Saturday, February 16, 2019

Review: Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

To Purchase

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war. 

Peace appeals to Catherine, but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel's life convince her he's in mortal danger. Against her better judgment she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She's risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated.

My Thoughts:

Between Two Shores was a story of bravery, loss, and heartbreak that a young Mohawk/French woman must face as all around her battles for the New World has erupted. This novel is chock full of history about the French and Indian War, specifically the Battle of Quebec, and the relations between the Native Americans, British, and the French. It was a very tense and dangerous time to live, and yet the heroine Catherine Duval embodied the free spirit of North America today.

She was a strong and capable woman, bridging the gap between the three nations that were bent on destroying each other for the coveted land. She wanted acceptance and belonging and most of all an unconditional love. She was searching for love in the wrong places -which should have been loving relationships especially with her father and unfortunately later in the perceived abandonment of her fiancé Samuel.

Throughout the story I was impressed with the way she handled the problems that arose, the love and care she generously gave to her sister, brother, Thankful, and her father. Catherine was a character that kept things close to her chest and when the pivotal point of the story came when she found out the truth of a certain matter, I felt gut punched along with her.

This was an engrossing, rich historical read. Author Green brought the past and a battle I did not know a lot about to life. Though I would have liked a different outcome, I feel thankful to have read such a novel and to have met such a character as Catherine.

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.

New Trailer!

Here we are, agents. The dawn of a new Book Trailer. Hope you brought your popcorn. 

But first, a little about the book in the trailer:

Dream not of other worlds...

They call him agent and he answers. They tell him conquer and he does. But there's something they don't know. He's beginning to remember. His name is Kristian Clark. He has a wife and four children. Or he did. But he will find them again, whoever is left, wherever they are, and whatever it takes.

They call her the Aisling. She does their missions only as far as it helps her accomplish her own: to find and rescue the children of a fallen woman. And she will not let anyone get in her way- most certainly not the brainwashed father who has for so long been an unthinking weapon for the government. To save the innocents, she will not hesitate to do whatever it takes- no matter how much it condemns her.

They are the root of a conspiracy that would bring two worlds together, for good or for evil, for better or for worse, for life or for death. Their choices shall echo throughout all eternity.

And now, for the Cinematic Experience:

Coming April 16!

Too long to wait? Well, don't worry- there's a special giveaway you can enter to get not only an ARC copy of Agents Adam and Eve, but also PDFs of the first three Kristian Clark books, and an ARC copy of  "Codename: Christmas Carol" which isn't slated to release until December 1!

That's all for now, agents. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. And please don't do anything that might get your brain-wiped. Wouldn't want you ending up like poor Agent Clark....

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: The Amish Candy Maker by Laura V. Hilton

About the Book

Title: The Amish Candy Maker  
Author: Laura V. Hilton  
Genre: Amish Christian Fiction  
Release date: February 5, 2019  
Publisher: WhitakerHouse

Agnes Zook finds herself on her own in a small Amish community in Mackinac County after a tragedy kills her family. Most of the Amish call her “off in den Kopf” (strange) since she’s starting her own business and forging her own way in the community instead of relying on the bishop to take care of her. 
Since she’s viewed as non-submissive and too-forward for an Amish woman, she’s not courted by young men in the area. 

Isaac Mast is on the verge of leaving the Amish church. He’s become a sought-after auctioneer and has a thriving business, but he feels confined by the strict rules. When his brother is severely injured in a wild fire, Isaac receives a letter from his sister-in-law, begging him to come to Mackinac County to help out while his brother is hospitalized. Isaac agrees but is unsure how to manage their young children when he has weekend auctions he’s expected to attend. Agnes may be the answer to a prayer. 

Sparks fly when she and Isaac meet. But could their differences help them form a deeper connection to their faith…and each other?

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review:

This is the story of Agnes Zook. She has lived through the tragedy of losing her whole family due to a wildfire, the man she thought she was going to marry married someone else, and yet here she is; trying to make a life for herself and to support herself by her candy shop.

Into her shop steps Isaac Mast who has come back to help his twin brother and sister-in-law with their three children as his brother had been badly burned by the wildfire and is undergoing treatments away from home. Agnes and Isaac’s first encounter is quite memorable, as pretty much all of their time is together.

Agnes has accepted her fate at ending up a spinster until Isaac suggests out of his need for help with the children that they marry. Less than romantic as that proposal is, Agnes hope is kindled. Isaac was, as he describes himself Amish but on the outside. Agnes was already looked at as a spinster so I was glad to see these two very loving, passionate souls come together and get to know each other through all the obstacles that were in their way. Theirs was an interesting and fun courtship to watch grow.

There are some very sad topics in this story. This town has been through a lot and so has Agnes and Isaac’s family. Agnes faced with a life alone and still grieving has many questions that to her it does not seem like God is listening. Isaac’s family past is not free from tragedy either, so these two hurting, broken souls connect and help put the pieces back together and help each other grow stronger in their faith.

The secondary characters of the kids and Bishop Miah and all his spying made this read all the more delightful. This is my favorite book yet by author Hilton.

If you like chocolate and kissing books, you will like this one.

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

About the Author

Laura Hilton is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with more than a thousand reviews published on the web. Her first series with Whitaker was The Amish of Seymour, comprising Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (2012 Laurel Award winner, first place in the Amish Genre Clash), and Promised to Another; and her second was The Amish of Webster County, comprising Healing Love, Awakened Love, and Surrendered Love. Her next series was The Amish of Jamesport, featuring The Post Card, Snow Globe, and The Birdhouse. Her latest books include The Amish Firefighter, The Amish Wanderer, and Love By the Numbers. Laura and her husband, Steve, live in Arkansas with their five children, whom Laura homeschools.

Guest Post from Laura


AGNES ZOOK Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge

Courtesy of Laura V. Hilton

1 bag (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips

1 bag (10 ounces) peanut butter chips

2 cans sweetened condensed milk, divided

6 tablespoons butter, divided 

20 to 30 miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or six regular-size ones broken into four or five pieces each

For the chocolate layer: Line a greased 8-by-11.5-inch baking dish with parchment paper. 

In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine milk chocolate chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 4 tablespoons butter. 

Stir until melted and smooth. Pour into prepared baking dish and allow to cool to room temperature, then move to the refrigerator while preparing next layer. 

For the peanut butter layer: In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine peanut butter chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons butter. 

Stir until melted and smooth. 

Pour on to the milk chocolate fudge layer and press pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into the surface. 

If desired, group candy pieces in a grid-like fashion for easier cutting later. 

Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight or until set. 

Remove from refrigerator, lift out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper, and cut into squares, with roughly one miniature peanut butter cup or piece of a cup per square. 

Store in the refrigerator.

Blog Stops

Carla Loves To Read, February 5
Among the Reads, February 6
Britt Reads Fiction, February 6
The Avid Reader, February 7
Emily Yager, February 8
Quiet quilter, February 8
Maureen’s Musings, February 9
Bibliophile Reviews, February 10
Vicky Sluiter, February 10
Daysong Reflections, February 11
Texas Book-aholic, February 12
Janices book reviews, February 12
Carpe Diem, February 13
SusanLovesBooks, February 14
Inklings and Notions, February 16
Pause for Tales, February 16
Have A Wonderful Day, February 17
For the Love of Books, February 17

Bigreadersite, February 18


To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away a grand prize of a large and small spatula set and a $10 Starbucks gift card!!

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

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Review and Giveaway: After the Rain by Brandy Bruce

About the Book

Series: Sequel to The Last Summer
Genre: Adult, Christian, Contemporary, Fiction, Inspirational, Romance
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Publication date: February 4, 2019

Debra Hart is moving on. Maybe. Hopefully. One day.

As a radio show host, Debra spends her mornings as Miss Lonely Heart on air, empathizing with all the broken hearts in the Denver metro area. She spends her evenings watching old musicals and trying not to think about the guy who broke up with her and subsequently fell in love with one of her best friends. Alone in a new city, Debra questions where she belongs and who she is now.

When she stumbles into the indie music scene, Debra meets singer Ben Price. Rock star appeal, with a day job as a worship pastor, Ben is everything Debra wants to avoid. But he’s determined to be her friend, and it so happens she could really use one. Because try as she might, nothing seems to erase the anger and betrayal she feels. 

It’s time for a new dream. But how does she start over when she doesn’t even know what she wants anymore?

Bruceauthorphoto (2)About the Author

Brandy Bruce is a mom to three kids, a wife, a writer, a book editor, and someone who really loves dessert. She and her family make their home in the beautiful state of Virginia.

My Thoughts

I have been looking forward to this book since I found out there would be a sequel to The Last Summer. I will admit that Debra was not a favorite character of mine from the last book. She was too bubbly and happy and more importantly she was standing in the way of Luke and Sara’s happiness.  So needless to say, she was not a character I had grown close too. However at the end of the last book and the meltdown she had, I began to feel for her.

After the Rain is Debra’s story, and wow! What a story it was. I think I like it even better than the The Last Summer. Eight or so months later Debra has moved on literally, from Texas to Colorado and has found a new job as a radio talk show host. But she is very unhappy, still angry, hurt, bitter and lonely. Getting inside of Debra’s head made me really feel for her, even though I felt she held on to the hurt for too long, I understood. She was deeply wounded, her dreams were crushed. She was heartbroken and the hurt went deep enough to shake her faith.

