Saturday, September 24, 2016

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White


Click here to purchase your own copy.

About the Book
Click to purchase.


Amid the Unforgettable Cotswolds, the Final Grasp for the Fire Eyes Diamonds Could Threaten Them All

Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile–even if it’s just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well how the dangerous Fire Eyes diamonds have haunted her brother and their friends, and she won’t wait for it to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better.


Lord James Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he’s determined to live a better life . . . but that proves complicated when old acquaintances pull Cayton into their desperate attempt to seize the jewels. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won’t budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her–and his daughter–from those intent to destroy them all?

My Review:

A Lady Unrivaled is the third in The Ladies of the Manor series and this tells the story of Ella, Bryce’s little sister, and James Cayton the cousin to the Stafford’s.  After the exciting conclusion of the previous book, Lady Ella decides to give her brother and his new bride a bit of space and so decides to stay with her dear friend Brook and her husband Justin Stafford.  She did not however intend on running into James Cayton, Justin’s cousin, and liking him quite a bit.  This is an Ella who is tired of being treated as a child and has decided to help everyone out by finding out why the Fire Eyes diamonds are so dangerous and how to put an end to all of the madness. 

We are reacquainted with characters from previous books and the story of the diamonds goes much deeper in this final installment with a bit of myth and lore along with the history behind them.  This story is mainly about Lady Ella and Cayton, however the secondary characters play a very large role as well, and the author gave all the characters such unique voices that moves the story to a climax that has been building since the very first book.

I liked that Ella finally had her say in this story and steps out from her brother’s shadow.  I liked that Cayton, a character that was a bit shady previously is seen in a different light, and that the message of how we change in Christ was so neatly woven into the story so as not to be preachy.  This whole series is romantic, adventurous, filled with action, curses; I would even say a bit gothic in nature, and not to be missed.

I received a copy for an honest review through Celebrate Lit and the opinions are my own.

About the Author

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to Edwardian British romances. She makes her home in the breathtaking mountains of West Virginia. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Guest Post from Roseanna White

So Very Ella

Back in 2008, I went to my first writers conference, where I met my current best friend and critique partner. I’d been pitching the first book in a series I was rewriting from my childhood, so this was the first project of mine our newly formed critique group did together. Specifically, the third book in the series, which I was then calling Diamond Blaze.

It was about a girl very much like me. Optimistic in the extreme. Always looking for a reason to smile. Her name was Lady Ella Myerston, and though she was the heroine in the third novel in a series—friend to heroine from book 1 and sister of hero in book 2—Ella stood on her own. Or I hoped she did. You see, it’s not very often I try to write a character so much like me, and I wasn’t sure what my new critique partners would think.

I was delighted and relieved when my critters, as I call them, loved her—it felt a little like them loving me. 😉 With Stephanie, that BFF/critique partner, Ella became part of our language. “That’s so Ella” meant “that’s so hopefully and optimistic.” It’s a phrase we used for years, long after that series got shelved and we focused on other projects.

When I finally sold a rewrite of the first book to Bethany House and The Lost Heiress released last September, I was so excited to get to breathe new life into the other books in the series as well. I gave some new twists and turns to Brice’s and Rowena’s story in The Reluctant Duchess, took it to new depths, but it was still largely the story I’d first written seven years before.

Ella’s story, though . . . we eventually settled on the title A Lady Unrivaled, but it was the hardest one in the series for us to name. And writing! Ella’s story didn’t work anymore as I’d had it. I had to toss out the entire thing and start fresh, with a new premise and new plot. But Ella—Ella had to remain Ella. I learned more about her as I rewrote the series, of course, and I added a few things not like me, naturally. But Ella still seeks a reason to smile, always. She still believes in hope, in every situation. And her knack for misplacing things—herself included—might be borrowed (and exaggerated) from my remarkable ability to lose things that I sat down right there two minutes ago.

Ella got new adventures, new goals, new excitement in her life—but she’s still the Ella I got to know all those years ago. And her hero, Cayton, is still the sometimes surly, too-realistic, very different-from-Ella man he has to be to counteract her.

My editor, in her notes to me, said, “Cayton and Ella are so very different. In a way, you wonder how they’ll make it work. And yet you can’t help think they will, and want them to.”

