Saturday, January 11, 2020

An Uncommon Woman By Laura Frantz

An Uncommon Woman
by Laura Frantz
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 9780800734954

I'm always excited to meet a new author. I had the chance to do that with Laura Frantz thanks to Revell Books. This is also my first read of 2020!

Summary:

Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with. 

Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa's long-lost friend, Keturah, a redeemed Indian captive like himself.

Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when she is taken captive by the tribe Clay left, his hand--and heart--are forced, leading to one very private and one very public reckoning.

Intense, evocative, and laced with intricate historical details that bring the past to life, An Uncommon Woman will transport you to the picturesque and dangerous western Virginia mountains of 1770.

My Review:

An Uncommon Woman takes me back to reading historical fiction. I feel like it's been forever since I read anything historical so diving in to 1770 Western Virginia was a treat. It's also been quite a while since I've read anything from the frontier days.

First I have to say how incredibly impressed I was at the amount of research that was evident as I started to read the story. Reading the complex language of the Lenape was a vital part of the story for me and it brought in an element of authenticity that drew me further into the story.

I enjoyed the speed at which the story progressed. Sometimes I have that rushed feeling while An Uncommon Woman wound its way along like the Monongahela River. I was able to grow invested in the characters. Speaking of which, Tessa was a character who I appreciated her strength and tenacity. As we got to know her recently-returned friend, Keturah, I wished there was a prequel so that I could've gotten to know her during her time with the Lenape.

The way the author told the story, I could see the fort in my mind, picture the surroundings, and imagine how hard life must've been. I haven't read many novels in this time period or setting, but now I want to read more, learn more.

Then we meet Clay Tygart. He's a strong, steady presence as he comes to the fort that bears his name. His history helps him come alongside Keturah and help her through the changes life has brought her. I appreciated that he wasn't all business and could see the fort through the trees. hahaha

Now, there were a couple of things that made me twitchy. I'm pretty sure I've never read the word "mayhap" in all of the books I've read combined as I did in this one. lol Don't kill me. I get that it lends to the authenticity of the time period, but I actually read the word 3x in one small paragraph.

I'm going to add this to my review for now, but will also reach out to the publisher as well. I think the 3rd paragraph on the back cover isn't accurate to the story. More than 3/4 of the story and the relationship between Tessa and Clay are solidified by the time she's taken captive. I also didn't feel like there was a public reckoning that the reader experienced. It was mostly in the background, but we don't get to read much of that. Personally, with all of the anticipation of the Lenape encounter, I would've liked to read more of that in the story. That last part is personal preference, but I felt like the whole story was leading up to an encounter we'd read more about in detail.

That being said, neither of those points would deter me from reading more of the author's books and I still really enjoyed the story. If you have any recommendations for her next book I should read, please let me know on Instagram!

About the Author:

Laura Frantz is a Christy Award winner and the ECPA bestselling author of eleven novels, including The Frontiersman's DaughterCourting Morrow LittleThe Colonel's LadyThe Lacemaker, and A Bound Heart. Learn more at www.laurafrantz.net.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Children's Books For Valentine's Day

I know it's just over a month away, we've just finished celebrating Christmas and New Year's, but Valentine's Day is just around the corner. With that in mind, check out these two adorable children's books from Zonderkidz. They sent them to me for a review and I just love them!

Words to Love By for Little Ones
by Rick Warren
Illustrated by Ag Jatkowska
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 9780310753575

Summary:

If you’re looking to start the little boys and girls in your life along the path of wisdom and kindness, look no further than Words to Love By for Little Ones—a simple, inspirational board book that shows children how to use their words to encourage, forgive, express gratitude, heal, and love.

My Review:

What an absolutely delightful book. It's so important for children to learn at an early age how impactful their words are. Reading to a toddler you can be animated with the story and give them teachable moments. As your child grows into a preschooler, each page gives and opportunity to talk about how they can show love to others with respect, kindness, thankfulness, etc.

The illustrations are perfect with the text on the page. They give kids ways to relate to the children on the page. They can see tangible ways to show love whether it's with a friend, a stranger, or a family member. This is one of my favorite children's books I've read in quite a while.

Words to Love By is a great gift for a child or just because. It's one you'll go back to often!


Love You, Love You
Illustrated by Alison Brown
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 9780310768418

Summary:

Heartwarming read-aloud rhymes that show the love between family members of all kinds, and sweet illustrations, make Love You, Love You the perfect board book to tell the precious one in your life, “I love you!”

My Review:

This is such an endearing bedtime book! I think my favorite part of this book is that the children are put to bed by various family members. It's not always mom & dad putting a child to bed. Wouldn't this be the best book for family members to have when your child is spending the night with them?

The illustrations are absolutely delightful. Mouse mom, hen aunty, and sister cat are just a few of the family members we meet in the story. They each have a different way of putting the little ones to bed.

