, any conflict? Valid questions! But in the case of Better than Fiction, it was no trouble at all, and neither author can remember a single heated disagreement. In part, because they’d been critique partners for eons and were already working together seamlessly.

It also helped that the story is made up of two intertwining novellas. Each author had her own blank canvas to color on with the other looking on and offering feedback. The most enjoyable part of the process was the challenge of making sure the events in the life of Michelle’s contemporary character (an author) influenced the characters’ decisions in April’s historical plot.

Why intertwining stories? The idea behind it was to show what it’s like to live in the mind of a writer, how her real life makes its way into her stories. The theme of emotional affairs was a good fit, as it is often all too easy for women—even Christian woman—to be drawn to another man and justify it as harmless friendship rather than admit she is looking to this person to fill a need that only God and her husband are meant to fill.

They decided to set the story against the backdrop of Michelle’s hometown of Corona, California in 1916 and the real-life Corona Road Race that took place in April of that year. It was the third race and, due to tragedy, the last.

From concept to “The End,” it took a span of about four years for Michelle and April to publish Better than Fiction, and as far as teamwork goes, it went off without a hitch. April was able to fly from her home in Georgia to stay with Michelle’s family and do research, and later, Michelle flew to Georgia for a concentrated writing weekend. The two had an amazingly fun time writing and working together.

Another question the authors get…will there be a sequel? Only time will tell.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 9

Among the Reads, October 9

Genesis 5020, October 10

Through the Fire Blogs, October 11

Betti Mace, October 11

Artistic Nobody, October 12

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 13

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 13

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 14

For Him and My Family, October 15

Remembrancy, October 15

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 16

Maureen’s Musings, October 16

Godly Book Reviews, October 17

Moments, October 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 18

Bigreadersite, October 18

Texas Book-aholic, October 19

For The Love of Books, October 19

janicesbookreviews, October 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 20

A Reader’s Brain, October 21

Inklings and notions , October 22

Simple Harvest Reads, October 22

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, April and Michelle are giving away the grand prize bundle of a $20 Amazon gift card, themed mug and bookmarks, and handmade throw pillow that says, “Books, my happy place”!!

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/ed92/better-than-fiction-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite

Forever, Lately: A Regency Time-Travel Romance by Linore Rose Burkhard

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About the Book

Book: Forever, Lately  47933390._SY475_

Author: Linore Rose Burkard

Genre: Time-Travel Romance

Release Date: October 2019

 Maine, present day
Author Claire Channing needs to write a bestselling book to salvage a failing career. She moves to her grandmother’s rustic cottage, but without the deed, the clock is ticking on how long she can stay. She thinks she’s writing St. John’s story until an old prayer shawl with embroidered lovebirds transports her to his Regency world! She falls in love with him–a man she thought she created. But a jealous Miss Andrews would rather see Julian dead than in another woman’s arms!
Claire and St. John must beat the clock to prevent a deadly tragedy, but can love endure past the limits of time?
Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Can a twenty-first-century author and a Regency gent find common ground, let alone find themselves in the same time period for any length of time? Join them in their race against time to save their lives and love.
What a perfect story of time-travel. This novel, Forever, Lately, by Lenore Rose Burkhard, was much more than just a Regency/modern romance. It morphed into a suspense, became a mystery, and involved more twists and turns than one might have imagined possible. The serpentine path of the plot moved the narrative from “simple” to “complex” and “compelling.”

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I loved the main characters, Julian St. John and Claire Channing, and her grandmother. So charming! I strongly disliked a main character, but I did like how well the supporting characters came together to enhance the tale. This is a great Regency time travel that I recommend.
I received this complimentary book from the author via Celebrate Lit. This is no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior — Hit my reading sweet spot!!

About the Author

Linore Rose Burkard wrote a trilogy of genuine regency romances for the Christian Linore_Smaller-276x300market before there were any regencies for the Christian market. Published with Harvest House, her books opened the genre for the CBA. She also writes YA Suspense/Apocalyptic fiction as L.R. Burkard. Married with five children, Linore home-schools her youngest daughter, teaches workshops for writers, and is the Vice President of the Dayton Christian Scribes.  Her latest  PULSE EFFEX SERIES, takes readers into a “chilling possible future for America, while affirming the power of faith in the darkest of times.”

