Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Battle for the Crown By Dawn Shipman + Giveaway

Battle for the Crown JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Battle for the Crown by Dawn Shipman, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Battle for the Crown

Title: Battle for the Crown
Lost Stones of Argonia #3
Dawn Shipman
Elk Lake
Release Date:
October 16, 2023
Genre: YA Fantasy (Clean)

“Adventurous quests, prophetic stones, and forbidden romance! Who could possibly ask for more?” —Lindsay A. Franklin, Carol Award–winning author of The Weaver Trilogy

She’s only seventeen—too young to die. 

But the wizard, the ambitious king, and their marauding Borags must be stopped. Fulfilling the prophecy is the only way to defeat them, and after scouring Argonia for the missing gemstones, Lyric and her companions are just steps away from the final, crucial battle. 

If they fail, the world they love will sink into a dark night of destruction. 

If they fail, they will almost certainly die. 

But Lyric is a king’s daughter, and long ago she chose this path. Terrified or not, she will see it to its end, because sometimes, sacrifice is the only way forward. 

Dark magic, tragic loss, and tender romance abound in this gripping conclusion to the Lost Stones of Argonia trilogy.

PURCHASE LINKSGoodreads | Amazon

Book Excerpt

Marek frowned. “What do you propose?”

She sighed. Raised her chin. “I would like you to go to the southern border. Fell trees, pile brush.
Set fires if you have to. Delay them as long as possible.”

He shook his head. “I can’t do that. From the beginning, I’ve had one task on this mission—to
keep you safe. I can’t do that from miles away. Don’t ask me to leave you now.”

She gazed steadily at him. “I have to. This is not just about me. It never was.”

More Books in This Series


About the Author

Dawn Shipman

Dawn Shipman knew she wanted to be a writer since Mrs. Juell’s 10th grade Creative Writing class. Since then, she’s written stories, poetry, plays, puzzles, quizzes, and a mass of magazine articles, including interviews, how-tos, and personal experience stories. She believes freelance writing is the ideal occupation for those who are nosy by nature and like asking personal questions.

She is the author of a YA Fantasy series–The Lost Stones of Argonia–-with Elk Lake Publishing in Massachusetts. 

Dawn makes her home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where she lives with her long-haired, IT-guy husband, a gregarious German Shepherd, two disdainful cats, and four horses–two large ones and two very small (but mighty!) ones. She loves reading, writing, riding, and traveling. 

Connect with Dawn by visiting to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Tour Giveaway

(2) winners will win Kindle copies of all three books in the series--Kingdom Lost, Quest of the Queen, and Battle for the Crown, plus a $10 Amazon gift card!

Battle for the Crown JustRead Tours giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 28, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 5, 2023. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. No country restrictions. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

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

JustRead Publicity Tours

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The Old Testament Handbook + Giveaway

I can tell you the exact moment I fell in love with the Old Testament. It was the fall of 2018. BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) was doing the People of the Promised Land study. It covered Joshua to Song of Solomon. At the same time I read my first Connilyn Cossette book, Shelter of the Most High. It was my first time learning about the cities of refuge, which was discussed in the study and the story. I was so fascinated by how a city of refuge worked in Biblical times! Seriously, if you've never heard of it, go check it out in Scripture.

For me, the OT was dry, daunting, and not something that I readily ran to. Now, when someone talks about the Old Testament, I'm all ears. In fact, after starting Connilyn's newest series The King's Men, my husband and I started reading through Samuel. We've been thoroughly enjoying it. On top of that, we've been able to use The Old Testament Handbook as a resource! I received the book for review thanks to FrontGate Media.

The Old Testament Handbook is charcoal cloth over board. Here are some of the features:

  • High-quality, foil-stamped cloth cover materials and Smyth-sewn binding meant to last a lifetime
  • Elegant full-color interior design, including maps, charts, illustrations, and other visual helps for every book of the Old Testament
  • More than 75 in-depth word studies of key words found in each Old Testament book
  • Ribbon marker for easy referencing between pages during study, teaching, or sharing

Each chapter is a little different in what it offers except for the first three pages. Those offer an Introduction, an Outline, and a Word Study. The rest of each chapter mixes it up a bit. Let's look at 1-2 Samuel. In this chapter, we look at a timeline from 1200 BC to 900 BC, Movement and Locations of the Ark, a comparison between Saul & David (this spurred a great conversation between me and my husband), the difference between prophets/priests/kings, a chart of those against Israel, a chart of David's enemies, a discussion on the giants in the Bible, a timeline of Samuel's life, seeing Jesus in the Kingdom, God's covenants, and a comparison of the kings: Saul, David, Solomon, and Jesus. Other chapters have maps, key verses, detailed explanations, quotes, names of God, etc.

