Saturday, April 17, 2021

Blackberry Beach By Irene Hannon

Blackberry Beach
by Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell
Series: A Hope Harbor Novel
ISBN: 9780800736156

I've only read one other book by Irene Hannon, but have the entire Code of Honor series sitting on my tbr bookshelf waiting for me to get to them. That being said, I like that Irene can write so well in different genres! That makes me love an author even more. So, thanks to Revell, I'm able to read Blackberry Beach for my review.

Summary:

Her lifelong dream is in sight, but does a new--and better--future await in Hope Harbor?

Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted--fame, money, and acclaim. So why isn't she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she'll be able to calm the storm inside.

Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss--and he has no plans to change the life he's created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. As their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected . . . and discover that, with love, all things are possible?

My Review:

I loved the first line in Blackberry Beach! "The mystery woman was back." This story was such a satisfying read! I'm ready to travel to Hope Harbor and never leave! And yes, this is book 7 and it's my first time visiting! Don't judge my lack of reading this series in order. hahahaha

Since I'm not sure if any of the characters have been in the previous stories, we're just going to pretend they aren't. So, we meet Zach who runs The Perfect Blend, which sounds like a coffee shop that my coffee loving heart would love! A mystery woman has visited his shop a couple of times and he's trying to figure out what her story is. Unfortunately, Kat has no desire for anyone to even notice her let alone try to figure her out!

I just loved everything going on in this story. It was absolutely refreshing! It was really all about relationships and I needed that escape. To not have crazy, nefarious stuff going on in the background of any of the characters lives was fantastic! If you need a story that you can "rest" in, look no further. You will grow to care about all of the characters in equal amounts. Ok, that's a lie, some more than others. HA!

One of the huge aspects that I enjoyed about this story was having 5 POVs. Yes, 5. But Irene Hannon does it in such a way that it's not confusing, and gives you insight into that specific character. That's something I'm immensely fond of! I hope this is something she's done in the other books of this series.

And yes, while this book is mainly about Zach and Kat, his Aunt Stephanie and his barista, Frank really appealed to me. They're a bit older than me, but reading their storyline really stuck out to me in the sense that we need more books written for the older crowd in such a way that we know they still have vitality and a penchant for trying new things!

Can we also talk about Charley for a moment? On occasion stories have characters that I think we would agree we need to have in our lives. Charley is certainly one of them. His kindness, understanding, acceptance, and wisdom are a magnet any of us would want to be pulled in to! He was kinda my favorite! Don't tell any of the other characters though.

Thoroughly enjoyed this story and can't wait to read the other 6!!!

About the Author:

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than sixty novels, including the long-running Hope Harbor series, as well as Point of Danger and the Code of Honor, Private Justice, and Men of Valor suspense series, among others. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, and she is a member of that organization's elite Hall of Fame. Her many other awards include National Readers' Choice, Daphne du Maurier, Retailers' Choice, Booksellers' Best, Carol, and Reviewers' Choice from RT Book Reviews magazine, which also honored her with a Career Achievement Award for her entire body of work. In addition, she is a two-time Christy Award finalist. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Lavender Tears By Sondra Cunningham

Lavender Tears
by Sondra Cunningham
Publisher: Bowker
ISBN: 978-1736187807

I love Biblical fiction so I was thankful to Sondra for reaching out to me to review her book! She sent it to me for today's post.

Summary:

The strength to rise again and again is not for the faint of heart.


Like each new sunrise, Mary of Bethany’s journey required an inner strength and faith that would permeate through the darkness of life’s unexpected tragedies. When her hopes and dreams came crashing down around her, Mary’s life began to spin, seemingly, out of control. What she couldn’t see, was that God, the faithful potter, was shaping her life into a valuable vessel. One mended and filled with the pure gold of the Father’s love and destined for a unique purpose. Held together by the sweet and calming scent of lavender and the memories of her mother’s garden, Mary journeys on, learning how to defeat the night and radiate like the noon day sun. ~Join Sondra on her debut novel’s heart felt journey alongside the woman with the alabaster jar, as she grows from soil to Savior!

My Review:

You know, one minute you're sitting there, reading Lavender Tears, thinking just how sweet this book is, and then boom, things take a turn! I was "concerned" to start with because I couldn't figure out any word to use to describe the book as other than, "sweet".  And honestly, I would've been ok reading a book that was 100% sweet all the way through. Life isn't like that though, right?

I thoroughly enjoy stories set in Biblical times and it was so fascinating considering the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Sondra's take on what life might've been like for them growing up in the time of Jesus. I really enjoyed how she infused Jesus' ministry into the story. Of course, with any Biblical fiction, the author does take license with anything not directly pulled from Scripture. I think we always need to keep that in mind as we read this genre.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the fact that the family worked so well together in all they did. So many stories I read pits family members against each other. Not only that, but we know that men ruled everything back then, but in this story, we see men treating the women kindly and as though they were worth something. I appreciate that!