More from Linore

I wanted to write a Regency time travel for years. When I saw the movie “Kate and Leopold” I thought, Oh no! Someone used my idea! But I needn’t have worried. Leopold (Hugh Jackman) was a Victorian gentleman, not a Regencian. Secondly, though I enjoyed the flick, I kept thinking it missed many opportunities for humor. (Having written a screenplay since then, I now realize why it missed so many: tight scripts just don’t have room for all the scenes that could be fun.) When I wrote my story, however, I was able to include a lot of the humor scenes that had been floating around in my head for eons. It’s one of the reasons the book is a lot of fun to read—particularly when the Regency hero appears in the present.

On a side note, I started this book and then dropped it—for years—mostly because I wanted to write it as Christian romance like my other Regencies. But I kept running into roadblocks. And Christian publishers weren’t interested. Finally I realized I had to let God out of MY box and write the story he was giving me, not the one I thought he should give me. After that, it came together remarkably easily and quickly. And, I think, in a very fun way. I might even do a sequel.

Blog Stops

A Reader’s Brain, September 19

Betti Mace, September 20

Worthy2Read, September 20

Reading Is My SuperPower, September 21

Reflections From My Bookshelves, September 21

For Him and My Family, September 22

Through the Fire Blogs, September 23

Godly Book Reviews, September 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 26

Texas Book-aholic, September 27

janicesbookreviews, September 28

Inklings and notions, September 29

Remembrancy, September 30

Sara Jane Jacobs – Blog, September 30

 Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 1

The Avid Reader, October 2

Mia Reads, October 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linore is giving away the grand prize of a $25 gift card to Bed, Bath, and Beyond!!

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/eb9d/forever-lately-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

 

Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite

Hashtag Rogue (Agency Files #5) by Chautona Havig

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 About the Book 

Book: Hashtag Rogue

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Fiction / Contemporary / Suspense

Release Date: August 20, 2019

Something is terribly wrong in The Agency. Again.    48055616._SY475_

Flynne Dortmann: computer specialist extraordinaire. The right arm of every agent in The Agency. And totally untrained for agent duty.

So when no one takes a threat seriously, Flynne does the only thing she can think of.

With money she has no authorization to use, a gun she’s never fired in her hip pocket, and more zip-ties than any agent should be allowed to carry, Flynne takes on protective detail for an unwilling client. #Rogue.

Mark Cho hasn’t had a chance to get used to being Marco Mendina—head of the Eastern US Agency. Not only that, every sign points to someone knowing he isn’t who he appears to be. His agency is in trouble.  His agents may be in danger, and with an office girl gone rogue, deciding what problem to tackle first is a problem in itself.

Not to mention, he misses his office assistant with her emoji-speak, killer tech skills, and sharp instincts.

 

Click here to grab your copy!

My Review 

Hashtag Rogue, by Chautona Havig, is a very unique Christian Romantic Suspense novel. When her secret agent boss doesn’t act to protect a coworker, valley girl/teen slang slinger Flynne Dortmann acts solo. What a wild ride this is! At times I was confused, which I believe could have been avoided by reading previous books in the series. On the other hand, it is a good author who can weave a crooked trail to land a believable ending. Sometimes a narrative simply needs time to play out, when it all makes sense. I would say this book can stand alone on that premise.

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Two things I do know. One is that I will be hunting down the rest of The Agency series.
The second? Chautona Havig can allow real subject matter( violence, swearing, gangs, human trafficking) in her books while still being very uplifting. Not only does Havig talk seamlessly about faith, but her real sound bites on swearing are hilarious. «  A sailor’s dictionary of unsavory words flew at him… » and
« …until Mark had exhausted his supply of swearing— both foreign and domestic. » I doubled over from these descriptions as Havig creatively expressed her characters’ blue language.
#Gobuythisbooknow
#Ilovedit
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and the author. This did not affect my opinions, which are my own.

My Rating

5 Stars = Superior Reading

About the Author  

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look  Chautona-240x300startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

Read an Excerpt

Erika ordered her eyes to open. They declined the offer. Once more, and with as much of a mental drill sergeant tone as she could muster, she demanded the possibility of sight.

Neither eyelid gave so much as a twitch.

Resigned, she then tried to ascertain the reason for said incorporation by the lids of her eyes. Her brain, too, had gone AWOL. White noise replaced rational thought, grit, replaced natural eye moisture, and if the sensation coming from her tongue could be trusted, she’d transformed into a cottonmouth.