Since my husband and I are reading through the Bible during our devotions at night, we're adding this to our reading. It's just a great opportunity to learn some more details we might not be thinking about as we're reading through each book. I know I'm going to appreciate the maps because I'm a visual learner and during certain passages of Scripture, I'm always wondering where the people are located at that moment. 

The title pages of each chapter are beautifully designed and keep the same imagery throughout. On the outside edge of the title page is the name of the Book of the Bible. As a fictional reader, I like how the genre for each chapter is described: historical narrative, law, poetry, wisdom, prophecy, prose, etc. Below that is a short description of the chapter.

The Old Testament Handbook is definitely something you want to have on hand as you read through Scripture. You can take a deeper dive into the book on the B&H Publishing Group page as well as purchasing it. While my Handbook is charcoal, there's also the option of getting it in sand.

You also have the opportunity to win one of ten copies of the book! You have until December 6, 2023 to enter. You can find more details and enter HERE or by clicking the image above.

Be on the lookout for The New Testament Handbook coming soon!

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Warsaw Sisters By Amanda Barratt

The Warsaw Sisters
by Amanda Barratt
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 9780800741716

I've read one story by the author and I remember it being very powerful. As soon as I saw this one, I knew I had to read it. Whew! This one will feel like you've been sucker punched while rooting desperately for the sisters! I received this book for review from the publisher.


A richly rendered portrait of courage, sacrifice, and resilience 

On a golden August morning in 1939, sisters Antonina and Helena DÄ…browska send their father off to defend Poland against the looming threat of German invasion. The next day, the first bombs fall on Warsaw, decimating their beloved city and shattering the world of their youth.

When Antonina's beloved Marek is forced behind ghetto walls, along with the rest of Warsaw's Jewish population, Antonina knows she cannot stand by and soon becomes a key figure in a daring network of women risking their lives to shelter Jewish children. Meanwhile, Helena finds herself drawn into the ranks of Poland's secret army, joining the fight to free her homeland from occupation. 

But the secrets both are forced to keep threaten to tear them apart--and the cost of resistance may prove greater than either ever imagined.

My Review:

The Warsaw Sisters was an incredibly heavy story to read. In many of the WWII stories we read, there are moments of lightness, victory, and even a bit of romance. If you're looking for a "light" read, this story is NOT it. If you want to get into the trenches and live vicariously through fictional characters who are trying to survive the annihilation of an entire country, this story is absolutely for you.

I'll tell you, you have flickering moments of lightness, but it felt like a blink and it was gone. Any victory was very short lived. As for romance, I don't think I could say that it was really in the story. There were glimpses of love and growing feelings, but always just seemed out of reach for the sisters.

We're carried (rather quickly in the beginning) from the start of Warsaw becoming occupied by the Germans in 1939, and within just a couple of years the girls we meet at the start are no longer the same innocent young women. Their lives and the world around them have been devastated and you will feel every bit of it with them. The author is certainly gifted in that area!

Antonina and Helena were truly just your average twin sisters who were the apple of their father's and aunt's eyes. Then, war. Both sisters, over time, have to make heart wrenching decisions. It was so compelling to live through their fictional lives, wondering to myself what I might do in those situations. Like them, one doesn't know until they're faced with it.

A heart-wrenchingly powerful story that was written to help us never forget what happened to millions of innocent people! This story will absolutely move you.

To me, there wasn't an incredibly strong faith thread in the story - more so towards the very end. The family was Catholic and it was mentioned they went to church on Sundays. While both sisters struggled (and understandably so) Antonina, I think, questioned God the most. They would remember things their father said to them, and Antonina (maybe Helena) spoke to a priest once who really encouraged her.


Antonina also sleeps with a man she had fallen in love with (and he loves her) before the war in a moment of desperation.

About the Author:

Amanda Barratt is the bestselling author of numerous historical novels and novellas, including The White Rose Resists (a 2021 Christy Award winner) and Within These Walls of Sorrow. She is passionate about illuminating oft-forgotten facets of history through a fictional narrative. Amanda lives in Michigan. Learn more at

Friday, November 24, 2023

To Spark A Match By Jen Turano

To Spark a Match
by Jen Turano
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: The Matchmakers
ISBN: 9780764240218

How much do I love Jen Turano? Let me count the ways! Her books are always what I need when I want a good laugh with my love for historical fiction. I am thankful to be on her launch team and was sent her book for review.


After five unsuccessful Seasons on the marriage mart, Miss Adelaide Duveen has resigned herself to the notion that she's destined to remain a spinster forever--a rather dismal prospect, but one that will allow her to concentrate on her darling cats and books. However, when she inadvertently stumbles upon Mr. Gideon Abbott engaged in a clandestine activity during a dinner party, Adelaide finds herself thrust into a world of intrigue that resembles the plots in the spy novels she devours.

Former intelligence agent Gideon Abbott feels responsible for Adelaide after society threatens to banish her because of the distraction she caused to save his investigation. Hoping to return the favor, he turns to a good friend--and one of high society's leaders--to take Adelaide in hand and turn her fashionable. When danger surrounds them and Adelaide finds herself a target of the criminals in Gideon's case, the spark of love between them threatens to be quenched for good--along with their lives.

My Review:

What is there not to love about a Jen Turano book? To Spark a Match has two characters you can't help but loving! Well, them and their cohorts! Poor Adelaide. She just wants to be herself... and have a few cats. Is that too much to ask? It's hard not to be smitten with her just for the fact that she's just so "normal" while surrounded by the four hundred. Adelaide also has a heart of gold, willing to help others at her own expense. 

And Gideon, that poor guy could not catch a break in trying to keep Adelaide out of danger. Try as he might, she kept finding it... or it kept finding her! While she didn't want to find herself mixed up with unknown dangerous people, it seemed she couldn't avoid it. 

The beginning of the story had a lot going on, I will say that! There were times I felt like it was a bit long winded. Jen's typical humor and crazy antics with the characters were always woven into the story, constantly giving a good giggle!

I will say, I enjoy stories that add an animal into it. Jen did a fun job with the cats in this story. 

I'm looking forward to book three and can't wait to read it!

About the Author:

Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by BooklistJen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from RT Book Reviews, and praise from Library Journal. She's been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers' Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado. Readers can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and X, and at

Monday, November 20, 2023

Wick and Sarcasm for JustRead Rendezvous

When I found out about our JustRead Rendezvous, I was excited to meet my boss and co-worker... as well as more authors and readers! Let's just say, 2023 was a boon for me in regards to reader events!

After I asked Ashley from Wick and Sarcasm to make candles for me for my first retreat, I wanted to do the same for our Rendezvous. As with the first special order, this one had to stay under wraps. Once again, she sent me samples with a variety of scents to choose from. UGH! I think this was the hardest part of the process. I knew I wanted ONE certain scent, but I don't think everyone loves florals like I do. On top of that, with the event being in November, I thought it might be better to go with a "fall" type scent.

The three scents she sent me this time were: honeysuckle jasmine, spiced honey and tonic, and orange blossom. After they came (I totally wanted the honeysuckle jasmine) I chose the spiced honey and tonka. Here's how Ashley describes the scent: this one is warm, slightly sweet and earthy, and has a really cozy feel from the tonic and honey blend. Since I had no idea what "tonka" was as a scent, she explained that it's like an earthy cousin of vanilla.

I ended up ordering 6 of them so I could give one to each of my co-workers, my hotel roommate and bookish twin (Andrette), one for myself, one to use as part of the Rendezvous giveaway, and one for someone extra... that ended up being Cindy from EPCA.

