Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Review: A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

To Purchase

Vivienne Rivard fled revolutionary France and seeks a new life for herself and a boy in her care, who some say is the Dauphin. But America is far from safe, as militiaman Liam Delaney knows. He proudly served in the American Revolution but is less sure of his role in the Whiskey Rebellion. Drawn together, will Liam and Vivienne find the peace they long for?

My Thoughts:

A Refuge Assured is a novel that takes a look at the horrors of the French Revolution through the eyes of a woman whose very life is threatened due to her occupation of making lace for the queen. Author Green gives us a realistic historical look at what it may have been like to live during the Reign of Terror when the powers that were in charge decided to take God out of everything. They went so far as having eight day weeks and renaming the days and months for what they considered reason. As I read this, I could not find any rhyme or reason as to how anyone could or would want to live in a place that seemed to be ruled by a mob mentality that followed no moral code.

Vivienne flees to the United States for safety and for her very life. She ends up in the French Quarter of Pennsylvania and is most determined to make her way in the U.S.A. There was so much history in this book, a lot of it that I did not know much of and so I just gobbled it up. While the French were having their bloody revolution, the political views here in America were also divided concerning France and the tensions that were leading to the Whiskey Rebellion. Liam, a militiaman who had fought for the independence of America, was also questioning the America government’s rules concerning taxes that were being imposed on poor people. He oftentimes did not recognize the democracy he had so risked his life for.

Besides the very meaty history, we are also drawn into a mystery concerning the young prince of France. Was the young boy France had in custody the true prince, or was the real Dauphine hiding in America? There was so much in this story from Vivienne coming to grips with her past and parentage to Liam coming to grips with deep topics like when is it time to stop fighting for freedom and begin to obey the laws that democracy has now established? Lots of good stuff and I haven’t even mentioned the romance!

If you are looking for a historical book with meat on its bones, look no farther than author Green’s.

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

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Weekend Briefing and Contest by Jes Drew

Weekend Briefing

Welcome back, agents. I hope you all brought your thinking caps, because today is the first day of the Quiz. In honor of the release of Castaways, the agency is offering a signed copy of said book to whoever gets the most correct answers (or to whoever gets their name pulled out of Mission Head’s special hat in case of tied geniuses) of the following questions. There are nine questions, in honor of this being the agency’s ninth release, and the answers can all be found in either a previous weekend briefing or in the book blurbs available on Amazon. Agents have until March 3 to send their answers to*

These are the questions:

(1. When Agent Villain Hunter visited Weekend Briefing, he accidentally (on purpose?) used two related names referring to the Ninja’s secret identity. What were they?

(2. Castaways was heavily influenced by what eighteenth century classic?

(3. Wolf Claw takes place in what decade?

(4. Previous guest, Agent Felicity, is from which series?

(5. What grade is the protagonist of The Time I Saved the Day in?

(6. The couple from which series is described as ‘soul mates’?

(7. Finish this phrase: The good guys, the bad guys, and the __ __-

(8. Which visiting agent were you warned not to further inflate the ego of?

(9.How many cousins does Agent Rogers get stranded on the island with?

Our spotlight:

To Purchase

Emily thought nothing could be worse than her family moving across the ocean. When the unthinkable happens and the ship goes down, she learns just how wrong she is. Now she’s stranded on a deserted island with her two young cousins and Christopher Williams, the boy who refused to leave until the women and children were safe.

But the island hides many secrets and holds many dangers. As they struggle to survive and hold onto hope, one unsettling question rises above the others. Is the island really deserted?

* Paperback only available to winners within the continental United States. International winner(s) will be provided with a Castaways ebook.

On further note, agents, the Fugitives, the sequel to Castaways, has entered into the final drafting stages. Stay tuned for an upcoming cover reveal and release date sometime next week.

Join us next week, agents, for a special interview with Agent Kristian Clark! Until then, try not to do anything that might get you brain-wiped. Ciao!

Review: Real-Life Romance by Rhonda Stoppe


Do you believe in true love?

In a world of broken relationships and hurting people, it can seem like all we ever see is heartache-that marriages are doomed from the start and romance isn't worth the risk.

But heart-fluttering, long-lasting love is all around us...we just have to look for it!

This collection of beautiful, real-life accounts will bring laughter and tears as you enjoy each story of ordinary people who found extraordinary love. Page after page, you will find inspiration to

-rekindle the romance in your love story
-trust in God's providence and timing
-faithfully hope for your own happily-ever-after
-celebrate true romance
-believe in life-long love

Don't let the world define romance for you! See how God is at work in the hearts of His people-knitting together hearts in a love that forever endures.

My Thoughts:

Real-Life Romance was a book that was unique, heartwarming, and lovely. This book contains several true life stories of couples finding each other and the various trials and tribulations they had to go through to get to that true love. I liked the shortness of the chapters. We get a very well rounded glimpse of each couple as they tell their stories and an application at the end which includes Ponder This topics and Ask Yourself applicable questions.

All of these stories show what it really means to love through sacrifices, good and bad times, and obedience to God. Some are bittersweet and had me crying others seemed like fairy-tales, as much of one a person can get in this life. It also had me thinking and pondering my own romance story with my husband. This was a nice pick me up read.

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

About the Author:

Rhonda Stoppe is the No Regrets Woman. With more than 20 years of experience as a pastor's wife, mom, mentor, author, and speaker, Rhonda uses humor and honest communication to help women build No Regrets Lives. She and her husband live their real-life romance in northern California, and have four grown children and eight grandchildren.

Find out more about Rhonda at

What others are saying: 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Love by the Numbers by Laura V. Hilton

About the Book

Title: Love by the Numbers
Author: Laura V. Hilton
Genre: Christian Amish fiction
Release Date: February 6, 2018
After her fiancĂ© dies in a buggy accident, Lydia Hershberger is invited to Jamesport to manage her Mennonite aunt’s gift store while her aunt and uncle are on a mission trip. While there, Lydia gets acquainted with her aentie’s best friend, Bethel Bontrager, and her grown son, Caleb. Lydia is surprised to find herself drawn to handsome clockmaker, Caleb Bontrager. But in spite of an instant flame of attraction between them, he doesn’t seem interested. In fact, pesky Caleb treats her like he doesn’t even like her.
Bright and sparkly. That’s Caleb’s first impression of Lydia. He’s always been attracted to sparkly things. In fact, his affinity for those things, and the trouble they can cause, are exactly why he’s determined to change his ways and settle down. With Lydia’s aentie gone, he is handling the books for the gift shop and is forced to spend too much time in her presence.
When God offers Lydia a second chance at love and family, will she take it? Or will the secret Caleb harbors cause her even more heartbreak?

Click here to purchase your copy!
My Thoughts:

Love by the Numbers just might be my favorite Laura Hilton book. The theme of this story is what really spoke to me. Caleb and Lydia are two people who both have some skeletons in their closet, one due to outside influences and the other due to personal sin. Neither believes that they should have the desires of their hearts met; both feel they must settle for less.

I liked how both Lydia and Caleb learned to rely on God’s grace and not on man’s opinion. There seemed to be more of a focus on the physical side of a relationship for Caleb. It was certainly the thing he was most tempted with, especially when it comes to his feelings concerning Lydia. There is a profound statement in the book that Caleb’s father said to him. It went along the lines that God is the one who gives us our passions (the desires of our hearts), but we have a responsibility to honor Him in obedience and waiting for the right time and permission as in this case of a physical relationship with Caleb and Lydia, marriage first.

The lesson of forgiveness is also strong in this story. Especially in forgiving oneself and moving on from the past to embrace the gifts and blessings of the present and future. I look forward to more by author Hilton.

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

About the Author

Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.
When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.
Guest Post from Laura V. Hilton
Story Behind the Story – Love by the Numbers
Caleb was a minor character in couple of my Amish books – I think he first made a by name appearance in Amish Wanderer and Christmas Admirer. A minor character. Lydia was a very minor one-time appearance in those stories, too, a girl who happened to be in the room with Bethany and Susanna at a wedding. (This story is stand alone!) But I knew when Caleb first saw Lydia that they would end up together by the way he reacted to her presence. I wondered what their story was.

March and April is tornado season in Arkansas (and in many other states) and in 2011 we had a bad one. I was out and about that day, driving to the county seat with my five children, and there was something in the air. It was heavy, hard to breathe, and the sky was black off to the west. I’m sure I broke speed limits racing to Melbourne, and then home again so we wouldn’t be out in the storm.
Later that afternoon, tornado sirens went off. One went over our house – even from the basement we could hear the sound of a train roaring overhead. Scary. And still thanking God it didn’t touch down. Highland, Ash Flat, and Evening Shade, Arkansas were hit hard. Buildings completely gone. When we drove out that way later in the week there were pickup trucks in the tops of trees. Other things in odd and unusual places. I always wondered how they got the treetop pickups down. I would’ve stopped to watch if I’d been out there when it was done. I did hear that some of those trucks weren’t damaged at all. Unreal. My two sons and my husband both helped with clean up and my oldest son went with a crew to Joplin, Missouri, to help with clean up there.
There has been other occasions I’ve been out in tornados. Once I was in the Walmart parking lot when a tornado went through a town west of it. We could see the funnel touching down from where we stood. It did hail when we were on our way home, praying our house was still standing. It was.

On a different note, in 2016 my oldest son came home with a kitten. She was the sweetest thing ever, and he named her Rosie. Sadly, I was highly allergic to her. I couldn’t even be around the children after they played with her. They’d have to go change clothes and wash their hands, otherwise I couldn’t breathe. Rosie was full Siamese, blue eyes and all, and she was so adorable. I allowed my son to keep her in the shed. I was about four chapters into the story when Rosie found some poison (I think, not sure) and died. We all cried.
Also about the time I was writing this, a very dear friend of a lot of writers died. I told my street team I was going to name a character after her, and was told a lot of writers would be. I agreed. And a lot of their books were released already. But Aenti Judith in this story is named after Judy Burgi. I still miss her and pray for her family.
One of the verses my daughter had to memorize in Sunday School was 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. ‘We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.’ Perfect for the faith message in Love by the Numbers! I love how God always provides the perfect verse for my characters’ faith messages. I’m pretty sure this verse is one I never memorized, and I never would of thought of it on my own, but God put it in my daughter’s lessons for Sunday School, so she had to memorize it – and thus I did too since I help my daughters learn their verses every week.
I hope you’ll enjoy the story!

Because of Him,
Laura V. Hilton 

Blog Stops

Pursuing Stacie, February 13
Quiet Quilter, February 13
Red Headed Book Lady, February 13
Babs Book Bistro, February 13
Blogging With Carol, February 14
Among the Reads, February 14
SusanLovesBooks, February 16
Carpe Diem, February 16
Splashes of Joy, February 17, February 18
A Reader’s Brain, February 19
C Jane Read, February 20
Daysong Reflections, February 20
margaret kazmierczak, February 20
Bibliophile Reviews, February 21
A Greater Yes, February 22
Texas Book-aholic, February 22
Pause for Tales, February 23
Have A Wonderful Day, February 23
cherylbbookblog, February 24
Simple Harvest Reads, February 24
Christian Bookaholic, February 25
Janices book reviews, February 25
For The Love of Books, February 26
Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 26
Bigreadersite, February 26

In honor of the tour, Whitaker House is giving away
Grand Prize Package: Love By the Numbers, Healing Love (Amish of Webster County #1), and The Snow Globe (The Amish of Jamesport #1) by Laura Hilton; “The Angels Cry Holy” scented candle in tin with lid from Abba Jerusalem
1st Place Package: Love By the Numbers, The Snow Globe (The Amish of Jamesport #1) by Laura Hilton, and Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book with Colored Pencils
2nd Place Package: Love By the Number by Laura Hilton and Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book with Colored Pencils!!!
Click the link to enter!

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Phoebe's Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

About the Book

Title: Phoebe’s Light
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Historical romance
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she’s doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a “minder” on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Marcy, a man whom she loathes.
Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary’s journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe’s shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way—just in time.

In this brand-new series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her signature twists and turns to bear on a fascinating new faith community: the Quakers of colonial-era Nantucket Island.

Click here to purchase your copy!
My Thoughts:
Phoebe’s Light was a story that really surprised me. I was not expecting what I read, it seemed different than other books I have read by author Fisher, and that was a really nice surprise. Going into this book I assumed I would get a story like her previous series about the Amish coming to America only about Quakers. We do get more of an in depth look at what the Quakers believed and how they lived. Some of their customs that was portrayed in this book were new to me and so that was a bonus to learn something new.

Phoebe has just turned 18 and she has inherited her great-grandmother, Mary Coffin’s journal. So we are actually given two stories, two different timelines. Phoebe’s and Mary’s as we see the life and turmoil of the early Quakers and the happenings of Phoebe’s day. The journal part is written uniquely throughout the book. You will definitely know when it is time for Mary’s story.