This story took several turns that were very unexpected. I think all of us who know the story of Mary and Martha wonder how they came to that situation. That's what everything leads up to. How Mary ends up at the feet of Jesus while Martha is keeping busy. You can see how their personalities and "life experiences" brings them to being in such different places. I have to admit, there were a couple of spots that I had tears in my eyes. I certainly got emotional towards the end when Jesus was once again in the story.

Being a gardener, I loved how Mary and her mom tended the garden together. Also that her mother saw her gift with herbs and made sure she had something of her own that she could nurture. Of course, the name of the book fits in with their garden.

As I got further into the story more people from the Bible are involved and that really made me curious about how they're connected in Scripture just from what the writers of the Book wrote. I appreciate that with Sondra's book because I learned much more about them than I expected!

About the Author:

Sondra Cunningham is a wife and mother who has served in full time ministry since her teenage salvation. Sondra has flowed in the gift of worship, and worship leadership from those early years and continues today. Sondra ministers from her home and out in her local community, winning the lost, reaching out to pray, and teaching women how to grow deeper and more intimate relationships with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Sondra makes her debut into the Christian Author's world with her new novel, "Lavender Tears." A biblical fiction story following the life of Mary of Bethany, the woman with the alabaster jar. Her words are eloquently written with sincere pathos and personal understanding of life's hardships. Sondra's desire is to use her voice in both song and written word, to sing healing over others and inspire the fallen to get back up. Through many difficulties within her years, Sondra has learned the precious truth of overcoming. Her ministry radiates hope for all those who have struggled to truly receive the love of God and find the confidence to leave the past behind. Sondra lives and works out of her home in upstate New York with her family. She spends her time passionately seeking Jesus, homeschooling her two children, leading worship, interpreting dreams, painting, and writing.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Is It Any Wonder By Courtney Walsh

Is It Any Wonder
by Courtney Walsh
Publisher: Tyndale
ISBN: 978-1-4964-3443-2

It was an incredible surprise when Courtney asked me to read and review her book. Last year I read If For Any Reason (which I loved) so I knew I absolutely HAD to say, "Yes," to the offer! She sent me my copy for review.

Summary:

Can a promise made as kids bring them back together as adults? In this Nantucket-set beach read, “master of the genre” (Midwest Book Review) Courtney Walsh delivers a sparkling inspirational romance about first love and second chances. Twelve years ago, Cody Boggs and Louisa Chambers made a pact that no matter where their lives took them, they’d return to Nantucket Island’s Brant Point Lighthouse on July 30, their shared golden birthday, and continue their tradition of exchanging birthday wishes. But that was before a tragic accident upended both of their lives, irrevocably pulling them apart.

Their worlds collide just months before that particular day when Louisa’s fledgling event planning company is hired by the local Coast Guard station, where she discovers Cody has recently returned to the island as the second in command. As they plan a regatta fundraiser, hoping to promote positive PR in the community, neither can deny the fireworks each encounter ignites. But working together also brings up memories of the day Cody’s father died, revealing secrets that have Cody and Louisa questioning everything they thought they knew and felt about their families and each other.

My Review:

Let me just say from the gate, if you're looking for a fantastic Christian Romance read, look no further than Is It Any Wonder! I know you don't see a heck of a lot of contemporary romance in my posts, so when I share them and love them, you know I'm not joking!

I enjoyed so many spots in this book I have a ton of sticky tabs on the pages! I got so involved in the story during the second half I forgot to put the tabs on the pages!

Let's talk about Nantucket. Can anyone make you want to visit there more than Courtney Walsh? She paints this vacation town in such a way that it makes you feel like you could be a part of it.

Cody is the hero of the story literally and figuratively. He comes onto the scene in a whirlwind and his life collides with Louisa's once again. You could've cut the tension with a knife with them together for the first time in so many years. I love when you can "feel" the emotions of the characters through an author's writing. He's the brooding sort and she's all warm fuzzies. A perfect combination if there ever were one. lol

Louisa is wonderful! She is a fixer and sakes alive she's surrounded by people who need fixing and her business The Good Life is such a great funnel for her care of others. When she ends up working with Cody because of the Coast Guard trying to repair all I could do was sit on pins and needles along with Louisa while she hoped for the rift to be fixed.

Louisa's co-worker, Ally, cracked me up. She just said whatever came to mind, especially about Cody, and made even better when done with Louisa in the vicinity. Her parents and her ex-boyfriend all wanted to make me lose my mind. How they treated her had me rooting for Cody even more. He could see in her what others couldn't.

The faith thread in this story was so sweet, especially with their mutual friend, Maggie. She really tried to get them to see how important forgiveness is and that sometimes wrongs couldn't be righted, but you could move on. Maggie was definitely the bright spot in this story. Through Cody's dad, the reader is able to understand how you can show Jesus to others through your actions. I loved that about this story.