The love story in this book is partly mine, too. Because though on the surface my husband isn’t much like Cayton, in the ways that matters, he is. He’s my opposite, but my perfect complement. He doesn’t always see the bright side I cling to, but he’d never ask me not to cling on anyway. We view the world very differently—and can face it because we’re together.

I love all my books, all my characters. But A Lady Unrivaled . . . well, it’s just so very Ella. I hope you love it just a fraction as much as I do!

Blog Stops

September 22: 100 pages per hour
September 22: Smiling Book Reviews
September 23: Book by Book
September 23: Bibliophile Reviews
September 24: bigreadersite
September 24: Jeanette’s Thoughts
September 25: The Power of Words
September 25: Pause for Tales
September 26: Faithfully Bookish
September 27: Back Porch Reads
September 28: cherylbbookblog
September 28: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
September 29: Blossoms and Blessings
September 29: Heidi Reads…
September 30: The Scribbler
September 30: Karen’s Krayons
October 3: Colonial Quills

Giveaway

I’m giving away a complete set of the Ladies of the Manor Series PLUS a special surprise straight from England! (US addresses only for paperbacks; an international winner is eligible for digital gifts, though!)

Review: Catching Heat by Janice Cantore

Click to purchase.

Catching Heat wraps up the Cold Case Justice series by Janice Cantore and what a wild ride it was.  After the second book I was not sure I liked how some of the story threads were shaping up.  But author Cantore did not let me down and Luke Murphy and Abby Hart along with Woody were back as a team.  Abby is still working to bring to justice her parent’s killers while Luke is encouraging her to let her past go for a little while.  This obviously causes some tension between the two who are still trying to deal with their feelings for each other.  The whole cold case team is given not one but two cases to work on and everything seems unrelated but the author has spun such a web that catches all kinds of creeps while keeping me on the edge of my seat to see how the whole story will wrap up and if everyone makes it out alive.

I have really liked this first series I have read by Janice Cantore.  What I enjoyed the most is that the main story thread kept the two main characters in a tightly knit bond and getting to watch them grow closer together as they worked on all the other side cases together.  The middle book gave me pause and had me worried a little bit, but the third picked up, was very intense, and wrapped up the whole series just right.  These books storylines and writing rivaled some of the best police drama on TV.  I wouldn’t mind reading about more in the Cold Case Justice files.


My thanks go to Tyndale House Publishing for providing me a copy for an honest review.  The opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Review: Bossy Flossy by Paulette Bogan


About:

Flossy is the bossiest girl around. She's bossy at home and she's bossy in school. She's bossy to her friends and she's bossy to her cat. Sometimes she's even bossy to her teacher! Flossy doesn't understand why no one will listen to her. One day, Flossy meets Edward, a boy who may be just as bossy as she is. Has Flossy finally met her match?


Buy the Book:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, Chapters Indigo

My Review:

Bossy Flossy is a very cute, colorful children’s book about a little girl named Flossy, who as the title suggests is very bossy.  Her bossy attitude does not make her fun to play with or be around and a couple of times she is bossy to her mom and teacher, and those times she gets in really big trouble.  Then one day she meets her match, a bossy little boy by the name of Edward.  Now Flossy is the one getting bossed around.  This is a fun read with an important lesson that my six year old son enjoyed and he found it rather humorous too.  I really like how the author turned around the whole situation in the end.

I recommend Bossy Flossy to moms, teachers, and grandparents of little ones to read to and show them in a simple story that teaches a very important lesson as to why you should not always get your own way.  The illustrations are colorful and lively and look like they could just pop right off the page.  They actually put in me in the mind of the art style of Charlie and Lola.  With all of the children’s books out there, this one really stands out.


I received a copy for an honest review through iRead Book Tours and the opinions are my own.


Author's Bio:


Paulette Bogan admits she was bossy as a child. She is the author and illustrator ofVirgil & Owen, which was chosen as one of Bank Street Best Children's books of the Year 2016, Virgil & Owen Stick Together, which won a Mom's Choice Award Gold Medal for Picture Books, and Lulu The Big Little Chick, which won a Children's Choice Book Award. She lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and two dogs. They ALL think she is STILL bossy. But they've never told her to go to her room!

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Monday, September 19, 2016

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck


To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book
Click to purchase



Two women separated by decades. Both set out to help others find their dreams when their own have crumbled.

