Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Review: The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

To Purchase
Book Description

From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a fresh reimagining of the classic Mulan tale.

“When it comes to happily-ever-afters, Melanie Dickerson is the undisputed queen of fairy-tale romance, and all I can say is—long live the queen!” —Julie Lessman, award-winning author

She knew a woman was expected to marry, cook, and have children, not go to war. Can she manage to stay alive, save her mother, and keep the handsome son of a duke from discovering her secret?

When Mulan decides to take her father’s place in battle against the besieging Teutonic Knights, she realizes she has been preparing for this moment her whole life—and that her life, and her mother’s, depends on her success. As the adopted daughter of poor parents, she has little power in the world. If she can’t prove herself on the battlefield, she could face death—or, perhaps worse, marriage to the village butcher.

In her disguise as a young man, Mulan meets Wolfgang, the German duke’s son who is determined to save his people even if it means fighting against his own brother. Wolfgang is exasperated by the young soldier who seems to be one step away from disaster at all times—or showing Wolfgang up in embarrassing ways.

From rivals to reluctant friends, Mulan and Wolfgang begin to share secrets with one another. But war is an uncertain time and dreams can die as quickly as they are born. When Mulan receives word of danger back home, she must make the ultimate choice. Could she be the son her bitter father never had? Or would she become the strong young woman she has been created to be?

This fresh reimagining of the classic tale takes us to fifteenth-century Lithuania where both love and war challenge the strongest of hearts.

My Thoughts:

Melanie Dickerson books tend to be a hit or miss with me, but I am pleased to say that this one was most certainly a hit! I figured it would be, I love Mulan and even if this story didn't have Mushu, I still enjoyed it so much!

The characters were great. Wolfgang was awesome. He was a tough and fearless warrior, but don't let that fool you. Wolf was just a soft little squishy sensitive spring roll. He was absolutely adorable. Mulan was kick butt without even trying. She did what she needed to do and she did it awesomely. Nothing about her character seemed forced as I have found that these "kick butt" heroines tend to be. She was honest and shy and not ruthless, but still able to do what she had to do. And her mother was just an all around awesome human being.

The battle scenes and medieval detail really drew me in. Dickerson has certainly become a master at crafting these worlds. The fighting was so tense that I actually jumped when my dog started barking while I was reading one scene. I half thought I was going to get shot with arrows!

This book has VERY strong Christian elements. I think that it might have been a little bit too forced, but I know that many of my other Christian friends will probably enjoy that aspect most of all.

My only other complaint is that I'm not quite pleased about Mulan's identity being discovered so early in the story. I laughed so hard at the mistaken identity scenes and I really felt like it could have lasted longer.

But still, I enjoyed the story and I look forward to more books in this series. Is the next book going to be a retelling of the Pied Piper??? I am SO curious.

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

Reviewed by Nicki

Friday, January 25, 2019

Review and Giveaway: With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander


Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander, the first full novel of the Carnton series, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


9780718081836 Title: With This Pledge
Series: Carnton, Book 1  
Author: Tamera Alexander  
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: January 8, 2019  
Genre: Historical Romance  

History takes on vivid life in the stunning first full-length installment of USA TODAY bestselling Tamera Alexander’s new series, The Carnton Novels.  

What can a woman—a mere governess—do against the scourge of slavery?

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Clouston’s quietly held principles oppose those of the Southern Cause—but when forty thousand soldiers converge on the fields of Franklin, Tennessee, the war demands an answer. The Carnton home where she is governess is converted into a Confederate field hospital, and Lizzie is called upon to assist the military doctor with surgeries that determine life or death. Faced with the unimaginable, she must summon fortitude, even as she fears for the life of Towny, her fiancĂ© and lifelong friend.

As a young soldier lies dying in Lizzie’s arms, she vows to relay his final words to his mother, but knows little more than the boy’s first name. That same night, decorated Mississippi sharpshooter Captain Roland Ward Jones extracts a different promise from Lizzie: that she intervene should the surgeon decide to amputate his leg.

Lizzie is nothing if not a woman of her word, earning the soldiers’ respect as she tends to the wounded within Carnton’s walls. None is more admiring than Captain Jones, who doesn’t realize she is pledged to another. But as Lizzie’s heart softens toward the Confederate captain, she discovers that his moral ground is at odds with her own. Now torn between love, principles, and promises made, she struggles to be true to her heart while standing for what she knows is right—no matter the cost.

From the pages of history and the personal accounts of those who endured the Battle of Franklin, Tamera Alexander weaves the real-life love letters between Captain Roland Ward Jones and Miss Elizabeth Clouston into a story of unlikely romance first kindled amid the shadows of war.


Head HERE for an exclusive excerpt!

My Thoughts:

The opening scenes of With This Pledge show an ordinary day, a governess teaching her students in their home. This home is Carnton located in Tennessee during the Civil War. This day turns out not to be so ordinary when the day turns dark as the war erupts all around the plantation and the wounded begin coming into the home.

This story at times can be hard to read and I can’t even imagine how hard it would have been to live during that time, to be that up close and personal with the war, the terribly wounded,  and the casualties all around. These were people and parts of them were being amputated in mass quantity to try to save their lives. Again this is not a light read and the author puts us right there in the organized chaos and feeling the emotions that Lizzie is experiencing and showing us through her eyes the calamity that has occurred.

I really liked Lizzie’s character and the strength she uses to stand up under such horrible pressure to be the hope and defender of these Confederate men, while still showing herself true to her beliefs that slavery is wrong and that the North will win.

Enter very injured in body, yet strong in spirit Captain Roland Ward Jones who knows without a doubt he is going to live. He has already tasted of very personal tragedy and this war he fought was what he thought was best for his country. I enjoyed the friendship that bloomed between these two and eventually the love that became unshakable.

I knew little of this battle where the South experienced such great loss and I was intrigued that this story was about real life folks and we get to glimpse some of the letters that were written. I appreciate the author’s great care and research that brought these characters and their stories back to life again.

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.



Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous industry-leading honors, including the Christy Award (two-time winner, seven-time finalist), the RITA Award (two-time winner, four-time finalist), the Carol Award, the Maggie Award, the Booksellers Best Award, and Library Journal's top distinction, among others. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband now reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where they live a short distance from Belmont Mansion and Belle Meade Plantation, the setting of Tamera’s two USA Today bestselling Southern series.  

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram



(1) winner will win a release copy of With This Pledge + $10 Amazon Gift Card

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 14, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm January 28, 2019. US only for a print copy of the book. International winners will receive an ebook. Gift card prize will be issued as an e-gift card. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano

About the Book

Title: Flights of Fancy  
Author: Jen Turano  
Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Gilded Age  
Release date: January 1, 2019  
Publisher: Bethany House

Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she’s always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania. 

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner. 

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.

Click here to order your copy!

My Thoughts:

Honestly, I could go on and on about my love for Jen Turano's writing until Buttercup came home. 

She is my favorite historical author. I know that some people have a hard time with the ridiculousness of her stories, but honestly, they make me laugh so hard. They are always the perfect mix of comedy, romance, drama, and inspirational all wrapped into one enjoyable book sized package. 

This might have been her most ridiculous story yet and that is saying something since I distinctly remember a problem with peacocks in In Good Company. But I think that the chickens beat out the peacocks. 

Ian and Izzie were both extremely interesting characters, I loved how Turano showed a little bit more of the business aspect in this story instead of just the upper class. This isn't my favorite of her works, but I was still filled with such a nostalgia after I finished this one. I wished that I hadn't because I missed it. 

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

Reviewed by Nicki

About the Author

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.

Guest post from Jen

Q & A With Jen Turano

“Flights of Fancy” is the first book in the American Heiress Series. What inspired you to write this series? 

The inspiration for this entire series started off with a What If? All of my proposals for new series start off that way, and this time it was – What if Consuelo Vanderbilt had balked when her mother insisted she marry the Duke of Marlborough – and then that led to – What if she’d run away until her mother came to her senses? Just like that, an entire series was born – a bit of a different take on American heiresses because in all three books, my heiresses might decide to go a tad…rogue. We start off with Miss Isadora Delafield – who does run off to avoid marriage to a duke, then we get to meet Miss Poppy Garrison, who is an unexpected heiress but who can’t quite seem to get a handle on the expected social decorum of the day, and then the final book revolves around Miss Beatrix Waterbury – who gets banished to Chicago after she annoys her mother one too many times, and once there, well, gets up to a bit of mischief. 

How do you come up with the names of your characters? 