I liked the thought of Phoebe getting some much needed wisdom from her ancestor. Her mother had passed on; her father was something of an absent minded inventor. Phoebe was a young woman who figured out what she thought she wanted, was true to her faith, and decided to go after what she thought was her dreams.  Against the advice of family and friends she does end up in a situation that was less than desirable.  Phoebe’s story does finish in this book; however Mary has a few more adventures hidden in her journal that I am most interested in reading.

This story was unique in where it went; we definitely meet some memorable characters. There is a small amount of romance in both timelines. This is much more of a story about true love and patience, waiting on God, and finding yourself. There is adventure and mystery that is also included and I had a hard time putting this one down.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing, The Newcomer, and The Return in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher
A Stroll down Petticoat Row
Thirty years ago, I talked my sister into going on a trip to Nantucket Island. It’s one of those places that had always intrigued me. As a girl in the 1930s, my mother’s family vacationed in Nantucket; she even has a lightship basket to show for it. I expected the island to be interesting and beautiful, and it certainly did not disappoint. But something else happened as I walked down Centre Street one morning. This island captured my imagination in a way that’s hard to put into words. At the risk of sounding a tiny bit sun touched, I could practically see 19th century people on the roads, hear the “thee’s and thou’s” in their speech, even smell the strong scents of a bygone century—the musky perfume of rendered whale oil, the burning wood of the blacksmith, all mingled with the bracing sea air.
Centre Street has a local nickname: Petticoat Row. It comes from the 1800s, when men were at sea for long periods and women stepped into their shoes to keep businesses going. Nantucket women gained a reputation for being strong and capable. Their competence was encouraged by the Society of Friends (Quakers), the island’s dominant religion, which believed in the equality of men and women in all aspects of life. That hasn’t changed. Today, half of all Nantucket businesses are run by women.
Petticoat Row stuck in my mind, and eventually became the hook to contract a series of historical fiction with Revell Books. The ‘Nantucket Legacy’ series covers the rise and fall of Nantucket’s whaling period, when it became the wealthiest port in the world.
First up is Phoebe’s Light, releasing in February 2018, a novel about a spirited young woman who seeks her fortune only to find out she already had it.
After reading about Phoebe, I hope you’ll consider planning a trip to Nantucket (though try to go off-season. The population swells five times in the summer!). When you go, include a stop at the Petticoat Row Bakery (35 Centre Street)—the very location where Phoebe grew up, albeit a few centuries ago. Don’t leave the island without trying the Morning Glory Muffins, an island favorite. So worth the trip!

Nantucket’s Famous Morning Glory Muffins
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 ¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup raisins
2 cup grated carrots (4 large)
1 apple, shredded
8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup pecans or walnuts
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

Sift together sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the fruit, carrots and nuts and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with oil and vanilla. Combine with dry ingredients and blend well.
Spoon batter into cupcake tins lined with muffin papers. Fill each cup to the brim. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. These muffins needs 24 hours to ripen their full flavor. They freeze extremely well.

Recipe courtesy of Pamela A. McKinstry, Sconset Café

Blog Stops

Aryn The Libraryan, February 15
With a Joyful Noise, February 16
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 16
A Greater Yes, February 16
ASC Book Reviews, February 17
Book by Book, February 17
Texas Book-aholic, February 18
The Power of Words, February 18
Splashes of Joy, February 18
A Reader’s Brain, February 19
Karen Sue Hadley, February 19
All of a kind Mom, February 20
Baker Kella, February 21
Mommynificent, February 21
Janices book reviews, February 21
Lighthouse Academy, February 22
Readers cozy corner, February 22
Mary Hake, February 22
Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 22
Pause for Tales, February 23
Have A Wonderful Day, February 23
Faery Tales Are Real, February 23
Blogging With Carol, February 24
Among the Reads, February 24
Carpe Diem, February 24
Red Headed Book Lady, February 25
Just the Write Escape, February 25
By The Book, February 26
For The Love of Books, February 26
Margaret Kazmierczak, February 26
Simple Harvest Reads, February 26 (Guest post from Mindy)
Maureen’s Musings, February 27
Bigreadersite, February 27
Bibliophile Reviews, February 28
Pursuing Stacie, February 28

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grand prize of a Kindle!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!