It’s the early 1930s, but Cora Scott is walking in stride as a career woman after having inherited her great aunt’s wedding shop in Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, where brides come from as far away as Birmingham to experience her famed bridal treatment. Meanwhile, Cora is counting down the days until her own true love returns from the river to make her his bride. But days turn into months and months to years. All the while, Birch Good continues to woo Cora and try to show her that while he is solid and dependable, he can sweep her off her feet.

More than eighty years later, former Air Force Captain Haley Morgan has returned home to Heart’s Bend after finishing her commitment to military service. After the devastating death of her best friend, Tammy, and discovering the truth about the man she loved, Haley is searching for her place in life.

When Haley decides to reopen the romantic but abandoned wedding shop where she and Tammy played and dreamed as children, she begins a journey of courage, mystery, and love.

As Cora’s and Haley’s stories intertwine through time in the shadow of the beloved wedding shop, they both discover the power of their own dreams and the magic of everyday love.

My Review:

The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck was a beautiful, moving story that had my heart wrung out.  This story follows two different timelines, one in the present and the other during the Great Depression, about the same wedding shop in the same town.  Told from the perspective of four people we are treated to a well-rounded story getting the big picture through all the characters.  This is a story of family, love, and forgiveness.  I really enjoyed how the author brought both timelines to a beautiful meeting place that I did not see coming.

I enjoyed both timelines and liked that both were told interspersed throughout and we were not left hanging for too long in either.  I cringed and grew impatient with Cora, (older timeline), and her naivety which led her to trust the wrong man.  But, I also enjoyed her faith that was so pure and simple in the belief of true love that she could not, would not be moved until she had to finally acknowledge the truth.   There were a few moments in this book that I felt that my heart was being squeezed and along with Cora I was brokenhearted.  These were intense scenes and one really had me about done in.

In regards to Haley, I really liked how the author presented the gospel in relation with the white wedding dresses.  That was a beautiful description and the royalty of the wedding service was as well.

The men, Birch and Cole were heroes that had great, strong hearts that were also wounded.

There is happiness in this book, but also sadness that has touched the lives of generations.  Overall, this is a story I will reread again, recommend, and ponder over the truths within.


I received a copy of this book for an honest review through Celebrate Lit and the opinions are my own.

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is a USA Today Bestselling author. Her book, The Wedding Dress, was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Her book Once Upon A Prince was a Christy Award finalist.

Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and two pets and writes from her ivory tower. Visit her online at rachelhauck.com, Facebook: rachelhauck, and Twitter: @RachelHauck

Guest Post from Rachel Hauck

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to share The Wedding Shop with you. This book is one of my favorites.

While all books are my “babies,” this one found a special place in my heart.

This standalone novel is part of the Wedding Collection – The Wedding Dress and The Wedding Chapel – and it came to life when I discovered the story of Cora Scott, a 1930s wedding shop owner.

At 30, she’s an old maid, but the best “bride’s maid” in fictional Heart’s Bend, Tennessee. But she’s in love with a charismatic, charming river boat captain.

The contemporary heroine, Haley Morgan, is a retired Air Force captain returning to Heart’s Bend to restart her life. She’s recovering from a broken heart. The handsome, dynamic, charming man she loved was nothing but trouble.

Returning home, Haley is set on keeping a childhood promise she made with her best friend—to open the old wedding shop.

The shop is legend in Heart’s Bend. Haley grew up with stories of Miss Cora and the shop, hearing the town’s mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers reminiscing about their “day in the shop,” walking down the grand staircase in their wedding gown.

But in 2016, the shop is dilapidated, neglected and in need of more money than Haley possesses.
While writing this story, I had to ask a lot of questions. Why reopen the old shop? Why not just open a new one?

Haley was a combat veteran, deployed to Afghanistan twice, why would she want to open a wedding shop?

I also investigate the meaning of the shop to the town? To Cora? To Haley?

As I developed the backstory for the characters, the shop and the town, Cora’s came to life. She fascinated me. I admired this fictional woman. She exuded ingenuity, courage, and deep, deep devotion.

On the other hand, Haley was a bit of a mystery but from the start, she saw value in something no one else did.

What if we all saw value in people or places others wanted to reject?

Isn’t that what Jesus does for us?

The heroes of the book, Birch and Cole, are just stellar guys. Princes among men. I love writing about slightly wounded but strong and tender men.

