Friday, July 19, 2024

The Nightmare Virus By Nadine Brandes

The Nightmare Virus
by Nadine Brandes
Publisher: Enclave Escape
ISBN: 979-8886051308

First, I thought the cover was amazing, then I thought the idea of the story was fascinating, so when the author had a launch team, I signed up asap! I'm so glad I did! She sent me the ebook for review.

Summary:

Some viruses go after the body. But the Nightmare Virus goes after the mind.

When dream technology goes wrong, a virus spreads across the globe, trapping people in a universal dreamscape. They call it the Nightmare Virus.

Cain Cross is determined to find a cure . . . if he can decipher his brother’s chicken-scratch formula notes. But when he gets infected, he has only 22 days until he’s trapped in the mental prison forever. Now, every time he falls asleep, he must fight in a Nightmare Arena until he earns his freedom to live in the “new world” that exists only in the mind.

Then he finds a way to manipulate the Nightmare—to change it by mere thought.

Forced to navigate a world of nightbeasts, mistblades, and half-truths, Cain turns his focus to survival. When the Emperor offers him a LifeSuPod—and access to a cure—in exchange for a dangerous favor, Cain thinks he’s found a way out. But Cain’s new power threatens to take him on paths that jeopardize his very soul.

Will he continue searching for a cure, or will he swear allegiance to the Nightmare? And the bigger question might be . . . will he even have a choice?

My Review:

Ok, this story was... so original! So cool! So surprising! Yes, I had an idea of what the story was about, but you really can't grasp it all until you dive in. 

We meet Cain who is sucked into this dreamscape that his brother has been in! The nightmare they've been working to find a cure for. The thought of losing awake time day by day for 22 days until you no longer wake was such an interesting concept. With each passing day you lose time to do everything you need AND find a cure!

I really liked the character of Cain. Even at my age he seemed so relatable. I think young adults (who this is geared towards) will really connect with him in his thoughts and emotions. This was also an exercise in seeing how people react to different situations, and I felt like the author really showed that as Cain entered the Nightmare world the first time.

In this dreamscape, things happen so quickly and wildly, it's hard to know what's going on, how to react, and who to trust. It's a good reminder for us to be discerning, especially when we're in unfamiliar circumstances.

We meet so many characters throughout the story. Stranna is one of those characters. I'm not going to say much about her, other than I really liked her. I know, I'm totally vague booking, but if I say anything it'll spoil it for you! HA!

There's 100% parallel between darkness and light. How light shines in the darkness. That there is a great deceiver. And we all have a choice to make! Of course, that leads me to my next point and my favorite one, the author really didn't mince words. Our hope is in Jesus. There's nothing else. Everything else leads to eternal death. You can't do it on your own, but God can equip you. Man, the author just does it so amazingly in this story! Yes, it's sci-fi ya fantasy, etc, but God is still who He is! I loved it!

This is another one of those stories I just want to immediately talk to everyone about where we get to talk about all of the details and bring out all of the spoilers!

About the Author:

Nadine Brandes once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the Carol-Award winning author of Wishtress, Fawkes, Romanov, and the Out of Time Series. Her newest release is The Nightmare Virus and her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she’s not busy writing novels about bold living, she’s adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. Nadine, her Auror husband, and their Halfling children are building a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.

Monday, July 15, 2024

Meeting Her Match By Jen Turano

Meeting Her Match
by Jen Turano
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: The Matchmakers
ISBN: 9780764240225

I've been a long-time, die hard Jen Turano fan! Her stories always leave me chuckling and the situations her characters get into will have you doubling over in laughter! Thanks to Jen and Bethany House for allowing me to be on her launch team and for sending me her book!

Summary:

Miss Camilla Pierpont, a renowned matchmaker and influential member of the New York Four Hundred, has vowed never to marry after suffering a devastating heartbreak during her debut years ago. However, when she is nearly abducted along the Hudson River, she finds herself rescued by an annoyingly outspoken, albeit fascinating, gentleman who challenges her in a manner she wasn't expecting.

After learning that Camilla Pierpont has enjoyed success with taking wayward young ladies in hand, Mr. Owen Chesterfield travels to the Hudson River Valley determined to convince Camilla to sponsor his sister, who is in desperate need of social rehabilitation.

Knowing her life is in danger, Camilla agrees to Owen's proposition and travels with him to West Virginia, finding herself charmed by the less-than-formal attitude of his small hometown, as well as by Owen himself. But danger waits in the shadows, disrupting what she knows would be the most spectacular match she's ever made--her own.

My Review:

I have loved Camilla in the previous stories and couldn't wait to see who she'd finally be paired with in Meeting Her Match! Owen... whoda thunk it?