Except that I can’t slither. I know I can’t.

That, Erika decided, was improvement. It just had to be rational thought. Oh, God please.

A question arose. Do I pray? The moment she asked, Erika nodded—inwardly, anyway. I do. Not sure since when… maybe that’ll come next.

Clarity formed when a voice broke through what might or might not have been consciousness. “Oh, thank whatever you’re supposed to thank—don’t want to be, like, totes offensive if I’m not supposed to say, ‘God,’ but I was afraid you had flat-lined.”

“Flynne?”

“Yay! She lives!”

Why do I feel like that’s supposed to be “He lives?”

“So, can you sit up if I help you?”

Bile churned in Erika’s gut. Her eyes felt like they bugged, but she wasn’t even confident she could see anymore. Then Flynne’s purple, green, and blue hair came into view. She glared, wrestling her mouth into contortions and fighting back the urge to vomit. “Please!”

It came out more like, “Mmmweeeeeffff”

“Can’t understand you.” Flynne’s eyes narrowed.

Perspiration formed on Erika’s forehead, neck, and in every other uncomfortable place. Cold, clammy perspiration.

“Do you promise not to scream if I take this off?” She tapped the tape.

Erika just nodded with vehemence that nearly lost her what breakfast she’d eaten.

Again, Flynne’s eyes grew even narrower than the first time. “Okay…” Eyes wide, the girl ripped off her high-top converse and pulled a sock from her foot. “So help me, if you scream, I’m stuffing this in your mouth—supes gross.” She wriggled it for effect—just in case Erika didn’t catch the utter disgustingness of it.

Once more, Erika nodded and pleaded. You’re so going to regret threatening me with that.

If Satan wanted to recruit torturers to relieve demons, Flynne would have been perfect for the job. She worked the tiniest corner of the duct tape free. Erika choked and grimaced. She jerked her head hard to the right. Flynne stared. Once more, she jerked it.

“You want me to rip it off? That’ll hurt!”

But the moment Flynne said “rip,” Erika began bobbing her head fast enough to ensure she drowned in vomit within seconds. Flynne had mad ripping skills, however. In less than three seconds, the tape jerked free—and so did the contents of Erika’s stomach.

All over Flynne’s bare foot and Converse shoes. The moment she stopped heaving, Erika glared up at the girl and moaned, “That’s payback for this.”

The battle of the glares began. Flynne broke the silence that followed first. “If you weren’t Keith’s girlfriend and religious, I’d swear at you. Consider yourself cussed out.” Before Erika could choose between the half-dozen scathing remarks fighting for preeminence, Flynne froze. “Wait. You called me, like, every name in the book. I thought you religious people couldn’t do that!”

The churning began again. “I did?” If she could have gagged, she would have. If she could have puked she might have. “Do I want to know what I said?”

Without hesitation, Flynne rattled off every inappropriate word Erika had spent the last few months working to eradicate from her vocabulary. “Then you got all sesquipedalian on me.”

“Sesquatch-what?”

Flynne turned a little green herself as the stench of partially digested breakfast assaulted her olfactory system. “Sesquipedalian.” At Erika’s doubtful look, Flynne went into action. She removed her other shoe, disappeared outside, returned with clean feet and ready to do business. “For your information it’s a big word that means, ‘a big word.’”

“No offense, Flynne, but you aren’t exactly known for your erudition.”

The girl gave a fine imitation of a puppy cocking its head—a blue, green, and purple-haired puppy. “That’s not one of the word-of-the-day words I’ve had. C’mon… let’s get you cleaned up and inside.”

She peeked her head outside, scanned the area, and looked back at Erika. “No one’s in the neighborhood that I can tell, but you’d be smart not to go all screamo on me or anything that would call the cops.”

“And why’s that?”

Flynne tried to be surreptitious, but Erika caught her eying a white Camry on the other side of the garage before answering, “Because I can get you out of here before they arrive, and you don’t want to be awake when I’m driving fast.”

Something deep in her gut—something other than the renewed churning that hinted she might lose what was left of the contents of her stomach—hinted that Flynne might not be exaggerating. But I’m not going to let her know that. It’d serve her right if I puked all over that car. What’d she do with hers, anyway?

After throwing a dark look at her, Flynne stalked from the garage and returned a few minutes later with a roll of duct tape slid over her arm like a grunge bracelet gone wrong. “You’re already in hot water with the Big Guy for your potty mouth, so don’t add lies. Stuff it or stick it?”

“If you tape my mouth and I vomit, you’ll be responsible for my death. Just sayin’.”

“Then don’t make noise.” Flynne glared at her. “I’m just trying to help here. Just sayin’.

Didn’t know you had that much grit. The woozy, stomach-revolting-on-every-side feeling returned in time for Erika to make a decision. “I’m not going to scream. I don’t want to puke in a cop car, either. But if you don’t get me inside where I can be comfortably horizontal with a bowl by my side, I’m going to puke all over you and enjoy every second of it.” Her stomach rumbled. Mostly.

That perked Flynne up for reasons Erika couldn’t fathom. She hooked her tape-free arm under Erika’s and said, “Then let’s go, Kokomo!”

That’s way too old-school—like fifty years old school. A vague memory poked through the cloud cover of her mind. “I think Keith gave me vitamins or drugs to combat after-effects. I think I need those.”

Not until Flynne had her tucked up on a couch in the family room, a bright red mixing bowl on the floor beside it and a glass of water on the coffee table, did Flynne bother to answer. “Sorry. I was freakazoiding when I left the Agency and just got what I thought I needed to get you safe. I’m not trained for this.”

“Then call Keith. He’ll come. He is trained, and he’ll take care of me.”

Even as she said it, Erika knew it was futile. Flynne had it in her head that this was necessary. So, she could wait. The Agency would take care of her job, her bills, and Flynne could learn that being an agent wasn’t a good career choice. Everything would be just fine for a few days—until Flynne got over herself.

The first epithet marched across the stage of her mind, stepped up to the mic and tapped it, ready to let loose. Erika groaned.

As if propelled by itself, the red bowl appeared at her lips. “I’m sorry! I don’t know what I’m doing. The stuff these guys have to do—totes amazeballs!”

“I was groaning at my language. Can you be quiet for a minute or two while I pray? It’s totes impossible to take repentance seriously when you’re puffy hearting your cray-cray amazeballs.”

“Coolio. Sure thing.”

I just lost fifty IQ points. I know it. Let’s start with prayers for rejuvenated little gray cells and move onto repentance after that. Okay, Lord?

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, September 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 18

As He Leads is Joy, September 19

April Hayman, Author, September 19

Emily Yager, September 20

CarpeDiem, September 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 21

Moments With Mercy, September 21

EmpowerMoms, September 22

Connect in Fiction , September 22

Texas Book-aholic, September 23

Betti Mace, September 23

For Him and My Family, September 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, September 24

Aryn The Libraryan ? , September 25

Hookmeinabook , September 25

janicesbookreviews, September 26

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, September 26

A Reader’s Brain, September 27

Bettie Rushlow, September 27

Inklings and notions , September 28

Adventures of a Traveler’s Wife, September 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 30

Blogging With Carol, September 30

Lots of Helpers, October 1

Mary Hake, October 1

Giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Thomas Nelson

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

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About the Book

 

Book: The Governess of Penwythe Hall

Author: Sarah Laddpro_pbid_4172296

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: April 16, 2019

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

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

Cornwall, England, 1811

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

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

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

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

My Review

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

Notable quotables:

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

My Rating

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About the Author

 

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

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

More About The Governess of Penwythe Hall

5 things to know about Cornwall, England:

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

 

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

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

 

Sources:

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

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

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

 

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, April 11

LifeofLiterature, April 11

Moments, April 11

Genesis 5020, April 11

Maureen’s Musings, April 12

The Power of Words, April 12

Mary Hake, April 12

To Everything A Season, April 12

KarenSueHadley, April 13

EmpowerMoms, April 13

For the Love of Literature, April 13

Inklings and notions, April 13

The Avid Reader, April 14

Blogging With Carol, April 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 14

Rachel’s Back Talk, April 15

Wishful Endings, April 15

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

Kat’s Corner Books, April 16

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 16

Daysong Reflections, April 16

The Becca Files, April 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 17

Blossoms and Blessings, April 17

Remembrancy, April 17

Worthy2Read, April 18

By The Book, April 18

Texas Book-aholic, April 18

Just the Write Escape, April 19

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, April 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 19

Babbling Becky’s Book Impressions, April 20

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 20

For HIm and My Family, April 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 21

Inspiration Clothesline, April 21

Pause for Tales, April 21

Through the Fire Blogs, April 22

Bigreadersite, April 22

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 22

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, April 22

Inspired by fiction, April 23

A Reader’s Brain, April 23

Hallie Reads, April 23

Henry Happens, April 24

Connect in Fiction, April 24

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 24

janicesbookreviews, April 24

 

Giveaway

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

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/de80/the-governess-of-penwythe-hall-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The White City: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crimes by Grace Hitchcock

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: The White City: True Crimes: Historical Stories of American Crime

SERIES: True Crimes

AUTHOR: Grace Hitchcock

PUBLISHER: Barbour

PUBLISHED: March 2109

GENRE: Christian Historical Suspense

Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair
Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

 

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MY REVIEW:

It seems it is always fun to read about one great event that changed the face of Chicago, the World’s Fair of 1893. The White City by Grace Hitchcock helps to sharpen our modern focus on a time when Chicago had a “mini” city of large white stucco buildings well-lit, even at night, to house the fair. The character HH Holmes was a real criminal, detailed in another non-fiction book. White City also caused me to research how the giant Ferris Wheel looked back then. It was nothing like our modern Ferris Wheels, having glass “rooms” holding up to 60 people each! 
I thought this was the perfect vacation read, with a smattering of history, and romance, and suspense.  
I enjoyed the love triangle and truly wasn’t certain how it would turn out. 
Jude Thorpe is a new detective in Winnifred Wylde’s father’s precinct and is assigned the dubious duty of protecting Winnie from her efforts to prove her crime sightings are more than her imagination. Winnie appears attracted to him, but he has competition.  
Winnie fights off many of her aunt’s hand-picked suitors, but will Percival Covington turn out to be the perfect man? 
For myself, I was glad to see Winnie could be a reader and still be a respectable heroine. Often readers are passed over in real life as those who just don’t want to work, instead of those called to nourish an inner need. 
“He didn’t deserve to have her heart’s sloppy seconds.” Said about one of Winnie’s suitors, it hit me how applicable this is in our relationship to God. 
This was one book I would almost have liked to have seen the author write an alternate ending too. That is if she had made a few character adjustments, of course. It just seemed the book teetered on a precipice and the author had to think for a moment which way she wanted to take the action. I know I seriously considered which way I would have counseled her to take it. Indeed, that really brought me thoroughly into the tale, as if the adventure didn’t already have me there. Good point for a book club discussion. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are solely my own. 

 

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 16145482

Grace Hitchcock is the author of The White City and The Gray Chamber from Barbour Publishing. 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

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep

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ABOUT THE BOOK: 

TITLE: Ladies of Intrigue (standalone book)

AUTHOR: Michelle Griep

PUBLISHER: Barbour

PUBLISHED: February 2019

GENRE: Christian Romantic Suspense

3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

MY REVIEW:

4.5 stars- Great, just short of spectacular.

Yay for Michelle Griep for coming up with another new book. However, this one is not quite new, but a collection of three novellas that have appeared in other works. Thankfully, I found these, bundled together, whereas I missed them before.

  1. The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady was the first story and my favorite. Taking place in Cornwall, England, Helen, the young adult daughter of a dying minister is thrown into the path of an unusual smuggler. Can Helen understand the world is more than black and white? Can Isaac give up his “rightful” revenge against Brannigan? Eventually, the truth comes out that God is sufficient. Sometimes I shake my head at what appears to be characters’ convoluted thinking- but then realize we all have our blind spots. I found lots of quotes to like in this part.

“‘You are all I have left.’ ‘No, child, there is always God.’” 

“Those who leave everything in God’s hand will eventually see God’s hand in everything…” 

“Sometimes what we see… and what is truth are two different things. The world is not as black and white as you seem to believe.” 

“If one cannot trust in God’s provision, then perhaps one has no business professing a faith at all.” 

  1. The Doctor’s Woman – This was my second favorite. Taking place in 1862 Minnesota, Emmy Nelson arrives at Fort Snelling, where she is needed in her deceased father’s place. She ends up helping Dr. James Clark, there because he needs field experience.  As the two get close, will Dr. Clark return east to Harvard? God is indeed watching over this pair, as He watches over all of us, and maps out our futures, too.
  2. A House of Secrets- 1890 St. Paul, MN   Amanda Carston and her attorney fiancé Joseph are at odds about the old Griggs House and its use. Why is Joseph suddenly secretive and refusing to support her very well-intentioned endeavors? While this wasn’t a favorite, the lessons are obvious: honesty, prejudging, considering one’s own motives better than others’, of self, assuming the worst of others. Pretty much the opposite of the love chapter in the Bible.

I received this book as a complimentary copy from the author and/or publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to leave a positive review, and all opinions are solely my responsibility.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 2754194

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?

 

BLOG, Favorite, Waterbrook-Multnomah

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews

ABOUT THE BOOK:

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TITLE: Of Fire and Lions

AUTHOR: Mesu Andrews

PUBLISHER: Waterbrook-Multnomah

PUBLISHED: March  2019

The Old Testament book of Daniel comes to life in this novel for readers of Lynn Austin’s Chronicles of the Kings series or Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series.

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she’d perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Now, as Daniel’s wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she’s safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear–until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar’s palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili’s tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone?
Ultimately, Yahweh’s sovereign hand guides Jerusalem’s captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.

 

MY REVIEW:

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews lives up to its exciting, exotic name. It will be one of my faves for 2019!! Such a complex story, so many deep emotions, and such great God lessons set against the impossibly capricious and precarious times of the rising and waning Babylonian empire. Themes of faithfulness to Yahweh, the strength of love, HIS forgiveness, restoration with family, secrets, and so much more. My heart is so full, I would urge anyone with an interest in Biblical history to read Andrews’ well-researched and amazingly crafted account of Daniel.
One of the themes I found most applicable to my life: What is more important? Personal comfort or following God’s Will? Ouch!!
Quote(The heart-rending cry of many a parent, including myself):
“ ‘I failed to convince the people I love most that Yahweh is real.’
‘You have not failed, and you can’t convince them. Only Yahweh can work in a heart to help those we love to believe. We must simply love them with an honest and transparent heart.’ “
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook-Multnomah. I am not required to leave a positive review and all opinions are solely my own.
 

MY RATING:

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Copy of Copy of Of Fire and Lions

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Mesu grew up with a variegated Christian heritage. With grandparents from the Pilgrim Holiness, Nazarene, and Wesleyan Churches, her dad was a Quaker and mom charismatic. As you might imagine, God was a central figure in most family discussions, but theology was a battlefield and Scripture the weapon. As a rebellious teenager, Mesu rejected God and His Word, but discovered Jesus as a life-transforming Savior through the changed life of an old friend.

The desire for God’s Word exploded with her new commitment, but devotional time was scarce due to the demands of a young wife and mother. So Mesu scoured the only two theology books available–children’s Bible stories and her Bible. The stories she read to her daughters at night pointed her to the Bible passages she studied all day. She became an avid student of God’s Word, searching historical and cultural settings as well as ancient texts and original languages.

Mesu and her husband Roy have raised those two daughters and now enjoy a tribe of grandkids, who get to hear those same Bible stories. Mesu’s love for God’s Word has never waned. She now writes biblical novels, rich with spiritual insight learned through fascinating discoveries in deep historical research.

Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell)–the story of Job and the women who loved him–won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year in the Debut Author Category. Her subsequent novels have released with high praise, shedding light on some of the shadowy women of Scripture. Love’s Sacred Song (Revell, 2012) tells the story of the beloved shepherdess in King Solomon’s Song of Solomon. Love in a Broken Vessel (Revell, 2013) tells the story of Hosea and Gomer and is the final stand-alone novel in the Treasures of His Love Series. Her fourth novel, In the Shadow of Jezebel (Revell, 2014) tells the fascinating story of Queen Athaliah and the courageous Princess Jehosheba.

The Treasures of the Nile series (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2015-16) included The Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam and spanned Moses’ life from birth to the Exodus. Her 2017 release, Isaiah’s Daughter (Waterbrook/Multnomah), explores the life and ministry of the prophet Isaiah and the tumultuous days of Judah under the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah but focuses on the woman Hephzibah–a fascinating character in Jewish legends.

Mesu writes in their log cabin tucked away in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Her best friend is an American Staffordshire Terrier named Zeke, who keeps her company on long writing days. Zeke also enjoys watching movies, long walks in the woods, and sitting by the fireplace on rainy days.