I find most of my names as I research the New York Four-Hundred, although I normally take a first name here, a last name there so I’m not stepping on any toes by writing about an actual historical figure – except for some of the main figures in New York society back then, such as Mr. Ward McAllister – who was the social arbiter of the day, or Mrs. William Astor, who was the queen of that society. What I don’t do is simply make up names, no matter how outrageous they may appear. And, no matter how I may love a certain name, if the character decides it doesn’t suit them, that’s it, it’s out and I’m back to the drawing board. 

How do you picture your character? Do you use Pinterest, magazines, movies? 

Odd as this may seem, I don’t use pictures for my characters. They start off in my mind as a blurry figure, and then, they develop from there – I like to keep my descriptions of them somewhat vague on the pages so that the reader can imagine them exactly the way they’d like them to be. What are some of your favorite resources for historical research? I’ve been building up a research library over the past few years and now have over 200 books dedicated to the Gilded Age. My favorites are – “A Season of Splendor” by Greg King, “Society as I Have Found It” by Ward McAllister, “The Gilded Age in New York – 1870-1910” by Esther Crain, and “ ‘King Lehr’ and the Gilded Age” by Elizabeth Drexel Lehr. 

The setting for “Flights of Fancy” is a bit of a departure for you since it’s set in and outside of Pittsburgh. Any reason for that? 

My mom was born in Pittsburgh, and unfortunately, her father, a prominent attorney back in the day, died when she was only four. I thought it would be cool to set a story in Pittsburgh, which would then allow me to really dive into some research. And get this – while I was doing that research, I found this obscure journal called “Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In that journal was a bit about my great-grandfather, Fred, his wife, Susie, my grandfather, and his brother and sister, but I’d never heard about this brother, who apparently died quite young. One of the most fabulous research tidbits I’ve uncovered to date. 

What are you working on now? 

I’ve just recently turned in the content edits for the second book in this series, “Diamond in the Rough,” and I’ve also turned in a novella about the Harvey Girls that will be coming out in a novella collection in Fall, 2019. With those out of the way, I’m now starting the third and final book in the American Heiress series, Miss Beatrix Waterbury’s story, but I’m having a bit of a struggle with the hero at the moment – he was supposed to be Edward, but he doesn’t want to be an Edward – I think he wants to be Norman – but, time will tell on that one – don’t hold me to the name – it’ll depend on if he changes his mind or not – pesky characters. 

You seem to enjoy adding animals in many of your stories. Will we find any animals in “Flights of Fancy?” 

Since Miss Isadora Delafield ends up on a farm, I do believe you will find a few animals, such as an adorable cow by the name of Buttercup, a few goats that seem to have a great liking for laundry, and…there might be some chickens. Thanks for stopping by today, everyone! Always enjoy visiting with all of you – in fact, that’s the best part of my job! All the best, ~ Jen ~

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, January 10
Among the Reads, January 10
Through the Fire, January 10
Blogging With Carol, January 11
Back Porch Reads, January 12
KarenSueHadley, January 12
Godly Book Reviews, January 12
Daysong Refections, January 12
Livin Lit, January 13
The Becca Files, January 13
Texas Book-aholic, January 13
Rebekah’s Quill, January 14
All-of-a-kind Mom, January 15
Stories By Gina, January 15
Splashes of Joy, January 16
Mary Hake, January 17
Maureen’s Musings, January 17
Bibliophile Reviews, January 17
Baker Kella, January 18
Simple Harvest Reads, January 18 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Robin is Bookish, January 19
Carpe Diem, January 19
Life with the Tribe, January 20
amandainpa, January 21
Pause for Tales, January 22
Live Love Read, January 23
A Rup Life, January 23

Bigreadersite, January 23


To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a grand prize of a trunk filled with all of Jen’s full-length novels released to date!!

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/d8d1/flights-of-fancy-celebration-tour-giveaway

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Weekend Briefing: Cover Reveal

Days without brain-wiping: 19 (If anyone asks, the reason Agent Nelson doesn't remember New Year's Eve, it's because he slept through it).

And now, agents, gather around for a special weekend briefing. The cover reveal of Heart of Steel!

Let's do a walk-through of the series, shall we?

Emily Rogers is ready for a summer that doesn't include being cast away on islands or chased around the globe. So when she's thrilled to be invited to an elite pre-college class along with her boyfriend, Christopher Williams, she jumps at the chance. But things are not all they seem at the Yin Program. Students are disappearing, and someone seems to be toying with their minds...