Camilla has done well for herself as a matchmaker, but it was time for her to get her own love story, but being a proclaimed spinster makes that rather difficult. Bring in a cast of crazy characters and who's to say what could happen?

It would be hard to say that Camilla and Owen had a meet-cute. More like a meet-oh-my-word-what-is-happening-right-now, but funnier than all get out! Poor Owen didn't know his life was about to be turned upside down! That finding a renowned matchmaker for his sister might be more than he bargained for.

Circumstances bring Camilla to agreeing to head to West Virginia with her entourage of helpers, and watching them descend upon the unsuspecting inhabitants of Owen's little town is more than a little hilarious. You can't help but end up loving Owen's family who certainly have their hillbilly ways, but in a scary yet delightful manner, which is to be expected in the author's stories! You don't know whether to run and hide when certain characters show up or go in for a hug (just no kissing!).

To say that "love is in the air" with this story would be putting it mildly. Let's just say Camilla isn't the only person gifted with helping in the romance department! Owen's meemaw and aunt have their own ways of butting in where they're not invited. Just wait and see. hahahaha

There's a lot of shenanigans throughout the story, people being chased after to add some suspense, and good lessons taught to the well-intentioned people of Wheeling. As always, lots of funny scenes and one liners that will have you giggling throughout the story!

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 JenTurano.com.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Born Of Gilded Mountains By Amanda Dykes

Born of Gilded Mountains
by Amanda Dykes
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764239519

I've never met an Amanda Dykes story I didn't thoroughly get lost in! When I saw her next book was coming out, I couldn't wait to read it. I'm on her launch team and received the book for review.

Summary:

A lost treasure. A riddled quest. The healing power of friendship.

Legends are tucked into every fold of the Colorado mountains surrounding the quaint town of Mercy Peak, where residents are the stuff of tall tales, the peaks are taller still, and a lost treasure has etched mystery into the very terrain.

In 1948, when outsider Mercy Windsor arrives after a scandal shatters her gilded world as Hollywood's beloved leading lady, she is determined to forge a new life in obscurity in this time-forgotten Colorado haven. She purchases Wildwood, an abandoned estate with a haunting history, and begins to restore it to its former glory.

But as she does, her every move tugs at the threads of the mountain's lore, unearthing what became of her long-lost pen pal Rusty Bright, and the whereabouts of the infamous Galloping Goose Railcar No. 8, which vanished years ago--along with the mailbag it carried, whose contents could change the course of countless lives. Not to mention the fabled treasure that--if found--could right so many wrongs.

Among the towering mountains that stand as silent witnesses, the ghosts of the past entangle with the courage of the present to find a place where healing, friendship, and hope can abide amid a world forever changed.

My Review:

Once again, the author has managed to pull me into a world of her imagination and bring every bit of the story to life!

I honestly don't know where to even start to describe everything in this story. I loved the different writing "pieces" in the story (wait until you discover them!). The characters will make you feel ALL of the emotions. It was so fun getting to know the girls through their penpal letters.

We meet Mercy who has left Hollywood under suspicious circumstances. The details unfold throughout the story. She makes it to Mercy Peak where her dearest friend and penpal, Rusty is from. Rusty is from Mercy Peak and through her letters convinces Mercy to come to her town one day.

Neither of the girls have lived easy lives, but through their letters, they encourage one another.

You absolutely get the small town feel through the author's writing. All of the added characters bring it to life. The people we meet on Mercy's journey to unravel the mystery of a lost treasure adds so much richness to the story. You get the sense of them all making her one of their own - in the best way possible.

We also get to know Rusty through the letters she exchanges with Mercy. She's cut from the mountain and tough as they come. She's a straight shooter who tells it like it is. Rusty is exactly the person you want in your corner. Unfortunately, her life took an awful turn, leaving Mercy to go it alone.

When Mercy arrives in town, the residents realize she's the one who now owns Wildwood, the estate of Randolph Gilman who the townsfolk basically despised and sadly, for good reason. He was one of the four boys who make a pact in regard to any future treasure they found. Life doesn't always go the way we plan and that's played out in the lives of these 4 young men as they grow older and tragedy strikes.

There's so much to the heart and meat of this story. Renewed hope, restoration (of SO many things), forgiveness, trust, and belonging. As a reader, we're reminded that the Lord can restore and He has a plan.

This story is so rich, deep, and sometimes poetic, I am honestly not doing the story justice with the review. It took me a while to read the story, longer than usual, because I didn't want to miss a single word. So, I took my time and savored it. I can't recommend it enough!

