Saturday, February 4, 2023

My Thoughts on The Rose and the Thistle by Laura Frantz

 

About:

In 1715, Lady Blythe Hedley's father is declared an enemy of the British crown because of his Jacobite sympathies, forcing her to flee her home in northern England. Secreted to the tower of Wedderburn Castle in Scotland, Blythe quietly awaits the crowning of a new king. But in a house with seven sons and numerous servants, her presence soon becomes known.

No sooner has Everard Hume lost his father, Lord Wedderburn, than Lady Hedley arrives with her maid in tow. He has his own problems--a volatile brother with dangerous political leanings, an estate to manage, and a very young brother in need of comfort and direction. It would be best for everyone if he could send this misfit heiress on her way as soon as possible.

In this whirlwind of intrigue, ambitions, and shifting alliances, Blythe yearns for someone she can trust. But the same forces that draw her and Everard together also threaten to tear them apart.

My Thoughts:

During 1715, the Jacobite risings were of real concern to England and their new German king. Being caught on the wrong side could have you branded a traitor and not only losing all your land, but possibly your head too.

Lady Blythe Hedley has a father who has Jacobite leanings, and he has put a plan into place for her protection. She is sent to Scotland, to Wedderburn Castle. When she arrives, she is secreted away to the tower. She has come at a time of mourning for the new Lord Wedderburn, Everard. 

Everard has a lot on his shoulders especially taking the place of his late father as he is the oldest of his brothers. In fact, most of his brothers still live at home except for the one who is causing problems. He also wants to bring the estate up to date so it can be profitable for generations to come. He does not want to be responsible for Blythe. 

As their tenuous relationship develops under circumstances neither can control, both realize the qualities that each other possess. Their romance is a slow burning one, but one that shows the traits of true love. If only there was not a war brewing that threatens to tear them apart.

This is another epic historical romance by author Frantz that takes the reader from France, England, and to Scotland. It is not a story that I will soon forget as Everard shows his very romantic and sacrificial love for Blythe.

I was provided a copy of this novel by the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author:


Laura Frantz is a Christy Award winner and the ECPA bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including The Frontiersman's DaughterCourting Morrow Little, The Lacemaker, and A Heart Adrift. She is a proud mom of an American soldier and a career firefighter. A direct descendent of George Hume of Wedderburn Castle, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion, Laura lives with her husband in Washington State. Learn more at www.laurafrantz.net.

My Thoughts and More on Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Janice Thompson

 



About the Book


Book: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Author: Janice Thompson

Genre:Christian Fiction / Mystery / Romance

Release date: January 1, 2023

Inquisitive, detail-oriented, Veterinarian Kristin Keller prides herself on winning over any dog. But has this self-proclaimed dog whisperer finally met her match in a Sheltie named Remington who has just won the Texas state agility course competition? The champion pooch is acting out of sorts—almost as if he is not the same dog. Has he, by chance, been switched out with another dog just before the next big competition? Kristin and the other Lone Star employees will do anything to help the Atkinson family figure out this mystery surrounding their beloved Remington.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed being back with my favorite veterinarian team and all their employees. This one is Kristin's story; she's been working at the Lone Star Vet Clinic for about a year now. She is still in love with her boss Tyler, and she's pretty sure he is in love with her too. They just have not done anything about it yet.

What starts out as a normal day quickly becomes abnormal. Kristen becomes alarmed at the health of prize winning Shelty by the name of Remington. Remington's owners are equally dismayed and already have a lot on their plate, including a new baby on the way. What they don't understand is why Remington has changed so, even how he acts. Well, it just so happens that Remington is not Remington. Someone switched out dogs. Why and who? So now they have a sick dog and a missing dog.

Well, the whole team gets behind this. Along with this mystery there is a big wedding happening and Kristen and Tyler begin to get closer. And then there are her parents, whom she loves dearly, but they are a lot to take in. What will Tyler think?

I like this group of people. Their comradery and family like atmosphere are heartwarming. Their love of animals and their care for them is astounding and their mystery solving skills are not so bad either. I look forward to more of these fun down to earth mysteries.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author


Janice Thompson, who lives in the Houston area, writes romantic comedies, cozy mysteries, nonfiction devotionals, and musical comedies for the stage. She is the mother of four daughters and nine feisty grandchildren. When she’s not writing books or taking care of foster dogs you’ll find her in the kitchen, baking up specialty cakes and cookies.

 

More from Janice

Barking up the Tree is book three in the Gone to the Dog series. Kathleen Y’Barbo and I are writing six books, in total, and we’re very excited about this series. I happen to be in the dog rescue business. I’ve worked with multiple Houston-based dog rescues over the past five years and have been blessed to care for over fifty dogs in nearly every shape, size, and breed. I am always interested in dog-themed stories.

As a Texan I wanted to place this series in my neck of the woods. Kathleen and I settled on Brenham, Texas, a town not far from where we both live. It’s the home of Blue Bell ice cream (yum!) a favorite here in the Lone Star state. We created a large fictional cast of characters and placed them in a town we know and love.

Along with writing books I’m also a baker and run a baking blog (www.outoftheboxbaking.com). With that in mind I would love to share a recipe from the book. Enjoy!

Nanny’s Coconut Pecan Cake (aka Italian Cream Cake)

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 1 white cake mix
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut (flakes)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding (powder)

 

FOR THE FILLING/TOPPING:

  • Toasted coconut
  • Toasted chopped pecans

 

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 1 cup (two sticks) salted butter (softened)
  • 1 block cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 rectangle Crisco (can omit if you prefer traditional cream cheese frosting)
  • 1 bag (7-8 cups) powdered sugar
  • Clear vanilla extract

 

Instructions

MAKING THE CAKE:

  • Combine all ingredients except nuts and coconut. Mix well.
  • Work in the nuts and coconut.
  • Grease and flour three 9” pans.
  • Divide batter between the three pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (approximately) until cake springs back to the touch.

MAKING THE ICING:

  • Bring ingredients to room temperature.
  • Mix butter and cream cheese until soft and creamy.
  • Add Crisco and continue to beat until incorporated. (You can leave out the Crisco if you prefer traditional cream cheese frosting.)
  • Add extract and then lower the speed of your mixer to add powdered sugar (more or less to desired consistency).

 

FILLING AND ICING THE CAKE

  • Level all three cakes.
  • Put one cake on your cake board and add a layer of cream cheese frosting.
  • Pipe a ring around the edge of the cake and add some toasted pecans and coconut.
  • Continue to stack and fill.
  • Turn the top cake upside down, so that it’s bottom up.
  • Ice the cake with a crumb coat and chill.
  • Once chilled, ice liberally with frosting.
  • Add chopped (toasted) pecans and coconut to the sides and top then pipe trim or rosettes to add further décor.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 26

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 26

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 27

Remembrancy, January 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 28

For Him and My Family, January 28

Texas Book-aholic, January 29

deb’s Book Review, January 30

Mary Hake, January 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 31

Cover Lover Book Review, February 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 1

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 3

Pause for Tales, February 4

The Book Club Network, February 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 5

Blogging With Carol, February 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 7

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 7

Labor Not in Vain, February 8

Divine Perspective, February 8

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Janice is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/23cc8/barking-up-the-wrong-celebration-tour-giveaway


Friday, February 3, 2023

My Thoughts and More on The Master's Inn by Deb Gorman

 



About the Book


Book: The Master’s Inn

Author: Deb Gorman

Genre:Christian Fiction

Release date: October 15, 2022

A novel of human brokenness and God’s still-unfolding drama of redemption.

When two dysfunctional and wounded families wind up unexpectedly at the remote Master’s Inn during a December snowstorm, it’s up to owners Tom and Barb Masters to help—except they’re dealing with their own bitter issues. As the winter snowfall confines them, the three families find themselves coping with their crippled relationships and hard emotions . . . and sometimes tearing one another down in the process.

But when a secret is inadvertently revealed and a rebellious teenage girl takes off into the storm, chaos descends. Will they be tossed into more heartbreak, or will the crisis draw them together against a common enemy?

With a forest in Washington State as the backdrop, join the Masters’ at their B&B as they strive to show Christ’s love to all who cross their threshold . . . even when it threatens their own sanity and safety.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

In The Master's Inn we have a very honest look at human dilemmas and familial issues. We also have a look at when our plans do not play out as we would like them to, sometimes the alternative is more beneficial. But it takes us getting outside of our stinking thinking and looking for the blessings instead.