I think for me, when I read Christian Romance, it has to be REALLY good for me to want to give it more than 3 stars. I've got to REALLY love it, and this one knocked it out of the ballpark for me. I don't know if I've rooted for another contemporary couple more! Life has taken a toll on both Cody and Lou, but God!

About the Author:

Courtney Walsh is the author of Just Look UpJust Let GoPaper HeartsChange of Heart, and the Sweethaven series. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, was a New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller and a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. In addition, she has written two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives with her husband and three children in Illinois, where she is also an artist, theater director, and playwright.Visit her online at www.courtneywalshwrites.com.

Monday, April 5, 2021

No Unturned Stone By David James Warren

No Unturned Stone
by David James Warren
Publisher: TriStone Media
Series: The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone
ASIN: B08PTSR2KD

Being on a launch team for a book/series that is phenomenal is one of the best opportunities I've had as a book reviewer! It's been amazing being able to read No Unturned Stone as an ebook thanks to the publisher!

Summary:

"The One Rule Is, Don’t Mess With The Past”

But he did, and now ex-detective Rembrandt Stone is reaping the devastation of ignoring those words when he traveled back in time to solve the one case that had haunted his dreams.

Yes, he solved the crime. Yes, he saved lives. But Rembrandt returns to find the unthinkable has happened and his life has shattered.

There’s only one answer: break the rule again. Go back in time once more, fix what went wrong, save what went right, and yeah, in his spare time solve another brutal crime.

But it’s not so easy to change time, especially when time turns you into a target. And of course there’s the strong possibility if he goes again, he’ll never get back.

Get ready for your mind to be blown in Book 2 of the time-travel suspense series, The True Lies of Rembrandt Stone.

The continuing adventures of Rembrandt Stone from the creative minds of James L. Rubart, Susan May Warren and newcomer David Curtis Warren, writing as DAVID JAMES WARREN.

My Review:

Oh my word! Where do I even begin? Love suspense? Read No Unturned Stone. Love time travel? Read this book. Love to have the unexpected happen? Read this book. Love going through the ups and downs with the characters? You know what I'm going to say, right? 

I like to take my time reading stories. Take them at a decent pace. Not possible with Rem's story. I had no choice but to swipe furiously through it because I HAD to know what was going to happen! I felt like every page held a piece of Rembrandt's disintegrating reality. I didn't expect to finish it in a day. The writing was just so good. It hooked me, reeled me in, and didn't release me until... well, I was going to say the last page, but that only propelled me into book three because I wasn't released! Gah! So good! 

Rem, sakes alive, he's still a favorite of mine. He's a deep character who knows his own flaws and wants to fix the ones he sees in his younger self. Once again he's trying to right his world, he's so desperate for it, it's palpable, but we know there's a ripple effect when things are changed during time travel. We saw it happen in book one, and all we can do is anticipate what might happen this time. 

I forgot that in book one we get "young Eve's" perspective of the past. I think I like this part the best because it gives a sense of normalcy in the insanity that is Rembrandt Stone's life. I love Eve because she sees Rem. Truly sees him and doesn't care what others think. I also love their interactions.

The case this time is gut wrenching and time is limited. So much for Rem to figure out and cases to solve. It's just impossible to predict what lies on the next page. There wasn't even time to wonder what might be happening. You're just right there in the thick of things with him.

Of course I still love Burke. Oftentimes I feel like he's Rem's plumb line. There's a steadiness to him. He's a rock and he's dependable. He was kind of my favorite last time (I no kinda about it) and I loved him this time, too!

I just know this series is going to do me in. I should probably get an ekg fine before I read book three. Ha ha ha I'm not sure if my heart can take it!

About The Author:

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man's body. He's the best-selling, Christy Hall of Fame author of ten novels and loves to send readers on mind-bending journeys they'll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He's dad to the two most outstanding sons on the planet and lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at www.jameslrubart.com

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling, Christy and RITA award-winning author of more than eighty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. The mother of four grown children, and married to her real-life hero for over 30 years, she loves travelling and telling stories about life, adventure and faith. For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at www.susanmaywarren.com.

David Curtis Warren is making his literary debut in these novels, and he's never been more excited. He looks forward to creating more riveting stories with Susie and Jim, as well as on his own. He's grateful for his co-writers, family, and faith, buoying him during the pandemic of 2020, and this writing and publishing process.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Operation Grendel By Daniel Schwabauer & Amazon Gift Card Giveaway


About the Book


Book:  Operation Grendel

Author: Daniel Shwabauer

Genre: Christian Fiction, Futuristic Action & Adventure

It’s the war story he’s dreamed of. But the battle may cost him his mind.

Military journalist Raymin Dahl thinks he’s finally getting the story of a lifetime. Secret peace talks on a remote tropical moon are about to surrender five colonized worlds—and six hundred million civilians—to a ruthless enemy.

But when his commanding officer, Captain Ansell Sterling, is fatally wounded before the negotiations can begin, Dahl can no longer just report on the mission. He’s ordered to complete it. With help from the AI embedded in Sterling’s comms bracelet, Dahl must impersonate his commander—a Marine Corps hero and psychological operations expert.

However, Sterling’s AI may be luring him to surrender more than he realizes. And the mission Corporal Dahl thinks he’s running isn’t the only operation underway.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review:

Are you a sci-fi fan? If you are, then you'll probably thoroughly enjoy the world Daniel Schwabauer has created in Operation Grendel. Now, I try to watch shows like Star Trek and old Battlestar Galactica. I'm usually asking my husband to explain things to me along the way.

I didn't have that this time with Operation Grendel. There is a lot to grasp pretty much from the get-go of the story. This is one of those stories where my sons and husband would have all of the pieces fitting together immediately, while I was still trying to understand who was against who and why for quite a while. hahaha For someone like me, I'd probably need a diagram of the worlds and how they were all connected.

It was really interesting how the AI worked in this story. I think it would be profoundly hard to keep certain thoughts and ideas in the background and away from an AI. The author must've put so much time and thought into how the AI would and wouldn't work to be able to build part of a plot around it.

There's quite a twist that comes in this book that was completely unexpected. Although I wonder if the guys in my family would've seen it coming. Maybe not though because there aren't any "tells" in the story. Well, maybe. 😉 

I know that there's a label of "Christian Fiction" with the story, but I didn't actually see any element of faith in it. Maybe simply for the fact that it was published by a Christian publisher? Not that it's a bad thing, as I've been reading clean fiction lately. I just wanted to point that out.

I'll be interested to see what else this author writes. I'm sure my youngest son would be a fan!

About the Author


Daniel Schwabauer, M.A., is a lifelong reader of speculative fiction. He studied the genre under science fiction great James Gunn before graduating with honors from Kansas University’s Masters program in Creative Writing in 1995. Winner of the Eric Hoffer and Ben Franklin awards for his middle grade fantasy series, The Legends of Tira-Nor, Daniel enjoys riding his motorcycle on country roads and pondering other worlds. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and dog.

More from Daniel

The Operation Grendel Origin Story
 
I’ve always been fascinated by the power of storytelling, especially as a lever for moving culture.  For several years I studied the development of modern propaganda, the rise and fall of yellow journalism, and the relationship of these to psychological warfare. This culminated in 2017 with a brief investigation into quantum computing and the rising popularity of trans-humanism. Sometimes the best story ideas are combinations of things that have rattled around in the back of your mind for years.
 
Operation Grendel is a keyhole glimpse of a future in which every person in the galaxy is bonded to an artificial intelligence. Some AIs are embedded in the brain, and some are snapped onto the wrist as a wearable device. I didn’t realize when I started writing the book that Elon Musk had already launched Neuralink to create this technology in real life. I discovered the corporation after finishing my fourth draft.
 
The use of this technology probably means a lack of autonomy. How can you think for yourself, or even know what you think, if your thoughts are constantly being shaped and influenced by a quantum computer wirelessly connected to your brain?
 
Then again, is that all we really are as humans—biological computers? I don’t think so. But if not, then there will surely be resistance to the trans-humanist movement. Which means, in a work of fiction, clearly opposing sides. One empire supports this integration of man and machine; the other places limits on AI technology.
 
But “warring empires” was not a story I felt capable of telling. I wanted something closer to home, something smaller and more accessible, something more human. I wanted to show what a life spent entirely under the influence of an inner nanny—a substitute Holy Spirit—might look like.
 
Well, who better to tell that story than a man who has, in his own way, been manipulating others through storytelling? In other words, a journalist.
 
This fit my desire to write the story as military science fiction. Since I never had the honor of serving in the armed forces, I needed a way to give my narrator a believable voice. Corporal Raymin Dahl, a military reporter who barely scraped his way through reservist boot camp, fit the bill.
 
Before long the story seemed to take on a life of its own.
 

Giveaway


To celebrate his tour, Daniel is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon card, a signed copy of the hardcover first edition, and 2 laptop stickers!! (photo attached)

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/109d7/operation-grendel-celebration-tour-giveaway

Friday, April 2, 2021

A Tapestry Of Light By Kimberly Duffy

A Tapestry of Light
by Kimberly Duffy
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764235641

I am incredibly grateful to Kimberly Duffy for reaching out to me, asking me to review her book. Her debut novel, A Mosaic of Wings was excellent, and there was no way I was going to say, "No," to that request!

Summary:

In 1886 Calcutta, Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon the skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger named Everett Scott appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett, friend to Ottilie's English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn't forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in a cold, foreign land.

My Review:

I was absolutely blown away by A Tapestry of Light. As I was reading through it, I was trying to think of whose writing Kimberly's reminded me of in this story. The angst of it put me in mind of Jane Austen. About 3/4 of the way through I thought of the book of Job from the Bible! Let me just say, the story took me on an emotional, vivid roller coaster ride.

Kimberly's writing in this story has depth and beauty from start to finish. She paints a picture of India in such tangible detail, that when I was creating the photo for my Instagram to go along with this book review, I used some curry and I think I'll forever associate curry with Ottilie's story.

I'll admit I was completely clueless of life in India during the Victorian age. I had no idea of the Eurasian population and what they had to endure socially. It was fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time. It was also mind boggling that so many people were dying of cholera. And I had no idea that beetle wing casings were used for fashion! The things people think of. I also loved the use of terms like "didi" for sister, maji for mama, and Nānī for grandmother. And yes, those are explained smoothly in the story.

So, let's talk about the characters. And just now, my review is NOT going to do this story justice. It just isn't. AND, I "tabbed" so many pages in this book... we need to discuss people! Ottilie. She's such an incredible character. While she's already lost so much (hello, Job) she is grasping on to what & who is left. When she meets Everett, my heart absolutely sank. His purpose for being there - to take one more person away - nearly did me in. And I loved how she gave him a run for his money.

But, Everett. I liked him and didn't like him. hahahaha He was just so "British". That was one of the pieces of this story that really was profound. How different Brits and Indians saw the world. I "understood" him, didn't like it, but I did. I also thought he was quite selfish in some instances. Read the book, you'll see what I mean. He's a super likable guy, just not a fan of his "purpose".

One of my favorite characters is Damaris, and Puh-LEASE, Kimberly Duffy, give her a story!!! Oh my gosh, seriously, we all need a Damaris in our lives. She is feisty and British, and doesn't give one whit about status and propriety. She's Ottilie's champion and I'm here for it!

And then, of course, there's the deep faith that is entwined in the story. A heritage of faith is passed down from Ottilie's Nānī on her Maji's side. It's rather a funny scenario with how she and her sister come to learn about Christianity and how significant it becomes in Ottilie's life.

When Ottilie, Thaddeus, and Everett arrive in England, just as I expected, things go just like they did back in India. And it makes me want to shake everyone who treats her poorly! Ok, maybe more than shake them. Everett is focused fully on society's expectations and I want to shake him, too.

I was so emotional from probably the halfway point and it just ramped up until the very end. Welling up with tears is a good sign, right? hahaha Please don't miss out on this beautiful work of art that Kimberly has created in Ottilie's story. This book will never leave my bookshelves!

About the Author:

Kimberly Duffy (www.kimberlyduffy.com) is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio, via six months in India. When she's not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. He doesn't mind.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Hope Between The Pages By Pepper Basham

Hope Between the Pages
by Pepper Basham
Publisher: Barbour
Series: Doors to the Past
ISBN: 978-1643528267

Is there anything better than when an author reaches out to you and asks you to read her next book? I think not! Especially when you LOVE their writing. So thankful for the chance to review Pepper's newest release via ebook!

Summary:

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.

My Review:

Reader friends, if you could think of a perfect setting for us to be reading in a book, what would it be? Would it be like me, and a bookstore? How about a library on a beautiful estate? What if you got both together? Hope Between the Pages gives us BOTH! BOTH my friends!!

When I met Sadie I instantly fell in love with her. She's so genuine in who she is. She knows her place at Biltmore and she loves it! It's inspiring that she picked up where her mom left off. How spectacular to follow in her mother's footsteps - and at Biltmore! And if you love fellas who are swoon worthy, look no further than Oliver. His character is what will make you fall for him!

Next we are introduced to Clara, her cousin, Robbie, and her mom. They own a book store that's been in the family for generations! What they have to do to make sure they save the book store is a daunting task. Clara is determined, but the odds are stacked against them. And with the clock ticking, not only was she stressed out, so was I! hahaha Clara was so used to being a caregiver and holding tight to the reins of life that she could, going to England on a moment's notice was such a huge stretch for her. I really enjoyed seeing her sprout her wings as the story progressed.

I loved how the possible solution to the mystery of keeping hold of their store comes in the most unlikeliest of ways. Pepper brings to life Oliver's life in England and how their lives are all entwined together. The way she described where he lived made me long to be there, too! I wasn't expecting the twists and turns, but loved each and every one. Of course, there's always a villain or two and they were VERY easy to dislike. HA!

The love story lines throughout the book just made my heart feel warm all over and seriously makes you believe in true love! If you haven't read any of Pepper's books before, this is the perfect place to start. If you HAVE, you do NOT want to miss this one. I'm in love with this story.

About the Author:

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with a southern Appalachian flair. Her books have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inpsys, and the ACFW Carol Awards, with The Thorn Healer selected as a 2018 finalist in the RT awards. Both her contemporary and historical romance novels consistently receive high ratings from Romantic Times, with Just the Way You Are as a Top Pick. Most recently she’s introduced readers to Bath, UK through her novellas, Second Impressions and Jane by the Book, and taken readers into the exciting world of WW2 espionage in her novella, Façade. The second novel in The Pleasant Gap series, When You Look at Me, arrives in October and her contribution to Barbour’s wonderful My Heart Belongs series hits the shelves in January 2019 with My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge. Her books are seasoned with her Appalachian heritage and love for family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

You can get to know Pepper on her website, www.pepperdbasham.com, on Facebook, Instagram, or over at her group blog, The Writer's Alley.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A Wish For Home By Jo Ann Brown & GIVEAWAY

A Wish For Home JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for A Wish for Home by Jo Ann Brown, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Wish For Home

Title: Mountain Survival
Series: Secrets of Bliss Valley #1
Author: Jo Ann Brown 
Publisher: Love Inspired Trade
Release Date: March 30, 2021
Genre: Christian contemporary romance/Amish

Caught between who she is…and who she was. 

Lauren Nolt hasn’t forgiven the Amish community of Lancaster County for shunning her parents. But returning as a successful Englischer working for large developers is just what she needs to get a promotion and give her parents the life they deserve. Coming face-to-face with her childhood bully, Amish widower Adam Hershberger, is the last thing she wants. Yet when her world’s shaken by a shocking discovery, Adam’s the only one she can confide in… 

Adam’s never forgiven himself for the part he played in Lauren’s past, nor what drove him to do it. But as developers threaten his great-grossdawdi’s farm, she’s the only one who can help. And with his little girl determined to bring him and Lauren together at every turn, keeping his distance is impossible. Now they must learn to trust each other—even as their secret feelings grow stronger. But is love enough to bridge the gap between their very different worlds?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBoundWalmart | BookBub

The trade paperback version of A Wish for Home is available exclusively at your local Walmart or Walmart.com


My Review:

I actually didn't think I'd have time to read this book, but I'm sure glad I did! Amish novels always seem to refresh my reading palette. There's just something about them that draw me in!

Having never read any books by Jo Ann Brown and not really having read a lot of Amish, I was really impressed by this author. I felt like I was transported to Bliss Valley... in Ringo! I'll tell you what, this should definitely be a Hallmark movie! It had everything you would expect and more. Actually, it would be on the Movies & Mysteries channel.

I was actually surprised at some of the twists and turns in the story. There's definitely a couple of mysteries that need to be solved and it sure doesn't seem like Lauren is up to it once she ends up in the town her family fled from years ago. It was easy to imagine how uncomfortable it would be to immediately run into the person who made your life miserable as a teen. You could've cut the tension with a butter knife. Lauren has a job that she's protecting from another woman who would like to grab the promotion she's hoping for on top of important meeting she has to oversee. Wouldn't you know, those meetings are ones Adam is utterly against!

While I really loved the main characters, I thoroughly enjoyed the secondary characters of Lauren's great-aenti Sylvia and Grossdawdi Ephraim. They were seriously adorable, especially when they were together. We can't forget Adam's daughter Mary Beth. Now that was a little girl with a lot of spunk!

The main aspect of this story, the fact that people can and do change, and are we willing to offer forgiveness really resonated with me. Like the scripture says, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." Of course, a couple of the characters made choices as adults that made it hard to see how forgiveness would come soon or easily.

Now, you might not expect a "fan yourself" moment in an Amish novel, but lemme tell you, there's one in here that will knock your socks off. I was like, "Now this is a kissing scene!" It was just sweet and powerful, but unexpected. hahahaha

Thoroughly enjoyed the story and am looking forward to more. I do have some questions lingering from this book, so I may have to reach out to the author to see if there might be a follow up story! :)

Here is an excerpt from the book:

She pulled off his gloves and tossed them next to his hat on the counter. She sneezed, and her hood flew back to reveal her face. All color washed from it as his gaze crashed into hers as he was about to say, Gesundheit.

The word shriveled on his tongue, and he couldn’t look away from her oval face. She was pretty with delicate features. Her light brown hair streaked with blond fell forward over eyes that were an amazing light purple.

Purple eyes, blond hair, headstrong, correct in everything she did and said.

His own eyes widened. Was it possible? Could the Englischer standing in front of him be a former classmate at Bliss Valley School?

Knowing he’d feel like a dummkopf if she said no, he asked, “Are you Laurene Nolt?”

She flinched, but replied, “Yes, but I go by Lauren now.”

She didn’t add more. She didn’t need to. He could hear her accusing thoughts as if she screamed them. This beautiful woman standing in his friend’s shop was the adult version of the young girl who’d been given the task of trying to tutor him when they were in their final year of school. She’d been cute as a fourteen-year-old, but time had enhanced the golden sheen of her hair and deepened her eyes’ rich shade.

Scene after scene exploded out of his memory as he recalled the hours he’d spent with her. Each one buffeted him like a fist, more painful and humiliating than the previous one. Back then, the humiliation had been heaped on her. He’d made sure of that, but now regret threatened to drown even the simplest thought as he recalled what he’d put her through when she’d been trying to help him. She’d done her best, and he’d ridiculed her for it.

He’d thought that part of his past was dead and buried, but now it stood in front of him. Not it. Her. With her chin raised and cold disdain in her eyes, she was a living tribute to the foolish things he’d done in his life.

He guessed she wouldn’t be leaving soon. Not when it would have been dangerous for her to try to drive her car with compromised struts. The storm would have the roads closed soon, if they weren’t already. She was stuck in Bliss Valley at least for tonight, and he couldn’t leave her stranded in the shop.

He owed her at least that much.

The urge to laugh clawed at his throat. He owed her so much more, but the best thing he could do for them—and for his family—was to get her somewhere safe tonight. Somewhere he could avoid her and the past she’d brought to life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jo Ann Brown

Publishers Weekly bestselling author Jo Ann Brown has created characters and stories for as long as she can remember. After college, serving as a US Army quartermaster officer, getting married and increasing her blessings with three children, she sold her first book in 1987. Since then, she has sold over one hundred titles.  RT Book Reviews called her “a truly talented author.” She loves teaching and established the romance writing course at Brown University. She divides her time between Florida and Massachusetts with her husband of over forty years. Find out more about Jo Ann and her books at www.joannbrownbooks.com.

CONNECT WITH JO ANN: Website 

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of A Wish for Home!

A Wish for Home JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight March 30, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on April 6, 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/CAN 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, March 29, 2021

Still With Us by Regina Walker

Still With Us
by Regina Walker
Publisher: Independent
Series: Then Comes Hope Collection
ISBN: 979-8595405010

Last year I was introduced to Regina Walker. In June I read book one in her series, We Go On. Not an easy book as it dealt with suicide and how a family survives and goes on in the aftermath. Well, she reached out to me and asked me to review Still With Us. What a powerful story!

Summary:

Worthless. That’s how Ella feels every time she wakes up. But when meth jolts through her veins, the ugly voice that tells her she isn’t enough goes quiet. She thinks she has the energy she wants and she struggles to break free from the draw the drugs have on her.

Torn between blaming herself and her ex-husband, Tammy desperately wants to find a way to get her daughter away from drugs and the abusive men preying on her. But nothing Tammy says seems to make a difference with Ella. Will she be able to reach her daughter before it’s too late?

My Review:

Ok friends, I'm not going to beat around the bush with this review. While this is a powerful read, it's also extremely edgy for Christian Fiction. We Christians tend to like the fluff of our genre's selections. Still With Us doesn't have fluff.

I will warn you, there's one chapter that will make you uncomfortable if you're not used to the rawness of the world and in your reading. What I appreciate about Regina's writing is that she's blunt and honestly writes like she has experience with the content. I was able to tell my husband that from my past experience she either has dealt with this in the past or has close people in her life who have. That, of course, makes this story even stronger. I could be way off base and she's just read book, too. hahahaha

Anyhow, Ella. The central character of this story is dealing with a LOT! We meet her as she's coming out of the hospital from being on a suicide watch after taking too much drugs. This 16 year old girl is a hot mess. It was SO difficult to read her story because I know it's just all too common. Her anger, her lack of self worth, her world is so off kilter that the drugs she's been taking numb it all.

All too often drugs come with a high price that most people wouldn't normally be willing to pay, but an addict does what they "need" to do for that next high. Unfortunately, it's to her detriment. The abuse she suffers, in more ways than one, crushed my heart. As a reader, you will want to skip those pages because it's so painful to read for many reasons, but please don't. There are too many of us who live in houses with white picket fences and stick our heads in the ground so we can avoid the reality of world around us.

My two cents is this. If you have never been personally affected by someone addicted to drugs or know much about what people go through when loving someone who is addicted, this book is just what you need. It's raw. It's base, but it's SO necessary because in our Christian world, we need to know what's going on. How those who don't know Jesus and are suffering need us to be compassionate and loving, especially when we don't understand what they're going through.

And yes, the Lord is a huge part of this story. Liz from We Go On, her husband, and son play an integral part of Tammy and Ella's lives. Tammy's ex and his wife make me want to go on a tirade. They're sorry excuses for humans in my estimation. Trust me, when you read this you're going to want to pop both of them in the mouth like I did. hahaha I was more like Liz's husband when it came to Tyler getting involved with Ella. I was very guarded to say the least. I mean, we have to remember, she's still 16 and an active addict.

I loved how once again the horses in the story play an integral part of all their lives. I know that during some of my darkest days my horse, Winston, was a comfort to me.

Now, there is one thing that did irk me about the story. There's one situation where honestly, Ella should've been tested for drugs and arrested. The fact that she only ever had close calls with police really bothered me, especially with the last incident. I think with everything that surrounded the incident, a drug test definitely would've been done and she'd have had a huge price to pay. As it was, there was no legal reckoning and I was disappointed in that.

Take a chance on this book. I believe that in the end you'll have a better understanding of addicts, especially young ones. Book three of this series will be coming out next month and it's going to be another tough topic. Going to have to hunker down to read that one, too. Oh, and by the way, I read Still With Us in about 4 hours. It sucked me in and wouldn't realize me until the last page.

About the Author:

Regina Walker was born in the beautiful state of Colorado. She moved to Oklahoma in her late teen years, where she has resided ever since. She likes to curl up on the couch and binge-watch crime shows with her hard-working husband. When she's not wrestling with a writing project, she can be found wrangling their children, riding their horses, or tending the garden. Along with finding horses on their small farm, chickens, dogs, and cats can be found at nearly every turn.

Regina crafts compelling characters facing some of life's hardest challenges. Her heart's desire is to always point toward Jesus through the way her characters face challenges, relationships, and adversity.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

The Indebted Early By Erica Vetsch & Giveaway

The Indebted Earl
by Erica Vetsch
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Series: Serendipity & Secrets
ISBN: 978-0825446191

I'm so excited for the third installment of the Serendipity & Secrets series! Thankful to have been on the tour for all three books with Audra Jennings PR. She sent me the book for review.

Summary:

Can Captain Wyvern keep his new marriage of convenience all business--or will it turn into something more?

Captain Charles Wyvern owes a great debt to the man who saved his life--especially since Major Richardson lost his own life in the process. The best way to honor that hero's dying wish is for Wyvern to escort the man's grieving fiance and mother safely to a new cottage home by the sea. But along the way, he learns of another obligation that has fallen on his shoulders: his uncle has died and the captain is now the Earl of Rothwell.

When he and the ladies arrive at his new manor house in Devon, they discover an estate in need of a leader and a gaggle of girls, all wards of the former earl. War the new earl knows; young ladies and properties he does not. Still wishing to provide for the bereaved Lady Sophia Haverly, Charles proposes a marriage of convenience.

Sophie is surprised to find she isn't opposed to the idea. It will help her care for her betrothed's elderly mother, and she's already fallen in love with the wayward girls on the Rothwell estate. This alliance is a chance to repay the captain who has done so much for her care, as well as divert her attention from her grief. When Wyvern returns to his sea commission, she'll stay behind to oversee his property and wards.

It sounds so simple. Until the stalwart captain is arrested on suspicion of smuggling, and Sophie realizes how much he's come to mean to her. Now she'll have to learn to fight, not only for his freedom but also for his love.


My Review:

Show of hands for who isn't prepared for The Indebted Earl because we know the series is ending! I know I'm not the only one who's sad. I thoroughly enjoyed this series as well as this final book! And go figure... I have ALL three books. hahahaha This is a rare occurrence around these parts.

There's so much to write about this story, of course without giving anything away, but there's a lot I want to talk about. I should probably start groups for people who have read books so we can discuss them. Anyhow, I digress...

As Julie Andrews would say, "let's start at the very beginning..." We meet Captain Charles Wyvern who is recovering from a run in with a French ship. He's made a promise to his right hand man to make sure his fiancé is ok. That springboards us into returning to the people we've come to know through the series.

Marcus' sister, Sophie, was engaged to Rich, but with him gone now she and his mother, Mamie, have their world turned upside down. The upheaval in their lives made me want to throw my book across the room. Just wait until you read it.

Captain Wyvern, who's lived his life on a ship since he was 12, knows how to run a tight ship, but it also means the crew sticks together and not only does his commitment to Rich make Sophie and Mamie part of his crew, but something unexpected happens once they reach his new home that expands their crew. Sometimes I didn't know if I should laugh or cry for these poor souls. In the midst of the craziness is the ever steady Mrs. Chapman. I seriously loved her. We all need someone like her in our lives! Her  and Partridge!

And yes, we get to spend a bit of time with Marcus and Charlotte. Oh, and their mother is just as obnoxious as ever. That woman would drive anyone crazy! hahaha Once Rich is out of the picture she's ready to go back to controlling Sophie's life. I just loved Sophie. You can tell what she's been through has dulled her spirit, but underneath the sadness her sass is still there. She needs it to protect Mamie as well as not to let her mother run her life.

I can understand the Captain's deep desire to head back to the sea and his ship. It's all he's ever known. Sophie's kindness and sweetness lure him to stay, but the sea is calling. The pull (which neither sees happening) of their hearts is so subtle because of everything they're going through. Not even they can see it. Sigh... seriously, so sweet!!!

I've already expressed to Erica Vetsch about my hope for a book series and here's to fingers crossed that it will happen!

Enter the Giveaway:




About the Author:

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling author and ACFW Carol Award winner, and has been a Romantic Times top pick for her previous books. She loves Jesus, history, romance, and watching sports. This transplanted Kansan now makes her home in Rochester, Minnesota.

Learn more about Erica at
www.ericavetsch.com or find her on Facebook 
(@EricaVetschAuthor), Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).

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