About the Author:

Amanda Dykes's debut novel, Whose Waves These Are, is the winner of the prestigious 2020 Christy Award Book of the Year, a Booklist 2019 Top Ten Romance debut, and the winner of an INSPY Award. She's also the author of Christy Award-finalists All the Lost Places, Yours Is the Night, and Set the Stars Alight. Find her online at AmandaDykes.com.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Resurgence of Dawn By Brett Armstrong Interview + GIVE AWAY

Resurgence of Dawn JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Resurgence of Dawn by Brett Armstrong hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Resurgence of Dawn

Title: Resurgence of Dawn
Series:
Quest of Fire #5
Author:
Brett Armstrong
Publisher:
Expanse Books
Release Date:
December 12, 2023
Genre:
Christian, Epic/High Fantasy, Young Adult

Haunted by tragedies and failures, Anargen and Jason each struggle to find their way. Night has fallen in the Lowlands and neither teen has an easy road ahead. In Anargen’s Era, Monarch Ilyron’s powers and influence grow, forcing Anargen and his dwindling list of allies to travel the length of the Lowlands in a desperate attempt to keep the Quest and all they hold dear from falling into ruin. 

Jason meanwhile must find Aria and her grandfather to help unite the Knights of Light from across the Lowlands against his brother, Dorian. But agents of darkness and painful vestiges of his past mix with vindictive new enemies to make the hope of seeing the dawn of the longed-for King’s Day ever so faint. If either teen gives in and surrenders, doom will come swiftly on their world.  

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

More Books in This Series

    Shadows at Nightfall  Quest of Fire: Desperation


Author Interview

1. What do you find is the hardest part of writing a story like this: the setting, the culture, the characters,
etc?

I think for me the most difficult part of writing Quest of Fire books, Resurgence of Dawn included, is
keeping all of the character's reactions to events and developments in the story authentic. Making
sure they don't overlook something that would be startling to them, because I know what's
happening next or I know what it means in the long-term. Allowing them to process emotions,
particularly negative ones in a way that is realistic is also tricky. The characters are facing things that
are truly heartbreaking at times and experience disappointments and doubts and just letting those
things play out without trying to cut them off too early because I care about the characters is difficult
some times. There's a conflict between two characters in Resurgence of Dawn that I desperately
wanted to end or avoid but knew I couldn't. There’s also another character who makes choices that
put him on a path to destruction that I kept trying to find a way out of for him, but altering things in
either situation would've been too intrusive and diminished the story. Portraying every emotion
rightly and accepting them as they need to be for the story and series is definitely the roughest part
for me and what I stress over most.

2. What's your process of including a thread of faith into your stories? Do you pull from Scripture or do
you decide on a faith topic and let it work its way into your story?

There have been a few times where I started with a passage of Scripture and wrote a story from there,
my first published novel Destitutio Quod Remissio is 100% a meditation on Colossians 3:12-13. Almost
all of the others have been more along the lines of getting a general idea of the plot and then
following the path from point to point I see certain themes naturally weave in. Characters experience
things that lend themselves to introducing a particular scriptural truth. Though overall, the entire
Quest of Fire series features a consistent exhortation to keep true to what the Apostle Paul said: “I
have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up
for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day,
and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”*
Seeing the Lord Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords is so key too. And “For the word of God is
living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of
joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”**

Not to mention, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus
let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”***
* 2 Timothy 4:7-9, ESV
** Hebrews 4:12, ESV
*** Hebrews 12:28, ESV

3. Do you read your story to your wife before it's published or do you let her read it during the process?

Early in my publishing career she read my manuscripts before they were published, but I tend to write
in genres that aren't my wife's favorites (or even on the same map as her favorites). She doesn’t tend to read them anymore. Though somewhat recently she did read and enjoy my novella in The Near Distant collection. More often when something is particularly tricky, I'll pass the premise of a scene or story by her to get her feelings on it. She's also a big help with reviewing cover art and I basically can't
do my social media without her. But until I finish the contemporary romance I have squirreled away in
my story folders, I don't know that I'm going to pique her interest.

4. Where do you find the names for your characters such as Monarch and Anargen? Is there a book with
made up fantasy names?

I get ideas for names from a pretty diverse array of sources. Anargen is one I made up (heavily
influenced by the name Aragorn from Lord of the Rings). There are a few names out there that come
from the phonetic sounds evoking a particular feel that I want based on who the character is as well.
Others are real-world names that carry some significance to the respective character like Cinaed and
Seren. Some are composites of words in other languages that carry a particular meaning, like Monarch
Maldes Ilyron. Though he's a special case, because I actually put his name out to a vote for readers to
pick from a list of options the best name for the Middle Era villain. Among my favorites are some I've
gotten from my son while we're playing together like Professor Goulder and in place names the town
of Cattingsford. Anytime I'm picking names for people and places in stories it's a really personal
experience, because that name becomes a part of who the character is and starts to shape how they
fit in the story world.

5. When you begin a series, do you typically know how many books will be in it or do you let it play out
naturally and you allow it to be as long as needed?

Most of the time I have an idea at the start and then revise my expectations as I go. For Quest of Fire, I
started very early on thinking it would be three books and then four. Then I got the idea to intersperse
the more personal and smaller scale supporting stories in the three novellas/short novels. That way I
could add more depth to the cultures and some of the characters that I couldn't put into the main arc
novels because of word count and pacing concerns. Quest of Fire has been a seven-book series in my
mind (and with my publisher) since at least 2018 and I've had the names for every release and a
general arc (including the final chapter of the series) since 2019. I’m currently writing the final book in
the series and seeing what I’ve been imagining for years coming to its conclusion is so surreal.

6. Do you find inspiration for your stories in your day-to-day life? If you have a conversation with
someone or see a situation, do you ever think, "Oh, that would fit great into my story"

Oh, definitely. It was more so for my Tomorrow's Edge series than Quest of Fire. In Quest of Fire I try
to capture some normal moments or a facsimile of them in the stories to ground them some. The
more fantastical a setting and plot is the more the reader needs some moments that remind us of the
real world and day-to-day life. So, there;s a dinner date scene of sorts in Resurgence of Dawn and a
scene where a character goes through a marketplace low key looking for a gift for another character.
In Tomorrow's Edge, which is a near future dystopian story, everything was fair game in that series,
from mall trips to ordering fast food to a hospital stay. All with a slight futuristic twist. The first book
in that series is probably the best example of me pulling real life into fiction, because the opening
scene and the entire premise for the series came from me standing alone on the steps to the English
hall at my undergrad university and looking across the campus in the rain at the library in the
distance. That moment and the motifs it inspired and questions of what would happen to that library
if all the books were digital only all came together to launch that series for me.

About the Author

Brett Armstrong

Brett Armstrong has been exploring other worlds as a writer since age nine. Years later, he still writes, but now invites others along on his excursions. He’s shown readers haunting, deep historical fiction (Destitutio Quod Remissio), scary-real dystopian sci-fi (Tomorrow's Edge), and dark, sweeping epic fantasy (Quest of Fire). Every story is a journey of discovery and an attempt to be a brush in the Master Artist’s hand. Through dark, despair, light, joy, and everything in between, the end is always meant to leave his fellow literary explorers with wonder and hope. Always busy with a new story, he also enjoys drawing, gardening, and spending time with his wife and son.

Connect with Brett at brettarmstrong.net to follow him on social media and sign up for email updates.


Tour Giveaway

(2) winners will each win a $25 Amazon gift card, a print copy of Resurgence of Dawn, and a digital poster of the Lowlands!

Resurgence of Dawn JustRead Tours blog giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight June 24, 2024 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on July 1, 2024. Winners 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 JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway


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

JustRead Publicity Tours

Monday, June 17, 2024

Coal Black Lies By Cindy K. Sproles + GIVE AWAY

Coal Black Lies JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Coal Black Lies by Cindy K. Sproles, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! Cindy has become one of my favorite authors in the past couple of years. I feel like she's one of those authors more of us need to be talking about. Check out the excerpt from the story below and enter the giveaway!

About the Book

Coal Black Lies

Title: Coal Black Lies
Author:
Cindy K. Sproles
Publisher:
Kregel Publications
Release Date:
June 18, 2024
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Believing the bitter lies you tell yourself leaves little room for the sweetness of truth 

Coal miner Joshua Morgan managed to do the impossible--he broke away from the stranglehold of the iron-fisted Barton family and the Company Store, to whom all the miners in the Appalachian Mountains are indebted. But it cost him the life of his young daughter, who was run down by a posse led by Thomas Barton while coming to collect Joshua's payment to the store. 

Five years later, a sweet but slow-witted young girl lands on his doorstep, and Joshua's desire to protect her from the clutches of the Bartons increases his thirst for vengeance. Joshua sets out to discover where the girl came from in order to take down the Barton family once and for all. 

His journey leads him to the truth about the day his daughter died, a reality he finds hard to accept. But when confronted by Thomas Barton himself, Joshua is forced to rethink the dark lies brewing in his heart. If he broke away, could Thomas have also? Despite his misgivings, can Joshua join forces with a man he once despised to free the miners from the tyrannical Barton family and forge a future of peace for both the young girl and himself?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Bookshop

Also Available

 


Book Excerpt

The music left Raney’s soul when Anna died, and her mouth grew parched and tight. She rarely spoke unless she had to, and she’d smile from time to time. But when she turned away, the smile left and her face returned to pinched and painful. Raney never recovered, and I could never give her another child—the one thing she lived to have. 

I wanted my life back. I wanted my wife back, and I wanted my daughter. If a body could have a wish, I’d wish that day away. 

All me and Raney had done was bury the pain. Instead of us grieving together, we hid the pain deep to protect each other. It was senseless because we still wallowed in the sadness—only alone. When you suffer alone, things fall apart. You draw away from one another, and that’s what we’d done. We’d grown apart instead of looking to each other for comfort. 

I slid the coin between my fingers. The longer I held it in my hand, the more determined I was to make a change. 

“It ends today, Anna. I’m gonna do my best to let this guilt go.”

About the Author

Cindy Sproles

Cindy K. Sproles is the author of devotions published in newspapers across the country and a teacher at Christian writers conferences. She spent her formative years showing off her beloved Appalachian Mountains to others, and she and her family still live in the mountains of East Tennessee.

Connect with Cindy at cindysproles.com to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.


Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will win a print copy of Coal Black Lies plus book-related swag!

Coal Black Lies JustRead Tours blog giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight June 17, 2024 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on June 24, 2024. 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 JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway


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

JustRead Publicity Tours

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Love For A Lifetime By Mandi Blake

Love for a Lifetime
by Mandi Blake
Publisher: Independent
Series: Love in Blackwater
ISBN: 978-1953372505

It was incredibly easy and quick to become a fan of Mandi Blake's writing. If I want a story that's filled with romance, I'm definitely turning to her stories! They're ones that will give you butterflies for the characters and get your heart racing as they start to fall in love! I want to thank Mandi for sending me a copy of her book for review.

Summary:

They’ll always be friends, but they can never be more. 

Dawson Keller has held a torch for his best friend’s little sister for as long as he can remember. He might be a flirt, but his heart will always belong to Olivia.

Olivia Lawrence lives to serve others and work on the family farm. Helping people and tending animals keep her mind off the one thing she wants but can’t have—a family.

Her brother’s best friend might joke that they’re meant to be, but he doesn’t know how little she has to offer a husband. Especially a man like Dawson who loves kids and makes everyone laugh.

On top of that, Olivia’s best friend is head over heels for Dawson, and hurting her friend is out of the question.

Dawson keeps showing up to save her at all the wrong times. From a disastrous wedding date to an unfortunate camping incident, Dawson is always there when Olivia needs him.

When Dawson finds out her secret, and her friend feels betrayed, Olivia is at risk of losing them both.

If you loved the Blackwater Ranch series and the Wolf Creek Ranch series, get ready to fall in love all over again in Blackwater, Wyoming.


My Review:

Where are all my lovers of romance? You will want to put Love for a Lifetime at the top of your tbr list!

We meet Dawson in Love in the Storm (book one) and he was a fun character. To see him as the main character in this one was fantastic! He can charm the socks off of anyone... except it seems his best friend's sister, Olivia. Olivia on the other hand has had heart eyes for Dawson for as long as she can remember. I just love these storylines where they go from lifelong friends to more! Of course there's more. Who are we kidding?

Dawson is the police officer we all want to be pulled over by. He's kind and caring which makes him the perfect match for Nurse Olivia. I appreciated how the author tackled the difficult topic of Liv's secret. Very well done! How the two of them were able to keep their feelings for each other secret was beyond me! HA! I suppose when you're bff's with someone, it can be difficult to see that the other one might want more. But as they warm up to the idea of the possibility of "Dalivia" (what could be their couple name) the secrets come to the surface! Their romance though... don't go into this story without having a fan around so you don't swoon! I will admit that I got a bit twitchy with how often he called her "my queen." hahaha I'm not a "nickname" kind of gal, but I do love romantic fellas like Dawson.

I thought it was fun for them to have their wildly popular social channel. I mean, who doesn't want to watch a super cute guy with goats and a beautiful woman with chickens? It makes sense for contemporary fiction to include these relevant topics.

And who doesn't like revisiting a town that has familiar friends? That's what you get when you head back to Blackwater. It's the kind of town where people feel known and protected. I would say that it's important to read the previous story (goodness, the previous Blackwater Ranch series for the full emersion into the town)!

We can't forget about the incredibly strong thread of faith throughout the story! The prayers that are said, the imploring of the Lord, reminders of trusting Him, etc are everywhere and it's perfect! You want a faith-filled story, here it is in spades. Just the way I like them.

I'm very interested in the next story. Got ourselves a "bad" guy who has GOT to have a good redemptive arc, right? I would love a story for Anna, Olivia's best friend. I'm sure there are others that "need" their own story, too. The way the author writes these little towns, she could have us all champing at the bit for one more story!

About the Author:

Mandi Blake was born and raised in Alabama where she lives with her husband and daughter, but her southern heart loves to travel. Reading has been her favorite hobby for as long as she can remember, but writing is her passion. She loves a good happily ever after in her sweet Christian romance books and loves to see her characters' relationships grow closer to God and each other.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

JustRead Rendezvous + GIVE AWAY!!

RDV '24 JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for JustRead Rendezvous 2024, hosted, sponsored, and organized by JustRead Publicity Tours! I'm so excited to head to this author/reader event, especially since The Christy Awards are in person this year and we'll be able to hobnob with the cool kids aka authors (separate tickets required).

You are Invited

JustRead Rendezvous
November 15, 2024

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel & Conference Center Chicago-Downers Grove

Join fellow readers and authors at the JustRead Rendezvous to celebrate Christian fiction and sweet reads. This event, modeled after the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat, aims to sweeten reading and storytelling experiences with fellowship and encouragement. Activities will include corporate worship, speaker sessions, author panels, small group discussions, games, giveaways, a pop-up book shop, and author signings. 

Baker Publishing Group fiction imprints (Bethany House and Revell), Enclave Publishing, and Kregel Publications have joined JustRead Publicity Tours as event sponsors.

Learn more about the 2024 JustRead Rendezvous


Participating Authors

JustRead Rendezvous 2024 first 27 participating authors

first row: Amanda Barratt, Amanda Cox, Amanda Dykes, Angela Ruth Strong, Becky Wade, Elizabeth Goddard, Elizabeth Musser, Emily Conrad, Gabrielle Meyer. second row: Janilise Lloyd, Kate Breslin, Katie Powner, Kimberley Woodhouse, Kristi Ann Hunter, Laura Frantz, Linda MacKillop, Lisa Phillips, Lynn Austin. third row: Mesu Andrews, Nancy Mehl, Nicole Deese, Robin W. Pearson, Ronie Kendig, Sara Brunsvold, Sara Davison, Sara Ella, Sara Watterson

Keynote speakers include Amanda Dykes, Becky Wade, and Ronie Kendig. Kimberley Woodhouse and Lisa Phillips will lead worship. More authors will be added to the event as reader registration increases!  

Check out recent releases by participating authors in the JustRead Amazon Storefront.


Register

The registration fee (including a book tote, lunch, afternoon snack, and more) is $124 for readers. We’re nearing the reader registration mark to add more best-selling, debut, and indie authors to the 2024 event. Tell your friends and register today to pave the way by August 1! 

Subscribe to email updates and learn more about each author on the JustRead Rendezvous website. Connect with other attendees and hopefuls in the Rendezvous Roomies & Logistics ’24 private Facebook group to arrange shared experiences or cost-sharing opportunities

Register Now

P.S. Join us on Thursday at the same location for the Art of Writing conference and The Christy Award Winners Gala. The Christy Award honors and promotes excellence in Christian fiction and is a program of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Visit christyawards.com for more information and registration.

Giveaway

(1) winner will receive one paid registration to JustRead Rendezvous 2024 courtesy of '23 Rendezvous author Tamara Leigh
(1) winner will receive a canvas tote bag, an A6 journal notebook with a ballpoint pen, a 12 oz enamel mug, a scented candle, and a reading blanket
(5) winners will receive a $10 egift card (Baker Book House, Christianbook, or Amazon)

JustRead Rendezvous 2024 Blog Tour Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight June 4, 2024 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on June 11, 2024. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only for physical prizes. 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

Friday, May 31, 2024

Chain Of Mercy By Brenda S. Anderson + GIVE AWAY

Chain of Mercy JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Chain of Mercy by Brenda S. Anderson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! Be sure to check out my fun guest post below from Brenda!

About the Book

Chain of Mercy

Title: Chain of Mercy
Series:
Coming Home
Author:
Brenda Anderson
Publisher:
Independently published through The Mosaic Collection (2nd ed.)
Release Date:
April 22, 2014 (1st ed.)
Genre:
Contemporary Romance (Christian)

A devastating argument
One reckless decision

An unforgivable sin
 

Successful Manhattan businessman Richard Brooks is living the dream, drunk with success and all its trappings, until one reckless decision turns his dream life into a living nightmare. 

Richard flees to Minneapolis where he repairs ancient boilers instead of solving corporate problems, and he's determined to live the solitary life he now deserves. 

Executive Sheila Peterson has other plans for the handsome custodian. Richard appears to be the perfect match for the no-strings-attached romance she's after, but she soon discovers that he's hiding more than the designer clothes in his closet. 

Richard can't deny the allure of a relationship with Sheila. The closer they get, though, the greater the risk that she will discover not only who he used to be but also the unforgivable sin he committed that reckless night. 

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

Guest Post:

What do you like best about starting a new series? Do you like getting to know the characters as they're fleshed out as you write, making a new "world" come to life from your imagination, watching as the story in your mind comes to life on the page, or...?

Personally, I appreciate Christian fiction that tackles the grittier side of life. How do you determine the level of "grit" you use in a story and what that topic will be?

I’m always glad to meet readers who appreciate stories with some “grit” in them. Personally, that’s what I love to read, and when I put my fingers to the keyboard, that’s what comes out. I prefer stories that deal with real life, and that have imperfect, relatable characters. Think Nancy Drew vs. Trixie Belden. Even when I was young, I preferred Trixie over Nancy because Nancy was too perfect, and I couldn’t relate to her whereas Trixie was always messing up.

As for determining which lines to cross, that varies with each book.

In Chain of Mercy, a story that includes abortion, you have to allude to sex. One character is a prodigal and another never believed, so that determines the author’s first step. Those characters aren’t going to believe or behave as Christians would. Another book of mine, A Beautiful Mess, is about a couple who divorced after he had an affair. As far as what to include, I never go behind closed doors, but I will not ignore that something is going on behind that door.

The topics I choose often come from the news. I’ll hear a news story and wonder, what happened afterward? Or what made those people act that way? And I’ll have to “finish” their story from my perspective and ask God to show me the heart that He sees, often in very broken people.

Years ago, I’d watched an interview with a woman who’d fought for years for her husband’s release from prison, and she finally won that battle. The interviewer asked how they were doing now, and she replied that they were divorced. My first thought was, you loved him enough to fight hard for him but couldn’t stay married?

Well, that story needed to be explored, which meant including scenes inside a prison. I couldn’t have prisoners speak on the page as they would in real life, so I had to come up with creative ways to allude to the course language without putting it in print. Sometimes it was as simple as “he cursed” and other times it might be something like, “the language that poured from his mouth was worse than the water in a cesspool.” It shows reality without sharing every detail.

In a way, the allusion creates an illusion for the readers. The story is still gritty, it still deals with real life situations, without having to create an exact replica of the scene.

Thank you for hosting me!


About the Author

Brenda S. Anderson

Brenda S. Anderson writes authentic and gritty life-affirming fiction that shows God at work in people’s messy lives. She enjoys live sports and theater, walking along the shores of Lake Superior, and sharing hot cocoa with friends and family. She lives near Minneapolis with her newly retired husband and their mischievous twin kitties.

Connect with Brenda at brendaandersonbooks.com to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.


Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will win a book box which includes a paperback copy of Chain of Mercy and locally crafted, book-related items like a Booktrovert glass tumbler, bath balls, a bookish tote, bookmarks, and much more!

Chain of Mercy JustRead Tours blog giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight May 28, 2024 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on June 4, 2024. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only for book box. Winner outside the US will receive a $30 Amazon gift card and ebook. 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

Thursday, May 30, 2024

For A Lifetime By Gabrielle Meyer

For a Lifetime
by Gabrielle Meyer
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: Timeless
ISBN: 9780764239762

Oh, this series! It has captured me completely. If you love unique stories that transport you to another place and time, do NOT miss any of these! As part of her launch team, Gabrielle Meyer sent me a copy of her book for review.

Summary:

Grace and Hope are identical twin sisters born with the ability to time-cross together between 1692 Salem, Massachusetts, and 1912 New York City. As their twenty-fifth birthday approaches, they will have to choose one life to keep and one to leave behind forever--no matter the cost.

In 1692, they live and work in their father's tavern, where they must watch helplessly as the witch trials unfold in their village, threatening everyone. With the help of a handsome childhood friend, they search for the truth behind their mother's mysterious death, risking everything to expose a secret that could save their lives--or be their undoing.

In 1912, Hope dreams of becoming one of the first female pilots in America, and Grace works as an investigative journalist, uncovering corruption and injustice. After their parents' orphanage is threatened by an adversary, they enter a contest to complete a perilous cross-country flight under the guidance of a daring French aviator.

The sisters have already decided which timeline they will choose, but an unthinkable tragedy complicates the future they planned for themselves. As their birthday looms, how will they determine the lives--and loves--that are best for both of them?

My Review:

How do you put into words a book that simultaneously wrecked you and made your heart happy? Where to even begin...

The author has done it again. She's pulled me in and beguiled me with her incredible story writing and characters who easily worked their way into my heart. This time we have twin time travelers. HOW is she going to pull this off do you ask? Oh, she does and she does it marvelously. For a Lifetime was more than I could've hoped for!

Hope and Grace do seem different on the surface level. Grace is the typical oldest sibling. She's responsible, thoughtful, selfless, and kind. Hope is feisty, hard-headed, challenging, and gruff. But, both women are passionate about what's important to them, put fear behind them when something needs doing, and loves the other one more deeply than we can ever imagine.

With this set during the Salem witch trials, it's definitely a nail biter! People are being accused of witchcraft left and right. Their father isn't interested in protecting the girls. He isn't interested in them period aside from how they can serve him. Let's just say I have a few choice words for this man, as well as many others in this village. Thank goodness their parents during 1912 are much more pleasant!

In the other timeline they live in, the world is changing so rapidly. Hope is fearless in wanting to be the first woman pilot to set records and help her family. Grace's journalism puts her family in a rough spot so both girls do what they can to help raise the money they need. Hope will do it by attempting flights that have never been done by a woman. Grace will do her part with writing exclusive articles. To say both ladies have their own challenges would be putting it mildly.

There's more to unravel throughout the story than I can possibly mention here, but everything the twins encounter in the months leading up to their 25th birthday, when they must choose which time to live in, you'll have felt like you've lived a lifetime with them.

I had moments where my heart soared with joy. Then there were the times when I was yelling, "NOOOOOOO!" at my book. My heart and mind went through the wringer in the two days it took to read it. I'll admit to being surprised at the tears that flowed at one point in the story as well. I'm telling you, the story captivated me!

Of course, the thread of faith throughout the story is a strong one. I thought it was so interesting comparing the Quakers to the Puritans. What a scary time to live in, but understandable why people like Hope didn't know what or how to believe in God. I appreciated how the author handled it for both women.

About the Author:

Gabrielle Meyer (GabrielleMeyer.com) is an ECPA bestselling author. She has worked for state and local historical societies and loves writing fiction inspired by real people, places, and events. She currently resides along the banks of the Mississippi River in central Minnesota with her husband and four children. By day, she's a busy homeschool mom, and by night she pens fiction and nonfiction filled with hope.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Song Of Sourwood Mountain By Ann H. Gabhart

the Song of Sourwood Mountain
by Ann H. Gabhart
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 9780800741730

I'm such a huge fan of Ann H. Gabhart's writing. She gives the reader such a vivid sense of the hills of Kentucky in her stories. I couldn't wait to read her newest release, The Song of Sourwood Mountain. Revell sent me a copy for review.

Summary:

The doors she thought were closed forever are starting to open up . . . just a crack

Though the century began with such promise, it is 1910 when Mira Dean's hopes of being a wife and mother are dashed to pieces. Her fiancé dead from tuberculosis, Mira resigns herself to being a spinster schoolteacher--until Gordon Covington shows up.
 
No longer the boy she knew from school, Gordon is now a preacher who is full of surprises. First, he asks Mira to come to Sourwood in Eastern Kentucky to teach at his mission school. Second, he asks her to marry him. Just like that.
 
With much trepidation, Mira steps out in faith into a life she never imagined, in a place filled with its own special challenges, to serve a people who just might end up becoming the family she always yearned for.

My Review:

One of the many things I love about this author's stories is that they're about so much more than just the main characters. Usually it's just about as much of whole town or group of people included in the story. That definitely goes for The Song of Sourwood Mountain. On top of that, her stories always make me feel like I've just sat at the feet of a southern grandmama telling a tale.

The story started out so funny with Gordon asking Mira to marry him. Reading the exchange between the two was funny and sad. Poor Gordon, so awkward with his request and Mira dumbfounded by it just as much. But God...

As we know, we make our plans, but God knows our beginning through our end. Things won't always go as expected, which Mira (and in turn Gordon) found out. Talk about doors being closed when you think you're supposed to walk through them.

I was surprised at how little time the story covered because how well it was written, I felt like I'd really gotten to know Mira and Gordon. I absolutely adored getting to know Ada June, a girl without a mama or a family to call her own, but she has family in the way of Bo, her faithful companion. Do you ever get emotional with stories? I can tell you, I unexpectedly cried twice while I was reading!

The author is SO gifted in writing stories about the people in the hills (and hollers) of Kentucky. She sets a stage that gives me the sense of being there. And she seems to do it so effortlessly. The "ways" of the people come across exactly as I would've imagined them in this time period. It was incredibly believable. Life is hard, but their way of life is so well known to them. They have to rely on each other and that's evidenced throughout the story whether it's taking care of the preacher and his new wife, Ada June, or Elsinore.

I wish I could start the book all over again with new eyes because I loved the story so much I want to experience it a second time like it was the first. I have a feeling Mira and Ada June will stay on my mind and in my heart for a long while.

About the Author:

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of many novels, including In the Shadow of the RiverWhen the Meadow Blooms, Along a Storied TrailAn Appalachian SummerRiver to RedemptionThese Healing Hills, and Angel Sister. She and her husband live on a farm a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Ann enjoys discovering the everyday wonders of nature while hiking in her farm's fields and woods with her grandchildren and her dogs, Frankie and Marley. Learn more at AnnHGabhart.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.