Now, this isn't a faith based book, but it's a cute book that would make a good transition for bedtime or nap time. I think this will be a favorite of any child.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Guarded By Sara Davison

Guarded by Sara Davison JustRead Cover Reveal

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for Guarded, the second book of The Night Guardians series by Sara Davison, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT GUARDED

Series: The Night Guardians, Book 2 
Author: Sara Davison 
Release Date: February 1, 2020 
Genre: Suspense / Thriller

The tip the stranger left sent Nicole a painfully clear message. The past is no longer in the past.

Nicole is fighting to bury the memories. Someone else is fighting to keep them exposed.

Detective Daniel Grey is back in town, and diner owner Nicole Hunter isn’t sure how she feels about that. It’s been almost seven years, and now she doesn’t just have herself to think about but her six-year-old son as well. If she does find the courage to take a chance on love, her heart could be smashed into pieces. Again.

And it’s not only her heart that is in danger. Someone is working hard to disrupt her present with reminders of the past she has worked hard to forget, especially her darkest memory—of the night her husband was gunned down in the street in front of her. As much as she might want to push Daniel away, Nicole needs him closer now than ever before.

But the one she trusts to keep her and her son safe has a secret that may prove to be the biggest threat of all.

Here's the Cover:
Guarded by Sara Davison

PURCHASE LINK*: Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sara Davison - headshot 1 
Sara Davison is the author of the romantic suspense novels The Watcher and The Seven Trilogy. She has been a finalist for eight national writing awards, including the Word Award for Best New Canadian Christian author, a Carol, and two Daphne du Maurier Awards, and is a Word and Cascade Award winner. Sara has a degree in English Literature and currently resides in Ontario, Canada with her husband Michael and their three children, all of whom she (literally) looks up to.

CONNECT WITH SARA: Website | Facebook Twitter

 
TOUR GIVEAWAY
Sara Davison is offering a $25 Amazon card to the winner - US and Canadian residents

Guarded JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 4, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on January 11, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Due to shipping cost, only US/CAN mailing addresses valid. For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

 

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture Blu-Ray

Are you taking time to recover from the holidays? I can't believe how incredibly busy last month was.  I had a daughter come in from overseas and my oldest daughter & her husband as well. One of my most anticipated movies for 2019 came out on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Code last month!! Wondering what to do with gift cards you received? Are they burning a hole in your digital wallet? Then grab Downton Abbey! I received mine for review and I'm in my happy place!


We saw this movie the first weekend it came out in the theaters! I tell you what, we weren't disappointed! This movie was just as amazing as the tv show and picked up right where it left off.


Universal City, California, November 5, 2019 – DOWNTON ABBEY, the global sensation hailed as “a grand, cinematic experience” (Mike Reyes, Cinemablend) welcomes fans back for a spectacular homecoming on Digital November 26, 2019 and on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on December 17, 2019 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Earning an “A” CinemaScore, the film, which is celebrated by critics as “a true love letter to the fans” (Catalina Combs, Black Girl Nerds), arrives just in time for the holiday season with a broad variety of bonus features, including exclusive conversations with the cast, deleted scenes and a series recap that whisks audiences away to a world of grandeur.
 

Based on Carnival Films’ Emmy® award-winning television series, the feature DOWNTON ABBEY sees the original cast return, alongside a host of newcomers. The incredible ensemble cast been applauded by critics as “funny and charming as ever” (Caroline Siede, The A.V. Club). The film chronicles the Crawley family one year after the conclusion of the series, as they prepare for the most important moment of their lives: an impending visit from the Royal Family. Join the glitz, glamour and spectacle as the special visit unleashes scandal, romance and intrigue on the fan-favorite family and its staff members. Lauded as “a delight” (Stephanie Zacharek, TIME), the film comes from the series screenwriter and producer Julian Fellowes, and producers Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge.

The motion picture will also be available in a Deluxe Limited Edition, featuring the Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and Digital Code, presented in exclusive packaging along with a collectible photo book and recipe cards. Available only while supplies last, this special offering is the must-own gift for any Downton Abbey fan or to add to your own collection.
 
BLU-RAYTM, DVD & DIGITAL BONUS FEATURES:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Cast Conversations – Exclusive roundtable interviews with the cast.
    • Upstairs Cast
    • Downstairs Cast
  • The Royal Visit – A look at how the royal visit proved to be an ambitious event both on and behind the camera.
  • True to the Twenties – Fans of DOWNTON ABBEY are charmed by the sheer grandeur of the aristocracy in the early 20th century. Learn how DOWNTON ABBEY maintains a reputation of being true to the time period.
  • Welcome to Downton Abbey – A behind-the-scenes look at the grandeur of Highclere Castle and how it serves as a cornerstone in the Downton Abbey franchise.
  • The Brilliance of Julian Fellowes – Writer Julian Fellowes has created a story and beloved characters that resonate with people across the world. This piece celebrates Julian’s brilliant creativity and reveals his approach to bringing Downton Abbey to the big screen.
  • Downton Abbey Series Recap* – Whether you’re new or just need a refresher, this series recap will catch you up on the story so far.
  • Feature Commentary with Director Michael Engler
*Available only on Blu-ray™ and iTunes

DOWNTON ABBEY will be available on Blu-rayTM, DVD and Digital. 
  • Blu-rayTM unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6X the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
  • Digital lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download.
  • MOVIES ANYWHERE is the digital app that simplifies and enhances the digital movie collection and viewing experience by allowing consumers to access their favorite digital movies in one place when purchased or redeemed through participating digital retailers. Consumers can also redeem digital copy codes found in eligible Blu-rayTM and DVD disc packages from participating studios and stream or download them through Movies Anywhere. MOVIES ANYWHERE is only available in the United States. For more information, visit https://moviesanywhere.com.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Serving Up Love - Harvey House Brides Collection

Serving Up Love
by: Tracie Peterson, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764232695

It's been forever since I've read a novella and when Karen Witemeyer gave me the opportunity to review Serving Up Love, I couldn't resist!

Summary:

On the Menu for These Ladies?
Adventure, Independence, and a Big Serving of Romance!
A storied part of American history, Harvey Houses offered women a unique chance to gain independence and see amazing parts of this great country. Celebrated historical romance writers Tracie Peterson, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano offer four fun, romantic tales of Harvey girls whose western adventures lead to love. 

Tracie Peterson - 
A Flood of Love
Returning home to New Mexico for the first time in years to fill in at the Harvey House, Gretchen Gottsacker is sure the past is behind her. But nothing can be that simple. When the man she loved long ago steps back into her life--with a daughter, no less--will she ever be the same?

Karen Witemeyer - More Than a Pretty Face
Rosalind Kemp becomes a Harvey Girl, clinging to the promise of one day transferring even farther west, someplace her youthful indiscretion won't catch up to her. But the past is hard to escape, and when the worst occurs, will anyone stand up for her? 

Regina Jennings - Intrigue a la Mode
When Willow Kentworth is warned that strange things are happening in the railyard after dark, she never intends to get involved. That is, until a handsome new employee at the Harvey House--who has secrets of his own--needs her assistance. 

Jen Turano - 
A Grand Encounter
After her fiancé abandons her, Miss Myrtle Schermerhorn flees New York's pity for a position at the El Tovar Hotel on the rim of the Grand Canyon. She's determined to hold fast to her life of independence--but a rugged, frequent guest of the hotel makes that vow difficult to uphold.

My Review:

I've forgotten how quickly a novella story goes! You have to be prepared for it to go fast, and I wasn't quite prepared. HA!

What I loved about Serving Up Love is know how each author writes and finding their style with each novella. What I didn't realize was how familiar I am with each of their styles. Tracie Peterson tends to have a more serious toned storyline and that came through with her plot. I think for me, hers was the hardest to get into. The reason may be because they already had a history the reader didn't get to experience and we don't get to build up their relationship at the same time. Does that even make sense? I liked the characters and the story. I probably would've enjoyed it more as a full novel. There was so much more I wanted to know about their back story.

Karen's story was delightful. If you've read The Patchwork Family Series then you'll appreciate this little addition! I didn't realize this novella went along with the series, so when I hit chapter 2, I felt like I was having deja vu. Turns out this follows Book 2 of the series. I liked how once again Rosalind was trying to escape her past, but it wasn't to be. I felt like we got the full story even in novella form. You can always count on Karen's stories to satisfy your love of a couple falling for each other. Don't you love books that feel like a warm, cozy chair?

I've only read one other Regina Jennings books and enjoyed it. There was more mystery surrounding her story. That definitely added intrigue that I really appreciated. I really liked Willow because she is is comfortable in her position as a Harvey Girl. Graham comes along and disrupts her life unintentionally. The writing kept me turning the page because the story really pulled me in. Also, as a side note, I'm reminded once again that Pinkertons are somewhat new to me and I wonder if there are any novels out there about them.

We know my love for all things Jen Turano. As with all of her tales, this one had me laughing out loud. Jen's characters also have the best names. Myrtle learns very quickly that Jack, a guy who always seems mute in her presence, has a fondness for her. How she finds out is hilarious and is thanks to his brother, Walter. Unfortunately for Jack, Myrtle has sworn off men. Oops! There's a bit of miscommunication, which is no surprise when it comes to Jen's writing.

About the Authors:

Tracie Peterson - A Flood of Love
Tracie Peterson (www.traciepeterson.com) is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.

Karen Witemeyer - More Than a Pretty Face
Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

Regina Jennings - Intrigue a la Mode
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. She's the winner of the National Readers' Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children and can be found online at www.reginajennings.com. 

Jen Turano - 
A Grand Encounter
Jen Turano, (www.jenturano.com) a USA Todaybestselling author, has written four historical romance series. She is a member of ACFW and RWA and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

 
Creative Commons License
Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.