The theme of family and community populates the story. Also, how misconceptions and preconceived ideas often ruin relationships.

Booklist gave The Wedding Shop a Starred Review and called it, “Spellbinding.”

There’s a lot of fun drama in this book! I hope you enjoy spending time with Cora and Haley, the men they love and the shop they bring to life.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Connect with me at www.rachelhauck.com.

Blog Stops

September 13: A Holland Reads
September 14: Giveaway Lady
September 14: Daysong Reflections
September 15: Bibliophile Reviews
September 16: Bigreadersite
September 16: The Scribbler
September 17: Books,Dreams,Life
September 17: ASC Book Reviews
September 18: Book Babble
September 18: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
September 19: Pause for Tales
September 19: Book by Book
September 20: The Power of Words
September 20: Lighthouse Academy
September 21: Proverbial Reads
September 21: Splashes of Joy
September 22: Faithfully Bookish
September 23: Tell Tale Book Reviews
September 24: Quiet Quilter
September 25: For The Love of Books

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away her Wedding Collection Series! Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a366 



Friday, September 16, 2016

Review: God Bless Us Every One by Eva Marie Everson

About the book:


Charlene Dixon---called Charlie by family and friends---is devastated at the recent loss of her job. 

For the last five years, the twenty-seven-year-old has blossomed as the activities director of an exclusive all-girls school. But when a misunderstanding with the headmistress leads to a pink slip right before the holidays, Charlie packs up her dreams and returns to her grandmother, Sis, who raised Charlie as her own in the mountains of North Carolina.

When Charlie arrives---broken and confused---Sis immediately puts her granddaughter to work behind the scenes of the local school's Christmas play, A Christmas Carol. Charlie prickles at working with Dustin Kennedy, the drama teacher and her old crush from schooldays, but is even more put out at that the choice of the Dickens' classic for the holiday performance. When she discovers her estranged father's involvement her world turns on its head once more. But when Sis and Dustin encourage her to take a deeper look at the story behind A Christmas Carol, Charlie learns about trust, faith, and forgiveness and the needs of people in their own community.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2bUfaqD

My Review:

I really enjoyed Eva Marie Everson’s spin on A Christmas Carol.  This was not a retelling but a contemporary story that portrayed the very important truths Charles Dickens classic sought to voice.  Charlene Dixon, Charlie for short, has returned home to her grandmother’s house after losing her job.  It is Thanksgiving time and the town is in full holiday spirit.  Charlie runs into a couple of people she did not expect to, former crush Dustin, who is now a widower with a son, and her father whom she has not seen since she was a child and he was led away in handcuffs.  Charlie realizes that she has some ghosts from her past that needs to be dealt with so that she may live earnestly in her present and have hope for her future.

As Charlie works with Dusty on the school play A Christmas Carol, she is set upon a journey of what true forgiveness looks like.  I really enjoyed learning, along with Charlie, the history of why Charles Dickens wrote his famous Christmas story: he was trying to bring back the joy and the hope of the season after the Puritans had nearly snuffed it out and dealing with his own turbulent past with his father.  I look forward to re- watching the movie this holiday season with this new background information.  This is a heartwarming read for the coming up holidays with a little bit of romance and Christmas magic thrown in.

I received a copy for an honest review through Litfuse Publicity and the opinions are my own.

About the author: 

Eva Marie Everson is an award-winning speaker and author of The Road to Testament, Things Left Unspoken, This Fine Life, Chasing Sunsets, Waiting for Sunrise, Slow Moon Rising, and The Potluck Club series (with Linda Evans Shepherd). She is the president of Word Weavers International, Inc., a member of AWSA, ACFW, RWA, the director of Florida Christian Writer's Conference, and the contest director for Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer's Conference. She and her husband make their home in Casselberry, Florida.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Review and Giveaway: Candidate for Murder by Lauren Carr



It’s election time in Spencer, Maryland, and the race for mayor is not a pretty one. In recent years, the small resort town has become divided between the local year-round residents who have enjoyed their rural way of life and the city dwellers moving into their mansions, taking over the town council, and proceeding to turn Deep Creek Lake into a closed gate community—complete with a host of regulations for everything from speed limits to clothes lines.