Tom and Barb Masters own a remote bread and breakfast that they have poured their lives in. Recently they were expecting their nephew and his family for a stay and to help them through some issues. However, the weather had other plans and they were not able to come. In their place were two other families whose plans had also changed, and both were in dire need help.

This was a story that dealt with some emotional drama as each family had lived through some heartbreaking times. All were dealing with broken hearts, anger, selfishness, you name it. Often, they were short with each other, strangers all of them. Until the storm forces them to help one another. None of this was any of their plans, but in time they saw that this was orchestrated by a God who truly loved them and knew the help they could be to each other. 

Some of these characters needed a good talking to or worse, especially a certain teenager. However, I think the author wanted to show what the brokenness in her family was doing to her. The others were in ways not much better at times. We should all take some moments to check our attitudes towards our loved ones and strangers in our words and actions. Good life lessons. 

I was provided a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author


Deb Gorman, owner of Debo Publishing, was born and reared in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She still lives in her hometown with her husband, Alan, and their very smart German Shepherd, Hoka.

Deb is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, cleverly disguised as a wife, mom, grandmom, and author.

Her purpose is to connect with God’s most beautiful and clever creation, the human family, using the literary talent and imagination God gave her.

Her prayer is that as she journeys together with you, we will discover encouragement and redemption in our most important relationships.

Connect with Deb at https://debggorman.com where you will find her blog posts and information about her books, both published and forthcoming.

 

More from Deb

One Sunday morning in 2012, I listened to our pastor give one of his excellent sermons.

I don’t remember what he said to spark this idea, but I grabbed my church bulletin and began scribbling furiously. By the time the service ended I had a rough outline, character sketches, and the opening scene written. And the title—The Master’s Inn. Some details, of course, changed over the years, but the title stayed the same.

The Master’s Inn was first birthed as a ninety minute play, which my church produced over one weekend in December of 2013. I wrote the play and directed it. I had an excellent cast of characters, plenty of folks lending a hand from technical details to the dinner we hosted for our guests. It was truly a team effort.

The Master’s Inn play was the first serious effort I’d ever made at writing. After it’s success, I began thinking about writing a book. Now, ten years later, I’ve written three creative non-fiction, devotional-style books and contributed to a Chicken Soup for the Soul volume.

During the process of publishing those first three books, the characters from The Master’s Inn pestered me day and night to put them in a novel. Who was I to argue?

And so, those characters got what they wanted. They are no longer confined to ninety minutes and one weekend of publicity. They’re now out there for the whole world to see.

The Master’s Inn is a novel of human brokenness and God’s still-unfolding drama of redemption . . .

When two dysfunctional and wounded families wind up unexpectedly at the remote Master’s Inn during a December snowstorm, it’s up to owners Tom and Barb Masters to help—except they’re dealing with their bitter issues. As the winter snowfall confines them, the three families find themselves coping with their crippled relationships and hard emotions . . . and sometimes tearing one another down in the process.

But when a secret is inadvertently revealed and a rebellious teenage girl takes off into the storm, chaos descends. Will they be tossed into more heartbreak, or will the crisis draw them together against a common enemy?

With a forest in Washington State as the backdrop, join the Masters at their B&B as they strive to show Christ’s love to all who cross their threshold—even when it threatens their own sanity and safety.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 27

Blogging With Carol, January 27

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 28

Bizwings Blog, January 29

Texas Book-aholic, January 30

deb’s Book Review, January 31

Cover Lover Book Review, February 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 3

Pause for Tales, February 4

Dee S. Writes, February 4

Spoken from the Heart, February 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 7

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 8 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, February 8

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 9

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Deb is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/23cca/the-master-s-inn-celebration-tour-giveaway


My Thoughts and More on Rescuing Rose by Susan Pope Sloan

 



About the Book


Book: Rescuing Rose

Author: Susan Pope Sloan

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: January 24, 2023

His army destroyed her livelihood. She represents the people he scorns. How can they reconcile their differences when the whole country is at war?

When the Union Army marches into Roswell, Georgia, and burns down the cotton mill where Rose Carrigan worked, not only is her livelihood destroyed but she’s also taken prisoner and shipped northward with the other workers. Only the unlikely kindness of one of her guards makes the trip bearable.

Union Captain Noah Griffin hates the part of his job that requires him to destroy the lives of innocent civilians, but at least he’s able to protect these women he’s been ordered to transport to Louisville, Kentucky. Especially the one whose quick wit and kindness draw him.

While they’re forced to wait in Marietta, two fugitives arrive to complicate matters between Rose and Noah. As Rose heads north and Noah returns to the battlefront, they each face fears and prejudices. With survival so tenuous, only faith can help them find love in the midst of so much tragedy.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Rose and her sister Celeste are a couple of young women, who at the beginning of this story, are just trying to survive. Working at the cotton mill in Roswell, Georgia with other women, older men, and children, all of their lives are turned upside down. The Union army has just marched in and burned their only source of income and livelihood such as it was. On top of that they are told that they are considered prisoners and will be sent by wagon and train up North.

There were, as humans will be humans, some unscrupulous men that took over the town as were some true gentlemen. One, Captain Noah Griffin, saves the two sisters from the start from these other men. However, Noah's continual run-ins with Rose makes him realize he has some grudging feelings for the southern belle who keeps getting under his skin and treats him with a bit of disdain. As their journey begins, Noah and Rose both together and apart, develop feelings for one another no matter how hard they try to ignore the attraction. Can these two from opposite sides of the war make a match?

Not only do we have the war going on and the new environments these women must now learn to deal with, but there is also a bit of a mystery going on. There are those who want to exact revenge on Noah in particular and will use whatever means to hurt him. As if these folks didn't have enough problems.

This was an interesting story to me as I did not really realize this happened during the Civil War. But in this case these women and more from other mills were thought as traders as they continued working for the mills that supplied the South. The women, in their defense, were only trying to put food on the table.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author

Born into a family of storytellers, Susan Pope Sloan published her first articles in high school and continued writing sporadically for decades. Retirement provided the time to focus on writing and indulge her avid interest in history. Her Civil War series begins (and ultimately ends) in her home state of Georgia with references to lesser-known events of that period. She and husband Ricky live near Columbus where she participates in Word Weavers, ACFW, and Toastmasters.

 

More from Susan

Rescuing Rose is the first book in the Rescued Hearts of the Civil War series. Years ago, I worked with a gentleman who was a Civil War reenactor. We had many conversations about the war and my writing aspirations. He told me two stories that stuck with me, one of which was the Roswell mill workers.

The bare-bones story is this: The Union army entered Roswell, Georgia, in July 1864. They ordered the workers out and burned the mills. Then they arrested the workers, who were mostly uneducated women, sent them to Marietta, and then put them on trains headed north.

Note that they were uneducated, unable to read or write, unskilled except in mill work. How were they to survive without means of supporting themselves and their families? If their husbands, sons, and fathers were away with one or the other army, how would they ever bring the women home again? 

Since my hometown has several cotton mills and my grandparents worked in those, I felt a connection to those women. Their story should be told! My research led me to a wonderful scholarly book, The Women Will Howl, which was published thirty years ago and contained ample information to get me started. It became my primary resource, but I also had the advantage of a robust Internet to find other sources.

To provide a main character who was educated, I came up with two daughters of a minister with poor health. The family moved from Dalton, Georgia in 1863 so the daughters could work in the mill and take care of their father. After the mills are destroyed, Rose and her sister (Celeste) decide to teach some of the children how to read and write so they can help their folks and be better prepared for the future. When they reach Louisville, she leads the effort in finding jobs so they can provide for those who’ve fallen ill. In this way, Rose “rescues” the families in her group.

The male protagonist is a Union officer who aids Rose and Celeste when they are accosted by a band of hostile soldiers. Noah assists them again and takes on the role of self-appointed guardian. Though he and Rose often rile each other, he is smitten and does whatever he can to help their group adjust to their new reality. Circumstances tear them apart, however, and both must face hidden fears and prejudices before the relationship can be restored. How will that be possible when the war has pushed them hundreds of miles apart?

 

What I learned from research and writing this book.

  • There were people loyal to the Union scattered all over the South, even in Georgia.
  • Soldiers endured miserable conditions, often pushed to cover many miles before they reached the next engagement, in all kinds of conditions.
  • Leadership was fractured on both sides, with personalities clashing within the ranks.
  • Lee’s surrender at Appomattox did not end the war. It was months before that happened.
  • Mill workers thought tobacco use would ward off “brown lung” from breathing cotton fibers and losing a finger or two in machinery was almost a rite of passage.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 25

Bizwings Blog, January 26

Holly’s Book Corner, January 26

Texas Book-aholic, January 27

deb’s Book Review, January 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 29

Cover Lover Book Review, January 30

Betti Mace, January 30

Connie’s History Classroom, January 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, February 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 2

For Him and My Family, February 3

Pause for Tales, February 4

Blossoms and Blessings, February 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 6

To Everything There Is A Season, February 7

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/23cc5/rescuing-rose-celebration-tour-giveaway


Thursday, February 2, 2023

My Thoughts and More on Twice Sold Tales by Chautona Havig

 



About the Book

 

Book: Twice Sold Tales

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian / Romantic Women’s Fiction

Release date: November 2, 2022

If only owning a bookstore didn’t mean dealing with people.

No one was more surprised than Harper Brevig when Great Aunt Lorene (not “Lori,” thank-you-very-much) died and left her least favorite niece her bookstore–including a prime piece of real estate in downtown Red Wing, Minnesota.

Making a go of the place shouldn’t be too hard. With her library science degree, she should be set. Then again, the website describing library degrees had said it would teach her excellent communication skills. It had not. Could she get a partial refund?

Still, owning the building should mean crazy-low overhead to offset her less than optimal “book-side” manner.  Ahem. So when yet another huge bill arrives, and she starts getting twitchy about the low bank balance, Harper does the only thing she can think of.

Enter Milton Coleridge. He’d been excited about the possibilities of the store last year, but Harper had sent him packing before he could talk to her about them.  Now he has a chance to make a difference. But she’s right. She’s bleeding money, and it doesn’t make sense!

Milton’s job is to figure out what’s going on, plug the financial leak, and maybe… do a little matchmaking. That dad with the adorable little boy would be good for her… and she’d be good for him. Probably.

Twice Sold Tales: the first full-length novel in the Bookstrings series releasing with The Mosaic Collection

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

I do enjoy a novel that has a bookish bent in the story, and this is one that is about a woman who has inherited a bookstore. Harper loves books and believes she can make a go at this bookstore business. However, the people keep coming and yes, she knows she needs to let them so they can buy her books, but she really is not a people person. Some of her snarkier t-shirts expressed that, so she tries to not wear those ones. Harper, though, needs to pay the bills. She can't just bury her head in her books and store. No, so she seeks help from Milton Coleridge.

Milton is happy to help in more ways than just her floundering business, maybe even help her in the romance department. And he has just the gentleman.

Noah is a brand-new single dad after just finding out he has a six-year-old son, Bennie. Getting to know his son and for Bennie to get to know him is going to be a challenge as his little boy has some trauma. What can he do to help Bennie thrive after all that has happened to him? Bennie was a cute little boy who needed to just be loved on and I liked how Noah wanted to do what was best for him. Can Noah handle a possible romance with Harper in the mix?

I liked all the bookish quotes and the mention of many books throughout. This was a heartfelt story that really tugs on the heartstrings, even for one Harper.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author


USA Today Bestselling author Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

“What kind of research does a contemporary book need? I mean, she’s a bookstore owner in a town you’ve been to several times. What’s there to research?”

I can’t be the only author to get questions like this. And I certainly can’t be the only one who has to fight the urge to laugh. Folks, authors research everything. In Twice Sold Tales, I think I looked up almost as much as I did in my Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries!

Because here’s the deal. What I didn’t know about Red Wing, Minnesota wouldn’t have hurt the story most of the time. Who cares that Bev’s Café has amazing creamy cucumbers? It doesn’t technically matter. Well, except to my character who hates veggies but will eat those. They make her feel virtuous. And you get to know about it.

But… what you discover about a place or a time or an occupation or whatever can totally change the course of your story. Case in point? I went to a website about River City Days because my niece suggested it might be a good thing for Noah to do with his son. That led me to the Farmer’s Markets and to other things. How I got to the first Ghost Walk in Red Wing taking place this year? I don’t even know. What I do know is that the moment I read about it, I knew Harper had to go. And if she did, and if Milton were the instigator, Noah had to go. #BecauseMatchmaker.

And this is where it got really cool. To make the walk as authentic as I could, I read everything I could find about it. And I discovered something super cool. Like… blow you out of the water cool.

Red Wing, Minnesota sits near the shore of Lake Pepin. Little House on the Prairie lovers will remember this as the lake that Laura Ingalls crossed in the wagon as they left the Big Woods of Wisconsin (you know, right across the river/lake from Red Wing???) Well… Lake Pepin has a monster—the Nessie of the Mississippi. Yes, you read that right… a monster! I went looking and guess what? The “monster” has a name. Pepie! Needless to say, Pepie became a an important part of my story. Because how could he not?

And… I happened to find a stuffed Pepie at Treats & Treasures in Lake City, just south of Red Wing, so I ordered a couple for giveaways—including the one with this blog tour. Happy reading, and what do you think? Shouldn’t someone write Pepie’s story?

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 21

Vicky Sluiter, January 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 22

Mary Hake, January 22

Texas Book-aholic, January 23

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, January 23

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, January 24

deb’s Book Review, January 24

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 25

Lots of Helpers, January 25

Cover Lover Book Review, January 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 26

Splashes of Joy, January 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 27

She Lives To Read, January 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 29

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 30

For Him and My Family, January 30

Divine Perspective, January 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 31

Aryn the Libraryan, February 1

Books I’ve Read, February 1

Blogging With Carol, February 2

Back Porch Reads, February 2

Pause for Tales, February 3

Spoken from the Heart, February 3

 

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback of the book, a stuffed “Pepie” and a few other bookish goodies!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/23bc5/twice-sold-tales-celebration-tour-giveaway


My Thoughts and More on A Winter at the White Queen by Denise Weimer

 



About the Book


Book: A Winter at the White Queen

Author: Denise Weimer

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: January 3, 2023

In the world of the wealthy, things are never quite as they appear.

Ellie Hastings is tired of playing social gatekeeper—and poor-relation companion—to her Gibson Girl of a cousin. But her aunt insists Ellie lift her nose out of her detective novel long enough to help gauge the eligibility of bachelors during the winter social season at Florida’s Hotel Belleview. She finds plenty that’s mysterious about the suave, aloof Philadelphia inventor, Lewis Thornton. Why does he keep sneaking around the hotel? Does he have a secret sweetheart? And what is his connection to the evasive Mr. Gaspachi, slated to perform at Washington’s Birthday Ball?

Ellie’s comical sleuthing ought to put Lewis out, but the diffident way her family treats her smashes a hole in his normal reserve. When Florence Hastings’s diamond necklace goes missing, Ellie’s keen mind threatens to uncover not only Lewis’s secrets, but give him back hope for love.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Ellie Hastings is young woman and a poor relation to her father's older brother and his family. Being orphaned, Ellie does not really feel part of the family and it doesn't help that her aunt has made her the detective to find out all she can about a certain Lewis Thornton and if he might be an excellent match for her cousin Ada. Except Ada is in love with someone else.

Ellie just wants to see her cousin happily married so she herself can begin her life, poor as it will be, out from under her aunt and uncle. But what happens when Ellie's traitorous heart shows more of an interest in Lewis than it is supposed too? And what if he seems to show interest back? For practical and determined Ellie this just cannot be.

This was a nice trip to Florida during the winter of 1910, when Gibson hairstyles were all the rage, and all kinds of new ideas were popping up. From recreational swimming for all to cars and even magic shows. Will Ellie find she has more worth than what she has given herself and maybe find that she may be found special with or without a fortune?

I was provided a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author

North Georgia native Denise Weimer has authored a dozen traditionally published novels and a number of novellas—historical and contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and time slip. Having served three years as managing editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ two historical imprints, as well as a freelance editor, she’s helped other authors reach their publishing dreams. A wife and mother of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.

 

More from Denise

Enter the Age of Wonder …   

I like to think of the time period between the Gilded Age and WWI as the Age of Wonder. New ideas and inventions swept society in waves while those who wanted to preserve the old ways tried in vain to hold back the tide. Opportunity and advancement flowed as railroads and communications linked America’s coasts, motorcars allowed individual freedom of travel, and companies flourished following Reconstruction.

My goal was to capture this excitement and promise in A Winter at the White Queen. You follow my heroine, Ellie, and her uncle and his family for their fashionable winter 1910 season at the Hotel Belleview in Clearwater, Florida. Ellie is more than “the poor relation companion” to her younger cousin Ava. She’s also a trusted friend, and like the heroines in her female detective novels, a budding sleuth—sniffing out promising matrimonial candidates for Ava at the bequest of Aunt Florence. Little does she expect to stumble into her own romance—and a mystery surrounding a certain intriguing entrepreneur.

 

Ellie Hastings is tired of playing social gatekeeper—and poor-relation companion—to her Gibson Girl of a cousin. But her aunt insists Ellie lift her nose out of her detective novel long enough to help gauge the eligibility of bachelors during the winter social season at Florida’s Hotel Belleview. She finds plenty that’s mysterious about the suave, aloof Philadelphia inventor, Lewis Thornton. Why does he keep sneaking around the hotel? Does he have a secret sweetheart? And what is his connection to the evasive Mr. Gaspachi, slated to perform at Washington’s Birthday Ball?

Ellie’s comical sleuthing ought to put Lewis out, but the diffident way her family treats her smashes a hole in his normal reserve. But when Florence Hastings’ diamond necklace goes missing, Ellie’s keen mind threatens to uncover not only Lewis’s secrets, but give him back hope for love.

Lewis’s work allowed me to sprinkle White Queen with clever inventions that spark Ellie’s curious nature. Among them are:

 

Temperature-compensated balance wheels, which Lewis invented as a teen. The backstory of how he sold his invention to the railroad, allowing them to synchronize all their watches, provides an unexpected link to uncover between Lewis and Ellie.

The cinématographe, patterned after Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope but intended by the Lumière brothers to show films to a wider audience. Used in the show at Washington’s Birthday Ball to end the season, the cinématographe aids in the culmination of the mystery of Florence’s missing diamond necklace.

The magical orange tree, which not only blossomed but appeared to grow actual oranges, was a real mechanical invention featured at Ava’s birthday party by The Great Gaspachi. 

The Hydro-Vacu. I couldn’t resist including this titter-worthy, real-life machine, used, of course, by the appearance-conscious Aunt Florence. After applying a bleaching cold cream or “tissue food” to ensure plump cheeks, the massaging “Depurator” was rotated slowly over the face. How long until that idea makes a comeback?

As fun and whimsical as A Winter at the White Queen may be, our characters have some real growth to do … if they can get past the social expectations and masks, the suspicions and past hurts. I hope you’ll brighten your winter days by joining them at the White Queen.

Blog Stops

Book Looks by Lisa, January 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 20

An Author’s Take, January 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 21

deb’s Book Review, January 22

Christina’s Corner, January 22

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 23

Connie’s History Classroom, January 24

Betti Mace, January 25

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 25

Texas Book-aholic, January 26

Paula’s Pad of Inspiration, January 26

Bigreadersite, January 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 28 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, January 28

Cover Lover Book Review, January 29

Holly’s Book Corner, January 29

Rebecca Tews, January 30

Blogging With Carol, January 30

Back Porch Reads, January 31

Simple Harvest Reads, January 31 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, February 1

Blossoms and Blessings, February 1

Pause for Tales, February 2

To Everything There Is A Season, February 2

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Denise is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/23bc4/a-winter-at-the-white-queen-celebration-tour-giveaway


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

My Thoughts on Shattered Reflection by Madisyn Carlin

 



About the Book


Book: Shattered Reflection

Author: Madisyn Carlin

Genre: New Adult Christian Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling

Release date: December 21, 2022

Can hope be found for four shattered souls?

Princess Nordica Icerri’s crown will be purchased with blood—her blood. Now the sole heir to the throne, she is determined to be the queen the Snowlands deserve, but that comes with a price: a numbed heart and soul. Only when she meets kidnapped physician Loren Alocer does Nordica allow herself to hope she can become queen without completely losing herself. But not everyone wants what’s best for the Snowlands, and Nordica’s upcoming rule is compromised at every turn. Can the criminal physician—and his faith—thaw Nordica’s heart, or is she destined to be the heartless queen she is being forced to become?

War shattered not only Breac Finson’s heart, but his faith as well. Tired of fighting, Breac only wants to be left alone, but his efforts are for naught when a friend calls in a favor. He soon finds himself in an unexpected alliance with Layree Alocer, a woman determined to find her wrongfully-kidnapped brother at all costs. Can a broken soldier help right a wrong—and find his faith again in the process?

Sides must be chosen and loyalties will be tested as a new war approaches. Can broken lives be mended in time to help save the Snowlands, or is evil already too deeply embedded?

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Shattered Reflection is a hefty fantasy novel that deals in a world that is often cold, restless, and on the verge of another war. The king and queen are dead, and the princess is being used as a pawn by her aunt and uncle, that not only affects her, but their abuse of power is felt throughout the kingdom.

This is a story that is told through multiple narrators. Each trying to keep their faith in tack or trying to find it again. There is danger a plenty and there is quite a bit of violence our characters must deal with and go through.

This is an epic fantasy with much political intrigue and is based on the fairytale The Snow Queen. These young people show loyalty to their loved ones, one another, and to their country as they must persevere in a world that is often violent and against them. Whom can they trust and will they survive their reality? 

I received a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author


Madisyn Carlin is a Christian, homeschool graduate, blogger, voracious bookdragon, and author. When not spending time with her family or trekking through the mountains, she weaves tales of redemption, faith, and action.

Want to connect? https://linktr.ee/madisyncarlin

 

More from Madisyn

What comes to your mind when you think about fairytale retellings? Is it Disney’s 1950 retelling of Cinderella? Glittery swirls of magic? Talking animals? Pretty gowns? Or, perhaps, frying pans or a sassy dragon?

My interest regarding fairytales was first piqued when I was young. Though I was only three, I distinctly remember riding in the car and flipping through the three-story fairytale collection my mom just purchased for me. I couldn’t read, but the bright colors and abundance of animals entranced me. Now I not only read fairytales, I write retellings of them.

Why, though? Aren’t fairytales just fun stories that sometimes impart a lesson?

No. Fairytales are much more than that. The majority of fairytales contain deep, important lessons the authors or culture of that time wanted their readers and listeners to learn from. Fairytales offer encouragement, hope, and include gentle reminders about doing the right thing even when we don’t want to.

Take, for instance, The Snow Queen, which is the fairytale I modeled Shattered Reflection after. In The Snow Queen, the forefront themes are loyalty and perseverance. No matter what trials the female protagonist endures, she pushes on with the mindset that rescuing her best friend is worth the effort and pain.

Aside from being rich in wry humor, breathtaking scenic descriptions and worldbuilding, and interesting characters, The Snow Queen contains faith and reminds readers that our ultimate source of strength is God—not ourselves.

This is what I wanted to emulate in Shattered Reflection. This story—with its broken characters, tattered kingdoms, and insidious antagonists—contains plenty of faith amidst pain, questions, and wounded hearts. I wanted to illustrate that, no matter what we’re going through, God is in control and nothing and no one ever slips from His grasp.

 

What is Shattered Reflection?

Title: Shattered Reflection
Series: The Shattered Lands | Book One
Genre: NA Christian Fantasy
Subgenre: Fairytale retelling (The Snow Queen)
POVS: 5
Ages: Appropriate for ages 15+ due to non-graphic violence
Core Themes: Salvation, Loyalty, and Forgiveness

 

Shattered Reflection is a Christian fairytale retelling which incorporates heavy faith elements, numerous action scenes, clean romance, and plenty of evil villains.

 

Content Warning:
SR1 contains heavy topics, although none are described in a gratuitous and gory manner. There is also a lot of violence, so I do not recommend this book for anyone younger than fifteen. If you are older than fifteen and are easily bothered by such content, then this probably is not the book for you.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, January 22

To Everything There Is A Season, January 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 24

Cover Lover Book Review, January 25

deb’s Book Review, January 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 26

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 28

Literature Approved, January 28

Denise L. Barela, January 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 30

Blogging With Carol, January 31

Through the Fire Blogs, February 1

Pause for Tales, February 2

For Him and My Family, February 3

Rebecca Tews, February 4

Holly’s Book Corner, February 4

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Madisyn is giving away the grand prize package of one autographed paperback copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/23bc6/shattered-reflection-celebration-tour-giveaway