Saturday, April 27, 2019

Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway: The Memory House by Rachel Hauck


About the Book



Book: The Memory House  
Author: Rachel Hauck  
Genre: Christian Romance  
Release Date: April 2, 2019  

Embracing the future means remembering the past . . .


When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that, either. Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share. Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.

Click here to purchase your copy.


My Thoughts:


What a memorable read The Memory House is. This is another time slip novel between two women, Everleigh Applegate who had been a grandmotherly figure to Beck Holiday. When Everleigh dies, she leaves her home and monies to Beck. Beck does not know why nor does she remember Everleigh since Beck suffers from selective amnesia since her father died 18 years ago in 9/11.

There are times when people make mistakes that end up with monstrous reverberations that affect everyone involved and add responsibilities one may not have been prepared for. This is what has happened to Beck, a NYPD officer, who after one drunken mistake has changed her life and not for the better. After a rather eventful arrest, Beck is suspended and decides to check out the inheritance she was left by Everleigh in Florida and maybe find out why. There she rekindles a friendship and a possible relationship with her childhood friend, Brock, even though she has no memory of him. As long deep memories begin to resurface, I found it interesting that Beck thinks the house is haunted instead of her remembering and I enjoyed the cute and funny banter between Beck and Brock.

We are also given Everleigh’s story and shown her happiness at being newlywed and expecting her first baby. However, Everleigh’s life takes a terrible turn and she loses everything she holds dear. Letting herself go and just walking through life barely there, she meets up with an old school friend Don, who awakens the beginnings of new dreams and hopes in her.

Both women have things in common and both had a lot to live for, they just need a little push from two knights in shining armor to show them their worth. I also liked that we got the story from the guys’ perspectives as well.

Author Hauck did not disappoint with this story filled with second chances, love, and memorable characters.


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



Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pet and writes from her ivory tower. Visit her online at RachelHauck.com; Facebook: RachelHauck; Twitter: @RachelHauck; Instagram: @rachelhauc

Excerpt from The Memory House



When Mama Applegate spoke as if Everleigh were a guest rather than a family member, she embraced it with grace. Because at the end of the day, she was Rhett’s wife.

She alone shared his dreams, his heart, his life. And at night, when she couldn’t sleep, his soft breathing was her lullaby.

“Listen, mister, I have to get back to work or I won’t make it home in time for our dinner.” She tugged at his shirt collar. “So are you going to tell me why you’re here?”

 “I was going to wait until tonight, but I got so excited . . .” Rhett stepped over to the desk in front of Everleigh’s and retrieved a long white canister. “Here. Open it. I feel like a kid at Christmas.”

“Rhett, what have you done?” She pried away the cap and slipped out a set of drawings.

“Here, let me.” Rhett unrolled a rendering of a cozy house with a wraparound porch nestled between two cottonwoods. “Our house, Ev. I took those sketches you made after we were married and gave them to the architect. What do you think?”

“Th-this is our house?” She wrapped her arms around his waist, leaning against his thick arm as she studied the drawing.

“It’s our house, darling.”

Everleigh studied the drawing. It was just like she imagined. “Are you sure?” She gazed up at her husband. “I didn’t think we’d saved enough money.”

“We’ve saved every penny of your salary, and I finally sold the stud bull to Jacob Marshall. He’s been after me for a year . . .” Rhett held her with one hand while flipping through the drawing with the other. “I bought the ten acres by the stream. You know, the one with the trees we loved. Dad wanted to give it to us, but I said no strings.

I wanted to buy it so he can’t hold it over me. Not that he would, but family business can get tricky.” Everleigh leaned to see the name of the road. Memory Lane.

“Darling, the section right off Memory Lane? The spot I wanted?”

Rhett’s grandmother had named the dirt road years ago, when she imagined a large family with lots of grandkids running around. She envisioned an Applegate community.

But her sons, Melvin and Earl, went to war. Only Earl—nicknamed Spike—returned home the fall of 1918. He inherited the ranch, married Mama Applegate, and fathered Rhett, an only child. Grandma’s two daughters married and moved away.

“Your granny would be proud, darling,” Everleigh said. “We’re beginning her dream.”

“Sh-she would.” Rhett cleared his throat, pressing his fist over his cough. “So, w-what do you think?”

Tell him! The timing could not have been more perfect.

“Rhett, sweetheart—”

He jerked his wrist up, checking his watch. “Oh, Ev, sorry, darling, but I promised Dad I’d pick him up from the hardware store thirty minutes ago.” He gave her a quick, passing kiss. “I’d planned to show you these tonight, but I just couldn’t wait.” He rolled up the drawings and tucked them into the canister. “What is it you wanted to say?” On reflex, he checked his watch again.

“Nothing,” she said, smiling. “I’ll see you later. We can talk then. I have work to do anyway.”

“You sure?”

Everleigh fell into him and pressed her cheek against his chest.

“You make my dreams come true, Rhett Applegate.”

He kissed her one more time, then held her at arm’s length.

“Distraction, girl, you are one beautiful distraction.”

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, April 22
Wishful Endings, April 22
Worthy2Read, April 23
C Jane Read, April 25
Carpe Diem, April 26
Mary Hake, April 27
EmpowerMoms, April 27
Bigreadersite, April 28
Pause for Tales, April 28
Quiet Quilter, April 30
Moments, May 5

Simple Harvest Reads, May 5 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize of a copy of The Memory House!!
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/e2aa/the-memory-house-celebration-tour-giveaway


Review, Guest Post, Giveaway: Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations by V. Joy Palmer


About the Book



Book: Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations  
Author: V. Joy Palmer  
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy  
Release Date: February 14, 2019

Seventeen years after being orphaned, Apryl Burns and her twin sister Courtney have their own expectations for life. While Courtney continues to shine at everything, Apryl holds fast to the mantra that as long as her potato chip stash remains intact, then she’ll be fine. 

But when their beloved grandmother ends up injured and unable to manage her struggling antique store, Courtney makes it their mission to revamp the business and save what’s left of their family’s legacy. Despite rampant doubts in her abilities, Apryl finds herself trapped under the weight of family loyalty as they transition to a wedding venue decorating service. Soon shes forced to ask (translation: blackmail) their grandmother’s renter/handyman, Chance McFarland, for help, an arrangement that is made even worse by the fact that Chance is her former (ahem, and current) crush. 

Chance knows a few dozen things about family loyalty, which is why he begrudgingly agrees to Apryl’s insane plan. While Apryl claims they’re archenemies, the girl Chance only glimpsed in their teens starts to emerge, stealing what remains of his heart. 

But expectations are a powerful thing. Amidst the glamorous weddings and swaying willows, can those old expectations be revised into something new?  

Click here to purchase your copy,  


My Thoughts:


Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations is quite a mouthful for a title of a book but it fits perfectly. This was such a fun, snarky, cute, and romantic story that also dealt with very real issues and how we can hang on to unkind words from our past and let them shape our present and future.

At times this book had me laughing out loud to wanting to knock heads of certain characters. This is a story of twin sisters and both of their chances at true love and also discovering the God given potential they have. I enjoyed getting into both Apryl and Courtney’s head along with Chance’s.

Chance and Apryl were my favorite characters to watch and grow in love with each other. They had such a true hate to love relationship and their verbal quips with each other are some of the most memorable I have read in any book. This was a fun, fun read and I enjoyed all the pop culture and bookish quotes.

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



Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterationsand a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

Connect with Joy on her website, personal blog, devotional blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!  

More from Joy

I’ll confess something to you guys. 

For about a year, I hated these characters. Like I vehemently hated them. For their refusal to bow to my will, I counted the ways I could take revenge against them for my own sadistic pleasure, and I seriously considered printing the manuscript just so I could burn it in an oil drum while I laughed like a Disney villain. I’m told my “Ursula laugh” is uncanny. 

Some of you may be laughing. Some of you may be rolling your eyes. Some of you may be gasping in horror at the thought of an author killing her beloved characters. Or some of you may smirk and say, “I’ve been there, only I did kill my characters.” 

I dove into the story with a wide-eyed innocence that came from thinking I was in charge of the story. My characters slapped that doe-eyed look off my face, letting me know I had no idea what I was doing. Sure, I knew the basics… They start off arguing, then fall in love… I had a couple great kiss scenes planned… Worth in God would be explored… Jokes would be made… But I could not get these stubborn characters to cooperate, and I was pulling my hair out by the roots trying to force them to get on board with my excellent program! I didn’t understand them, and their actions didn’t make any sense. Then my computer crashed…and died…taking over twelve thousand words with it. (A part of me thinks Apryl was behind it.) Suddenly, I was at square one, but I was actually a little relieved. Now I could start over. 

Cue muffled sobs here. 

After the untimely demise of my computer, I went to the 2016 American Christian Fiction Writers conference. At that conference, Ted Dekker said something in one of his keynote sessions that changed everything for me. 

“Write to discover yourself.” 

I still get chills when I think about this, and it has nothing to do with the below zero temperatures in my neck of the woods. 

My writing changed after that. I made myself vulnerable, pouring my heart into Apryl and Chance’s journey like it was my personal journey. And as my literary world started to blossom, my literal world felt like it was being scorched by an exploding sun of heartache. And when that nasally (or does it only sound that way in my head?) voice whispered that I was worthless, God’s declaration of love was a big, bold font across the pages. 

Through Apryl and Chance, I rediscovered my own worth to my Father. 

And I hope you can, too. 

I hope you laugh (the seagull scene is a favorite of mine). I hope you swoon (Apryl and Chance Forever!!). I would be especially pleased if you had to look up one or two pop culture references because I’ll just feel cool. But more than anything I hope you can rediscover your worth in our Father’s eyes, whether it’s for the first time or the seven hundred and eleventh time. 

Our worth isn’t defined by our jobs, our mistakes, our families, or the plans we have. Our worth is in a loving God who calls each of His children by name. Our worth is in our Father. 

Set to the tune of a romantic comedy, there are a lot of little truths sprinkled throughout Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, but our worth in God is the glue that holds it all together – at least for me! This was the truth I wanted to convey in Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations all along. But until I started to understand this (I definitely haven’t mastered it!) in my own heart, how could I write about it? 

I hope you guys enjoy Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations. I hope this truth touches your heart in some way. 

And I hope you laugh. A lot. Hugs, Joy Palmer  

Blog Stops

Simple Harvest Reads, April 27 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Pause for Tales, April 27
The Becca Files, April 28
Moments, April 28
Creating Romance, April 30
Emily Yager, May 3

Giveaway


 
To celebrate her tour, Joy is giving away a grand prize package that includes a signed copy of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations, a signed copy of Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations, a Hand-Carved Reading Willow Tree Figurine, a Character-Inspired Locket, a Custom Roaring Twenties Book Sleeve from The Cozy Life Etsy Shop, an Anne of Green Gables Mug Rug from Bookish Star Designs Etsy Shop, and a Chai Latte Soy Candle in a Vintage Mug from Joplin House Cafe!!
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/dfea/weddings-willows-and-revised-expectations-celebration-tour-giveaway


Friday, April 26, 2019

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Beauty in Hiding by Robin Patchen


About the Book



Book: Beauty in Hiding  
Author: Robin Patchen  
Genre: Christian romantic suspense  
Release Date: March 12, 2019  

Book 2 in the Beauty in Flight series: 


Harper’s second chance at life will become a second stint in prison if anyone connects those two dead men to her. 

Nutfield, New Hampshire, is as good a place as any to hide from the murderer Harper left behind in Maryland. All she has to do is lie low and make enough money to keep herself and Red alive until she can figure out who her enemies are. 

Jack Rossi isn’t sure what to make of his beautiful new tenant and her confused grandfather. Something’s not right, but the love he sees between them and the care she takes of the old man convinces Jack they’re trustworthy. As drawn as he is to Harper, she’s his tenant, so she’s off limits. 

Derrick, Harper’s ex-boyfriend and Red’s grandson, needs to find his grandfather and get his hands on the old man’s money before Derrick ends up with a bullet in the skull. And when he gets his hands on Harper, she’ll be sorry for what she’s put him through. 

Harper and Jack grow closer, but so do her enemies. If Harper can’t trust Jack with the truth, she may lose more than just this glimpse of true love. She may lose her freedom—or her life.

 
Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts:


I have really been enjoying The Beauty in Flight series, and Beauty in Hiding is the middle book and has Harper and Red on the run from a lot of people, including Red’s grandson. I really don’t want to say too much about the plot. There is danger and romance and getting second chances, but what really pulled me in were the characters and the relationships they had with one another.

Harper left a good home to follow her dream thinking she would make it big in Hollywood. Years later she finds herself alone, trying to protect herself, and she does not know whom to turn to. Harper is the prodigal daughter and does not know yet if she can come home. Harper is stretching her new faith as well as she has turned to God to get her life turned around, however the danger that keeps following her just won’t stop.

Enter Jack Rossi her landlord and as everyone at first is, he is smitten by her beauty. But Jack uses his head and realizes there is something just not right about Harper and Red’s situation and he finds himself stepping in to help them time and time again. The big question though: will Jack be sticking around Harper when he finds out everything from her past?

I am reading book three now as I could not leave the characters where they were. I have read another book by author Patchen, Finding Amanda, and even though she writes about tough subjects her books are filled with hope for the future.


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


Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Robin to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.
 

More from Robin

I was raised in a Christian home. Our parents took my sister, my brother, and me to church every Sunday. They taught us right from wrong, but eventually, kids have to make their own choices. In my case, I chose wrong for a long time. 

Don’t misunderstand: I was always a pretty nice person. I wasn’t a thief, and I didn’t kill anybody, but I made a lot of bad decisions. Sinful decisions. I discovered that one bad choice often led to the next and the next until I was trapped in a life of my own making with no idea how to get out. 

But God… two of my favorite words in the English language. 

God had a different plan, and He pulled me out of the muck and changed my life. He showed me that I was not the person I’d been acting like. He showed me who I was, and He taught me to walk in the truth of my identity. 

Harper Cloud isn’t me, not at all. First of all, she tall and blond and drop-dead gorgeous. More than that, her choices are nothing like mine were. But she’s in the same boat I was. Thanks to a series of bad decisions, Harper was in a hole, and she didn’t know how to get herself out of it. She used drugs to quiet the condemning voices and told herself lies to make herself feel better. Someday, she told herself, she’d get her life together enough to go home to her parents. Because she couldn’t go when she was a mess. She couldn’t go until she’d done something they could be proud of. 

Thanks to a bad choice in boyfriend, Harper not only didn’t go home, she ended up in prison.

Harper’s story begins two years after she’s released. It’s the story of a woman desperate to be free of her past, clinging to hope when there’s every reason to despair, and desperate to believe what she’s been told about this Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Harper will learn about love and redemption and salvation in the course of the three books that make up the Beauty in Flight series. That is, if she can survive the danger that seems to follow her wherever she goes.

Blog Stops

amandainpa , April 13
Genesis 5020, April 15
Among the Reads, April 16
Remembrancy, April 18
Just One More, April 18
Emily Yager, April 19
EmpowerMoms, April 22
Simple Harvest Reads, April 22 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Bigreadersite, April 23
The Lit Addict, April 24
Older & Smarter?, April 25
Pause for Tales, April 26

The Becca Files, April 26

Giveaway


 
To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and the entire Beauty in Flight Series!!
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/de7a/beauty-in-hiding-celebration-tour-giveaway

My Thoughts and More on Mabel and the Little Green Men by Susan Kimmel Wright

  About the Book Book: Mabel and the Little Green Men Author:  Susan Kimmel Wright Genre: Cozy Mystery Release date: October 5, 2023 The la...