Friday, January 21, 2022

A Heart Adrift By Laura Frantz

A Heart Adrift
by Laura Frantz
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 9780800734978

Doesn't the cover alone make you want to read this book? Probably will be one of my favorite covers of the year! I was thrilled to join the launch team for this book and was sent a copy for review.

Summary:

It is 1755, and the threat of war with France looms over colonial York, Virginia. Chocolatier Esmée Shaw is fighting her own battle of the heart. Having reached her twenty-eighth birthday, she is reconciled to life alone after a decade-old failed love affair from which she's never quite recovered. But she longs to find something worthwhile to do with her life.

Captain Henri Lennox has returned to port after a lengthy absence, intent on completing the lighthouse in the dangerous Chesapeake Bay, a dream he once shared with Esmée. But when the colonial government asks him to lead a secret naval expedition against the French, his future is plunged into uncertainty.

Can Esmée and Henri'sshared vision and dedication to the colonial cause heal the wounds of the past and reunite them? 

My Review:

What an utterly satisfying story! Laura Frantz drew me into the mid-1700s with every word written in A Heart Adrift. It's incredible to me how well an author's use of the dialect makes such a vast difference in how a story comes across. I can't express how huge this was for me and I need more.

Esmée has taken over her mother's work as a chocolatier and taking care of those in need at the almshouse. You could tell that while it wasn't her dream, she was satisfied with what she was doing with her life. There was this inerrant goodness and kindness about her that didn't seem to be forced, and I appreciated it. Oftentimes authors will write these types of women to an extreme where the/y're unbelievable, but not Esmée. She was very "real". I also just loved her fortitude!

Then there's Henri (which will henceforth always sound French). He's a man's man in all of the right ways. He's not perfect, but he doesn't do anything by half. He's all in and that's what his life has been since his parting with Esmée. He's captained his ship. His return stirs her world and the excitement of it all rises from there.

I loved the setting of Williamsburg and York. Having been to Williamsburg numerous times, it was certainly brought to life in this 1755 time and now I want to go back hoping to "feel" the history of this story. I loved the idea of Esmée keeping the lighthouse! I loved how that came about!

Of course, I can't neglect the faith of the characters. It was such an important part of this story, especially in the hard times. The parallel of the characters living through the pox and what we're living through, trying to find things to be joyful about an hopefully about can be daunting, but God sees us through. The Scripture that's brought up resonated with me in each moment!

Another fantastic read by this author!


About the Author:

Laura Frantz is a Christy Award winner and the ECPA bestselling author of a dozen novels, including An Uncommon WomanTidewater Bride, The Frontiersman's DaughterCourting Morrow LittleThe Colonel's LadyThe Lacemaker, and A Bound Heart. She is a proud mom to an American soldier and a career firefighter. When not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State. Learn more at www.laurafrantz.net.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A Path To Forgiveness By Lisa M. James + Giveaway

A Path to Forgiveness JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for A Path to Forgiveness by Lisa M. James, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! I received the book as part of this tour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Path to Forgiveness
Title: A Path to Forgiveness 
Series: The Prodigal Woman #1 
Author: Lisa M. James 
Publisher: Independently Published 
Release Date: January 21, 2022 
Genre: Christian Fantasy 

Reckless. Extravagant. Wasteful. These were all words that could describe Esther. Thirteen years of careless living had left Esther and her young son destitute. When her husband disappears at night, leaving Esther with the full burden of their debt, Esther has no choice but to claim her husband is dead and enslave herself and her child to stay alive. So severely had she broken the relationships in her life, she never expected a man from her childhood to speak on her behalf and carry the weight of her debt. Yet Esther soon realizes that escaping the demons of her past would not be so easy. 

Levi had little interest in seeing Esther again. When a promise to her father leaves him honor-bound to take her as his wife, he struggles with the bitterness he holds toward her for allowing her addictions and selfishness to derail her life. Yet, he could not hide the deep desire within him to be a husband and a father, even to a woman he did not love and a child that was not his by blood. 