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Charisa O'Dell is anticipating a summer of romance and adventure with her crime-fighting partner, Kyle Rivers. But she never expects that they'll be kidnapped and taken to an underground bunker to be guinea pigs to a mad scientist named Jin Yin. Most shocking of all, she learns they are not the only superhumans in the world...

Somehow, Emily and Charisa have to break out of the prisons imposed on them to decipher the conspiracy before their minds are enslaved by the darkness within.

Charisa O'Dell is on the run with her boyfriend, Kyle Rivers, and Tim, their fellow superhuman. She will stop at nothing to bring to justice the scientist responsible for kidnapping them, and to avenge the broken girl they had to leave behind. But to do so, they must travel across the world to gather evidence against the perpetrators behind the inhumane crimes done to them... and expose a conspiracy bigger than they could have imagined.

Meanwhile, Emily Rogers is doing her part as the mole in the Yin Program, leading her own investigation into this strange plot while making sure that she rises higher and higher in the ranks of the program that is more than a pre-college study. She'll do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of what they've done to her boyfriend, Christopher Williams. Christopher, who is himself, but not himself- who she can't even trust anymore. Who is getting more and more webbed up in this strange scheme with each passing second...

Together, Charisa and Emily have to rise above the inhumanities inflicted upon them to bring to justice the monsters who have imprisoned those they love. Or be consumed by the thirst for vengeance that could destroy them all.

And now, the moment we've all been waiting for-

Charisa leads the front lines in a stint of guerrilla warfare against those who have incarcerated her father and who are slowly imprisoning the world one Cure vaccine at at time- even as her loathing of them twists her into their likeness.

Emily tries to urge the masses and governments of world to resist the temptations offered them by the one who would gladly rule over them, but how much more can her mind and body take before giving in to the weakness of her heart?

And Alex fights to rise above his poisonous bloodline to choose what is right and good. To fight for freedom. And fight his own family even though it breaks his heart.

It's days like these that change the world as we know it. 

There you have it, agents- The entire Dystopian Takevoer Trilogy covers are de-classified. Which means you are now free to spread the word.

But be careful that you don't give any un-de-classified secrets away. It would be a shame to have to memory wipe anyone and break our streak.

Also, feel free to comment what you think of the covers (all done by the talented Victoria Cooper) and subscribe so you don't miss any future posts while Mission Head is still working out a schedule. Ciao for now!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Review and Giveaway: Who I Am with You by Robin Lee Hatcher

To Purchase

For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith.

Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.

Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination. 

When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have broken their hearts, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again.

Who I Am with You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever.

Who I Am with You is the first book in Robin’s new “A Legacy of Faith” series.

My Thoughts:

Who I Am with You, is a novel that tackles some very difficult life situations. Widowed and pregnant, Jessica Mason has lost both her husband and daughter in a tragic accident and before that she had also lost her marriage due to her husband’s betrayal. Now pregnant and alone she has shut herself off from the world as much as she can.

Ridley Chesterfield knows something about betrayal in a different way. His life has been tossed upside down as he has been blamed for a political scandal and his name has been dragged through the mud by the media twisting the truth and lies. Needing to get away, he escapes to his parent’s vacation home which just happens to be next door to Jessica’s.

Ridley and Jessica find themselves in similar situations; both trying to hide from the world and go it alone. However, we and they were never meant to be alone so what we have is a tender story full of heartbreak of two people finding their way back into life, friendship, and love -a bit wiser, wearier, but also stronger and more hopeful.

I enjoyed how their relationship unfolded and hurt for both due to their circumstances and cheered when they decided to trust each other. The backdrop of this story has to do with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s Bible and the many scriptures underlined and the notes taken. We see Andrew’s story unfold in the late 1920’s and 1930’s and his memorable story is not without heartbreak either.

This story has strong themes of love and forgiveness, in particular learning the hard lessons of forgiving and loving no matter what, taking marriage vows seriously, and trusting God to hold you in His hand no matter what life throws at you or who betrays you.  I look forward to more of this series as the Bible continues to be passed to those who need it the most.

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

About the Author:

Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 75 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an ACFW Carol Award winner and an eight-time finalist and has won two RITA Awards and been a finalist eleven times. Her numerous other awards include the Christy Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award. She is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.
When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat.


Click below for the giveaway:

More about the tour: