Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Sword of Trust by Debbie Lynne Costello

 



About the Book

Book:  Sword of Trust

Author: Debbie Lynne Costello

Genre: Christian Fiction Romance Medieval

Release date: March 15, 2021

Deirdre Mackenzie has spent her life hiding from her father and hating the English. However, when she is caught stealing from an English laird, his unexpected kindness begins to melt away her hatred and strums lonely heartstrings longing for love.  Bryce Warwick can’t believe the boy his men caught is actually a young woman. After several attempts to lure the truth from her, he determines she is as deceitful as his late fiancĂ©e who nearly cost him his life. But the woman is the least of his worries with the turbulence brought on by threats of another border war and by King Richard’s distrust of the nobles. 

With the boundary in unrest, Bryce entertains a Scottish chieftain unaware it is Deirdre’s father, seeking peace for his people. Fearful that her father will discover she is alive, Deirdre steals Bryce’s signet ring, hoping a missive from the laird will keep her father away. But when the ring is used instead for treason, she realizes too late she’s been betrayed and Bryce will hang for the crime. With old wounds that need to heal and adversaries who could end their chances at true love, both must learn to trust in a way they never knew possible.


Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts:

Knights, chivalry, sword battles, and true love, that is the kind of story that can take me away on quite an adventure. I was delighted to read another medieval story from the pen of author Costello. This is the second in her Winds of Change series, which does well as a stand-alone, but why miss the adventure and romance of the first book?

Deirdre has lived a life pretending to be a boy on her Uncle's land since she was a young child. She was cared for by an old woman as she had been told how cruel her father is and her mother hid her away. She would give anything to be with her mother again, but she keeps up the ruse and almost kills herself as she helps her Scottish kin raid an English lord's land.

Bryce has had enough of the raiding. He is a fair man but the raiding must stop. Then he catches a young woman who is pretending to be a man. He has no idea who she is trying to fool, because he can see right through her charade.

Bryce and Deirdre, are enemies, one Scottish the other English, who have two different viewpoints and opinions of who is in the wrong and who is not. With traitors all around and an English king who only cares for himself, these two become unwilling partners on the same side. There is plenty of action, political intrigue, and a lot of secrets and family drama that come to light. There are plenty of trust issues these two must muddle through as well especially as you root for these two just to forgive and make up. If you want a good medieval tale, pick up this series.

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

 

Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon’s #1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 4 horses, 3 dogs, a miniature donkey, and 6 peking ducks.

 

More from Debbie Lynne

It is my desire as an author to draw my readers into my story so they feel invested in the hero and heroine and part of their journey, whether it is set in 19th Century Charleston, South Carolina or 14th Century Northumberland, England. One of the ways I love to do this is with professions, hobbies, and cooking. In Sword of Trust my heroine, Deirdre has become quite proficient with a bow and arrow. She’s had plenty of practice and is driven to be the best, perhaps to prove to herself because she is a lass in lad’s clothing. The long bow was a popular weapon in the Middle Ages and was used in battle in The Hundred Years’ War. But the bow was not just a weapon of war, the bow was also a weapon for food. And Deirdre loves to hunt with a flat bow. In her excitement she runs into a wee bit of trouble with the king. Some trivia for you: Because of its elasticity, the yew tree was used in making the long bow. Even after fire arms were introduced the long bow continued to be used for battles. And due to its popularity, by the end of the sixteenth century, mature yew trees were nearly extinct in Northern Europe.

Unfortunately, I can’t really give you instructions on bow making or lessons on how to shoot accurately. Instead, I’m going to share a recipe for the medieval treat, gyngerbrede. In Sword of Trust, Bryce gets his cook to make gyngerbrede. He fills a bag with them and takes them north to the Scottish borderland to hand out to the children. Sweets have been loved for thousands of years. Today we know that sugar is bad for us. Regardless of that, we still crave the empty calories. Some things never change. Here is a wee bit of fun trivia for you. During the first century in some countries, sugar was only used for medicinal purposes and thought to heal many ailments.

 

Gyngerbrede

Ingredients

1 loaf of wheat bread, grounded into breadcrumbs

1 cup of honey

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp black pepper

 

Preparation

In a medium to large pan, bring your honey to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the foam that collects on the top and sides. Add your cinnamon, ginger, and pepper. Stir well. When your spices are mixed in the honey begin adding your bread crumbs one cup at a time. Mix well and then knead it thoroughly. You can divide your dough up into quarters to make it easier to work with and roll out. Cut them into 1” squares. Dust the squares with a mixture of one part cinnamon and two parts sandalwood.

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, April 23

Britt Reads Fiction, April 23

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 24

Connect in Fiction, April 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 27

Connie’s History Classroom, April 28

Bizwings Blog, April 28

deb’s Book Review, April 29

Simple Harvest Reads , April 29(Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, April 30

Betti Mace, May 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 1

Texas Book-aholic, May 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 3

The Book Chic Blog, May 3

Pause for Tales, May 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 5

Mary Hake, May 5

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 6

 

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Debbie is giving away the grand prize of a smart watch!!

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/10b26/sword-of-trust-celebration-tour-giveaway


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Review: Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard

 

About:

Hidden crimes. Open threats. Long-buried secrets.
They'll be fighting for the truth--and their lives.

Former FBI Special Agent Jack Tanner is working as a detective in Montana when he comes across a body in the national forest during a search and rescue mission. He's committed to finding the killer, even if it means working alongside his old flame, US Forest Service Special Agent Terra Connors.

When Terra discovers that the murder victim had ties to a powerful and dangerous trafficker of archaeological artifacts, the investigation takes a deadly turn--one that hits too close to home. As Terra fears she lacks the courage to face what comes next, Jack is more determined than ever to protect her. But he's failed her before.

If he fails this time, it will cost them far more than just their hearts.


My Thoughts:

There is an ominous presence of danger in this story that introduces us to Agent Terra Connors and Agent Jack Tanner. Starting with a plane crash that pretty much picks up the pace for this entire book and it could be relentless and hard to put down at times.

So there is a murderer on the loose and the mystery as to who and why and what is not easily answered. I certainly could not guess, correctly anyway. Not only is the danger very real, but Jack and Terra have a romantic past that did not work out and their lives after took some very different turns. Now they are both working on this case and it can be difficult to hide your feelings and hurt.

The secondary characters were very interesting as well, and I know that some of them will be the main characters in the continuation of the series. I like getting to know them a little bit and the history they have. 

I found the mountain setting and the way the different authorities worked together and depended on one another fascinating. I liked seeing the teamwork that can help save so many lives.

This was a good action packed beginning to a new series that I look forward to continuing.

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:


Elizabeth Goddard is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels, including Present Danger and the Uncommon Justice series. Her books have sold over one million copies. She is a Carol Award winner and a Daphne du Maurier Award finalist. When she's not writing, she loves spending time with her family, traveling to find inspiration for her next book, and serving with her husband in ministry. For more information about her books, visit her website at www.ElizabethGoddard.com.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Review: All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese

 

About:

Molly McKenzie's bright personality and on-trend fashion and beauty advice have made her a major social media influencer. When her manager-turned-boyfriend tells her of an upcoming audition to host a makeover show for America's underprivileged youth, all her dreams finally seem to be coming true. There's just one catch: she has little experience interacting with people in need.

To gain an edge on her competitors, she plans to volunteer for the summer at a transitional program for aged-out foster kids, but the program's director, Silas Whittaker, doesn't find her as charming as her followers do. Despite his ridiculous rules and terms, Molly dives into mentoring, surprising herself with the genuine connections and concern she quickly develops for the girls--and Silas. But just as everything seems perfectly aligned for her professional future, it starts to crumble under the pressure. And as her once-narrow focus opens to the deep needs of those she's come to know, she must face the ones she's neglected inside herself for so long.

My Thoughts:

I adored this book. This was quite a layered story to unwrap and I enjoyed every moment of it. It also touched my heart in ways I was not expecting.

Molly is a guru in makeup and fashion. She is a twin and loves her brother very much but they see life very differently. He is a pastor and she is a social media personality. Their relationship is poignant and close and I liked how they stuck with each other. I wish Molly's parents were a little more in her life, but I have met people like them before so they were cast in a realistic light.

Silas comes from a completely different background, but he was adopted into a strong and compassionate family that helped develop him into the man he is today. Silas's mission in life, his ministry, was a unique and very needed one. I do not know if there is such homes where I live, but it is a great idea.

When Silas and Molly met I knew their relationship was going to be really fun to watch. I was not disappointed. Silas and all of his proper ways compared to the ever exuberant and dreams big Molly- had me on the edge of my seat for them to get together. The fireworks from the beginning, to the friendship that led to a slow burn romance. Their banter when they were unsure of one another and when they began to fall in love was very witty and the nickname Molly had for Silas was spectacular.

When the story gets to the point, of all that really matters, the aha moment for Molly and Silas was priceless. I consider this a very relevant book for today in all of the social media madness that exists. I highly recommend this story.

I was provided 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:

Nicole Deese's (www.nicoledeese.com) eight humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled novels include the 2017 Carol Award-winning A Season to Love. Her 2018 release, A New Shade of Summer, was a finalist in the RITA Awards, Carol Awards, and INSPY Awards. Both of these books are from her bestselling Love in Lenox series. When she's not working on her next contemporary romance, she can usually be found reading one by a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She lives in small-town Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two rambunctious sons, and princess daughter with the heart of a warrior.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Review and Giveaway: A Marriage of Inconvenience by Amy Vastine

 


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Marriage of Inconvenience
(Stop the Wedding! #3)
By Amy Vastine
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 213 Pages
April 1, 2021 by Harlequin Heartwarming

She’s met the perfect man…
But he’s engaged!

Wedding planner Sophia Reed never imagined she’d meet her perfect man during a bank robbery. Evan Anderson is handsome and funny and makes Sophia believe in love at first sight. There’s only one small hitch—he’s engaged to someone else, and Sophia is planning his wedding! But Evan’s wedding is purely a business arrangement…and true love might just turn this almost-perfect wedding into a beautiful catastrophe!

My Thoughts:

I always enjoy marriage of convenience stories, both historical and contemporary. This one is slightly different. It is a marriage of convenience between two good friends that will benefit both for awhile. And while there is no passion or true love, they are friends and they really didn't see any way out of their very complicated family and business matters.

But in the very first chapter, in quite an unconventional and terrifying way, Evan meets the love of his life, Sophia. Sophia also has some pretty strong electrifying feelings for Evan, that is until the truth of who he is totally crushes her.

How can Sophia, a wedding planner, plan the wedding of her career when she is in love with the groom? This makes for a heartbreaking dilemma with interesting conversations and actions. On top of that, there is a slight danger thread running through this novel as well. 

Both Evan and Sophia were characters I really rooted for. Evan was just really a great guy, a little misguided by nobleness at times, but he was one that Sophia knew was a treasure. She had very mixed feelings and I felt for her. And she was confused at the care and respect Evan had for everyone, including her, that she just couldn't hate him. What was going on? Many secrets needed unraveled.

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.

USA TODAY Bestselling Author

Stop the Wedding!

Book 1: A Bridesmaid to Remember
Book 2: His Brother’s Bride
Book 3: A Marriage of Inconvenience

(Affiliate links included.)

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to Amazon affiliate links.)

About the Author


Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read. Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart husband, three teenagers who keep her on her toes, and their two sweet but mischievous pups.


Tour Schedule


Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive (US only):
- $25 Amazon gift card
- “I love you to the bookstore and back” book bag filled with several of my favorite Heartwarming books
- Blackwell Sisters cleaning cloth
- Bookmark

Three additional winners will receive an ebook of the first book in the Stop the Wedding Series, A Bridesmaid to Remember (open internationally)

Ends April 28, 2021

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Review: Stalling for Time by Christy Hayes

 

About:

Formerly published in 2013 under the title “A Kiss by Design,” this book has been extensively revised from the original. 

What’s a girl to do when her best friend is making a huge mistake? College sophomore Emily Dilbert has been best friends with Dylan Chamberlain since the second grade. When she finds an engagement ring in Dylan’s backpack, she panics and vows to do whatever it takes to stop him from marrying a girl he barely knows. 

Dylan Chamberlain has been in love with his brother’s girlfriend, Emily, since they were kids. When his brother asks for help planning a surprise proposal, Dylan knows it’s time to bury his feelings and finally let Emily go. If only his heart would cooperate. 

After her roommates fail to lure Dylan away from his girlfriend, Emily is forced to confront him directly. When she accidentally puts them in a compromising position, will Dylan reveal his long-buried feelings, or will Emily realize she’s dating the wrong brother?


My Thoughts:

Sometimes the love of your life has been with you the whole time, you just never noticed. That is exactly what happens to Emily when she discovers an engagement ring in her best friend's Dylan's backpack. How has he gotten so serious over his new girlfriend already, and why should she care so much since she is dating his older brother Zach?

But Emily's feelings have changed for Zach in a big way. She is beginning to see that their relationship is one sided, and she doesn't see herself happy with him anymore. And this nonsense with the ring and Dylan is eating her alive. She concocts a series of plans that in a comedy of errors backfire on her. Meanwhile Dylan has been in love with Emily forever, and that ring is certainly not what she thinks it is. And he is also tortured over all of this.

This is a new adult story that is pretty clean though I would definitely rate it on the PG13 scale as the tension between them sizzles. I really enjoyed this friends to lovers story. This is the second book that I have read in this series and I have been enjoying this group of roommates and their journey through college and life.

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.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Texas Trails by Caryl McAdoo

 



About the Book


Book: Texas Trails

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: March 6, 2021

The steps of a righteous man are guided by the Lord.

Rife with adventure, this rights-of-passage story comes to life as Enoch Lowell and his best friend Gus strike out to Kansas with their herd of beeves, hoping to earn a profit and cut the apron strings. What they find on the prairie changes their lives forever. Promises made, promises kept, but nowhere is it written there can’t be a happy ending for all. A true Texas trail tale to warm your heart!   

 

Click here to get your copy!


My Thoughts:

Mothers and sons, sons and mothers, a beautiful but at times a bittersweet relationship. Especially as the sons grown to be young men. That transition can prove rife with aggravation, worry, and sometimes bad feelings. Author McAdoo touches on this topic with two mothers and their sons, and the women their sons love. What a conundrum.

This story touched my heart and the author really wrote her heart out in this one. She gives us the perfect balance in showing the mothers and the sons point of views. The mothers having a hard time letting go and the sons wanting to move on, yet still honor their parents. And of course the young ladies who want to begin their lives, but must remember they may have sons one day who will grow up as well.

This topic is near and dear to me right now and it was a story that while I read it for review, helped me in my personal walk. To know that this is normal and that I am not alone. I enjoyed this continuing family story and the adventures of the cattle run these young people had. A great western.

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


Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling stories—over fifty-five published—delight Christian readers around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her; you may listen at YouTube. Sharing four children and nineteen grandsugars (three greats), Caryl and Ron (her high-school-sweetheart-husband of over fifty years) live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas. The McAdoos wait expectantly for God to open the next door.

 

More from Caryl

Get along little doggie!

TEXAS TRAILS is the sixth novel in the Cross Timbers Family Saga series. I’d never written much about being on a cattle drive and thought it would be great fun. Back in the Texas Romance Family Saga series, Charley Nightingale made several trips to Kansas with a herd and took his son Nathaniel, but I skipped over the actual drive part.

Readers first met co-hero Enoch Lowell in QUINCY & PRISCILLA then got to know him better in DUPLICITY At The Lowell House when his best friend Gus Hale (TEXAS TRAIL’s other co-hero) is introduced. Both those stories are set in 1866. For TEXAS TRAILS, it’s three years later, and Enoch is ready to declare himself a man and start earning his own way. Driving a bunch of cows up to Kansas sounds like the ticket to cut his mother’s apron strings and earn some dollars in the process.

The son of Morgan and Charity O’Neal Lowell (LEAVING TEXAS, book four) and grandson of Liberty O’Neal Harrell (GONE TO TEXAS, book one) talks Gus into going with him, and as partners, they start building a herd. All the while, Charity is pitching a fit as her plan for her firstborn includes Harvard University.

One thing I loved about this story is that Morgan sets it up—behind the scenes of course—for trusted men to take in his son and Gus on their trail drive. Enters the infamous Texas Ranger Levi Baylor (Texas Romance Family Saga book two HEARTS STOLEN) and the boy he reared as his own (grown now), Charley Nightingale!

I already love those two men from my earlier Texas Romance Family Saga series—just as my readers do—and totally relished their appearance in this story! Revisiting old beloved friends brings great joy to this author, in real life and my fictitious world!! I adore crossing these characters over the two series!

So many things are apt to happen out on the prairie that cowboys never expect. There are rivers to cross and the natives to deal with, some who pose real danger to life and limbs! Cows birth calves, storms descend, and herds stampede, but that’s not all that can make a cowboy’s days rough. Enoch’s and Gus’s lives are definitely changed forever on the out there on the trail.

I’m thinking if I were a younger woman, I would totally enjoy going along on their cattle drive! How about you?

Blog Stops

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 7

Simple Harvest Reads, April 7 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Lakesidelivingsite, April 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 9

Connie’s History Classroom, April 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 11

deb’s Book Review, April 12

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 14

For Him and My Family, April 15

Texas Book-aholic, April 16

Inklings and notions, April 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 18

Splashes of Joy, April 19

Pause for Tales, April 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 20

 

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away the grand prize of 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/10a4b/texas-trails-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, April 12, 2021

Review: The Witness Tree by Denise Weimer

 

About:

To gain his wife, he must break her heart.

Past betrayal has turned John Kliest’s passion to his work as a builder and surveyor in the Moravian town of Salem, North Carolina. Now, to satisfy the elders’ edict and fulfill his mission in Cherokee Territory, he needs a bride. But the one woman qualified to record the Cherokee language longs for a future with his younger brother.

Clarissa Vogler’s dream of a life with Daniel Kliest is shattered when she is chosen by lot to marry his older brother and venture into the uncharted frontier. Can she learn to love this stoic man who is now her husband? Her survival hinges on being able to trust him—but they both harbor secrets.

My Thoughts:

This story was better than I expected. I read it within a day as I was so drawn into the the life of newlyweds Clarissa and John, their Moravian lifestyle, and their mission to the Cherokee Tribes. The cultures of the Moravians and the Cherokee could not have been more different and I liked how the author fleshed out the historical part.

Now the romance was something else as well. Clarissa wanted to marry Daniel, John's younger brother. However, John wanted to marry Clarissa and he needed a wife to go help with the mission. The elders agreed. Clarissa is not happy, though she is quite drawn to John and his dangerous vibe he gives off. These two have much to overcome, to become acquainted with one another, and to try to have a strong marriage. But as they are buffeted by many outside forces they both realize gifts they never had and a love that is worth sacrificing everything for.

This is a favorite for this year and definitely a reread. If you like authors like Laura Frantz and Lori Benton, then let author Denise Weimer take you on her wilderness adventure.

I purchased this book for my own reading pleasure. All views and opinions are my own.