I sent her the logo for our JustRead Rendezvous, she asked me what colors I wanted for the labels, she created mockups, and sent them to me. Sakes alive, that was difficult to choose as well so I went with the yellow. This time I didn't see the end product before it was shipped. I had all of the candles shipped to Andrette because she was driving and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to fit one more thing into my carry-on!

Needless to say, I was pretty giddy to give these candles out to everyone and I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Knowing You By Tracie Peterson + Give Away

Knowing You JustRead Takeover Blitz

Welcome to the Takeover + Review Blitz for Knowing You by Tracie Peterson hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Knowing You Title: Knowing You 
Series: Pictures of the Heart #3 
Author: Tracie Peterson 
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers 
Release Date: November 7, 2023 
Genre: Christian Historical Romance 

Could a captivating art exhibit hold the key to truth--and love? 

Budding artist May Parker is captivated by the Japanese exhibits at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and longs to know more about her mother's heritage--which her mother refuses to speak of because of the heartache she left behind in Japan. Wanting to experience more of the exhibits, May works as a Camera Girl--but her curiosity leads her into danger when a suit of samurai armor becomes the target of an elusive art forger. 

After ten years apart, May is reunited with her childhood friend Lee Munro, a police detective assigned to keep a watchful eye on the exposition. Their friendship immediately begins to blossom with hints of something more, but when they become entangled in a dangerous heist involving the samurai armor and their love is threatened, can they overcome the odds against them?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Christianbook | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | BookBub

More Books in Series

Remember Me Finding Us


When the clock chimed five, May put away her paints and brushes as the Camera Girls filed back in
one by one. There was a great deal of chattering about the day and all that had taken place.

“Tomorrow is Japan Day,” Mary told May as she took off the camera from around her neck.

“I know. I’m very excited to see what all they do.” May continued cleaning her station.

“I heard there would be a parade from the Japanese village to the Japan building,” Mary added. “It’s
first thing in the morning.”

May smiled. “I have the day off and intend to watch it all and listen to the speakers and hear the Japanese
musicians. I am quite excited.”

Mary nodded and returned May’s smile. “I hope you enjoy yourself. If I were off, I would join you, but I’ll
probably be too busy photographing people. Maybe I can come find you at lunch.”

“One of the restaurants is going to serve authentic Japa- nese food. I want to try it all,” May said with
a laugh.

Her mother never allowed Japanese food to be served in the house. on more than one occasion May
had snuck down- town to the Japanese area of Seattle—Japantown. Bordered by Yesler Way and
Dearborn on the north and south ends, and Fourth and Fourteenth Avenues on the east and west,
Japantown offered May a glimpse into a world she had only dreamed about. It was here she had
sampled a few classic dishes, but she’d never told her mother. She knew the older woman would have
been very upset to know that May was even interested in such things.

But she was.

She longed to know about her Japanese ancestors and the culture of Japan. She had tried so many
times to get her mother to open up and talk about it, but it almost al- ways resulted in either tears
or silence. Japan, her father had once told her, had been most hurtful to her mother, and she left many
bad feelings there when she got on the boat for America.

When May had first heard of the expo and its plans for promoting Japan and other Pacific Islands,
she knew she wanted to somehow be a part of it. Upon visiting, she’d seen the advertisement at
Fisher Photography for Camera Girls. When she went in to speak to the owner about the job,
somehow the conversation had turned to May being an artist. One thing led to another, and Mr. Fisher
asked if she thought she could touch up the photographs with color. May was confident she could, and
so she was hired. It turned out to be the perfect job for her, although she was also trained on the

from Knowing You by Tracie Peterson / Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group © 2023
used by permission

About the Author

Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling author of more than 100 novels, both historical and contemporary, with more than 6 million copies sold. She has won the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award and the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Her avid research resonates in her many bestselling series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.

Connect with Tracie by visiting to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will receive a copy of Knowing You and a $15 Amazon gift card!

Knowing You 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 November 15, 2023 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on November 22, 2023. 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

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

JustRead Publicity Tours

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

The Peasant King By Tessa Afshar

The Peasant King
by Tessa Afshar
Publisher: Tyndale
ISBN: 978-1496458278

I'm a hands down HUGE Tessa Afshar fan! Her historical fiction set in Biblical times. She has a gift for bringing that time period to life. I was so excited to read the book that follows The Hidden Prince to see how Cyrus, Keren, and Jared were doing. I can tell you, it didn't disappoint! Tessa sent me her book as part of her launch team.


Jemmah has always thought of herself as perfectly ordinary . . . until she faces extraordinary circumstances.

When her mother, the Persian king’s famous senior scribe, is kidnapped, Jemmah and her sister must sneak undetected into enemy territory to rescue her. But infiltrating their adversary’s lands proves easier than escaping them. Fleeing through dangerous mountain passes, their survival depends on the skills of a stranger they free from prison: a mysterious prince named Asher.

Asher is not who the world believes he is. Despite his royal blood, he has had to climb his way out of poverty to forge success from nothing. A manufacturer of some of the best weaponry in the East, Asher has only one goal: to destroy his father. But following his escape from prison, Asher is irresistibly drawn to Jemmah, unaware that she guards her own secret.

Jemmah must convince Asher to give up everything he has worked for, all for the sake of a higher purpose he’s not sure he believes in. The fate of the Persian empire—and possibly the Judean people—hang in the balance and in the persuasive power of one ordinary woman.

My Review:

An entire novel read in under 24 hours? You've got to know that I was completely captured by The Peasant King for that to have happened!

First of all, I have to say that I think the cover of this book is one of my favorites this year. It's just stunning.

The story starts with us getting to know Jemma, one of Keren and Jared's children. They were from The Hidden Prince. Jemma, who doesn't see herself talented in any area of her life. Little does she know that she's about to be proven wrong in so many ways.

Then we meet Asher. He's a complex and driven character who happens to be the illegitimate son of a king. He also has something the king wants. Asher has zero intention of giving it to this man who refused to acknowledge him.

Let me just say, we are taken on quite the adventure with Jemma and her band of... fighters? Rescuing loved ones, facing numerous warriors, coming up against their own fears is just the tip of the iceberg as they ride over mountains, through fields, and open highways. Trust me when I say that the journeys they make are not smooth nor easy.

All the while, Jemma, Keren, Jared, and others speak Truth to those around them. The prophet, Daniel, tells Asher about Cyrus in Scripture. Keren and Jared have spoken for years to Cyrus about God, hoping he would put down his idols. It was fascinating to read a fictional account of someone seeing first hand God's miracles and yet attributing them to a god. And yet, Scripture tells us God used Cyrus to free His people. 

There were some really fun moments in this beautiful story as well. Jemma and Asher were cute as they figured out each other and gave in to sharing long-held secrets of pain. I enjoyed Zarina, Jemma's somewhat adopted sister. Was she ever a firecracker. And if she doesn't get her own story, it would be a travesty. The man who would appreciate her uniqueness would be fun to get to know as well. I have an idea of who I'd like to see, but we'll see if it comes to fruition.

The amount of research the author must have done for this story is mind blowing. From the food in that time, to the terrain, which plants would grow where, the different weather, numerous people groups, how people traveled, etc made this time period explode to life. I felt like I was on the journey with them.

Once again, I can't say enough about how incredible this author's historical stories set in Biblical times are! She does an exemplary job of writing characters you come to care for in a period of time that is sometimes hard to grasp all of the complexities.

*I received the book for review. This is my personal opinion.

About the Author:

Tessa Afshar is an award-winning, ECPA bestselling author of historical and biblical fiction. Her awards include the Christy and the INSPY. Her novel Land of Silence was named by Library Journal as one of the top five Christian fiction titles of 2016. Harvest of Rubies was a finalist for the ECPA Christian Book Award in the fiction category, and Daughter of Rome was a Carol Award finalist in the Historical Romance category. Tessa's first Bible study and DVD, The Way Home: God's Invitation to New Beginnings, won the Christian Book Award for best Bible study of 2021.

Tessa was born to a nominally Muslim family in the Middle East and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life before moving to England. She settled permanently in the United States, where she converted to Christianity in her twenties. Tessa holds a master of divinity from Yale University, where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She worked in women's and prayer ministries for nearly twenty years before becoming a full-time writer. Tessa is a devoted wife, a mediocre gardener, and an admirer of chocolate from afar. Visit her website at

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