Enter Ben, worship leader and rock band member, who sees Debra as someone he would like to get to know better. He was so patient and loving to her it made me want to cry. These two certainly had some ups and downs in their relationship and Ben has a rough back story as well. I was so glad that Ben did not give up on Debra and continued to pursue her even when his own heart was breaking. 

This was an emotional, uplifting, romantic read and I am so glad that I have had a chance to read author Bruce’s work.  I cannot wait for more from her pen, maybe even more about these friends.

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.


ATR Blog Tour Giveaway

Giveaway includes the following:

  • Print copy (or e-copy if they want)
  • Umbrella
  • After the Rain guitar-pick necklace
  • DVD of Grease
  • Beatles quote mug
  • Coffee warmer
  • Earbuds
  • After the Rain bookmark
  • Notepad
  • Candy

Enter the giveaway HERE. Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

Tour Schedule

SLB Tours

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Review: Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron

To Purchase

A storied castle. A band of rebels.

A nation chasing a centuries-old dream of freedom.

And three women who rise above it all . . .

When Laine Forrester travels overseas to attend her best friend’s vineyard wedding, she expects to find the bride on the brink of a fairy-tale life. But after a series of unforeseen setbacks, it seems the storybook lives they’d imagined are suddenly ripping apart.

With hopes of resurrecting a happy ending, Laine agrees to accompany the newlyweds to the groom’s home in Ireland—never expecting she’d be the one drawn in by its wide-open moors, backroads bordering the Irish Sea, and a mysterious castle that dares to keep its secrets hidden.

From the storied streets of Dublin to the shores of the Emerald Isle, Laine is drawn in to the land and its rich history. The castle ruins whisper stories of Issy—a photojournalist battling through the 1916 Easter Rising, and Maeve—the castle’s lady of legend, fighting for survival through the 1798 rebellion that started it all.

Spanning more than two centuries, Castle on the Rise unites the legacy of three women who must risk mending the broken places within for life, love, and the belief that even through the depths of our pain, a masterpiece of a story can emerge.

My Thoughts:

Castle on the Rise is a lovely novel that is split into three different time periods all taking place in Ireland. The different time periods were present day, 1915-1916, 1797-1798 and all centered on an ancient manor and castle. I adore castles and any story surrounding a castle is a win-win for me, but with author Cambron’s writing we are given bits and pieces of the stories as we discover who the past inhabitants were and how they lived their lives.

I enjoyed all three story lines- Laine and her little girl travel to France at first for the wedding of her best friend Ellie and Quinn who are about to start their happily ever after. Unfortunately as we find out along with Laine sometimes life throws a wrench into our plans. Laine is already dealing with some heavy issues so when Quinn’s brother, Cormac, shows up at the wedding needing Quinn to help him with a family inheritance, Laine is ready to go with them.

The author vividly paints a beautiful portrait of Ireland, its land, and the people in all three timelines. Both of the historical timelines show the struggle Ireland had in wanting to be free of English rule. I don’t know a lot of Irish history, but what I do know their struggles were very real and I felt them throughout this story.

I think my favorite timeline was the oldest, but it broke my heart.  I really enjoyed the pieces of the puzzle that came together at the end that showed the generational connections with the castle and manor and those who lived there. This was epic storytelling that absolutely enchanted me. I look forward to the third in this series.

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.

Weekend Briefing

Welcome back, agents! Just some quick updates.

Heart of Steel now has four chapters published on Wattpad.

Also, two of my other Wattpad books recently won a few awards.

"Marina Ivanov, PI" won both second place in the Blue Rose mystery/thriller category and second place in the overall favorite category!

And Fists of Injustice won first place in the action category of the Blue Rose awards! 

Also, Mission Head just finished the first wave of edits for Agents Adam and Eve. Planning on doing one more read-through, plus alpha reader and editor input.

And here's an excerpt:

So, you really mangled your hand, sir.”
I nod absently as the honorary junior member of the council/Dr. Neber’s assistant slides my mangled hand onto regeneration table and then moves the lid down over it.
Was she hot?”
Surprised, I look up at the young man as he focuses on my hand.
He clears his throat. “I mean, it must have been a woman who did this. A hot one. No one else could’ve out-manuevered such an awesome agent like yourself.”
I study the lad who is perhaps older than I originally gave him credit for- twenty-one, maybe? Then I feel my mouth stretch into a wry smile- a rare feeling in this place. Have I ever smiled in this place? “Well, there was a woman involved. Distracted me long enough to get shot.”
The lad grins, the kind of sincere thing that is so rare in this place that takes over his own face and causes his silver-hued eyes to glow. “Knew it.”

Coming April 16! 

Lots of great books coming out this spring from a lot of agency allies. Which ones are you most excited for? Por favor comenta.

And for more adventures, be sure to visit Agency of Books and Spies and subscribe to the email list for a free short story!