Discover the story of a reckless woman in A Path to Forgiveness. 

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon BookBub

My Review:

What an incredible story! I was so blown away by how good it was. This was a great introduction to the author!

Esther was such a raw character. She is so sure of her unworthiness and how she doesn't deserve kindness from anyone because of how she's lived her life. She's lived to excess and has been brought very low by her choices. Not just her, but her son as well.

Levi, someone she knew from childhood, fulfills a promise made to Esther's father and takes on her debt. Levi is a pretty raw character as well. He's a man who has spent much of his life closed off to others. He's know pain and heartache.

Both Esther and Levi have so much growth in this story. It's just beautiful. And the way God (the Redeemer) is shown in this story... He is the Only way. This story straight up directs the reader to God. It shows God's love and mercy for His children. That no one is too far gone to be redeemed. Truth is spoken through the characters - main and secondary - throughout the entire story. It is SO powerful!

I enjoyed the fantasy world of The Gourd. There are so many ways The Gourd parallels our world. They have healers (doctors), prophets, church leaders, etc. There's evil that tries to draw people away from the Redeemer in the same ways the enemy does in our world. It's all a rather fascinating part of the story!

I can't wait for the next books in the series! I'll be the first in line for both!

Here's an excerpt for you to enjoy:

We were certainly not the first couple in The Gourd who married for reasons other than
love, but oh how we had settled for what we did not want. Did not a part of me wish to recreate
a glimpse of what I felt I had with Catherine if I were to marry again? A wife who truly cherished
and respected me? A wife who I truly cherished and respected? Did a part of Esther not long for
a grand romance as she once had with Victor? Did she not want a husband who she could take
pride in? One who could offer her the best in life?  But Esther and I married out of desperation
and duty, not out of love and hope.

Yet, a sudden longing filled me as I drifted to sleep. Was what we had enough to sustain
our marriage? Would a time come where we would want more from each other? Would being
my wife in name alone truly be enough for her for the rest of our lives?

Was it enough for me? The unbidden thought drifted into my mind as I succumbed to
sleep.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa James

Lisa M. James is an independent author, marketer, and former Sunday School teacher. She loves writing romantic fantasy novels featuring women of color for both young adult and adult audiences to enjoy. Her fictional writing is inspired by historical fiction, fairy tales, and Christian romances. When not writing, Lisa loves chatting about her faith, Disney movies, and football while drinking chai lattes. To keep up with her latest releases, subscribe to www.lisamjames.com.

CONNECT WITH LISA: Website | Instagram | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a Peacock embroidered shoulder bag, a $25 Amazon gift card, and a paperback copy of A Path to Forgiveness!

A Path to Forgiveness JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight January 17, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on January 24, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Dancing With Dandelion By Tara Grace Erickson

Dancing with Dandelion
by Tara Grace Erickson
Publisher: Silver Fountain Press
Series: The Bloom Sisters
ISBN: 978-1949896251

Here it is friends! The last book in The Bloom Sisters series. I loved this series a LOT and was incredibly blessed to be part of the entire launch team. As with the rest of the stories, I was sent this book for review!

Summary:

They can’t agree on anything—except that the job comes first.

Dandelion “Andi” Bloom has sacrificed a lot for her career in the Army. Now that she’s retired, playing security guard at Bloom’s Farm for high-profile events is a welcome change of pace. That is, until hosting a string of political events means working with a Secret Service detail – including a certain special agent she would have rather left behind in Virginia.

Special Agent Ross McClain takes his job seriously. Even if he has to come to Middle of Nowhere, Indiana to work events for the vice presidential candidate. On Bloom’s Farm, Ross runs into a familiar—and unwelcoming—face. Could this assignment get any worse?

Despite their mutual disdain, Andi and Ross must work together to provide security for the farm and the candidate. As the assignment goes on, it becomes impossible not to clash over every decision—and even harder to deny their growing chemistry.

My Review:

I'll be honest with you here about Dancing With Dandelion. I was a bit emotional ending this series. As a mom I have to admit that my favorite parts to this story are the prologue and epilogue written by Laura Bloom, the matriarch of the family. The epilogue had me tearing up! I'm really going to miss the Bloom family. I'm glad I can revisit them any time in their stories.

Andi has been quite the enigma to me. We haven't really gotten to know her outside of her doing a video call with the family in the other stories. She felt so different that the rest of the Bloom sisters. Even through the video calls I got the sense she was a bit standoff-ish.

So, when we meet her, she's exactly how I expect her. HA! She's definitely not touchy feely. She rubs people the wrong way until she gets to know them better and once she lets them in, then they're good to go! Ross, who is Secret Service shows up on the scene and she is NOT having it. HA! Their give and take is so funny. Ross likes to push her buttons and I have to admit, it amused me to no end.

Ross is serious like Andi, but he does have a softer, more humorous side than Andi. I appreciated how tenacious Ross was with her. And that God also has a sense of humor in bringing them together to work to protect Harrison and Poppy as he runs as the VP candidate.

It was so easy to see how frustrating it must be for someone like Andi who craves control to not have it when Ross is the boss. I could see myself in her character. BUT, I liked how she works through giving that control over to God. That really spoke to me.

Speaking of God, That the author never shies away from her characters having a deep faith is something I truly am thankful for! It's clearly important to the entire family as well as the people they become interested in. I love it when characters pray (thanks to the author)!

If you want a family to fall in love with that has romance, angst, and faith then you'll want to get to know the Bloom siblings!


About the Author:

Tara Grace Ericson lives in Missouri with her husband and three sons. She studied engineering and worked as an engineer for many years before embracing her creative side to become a full-time author and mom. 

She loves cooking, crocheting, and reading books by the dozen. She also loves a good “happily ever after” with an engaging love story. 

That's why Tara focuses on writing clean contemporary romance, with an emphasis on Christian faith and living. She wants to encourage her readers with stories of men and women who live out their faith in tough situations.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Never Leave Me By Jody Hedlund

never leave me
by Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Revell
Series: Waters of Time
ISBN: 9780800738440

I was happy to find out I was on Jody's launch team for book two. I gave book one 5 stars and book two was a "must have"! She sent me the book for review!

Summary:

Facing death takes courage. Facing life takes even more.

In the last stages of a genetic disease, Ellen Creighton has decided to live out her remaining days at the estate of her longtime friend Harrison Burlington. Though he's never allowed himself to get serious in a relationship due to his paralysis, Harrison cares deeply for Ellen and is desperately trying to save her life by finding the holy water that is believed to heal any disease--the same substance Ellen suspects is responsible for the deaths of her father and sister.

But Harrison is not the only one seeking the holy water. Dangerous criminals are mere steps behind, and Ellen soon learns they will go to any lengths to get the powerful drug--including sending her back into the past to locate it for them.

Bestselling and award-winning author Jody Hedlund plunges you into the swiftly flowing river of history in this second breathtaking Waters of Time story.

My Review:

First, let's talk about the cover. Isn't it gorgeous?!

Second, my review. I enjoyed the second book, Never Leave Me, in this time travel story! I wasn't sure if they'd actually time travel because as I got more and more into the book, Ellen and Harrison really didn't do more than talk about it. Thankfully, as I got further into the story they did! That was the huge draw for me with book one and I figured it would follow suit in book two.

Of course, a lot of the same elements are in book two as in book one. Ellen is still sick with her genetic disease and is dying. I think because she spent so much time away from the family and as a missionary, she's very naive to so many things. Her relationship with Harrison has always been incredibly sweet, but in book two he's finding it hard to block his thoughts and emotions towards her.

It made sense as they went through the story to hold each other at bay because their not-so-great communication was driving me to insanity. Just when I thought one or the other might bear their soul... nope. (imagine me shaking my fist at the book) At several points in the story, you could definitely feel the attraction between the two of them.

The race to find more of the holy water was the part of the story that held everything together. They had to get more for a variety of reasons, and that leads them both back to 1382. To say that they fall on hard times is putting it mildly. It'll have you turning page after page to get all of the answers!

I do wish that more of Ellen's or Harrison's prayers had been in the form of prayer to God as opposed to the Serenity Prayer. Nothing wrong with that prayer, but I didn't quite feel the reliance on God answering them, only to hoping the Serenity Prayer "worked".

I am definitely hopeful there will be a book three! The bad guy is still at large and he needs to be apprehended!

About the Author:

Jody Hedlund (www.jodyhedlund.com) is the bestselling author of over 30 historical novels for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards, including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Awards. Jody lives in Michigan with her husband, busy family, and five spoiled cats.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Harmony On The Horizon By Kathleen Denly

Harmony on the Horizon
by Kathleen Denly
Publisher: Wild Heart Books
Series: Chaparral Hearts
ISBN: 978-1942265399

I was invited to join the launch team for this book. Since I love historical fiction, how could I resist? I was sent the book for review. 

Summary:

Her calling to change the world may be his downfall.

On the heels of the Great Rebellion, Margaret Foster, an abolitionist northerner, takes a teaching position in 1865 San Diego—a town dominated by Southern sympathizers. At thirty-seven years of age, Margaret has accepted spinsterhood and embraced her role as teacher. So, when Everett Thompson, the handsomest member of the School Board, reveals his interest in her, it’s a dream come true. Until her passionate ideals drive a wedge between them.

After two decades of hard work, Everett Thompson is on the verge of having everything he’s dreamed of. Even the beautiful new teacher has agreed to his courtship. Then two investments go south and a blackmailer threatens everything Everett has and dreams of.

​As Everett scrambles to shore up the crumbling pieces of his life, Margaret unwittingly sets off a scandal that divides the small community and threatens her position as teacher. With the blackmailer still whispering threats, Everett must decide if he’s willing to risk everything for the woman still keeping him at arm’s length.

My Review:

If you're a fan of historical fiction, you're not going to want to miss out on a) this entire series and b) book 3 in the series.

I really liked Margaret Foster. I could relate to her so well. lol We meet her as she's helping a girl escape a bad guy. Then things went south for her and just kept getting worse. Margaret was trying to do good and all she got was grief. Poor lady! It looked like her luck was changing as she went from San Francisco to San Diego, but she learned very quickly that people still viewed things very differently than she did. I love when the female main character doesn't put up with nonsense and stays true to herself. She does see how she needs to make certain changes, but it just shows how "human" she is.

Then there was Everett. I'll have to be honest here. That fella had me pulling my hair out and I wanted to box his ears. I could understand how he struggled with so many of his choices, but his decisions kept going from bad to worse. With each choice the hole he was in kept getting deeper and deeper. I really felt bad for the guy because he just couldn't catch a break.

We also get to know Katie and Fletcher. They showed how hard life was living in the squalor of San Francisco. Two young people just trying to get by. One trying to go based on faith while the other on their own sensibilities. What do you do when one of the most dangerous men in the city is your father?

All of their storylines overlap at one time or another, but separately, their each show a need for God's help and guidance. I really appreciated the author's inclusion of so much scripture and dependence on the Lord. Such a good reminder to the reader that we need to not lean on our own understanding.

About the Author:

Kathleen Denly lives in sunny California with her loving husband, four young children, and two cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn't writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting.

Kathleen tied for Second Place in the 2017 Badge of Honor Contest and won first place in the historical romance category of the ACFW First Impressions Contest in 2017. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the San Diego Christian Writers’ Guild.

 
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