When the political parties force-feed two unsavory mayoral nominees on the town residents, Police Chief David O’Callaghan decides to make a statement—by nominating Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s German shepherd, to run as mayor of Spencer!

What starts out as a joke turns into a disaster when overnight Gnarly becomes the front runner—at which point his political enemies take a page straight out of Politics 101. What do you do when you’re behind in a race? Dig up dirt on the front runner, of course.

Seemingly, someone is not content to rest with simply embarrassing the front runner by publicizing his dishonorable discharge from the United States Army, but to throw in a murder for good measure. With murder on the ballot, Mac Faraday and the gang—including old friends from past cases—dive in to clear Gnarly’s name, catch a killer, and save Spencer!


Buy the book:   Amazon

My Review


Candidate for Murder is another great addition to Lauren Carr’s already existing works.  Focusing on Gnarly the loveable, very smart German shepherd owned by Mac Faraday who is back home and into his usual antics like stealing other people’s food and just being a dog.  The town of Spencer is in its political season and the prospects for Mayor are slim pickings.  Running for mayor is the current mayor, Bill Clark and Nancy Braxton, wife of a famous NFL quarterback, and the hopeful for the first woman mayor of Spencer.   However, like real life, politics is a nasty thing to be a part of and to witness.  Police chief David O’Callaghan (Mac’s brother) has had enough of this vicious, horrible display of human beings; so he decides to put Gnarly on the ballot just to stir the pot.   Never in his wildest dreams did he realize what would come of that one fateful decision.

It seems the rest of the town of Spencer is also tired of the usual politics and Gnarly is like a breath of fresh air.  This election becomes so popular it captures the nation.  However, just because Gnarly is a dog doesn’t mean his opponents will go easy on him.  No, in fact they actually go looking into Gnarly’s past and are successful in finding skeletons in his closet.  What?!  Yep, now it is up to the gang to find out what happened that has Gnarly’s military record sealed from his service in Iraq.

There is a lot going on in this story from spies to murder old and new, nationwide and worldwide.  It was really nice to have Murphy and Jessica back for this adventure as well.  Lauren Carr expertly weaves this story so that everything adds another delightful layer to this suspense novel that even though danger abounds, still has lightheartedness to it.  I found this story- though fiction- mirrored a lot of what our country is going through currently.

This is an adult novel and there is some language sprinkled throughout.  Nothing explicit.

I received a copy for an honest review through iRead Book Tours and the opinions are my own.

Author's Bio:


Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The twelfth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series, Candidate for Murder will be released June 2016.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with Lauren: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook


Giveaway




Sunday, September 11, 2016

Review: A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton

The Path Finders Book Two



"But when Creator said he would make rough ways smooth, I believe He was not talking about moving us to an easy path.  He meant He was going to make our stride long enough, our legs strong enough, to carry us through.  And when we reach our limits, He puts us on His back and He carries us and shields our eyes and hearts from that which would destroy our souls.” Spoken by Clear Day on pg. 363 in A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton.

The Path Finders series by Lori Benton is an epic historical rich in the themes of forgiveness, sacrifice, and ultimate love.  In book one, The Wood’s Edge, we have two families forever intricately woven together by a deceitful, life altering decision made by one man on a night of extreme horror.  That first book takes us through nineteen years with two families whose decisions are bonded by vengeance, prejudice, and fear.  It is also a story of two fathers, one ruled by the vengeance and the other ruled by guilt and how this affects their loved ones. 


However, what happens when one decides to offer the forgiveness the other so desperately needs as Jesus calls us to do?  A Flight of Arrows, the second in the series, shows us just how that necessary yet difficult decision can change more lives than just the ones so close to the situation.

The Path Finders Book One
Years later, how can one man accept the stolen Oneida boy as his son yet not offer the same regard to the twin who holds his daughter’s heart just because his skin is darker?  This second book begins on the cusp of the Revolutionary War and the author takes us into the battlefields in a war that helped shape our nation into what it is today. I knew of the Native American Oneidas support that fought on the side of the Americans as they warred against the British for their independence, but I was unaware of how great a sacrifice they made.  

This two book series really needs to be read together to grasp the entire story the author wishes for us to understand.  These were my first reads by Lori Benton and I look forward to more of her talented writing.  Though I do hope she continues with these families in future works.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. The opinions are my own honest ones.

More about the author.

About Lori Benton

Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards, and The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn.