Book Review: The White City

 

The White City FB Banner

About the Book

Book: The White City

Author: Grace Hitchcock

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release Date: March, 2019

The white CityMysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair

Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

 

Click here to order your copy.

My Thoughts

I love the idea of this book. A novel based on a crime that actually happened in history? Sounds fabulous, right? While I love the idea of it, I think the actual book left a bit to be desired. I don’t want to be hard on this author as I believe this is her first full-length novel. I truly think that she could write some terrific novels. However, I found The White City to be slightly overdone and cheesy and maybe even a bit cliché. Of course, this is just my personal opinion, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who greatly enjoyed this book. Part of my dislike for this book came from my cynical reaction to cheesy love stories. The love story is a big part of the predictability of this book. Without giving away any spoilers, it ends just as you would expect. So in conclusion: great plot idea, but predictable. However in saying all of that, I would read another book by this author if she writes more. I believe this author has a lot of potential, and I predict that her books will only get better.

I was given a free copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing in conjunction with Celebrate Lit. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

grace hitchcockGrace Hitchcock is the author of three novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. The White City is her debut novel and releases March 2019 with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

 

Guest Post from Grace

True Colors—Fiction Based on Strange, But True, American Crime Stories

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through 6 unique stories of historical romantic suspense in the exciting new True Colors series.

In book one, The White City, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped while attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a detective, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

The Real Criminal Behind the Story

While Winnifred Wylde is a fictional character, Doctor H. H. Holmes was very real and became infamously known as America’s first serial killer. Learn more about him HERE.

 

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, March 14

A Baker’s Perspective, March 14

The Lit Addict, March 14

janicesbookreviews, March 14

The Power of Words, March 15

Multifarious, March 15

Back Porch Reads, March 15

Livin’ Lit, March 16

Lis Loves Reading, March 16

Just Your Average reviews, March 16

Rev. Rebecca Writes, March 17

For the Love of Literature, March 17

Bibliophile Reviews, March 17

Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 18

Through the Fire Blogs, March 18

By The Book, March 18

A Reader’s Brain, March 18

Girls in White Dresses, March 19

Stories By Gina , March 19

EmpowerMoms, March 19

Inklings and notions, March 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 20

Bigreadersite, March 21

Genesis 5020, March 21

Blossoms and Blessings, March 21

The Becca Files, March 21

Emily Yager, March 22

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, March 22

Pause for Tales, March 22

Inspired by fiction, March 23

Mary Hake, March 23

Book by Book, March 23

Real World Bible Study, March 23

Blogging With Carol, March 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 24

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 24

Maureen’s Musings, March 25

amandainpa, March 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 25

Older & Smarter?, March 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 26

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner , March 26

Godly Book Reviews, March 27

For Him and my Family, March 27

Texas Book-aholic, March 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The White City!!

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/dd7d/the-white-city-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: The Secrets of Paper and Ink

 

The Secrets of Paper and Ink FB Banner(2)

About the Book51e5obPqP-L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

Title: The Secrets of Paper and Ink

Author: Lindsay Harrel

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release date: February 26, 2019

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Lindsay Harrel presents a powerful story of healing, forgiveness, and finding the courage to write your own story.

A year after the death of her abusive fiancé, domestic violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England—a place she’s learned to love through the words of her favorite author—and finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out in the bookstore underneath the room she’s renting. Given her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect place to find peace.

Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the charming bookstore afloat.

More than 150 years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily’s journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth.

The lives of the three women intertwine as each learns the power she has over the story of her life.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

This week has been crazy for me. Insane. Overwhelming. I went from Philadelphia to New York City and then home for one night. Then I went to Indiana for a dear friend’s mother’s funeral. Now I am home again, trying to catch my breath. It has been a week of highs and lows to say the least. Why am I telling you this? Because in order to understand how I feel about this book, you have to understand the frame of mind I was in when I read it. I devoured this book on the way to Indiana when I was feeling sad and tired and I just wanted to go home. This book was such a welcome reprieve from all the emotions that I was experiencing. It was so nice to think about something else, someone else’s problems. I really enjoyed this book. It talked about heavy stuff without being overwhelming. This coming from someone who was already overwhelmed when she read it. I loved the author’s focus on surrender and following God.

One of the reasons that I enjoyed this book was because I connected with the characters. Even though I have never experienced abuse or marriage problems, I connected with the characters’ search for healing. Their search was not a straight line from A to B. Rather it was full of ups and downs and sometimes seemed more like one step forward, five steps back. But isn’t that how life is for all of us? And somehow it is beautiful and heartbreaking and awe-inspiring and terrifying all at the same time. So if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed today, pause, breathe, and look at how far you’ve come. Healing doesn’t always look like we expect, but if we can surrender to God and His leading, it will come.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing in conjunction with Celebrate Lit. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the AuthorB1TqqyVuflS._US230_

Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Connect with her at LindsayHarrel.com.

 

Guest Post from Lindsay

With every book I write, it seems God has something new to teach me. That certainly was true of The Secrets of Paper and Ink.

Lately, I am learning more and more about the power of our words. I’ve become more conscious of the words I speak over myself as well as what I say to other people. It’s more than “positive thinking”—the words we say ultimately contribute to the stories we weave, and I want my story to be as positive and hope-filled as possible, regardless of my circumstances.

I’ve also become much more aware of the lies that I tell myself—“you are not worthy, you are not enough, you will never achieve what you want to achieve”—and the need to replace those lies with the truths that God says about me. I have listened to Lauren Daigle’s song You Say on repeat lately, and it has become a theme not just of The Secrets of Paper and Ink, but one in the story of my very life.

So while I may not have experienced everything my characters have—I’ve never suffered emotional abuse, or been ostracized by my family, or been orphaned and alone in a world that seems against me at every turn—I have learned alongside them. I set out to write a book that would draw readers closer to the true healer and hope giver, and I ended up being drawn closer myself.

And that, to me, is the true power of story.

 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 26

The Avid Reader, February 26

The Power of Words, February 26

Carla Loves To Read, February 26

Blogging With Carol, February 27

Inspirationally Ever After, February 27

Kristin’s Book Reviews, February 27

Real World Bible Study, February 28

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, February 28

Carpe Diem, February 28

A Baker’s Perspective, March 1

Andy Carmichael, March 1

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 1

Bibliophile Reviews, March 2

The Becca Files, March 2

Just Your Average reviews, March 2

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 3

Emily Yager, March 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 3

Genesis 5020, March 4

Reader’s Cozy Corner, March 4

Stories By Gina, March 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 5

Simple Harvest Reads, March 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, March 5

Remembrancy, March 6

Through the Fire Blogs, March 6

Inklings and Notions, March 6

Just the Write Escape, March 7

Pause for Tales, March 7

Book by Book, March 7

Living Life Free in Christ, March 8

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 8

To Everything A Season, March 8

The Lit Addict, March 9

Texas Book-aholic, March 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 10

Janices book reviews, March 10

Bigreadersite, March 10

Henry Happens, March 11

Godly Book Reviews, March 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 11

amandainpa , March 11

Giveaway

Image result for the heart between us

To celebrate her tour, Lindsay is giving away a copy of Lindsay’s first book The Heart Between Us!!

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/dcc3/the-secrets-of-paper-and-ink-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe

 

Brunch at bittersweet cafe FB Banner

About the Book

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe cover

Title: Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe

Author: Carla Laureano

Genre: Christian Romance

Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Tyndale

Baker and pastry chef Melody Johansson has always believed in finding the positive in every situation, but seven years after she moved to Denver, she can’t deny that she’s stuck in a rut. One relationship after another has ended in disaster, and her classical French training is being wasted on her night job in a mediocre chain bakery. Then the charming and handsome private pilot Justin Keller lands on the doorstep of her workplace in a snowstorm, and Melody feels like it’s a sign that her luck is finally turning around.

Justin is intrigued by the lively bohemian baker, but the last thing he’s looking for is a relationship. His own romantic failures have proven that the demands of his job are incompatible with meaningful connections, and he’s already pledged his life savings to a new business venture across the country—an island air charter in Florida with his sister and brother-in-law.

Against their better judgment, Melody and Justin find themselves drawn together by their unconventional career choices and shared love of adventure. But when an unexpected windfall provides Melody with the chance to open her dream bakery-café in Denver with her best friend, chef Rachel Bishop, she’s faced with an impossible choice: stay and put down roots with the people and place she’s come to call home . . . or give it all up for the man she loves.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

Because I am a person that enjoys baking, I loved how much this book talked about baking. Although it did make me feel a bit like an amateur baker. It also inspired me to get better at baking and be more adventurous in my recipe choices. I had my first attempt at making macarons this week and fully understand Melody Johansson’s grandma’s frustration at not being able to get them right. Attempt two is happening this afternoon so we shall see. But anyway, I did enjoy this book. It was a fun and easy read.

This book is the second book in a series. I read the first book already but it was several months ago, and I had definitely forgotten some of the details from it. I do not think that you need to read the first book before this one, but it may add a depth to the story that would not be there otherwise.

I enjoyed the plot of this book. The author writes in an easy-to-read style, and I appreciated the witty banter. This book did feel like more of a dessert rather than a main meal. A pleasurable read that did not push me.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book in conjunction with Celebrate Lit for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

Carla LaureanoCarla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

 

Guest Post from Carla

“Confessions of An Erstwhile Baker”

 

Like most females, baking is encoded somewhere deep down in my DNA. Call it nature or call it nurture, but at the earliest age, I figured out that the cute boy in my English class would talk to me if it involved chocolate chip cookies. Got my heart broken or had a friend betray me? I grabbed the mixing bowl and went for the brownies (even better if they’re served à la mode.) My friend was having a birthday? I made a cake drowned in pounds of buttercream.

I quickly graduated from the boxed mixes to the real thing when I got married and had a kitchen large enough to roll out dough. I would comb magazines for the best recipes and spend my weekends trying them out. I quickly became known for bringing beautifully iced Christmas cookies and delicious homemade cakes to work.

Then my husband and I moved our young family from Los Angeles to Denver, a relocation that was about 1000 miles northeast and 5000 feet up. Suddenly, every recipe I’d perfected in the previous eight years failed. Cookies burned to crisps, cakes fell, and don’t get me started on candy making. Gradually, I adapted my recipes (my beloved never-fail Toll House recipe took eight tries to get right) and even became an avid artisan bread-baker.

Then disaster. Or at least, what a baker would consider a disaster. After developing chronic health problems, I discovered that among other things, I was sensitive to gluten. The horror! In order to heal, I turned to the paleo diet, which eliminates all grains (there goes most gluten free recipes) and all processed sugars (there goes everything else). I’ve tried baking paleo-style, and while I can now make cakes that even my gluten-fiend family enjoy, it’s just not the same.

So what’s a once-obsessive baker do when she can’t eat her creations? She bakes for other people and goes on faith that they actually taste good… considering she can’t taste them herself.

It struck me that there was a spiritual lesson in that, and an obvious tie to Brunch at Bittersweet Café, which deals in large part with Melody’s faith journey. There are times when we have no idea if things are working out the way they’re supposed to, in which case we just have to trust the “recipe” and the input of friends and family who love us. Sometimes our instincts tell us when we’re off track, and sometimes we need that outside nudge from our “taste-testers” to put us back on course.

In any case, what Melody and I have in common is that we both bake to show our love for the people around us. And the process of baking my favorites, even knowing that I can’t enjoy them myself, can still be a selfless way to show people they’re important to me.

Fortunately, macarons, which happen to be made with almond flour, are still on the menu.

 

Blog Stops

Quiet Quilter, February 12

Among the Reads, February 12

Lighthouse Academy, February 12

By The Book, February 12

The Power of Words, February 13

As He Leads is Joy, February 13

Cultivating Us, February 13

Blossoms and Blessings, February 13

Fiction Aficionado, February 14

The Lit Addict, February 14

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, February 14

This Chattanooga Mommy Saves, February 14

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 15

Just the Write Escape, February 15

100 Pages per Hour, February 15

Splashes of Joy, February 15

Bibliophile Reviews, February 16

Texas Book-aholic, February 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 16

C Jane Read, February 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 17

Moments, February 17

Back Porch Reads, February 17

Cordially Barbara, February 18

Genesis 5020, February 18

Simple Harvest Reads, February 18 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 18

Livin’ Lit, February 19

Kat’s Corner Books, February 19

Life with the Tribe, February 19

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 19

Through the Fire Blogs, February 20

Remembrancy, February 20

Vicky Sluiter, February 20

Living Life Free in Christ, February 20

2014 and Beyond!, February 21

Daysong Reflections, February 21

Inklings and Notions, February 21

Pause for Tales, February 21

Cafinated Reads, February 22

Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 22

two points of interest, February 22

Ashley’s Bookshelf, February 22

My Devotional Thoughts, February 23

Two Girls and a Book, February 23

The Christian Fiction Girl, February 23

For the love of books, February 23

God is Love, February 24

Book by Book, February 24

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 24

Janices book reviews, February 24

Lukewarm Tea, February 25

Carpe Diem, February 25

A Baker’s Perspective, February 25

Bigreadersite, February 25

Giveaway

brunch at bittersweet cafe giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carla is giving away a grand prize package of a macaron baking mat, a macaron book, and a paperback copy of Brunch at Bittersweet Café!!

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/db0f/brunch-at-bittersweet-cafe-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: The Seamstress

 

The seamstress FB Banner

About the Book

The seamstress cover

Title: The Seamstress

Author: Allison Pittman

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Tyndale

A beautifully crafted story breathes life into the cameo character from the classic novel A Tale of Two Cities.

France, 1788
It is the best of times . . .

On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins—Renée and Laurette—have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon’s sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.

It is the worst of times . . .

Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.

It is the story that has never been told.

In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

This book was fascinating. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect when I first started reading it. It began rather slowly. Actually the entire book moves at a fairly slow pace, but not in a bad way. I loved Allison Pittman’s writing style. She wrote in such a way that even though the story moved slowly in some parts, I never got bored. Her style is reminiscent of the classics. Fitting I suppose, as this book was inspired by A Tale of Two Cities. Which I now really want to read. Any book that inspires me to read a classic or is written in a classical style gets a good review from me.

This book is set right before and during the French Revolution. I enjoy books set during this time period, but I hate them as well. I know how the French Revolution story ends, and it makes me sad. So many people died, from hunger and from the guillotine. I think this time period showed clearly what desperation and deprivation and starvation can drive people to do. It showed the darkness that humanity is capable of. But even so, this time period is not totally without light. There were those who stood against the flood, who stood up for what is right. Allison Pittman’s book shows a brief snapshot of some of those people, and that is one of the reasons that I enjoyed it so much. It shows the best and worst of human nature. All in all, it was a very enjoyable read, and I would recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in conjunction with Celebrate Lit for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

allison PittmanAllison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.

 

Guest Post from Allison

My dream of being an author began by “finishing” other author’s works, fleshing out the stories of neglected characters. When I read the final books in the Little House series, I was far more interested in Cap Garland than I was in Almonzo Wilder, and I imagined all kinds of stories in which he was the hero.

This, The Seamstress, is one of those stories that came to me in a single burst of thought. I was teaching my sophomore English class, discussing through the final scenes in A Tale of Two Cities, when the little seamstress in those final pages reached out to me. She is a nameless character, seemingly more symbolic than anything. Dickens, however, gives her an entire backstory in a single phrase: I have a cousin who lives in the country. How will she ever know what became of me? I remember pausing right then and there in front of my students and saying, “Now, there’s the story I want to write.”

Now, years later, I have.

While every word of every Charles Dickens novel is a master class in writing, what he gave to me for The Seamstress is the kind of stuff that brings life and breath to fiction. I have to convey the fact that any character on my pages—no matter how much story space he or she is allotted—has a life between them. Every man was once a child; every woman a vulnerable young girl.

So, Dickens gave me the bones of the story. A seamstress. A cousin in the country. A country ripped apart; family torn from family. I did my very best to put flesh on those bones, but no writer can ever bring the life and breath. Only a reader can do that.

Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, February 9

The Lit Addict, February 9

The Power of Words, February 9

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis & Christ Collide, February 10

Lis Loves Reading, February 10

Maureen’s Musings, February 10

Carpe Diem, February 11

A Baker’s Perspective, February 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 12

Emily Yager, February 12

Mary Hake, February 12

Stories By Gina, February 13

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 13

The Christian Fiction Girl, February 13

Inspired by fiction, February 14

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

Remembrancy, February 14

Through the Fire Blogs, February 15

Seasonsofopportunities, February 15

Inspiration Clothesline, February 15

Books, Books, and More Books, February 16

Inklings and Notions, February 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 16

Bibliophile Reviews, February 17

Texas Book-aholic, February 17

Margaret Kazmierczak, February 18

A Reader’s Brain, February 18

By The Book, February 18

Multifarious, February 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 19

Pause for Tales, February 19

Bigreadersite, February 20

Simple Harvest Reads, February 20

Janices book reviews, February 20

For the Love of Books, February 21

Book by Book, February 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 21

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 22

To Everything A Season, February 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 22

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card, a hardcover copy of The Seamstress, and this copy of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens!!

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/db0e/the-seamstress-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: Murder of Convenience

 

About the Book

Book: Murder of Convenience

Murder of Convenience

Author: Linda Shenton Matchett

Genre: Historical Mystery

Release Date: October 15, 2018

May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit.

Set in the early days of America’s entry into WWII and featuring cameo appearances from Hollywood stars, Murder of Convenience is tribute to individuals who served on the home front, especially those who did so in spite of personal difficulties, reminding us that service always comes as a result of sacrifice. Betrayal, blackmail, and a barrage of unanswered questions… Murder of Convenience is the first in Linda Shenton Matchett’s exciting new “Women of Courage” series.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the AuthorLinda Matchett

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

My Thoughts

I enjoyed the story line of this book. It was full of intrigue and suspense. The main character was relatable in her weakness. Oddly enough, I didn’t really like the main character. I love a strong female lead, and she seemed weak and prone to fainting at pivotal moments. She struggled to trust God for her future. Maybe if I’m honest, the reason I didn’t like her is because she reminded me of myself and my weaknesses. Although I have never fainted or even really felt close to fainting, I am prone to forge my own way and to not trust God. So maybe we are more alike than I want to admit. I was disappointed in that the book did not talk about Geneva’s impending blindness as much as I anticipated.  I greatly enjoyed the setting and the peek into the lives of the women in the USO during World War II. All in all, it was an enjoyable story.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book in conjunction with Celebrate Lit for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Guest Post from Linda

World War II is my favorite era about which to read and write. What I find most fascinating about the time period are the stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, especially women, who until this time, had been provided for and protected.

A woman was typically insulated from difficulties or frightening things, and her husband or father took care of just about everything. When the war took millions of men away, the women had to learn how to take care of themselves in addition to filling the job vacancies.

Yes, there were Rosie the Riveters: women who worked in the factories building weapons, ships, vehicles and all kinds of war materiel, but there were also Land Army girls, many of whom didn’t know how to drive, who learned to operate all kinds of farm equipment so they could bring in crops to feed our nation as well as our Allies. Others donned uniforms to serve in the WACS, WAVES, SPARS, WASPS, Marines, Army Nurse Corp, and Navy Nurse Corp. Millions boosted morale through the USO and Red Cross or served in myriad ways with Civil Defense. Some went overseas to cover the war as journalists. A few even signed on as spies.

The driving force with most of these women was the realization that their country needed them. They put their own needs and desires aside to help win a war they didn’t ask to be part of. And many did it while single-handedly running the household because their husband was somewhere across the globe – ordinary women doing extraordinary things.

My latest release, Murder of Convenience, explores themes of service and sacrifice intertwined with the question of how to respond when God says no. It is my hope that the novel honors the women who lived during WWII in some small way.

Blog Stops

 

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 1

Bigreadersite, December 1

Just the Write Escape, December 2

Just Your Average reviews, December 3

Carpe Diem, December 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 4

Pause for Tales, December 5

Connie’s HIstory ClassroomDecember 6

Multifarious, December 7

Have A Wonderful DayDecember 8

Bibliophile Reviews, December 8

Blogging With CarolDecember 9

Texas Book-aholic, December 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 11

The Lit AddictDecember 12

Maureen’s Musings, December 13

A Baker’s Perspective, December 13

Janices book reviews, December 14

Giveaway

 

 

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away a grand prize of a World War II themed gift basket!!

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/d6d3/murder-of-convenience-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Book Review: Mind Games

Mind Games FB Banner_edited-1

About the Book

Mind games

Book: Mind Games

Author: Nancy Mehl

Genre: Suspense

Release Date: December, 2018

Publisher: Bethany House

FBI Behavioral Analyst Kaely Quinn’s methods may be highly unorthodox, but her talent is undeniable. She’s done her best to establish a new life for herself after being demoted and transferred to St. Louis when a reporter revealed she’s the daughter of an infamous serial killer. But when that same reporter claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely’s, it seems her old life has followed her.

When a body is found that fits the poem’s morbid predictions, Kaely and her new partner, Special Agent Noah Hunter, are forced to move past his skepticism of her approach and work together to unravel the deadly riddle.

With a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely are tested to their limits to catch the murderer before anyone else, including Kaely, is killed.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

This book is fascinating. I feel like I got a glimpse into Kaely Quinn’s brain, and it was so interesting. Kaely Quinn is a behavioral analyst with the FBI. She is also the daughter of a serial killer, and she helps catch men just like her father. Her process of catching killers is quite unconventional and therefore fascinating. Kaely is obviously still trying to heal from the ostracism that she faced as the daughter of a serial killer. When a new serial killer arrives in town and begins to target her, Kaely must face the pain of her past before she can catch the killer and move on with her life. 

I’m not sure that I have ever read a book about a behavioral analyst before, and I found it so fascinating. The way Kaely could read people made me want to go take classes on behavioral analysis. She could find a killer through very little information. I also appreciated the way that the author presented Kaely’s faith. It was encouraging and inspiring. 

This book kept me guessing until the end. I thought that I had figured out who the killer was, but I was totally wrong. It was nice to read a book that did not have a predictable ending. It was also refreshing to read a Christian suspense book that did not have a lot of romance in it. It was not totally without romance but it was not the kind of romance that makes this cynical girl roll her eyes. Of course the next book in the series may have a predictable romantic ending but for now I will bask in the unpredictability of this book’s conclusion. I am very excited for book two in this series and cannot wait to read more about the adventures of Kaely Quinn.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in conjunction with Celebrate Lit for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

About the Author

Nancy Mehl (www.nancymehl.com) is the author of more than thirty books, including the Road to Kingdom, Finding Sanctuary, and Defenders of Justice series. She received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson. She is part of The Suspense Sisters:  www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.

Guest Post from Nancy

Writing Mind Games is a dream come true. I’ve been interested in FBI profiling for years. I’ve read about it, studied it, and watched every TV special I could find on the subject. So when the chance finally came to write the book I’ve always wanted to write, I jumped at it. Thankfully, through the help of another writer, I was hooked up with a retired FBI profiler. I was so excited. Until I found out I had almost everything wrong. Yes, I had some understanding about profiling, but I knew nothing about the FBI and how it works.

First of all, the FBI doesn’t call the men and women who profile criminals, profilers. They’re called Behavioral Analysts. The plot for Mind Games had my analyst running around the country solving crimes while she was stationed in St. Louis. Uh, no. Behavioral analysts do travel, but they all work out of Quantico in Virginia. So…I rewrote.

There were ways around my conundrum, but one solution led to more and more problems. We finally worked through them. Then I spent the next few months learning acronyms. CIRG, CJIS, NCAVC, HRT, UNSUB, CNU, THU, ViCap, CODIS, SWAT, ERTU, OPU, THRU, ERT… Well, the list goes on and on. The FBI is made up of many specialized units. And a plethora of acronyms, it seems.

I rewrote Mind Games three times before my source said we were good to go.

If you assume I’m out of the woods now, you’d be wrong. I haven’t had the nerve to open up the manuscript I sent her for book two in my Kaely Quinn Profiler series. I figured I had Fire Storm right but… Well, I can tell from her email comments I’ll be doing more rewriting. Sigh.

So is it worth it? A resounding yes! I love learning, and as long as my analyst friend hangs in with me (she has the patience of Job), I’ll keep at it.

I hope you enjoy Mind Games. It’s edgy but fun. Kaely Quinn is a quirky character. She was thrown out of Quantico because her version of profiling is… Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 11

The Lit Addict, December 11

amandainpa, December 11

A Reader’s Brain, December 12

Daysong Reflections, December 12

Livin’ Lit, December 12

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 13

By The Book, December 13

Lighthouse Academy, December 13

Multifarious, December 14

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 14

Splashes of Joy, December 14

Back Porch Reads, December 15

Real World Bible Study, December 15

Robin is Bookish, December 15

Janices book reviews, December 15

C Jane Read, December 16

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 16

The Becca Files, December 16

Bigreadersite, December 16

Quiet Quilter, December 17

Margaret Kazmierczak, December 17

Godly Book Reviews, December 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 18

Just the Write Escape, December 18

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 19 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, December 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 19

For the Love of Literature, December 20

Remembrancy, December 20

Inklings and notions, December 20

Carpe Diem, December 20

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 21

Pause for Tales, December 21

A Baker’s Perspective, December 21

Have A Wonderful Day, December 22

Book by Book, December 22

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 22

Bibliophile Reviews, December 23

To Everything a Season, December 23

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 23

Cafinated Reads, December 24

Texas Book-aholic, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

Giveaway

f96b1329-c5fb-44e3-87bb-44e4dd5ea128

To celebrate her tour, Nancy is giving away a grand prize of a copy of Mind Games and the three books in Nancy’s Defenders of Justice series, plus a $20 Starbucks gift card!

Two additional winners will also receive a copy of Mind Games!

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/d73b/mind-games-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: Shelter of the Most High

Shelter of the most high copy

About the Book

Shelter of the Most High

Book: Shelter of the Most High

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Genre: Christian Biblical Fiction

Release Date: October, 2018

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a city of refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood, yet chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Can they uncover the betrayal in time to save their lives and the lives of those they love?

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I have not read any Biblical fiction in quite a while, and it was so good to get back into it with this book by Connilyn Cossette. I’ve grown up hearing Bible stories. A lot of them I’ve heard so often that I forget how truly incredible the stories are. I love Biblical fiction because it adds a whole new dimension to the stories. It fleshes the stories out and makes you see them in a whole new way. It helps you realize that these stories are true and happened to real people. People that had doubts and dreams and fears just like we do today.

The main characters in this book are not specifically talked about in the Bible. The story takes place in Kedesh, one of the cities of refuge in ancient Israel. It makes mention of some famous Bible characters such as Joshua and Moses. I was fascinated by the details about the city of refuge. I had never really thought about what it would actually be like to live in one of those cities. To know that you could never cross the boundary line until the high priest died. To leave your family and friends and home and live among strangers. It made me realize how heartbreaking-ly hard that would have been.

I enjoyed Connilyn’s writing style. It was easy to read and to understand. This book had some romance and some suspense. The middle of the book moved rather slowly, but the ending was fast-paced and suspenseful. The romance was a bit mushy for me. I have no personal experience with being in love so maybe I shouldn’t judge. But some of the scenes described did make me roll my eyes. I’m probably just too cynical. But those are my thoughts for whatever they’re worth.  I would still recommend this book, and I did enjoy reading it. I didn’t realize until I had finished the book that it is actually the second book in a series. I didn’t feel confused by the story and would say that this book works just fine as a stand-alone novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in conjunction with Celebrate Lit for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

Cossette_ConnilynConnilyn Cossette is the CBA bestselling author of the Out From Egypt series. Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, was a finalist for the Christy Award, the INSPY Award, and the Christian Retailing’s Best Award. She lives in North Carolina with her husband of twenty years and a son and a daughter who fill her days with joy, inspiration, and laughter. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com.

 

Guest Post from Connilyn

Shelter of the Most High, the second book in my Cities of Refuge Series, will be the first I’ve written to have been influenced by my trip to Israel last year. When I started writing Biblical fiction almost nine years ago, I was limited to exploring the Land of Promise via Google Earth, books, and through a plethora of photos on the good ol’ world wide web, but of course nothing can compare to actually experiencing the atmosphere and scenery for yourself.

So although I’d already written Shelter of the Most High by the time I hopped on a plane to join fellow author Cliff Graham’s GoodBattle Tour, once I returned my editing was filtered through the sights and sounds I’d witnessed for myself. It had been a life-long dream to go to Israel and it did not disappoint, in fact it just went way too fast!

One of my greatest fears was that I would see the places I’d written about in my books and realize I totally messed up my descriptions, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that for the most part I’d been fairly accurate (although I did tweak a few things here and there).

Standing on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee I was able to envision Eitan, our hero in Shelter of the Most High, sitting on one of the black boulders there, defeated and weary as he searched for his love. I was able to look toward the snowy peaks of Mount Hermon in the north and over the fertile Hula Valley just below the ancient ruins of Kedesh, the city of refuge, and consider how Sofea must have felt as she experienced the landscape of her new home for the first time, both the fear and the awe.

One of my favorite sites was Tel Dan and although it does not feature in Shelter of the Most High it’s lush greenness and dense forest gave me a better sense of what Israel must have been in the past before deforestation, war, and shifts in climate have done to the fertile land God himself called a land of milk and honey. Since I was so affected by Tel Dan (or Laish in ancient times) that city will be one of the settings in my upcoming third installment of the Cities of Refuge Series, Until the Mountains Fall.

Being a super visual person who is highly sensitive to sensory input, I took great pleasure in absorbing with all my senses as we walked paths, climbed mountains (yes, mountains), slogged through a long, cold, and wet tunnel deep beneath Jerusalem, hiked up to the secret oasis of Ein Gedi where David hid from Saul, and rocked along on a boat over the glassy surface of the Galilee. I felt like a sponge just soaking up every little detail and every grand vista.

Smelling the salty breeze off the Mediterranean and hearing the waves crash against the sandy beach in Tel Aviv and Caesarea Phillipi made me imagine our heroine Sofea looking over that enormous, blue expanse and wondering what sort of god had control of such a powerful thing.

Feeling the timeworn cobblestones beneath my feet gave me a sense of what it must have been like for Eitan and Sofea to walk through the streets of Kedesh, their own sandals scuffing against the rough-hewn stone as they went about their daily activities.

Running my fingers along the pitted surfaces of ancient buildings and tracing the chisel marks from craftsmen of the Bronze Age wrapped me in a whirl of imagination about who the people were that hefted those same rocks into place and the ingenuity it took to create structures that have lasted so long.

Tasting the unique spices and flavors of the Middle East gave me a sense of the passion Moryiah (our hero’s mother) has for creating delicious new dishes to feed her growing family and the guests at her inn.

Although I write fiction, my stories are woven into Biblical accounts so going to Israel was a perfect reminder for me that the people that lived between the pages of Genesis to Revelations were real. They breathed, they cried, they loved, they mourned, they suffered, and they celebrated with their families. I am so grateful to have gleaned some great new insight into the Land and its resilient, vibrant people and hope that through Shelter of the Most High readers get a small sense of the beauty and wonder I experienced there. I cannot wait to go back!

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, November 20

The Power of Words, November 20

Among the Reads, November 21

Gensis 5020, November 21

God’s Little Bookworm, November 22

Book by Book, November 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 22

Remembrancy, November 23

Real World Bible Study, November 23

Inklings and notionsNovember 23

The Becca Files, November 24

Baker Kella, November 24

Bibliophile Reviews, November 25

The Meanderings of a BookwormNovember 25

By The Book, November 26

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 26

Aryn The LibraryanNovember 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 27

Abbas Prayer Warrior Princess, November 28

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, November 28

Simple Harvest Reads, November 29 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

For the Love of Literature, November 29

Janices book reviews, November 29

The Lit Addict, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, November 30

Just the Write Escape, December 1

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 1

Connect in Fiction, December 2

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 2

Bigreadersite, December 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 3

Purposeful Learning, December 3

Carpe Diem, December 3

Giveaway

6da7b43f-86de-4c78-a777-666166f2f274

To celebrate her tour, Connilyn is giving away

Grand Prize: All five of Conni’s novels, including Shelter of the Most High, plus AHAVA Dead Sea Bath Salts

Three other winners will receive a copy of Shelter of the Most High!!

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/d66d/shelter-of-the-most-high-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: An Hour Unspent

Book Details

Title: An Hour Unspent

Author: Roseanna M. White

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Shadows over England #3

Release Date: September 4, 2018

About the Book

An Hour UnspentOnce London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

This book was a very enjoyable read, a book that you can relax into. If you are anything like me sometimes you want to read a book so that you don’t have to think, you can just watch the story unfold before you; and this book did that for me. I felt like the author did very well at building a historical context for her story. It was interesting to read about London in 1915 with the war and the women’s suffrage movement.

I loved the idea in this book of a reformed thief. The main character, Barclay Pearce, is a former thief who becomes a Christian and wants to reform. His struggle to change his life and break his old habits is very realistic and something that we can all relate to. The question of who family really is was explored as well. Barclay was brother to a family of orphans who were not related by blood but forged an incredibly strong bond. The heroine, Evalina Manning, had a mother and a father by blood but at the beginning of the book the Manning home was full of strife and bitterness. This just shows that family is not always just the people that we are blood-related to.

When I started this book, I did not realize that it was the third book in the series. While reading the other two books first would probably have given me more background, I still felt like I could easily understand the story of the third book.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the author in conjunction with Celebrate Lit for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

Roseanna 2018Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

 

Guest Post from Roseanna

Last year, as I finished up the writing of An Hour Unspent, my great-grandmother passed away at the age of 103. As I sat at her funeral service and listened to the heartfelt memorial raised up to her by her kids and grandkids, I realized anew that this woman had been a matriarch in the truest sense of the word. She’d taught my family for generations how to love the Lord and each other, how to serve the Lord and each other, and how to trust the Lord and each other. Grandma Seward was, in so many ways, the one who instilled in me my idea of what family really is.

That idea—that it’s those knit together by love more than blood, and that faith is the strongest foundation—is what I built my unusual family of thieves upon in the Shadows Over England series. And strange as it is to liken my twenty-something reformed-thief hero to my 103-year-old-grandmother, Barclay Pearce is very much to his family what Maxine Seward was to mine.

The founder. The caregiver. The leader.

I knew as I began the series that I would write about Barclay in book three, and as I got to know him better throughout the series, I grew so excited to share his story! This is a man who led his family first into and then out of a life a crime, always for the right reasons—so he could provide for the children under his care. All he ever wanted to do was give them what he himself had lost. To show them love. To prove to them that they were worth any sacrifice.

It was truly a blessing for me to get to write the story in which Barclay found someone to come alongside him, to appreciate and learn to understand him. To finally share what started him down this path. I loved the idea that only a reformed thief could steal the time another family needed to overcome their own trials.

There are many historical items in the book that were such fun to explore—watchmaking of the era, the suffrage movement in England, technological advancements of the war—but at the heart, this isn’t a story about any of those.

It’s a story about how far people should go for love. I hope you enjoy Barclay’s story as much as I did!

Blog Stops

The Avid ReaderOctober 30

The Power of WordsOctober 30

Back Porch ReadsOctober 30

Kat’s Corner BooksOctober 30

Janice’s Book ReviewsOctober 30

Where Faith and Books MeetOctober 31

Reading Is My SuperPowerOctober 31

Faithfully BookishOctober 31

Genesis 5020October 31

Fiction AficionadoNovember 1

Among the ReadsNovember 1

The Lit AddictNovember 1

Just the Write EscapeNovember 1

MultifariousNovember 2

Godly Book ReviewsNovember 2

Real World Bible StudyNovember 2

Madeline ClarkNovember 2

Reflections From My BookshelvesNovember 3

Christian BookaholicNovember 3

Inspirationally Ever AfterNovember 3

Bookworm MamaNovember 3

BigreadersiteNovember 3

Blogging With Carol , November 4

D’S QUILTS & BOOKSNovember 4

Life with the Tribe, November 4

The Becca FilesNovember 4

Kathleen DenlyNovember 5

Cordially BarbaraNovember 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior PrincessNovember 5

Simple Harvest ReadsNovember 5 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

God’s Little BookwormNovember 6

All-of-a-kind MomNovember 6

Faery Tales Are RealNovember 6

Christian Chick’s ThoughtsNovember 6

Carpe DiemNovember 6

Margaret KazmierczakNovember 7

Locks, Hooks and BooksNovember 7

Christian Author, J.E.GraceNovember 7

Blossoms and Blessings , November 7

Maureen’s Musings , November 8

Connie’s History Classroom , November 8

Book by BookNovember 8

Just CommonlyNovember 8

cherylbbookblogNovember 9

The Christian Fiction GirlNovember 9

Have A Wonderful Day , November 9

With a Joyful NoiseNovember 9

KarenSueHadley , November 10

Tell Tale Book ReviewsNovember 10

Babbling Becky L’s Book ImpressionsNovember 10

Baker kellaNovember 10

Bibliophile ReviewsNovember 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly KissesNovember 11

Inklings and Notions , November 11

Two Points of InterestNovember 11

Inspiration ClotheslineNovember 11

A Baker’s PerspectiveNovember 11

Henry HappensNovember 12

Texas Book-aholicNovember 12

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsNovember 12

Giveaway

4a66be29-89a1-42ab-9ed1-31b9f7c9bc97

To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of a signed book, a London mug, and a 48-pack Twinings tea sampler!!

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/d570/an-hour-unspent-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: Sword in the Stars

About the Book

SiS_Final_Front_Cover_4_Export

Book Title: Sword in the Stars

Author: Wayne Thomas Batson

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Release date: August 16 ,2017

The difference in their uncanny eyes could not be easily discerned. In the rays of the setting sun, both Aravel’s and Morlan’s eyes appeared gold. In the pale moonlight…yellow. Seemingly the same. Such inscrutable likeness is the way of things with identical twins. But all who knew the two brothers well noted unmistakable differences, peculiarities more experienced than seen. Those who stood before King Aravel’s gaze felt the glad firelight of a cozy inn. But those who fell under Morlan’s stare felt the gleam of winter moonlight on the cold, white stone monuments in a boneyard. FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE DOOR WITHIN TRILOGY comes an epic tale of two powerful kings whose rivalry threatens to tear the world of Myriad apart. Into this chaos of treachery and war, strides ex-assassin Alastair Coldhollow whose quest for redemption leads him to the one foe he cannot defeat with a thrust of his sword. Everything may hinge on an age-old prophecy, but after thousands of years, will the Sword appear in the Stars at last? With the aid of Abbagael Rivynfleur, a not-so-naive girl from the forest villages, Alastair will tread forgotten roads, face legendary creatures, and meet mysterious new races of people, all in an effort to find Myriad’s Halfainin. So begins the sweeping seven-volume Myridian Constellation. Read on to discover what happens when the Sword is in the Stars, and the moon is blood red…

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

This book is a real page-turner! The author, Wayne Thomas Batson, created a whole other world with so many different creatures. This book has it all, from dragons to woodland faries. I loved reading about the various creatures that Batson imagined.

The hero in this book, Alastair Coldhollow, is very easy to relate to. While he is a brave man with incredible abilities in swordplay, he is also a man with a dark past and addictions and his own personal demons that he must overcome. Alastair has spent years waiting for the Halfainin to arrive. His struggle to hang on to his faith is a central theme in this book and one that we can all relate to. I love the Christian themes that are strung throughout this book.

The story is told through various character’s perspectives. It heightens the suspense when you see parts of the bad guy’s plans and hear the story from his viewpoint. I realized again how much I enjoy books that tell the story from various points of view. It adds an interesting depth that is not there otherwise.

I greatly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys fantasy books with Christian themes. A word of advice? Get the second book in the series before you finish this one. I made the mistake of waiting to reserve the second book at the library until I finished this one, and now I have to wait to find out what happens. I’m waiting most anxiously and impatiently!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

Wayne Thomas BatsonWayne Thomas Batson is the Bestselling author of seventeen adventure novels including the fan favorite: Door Within Trilogy, the pirate trilogy: The Isle Chronicles, the 7-book fantasy epic: Myridian Constellation, and a supernatural thriller series for adults: GHOST: The John Spector Missions. Batson credits God for every concept, story, word, and phrase (“Except the mistakes,” Batson says. “Those are all me.”) Happily married for 25 years, Batson and his wife have four adult children and make their home in Carroll County, Maryland.

A middle school Reading and English teacher for 27 years, Batson loves to challenge—and be challenged by—his students. So, when he began writing stories to supplement the school district’s curriculum, it was his students who taught their teacher a lesson. Batson’s students were so taken by one of the stories that, over a thirteen-year span, they pushed him to make it into a full-length novel. That story became The Door Within. Since then, Batson’s students continue to be his frontline editors. Says Batson, “Two things you can count on from middle school students: Intelligence and Honesty. Kids are so much more perceptive than a lot of us ‘Big Folk’ give them credit for. And when something’s not right in the story, they’ll tell you about in very clear terms.” With over half a million books in print, Batson believes his books appeal to so many kids and adults because, at a deep level, we all long to do something that matters, and we all dream of another world.

 

Guest Post from Wayne

Wayne Thomas Batson here. If you’re wondering why I always use my middle name, no, it’s not because I want to sound all stodgy or literary. Thomas is my father’s name. I’ve always wanted to honor him by using the name in my author name, esp. now because he passed away in 2015. If you’ve been reading my books for a while, you probably think The Door Within is my first book. Technically, however, it is not. The concept for Sword in the Stars actually popped into my head before The Door Within. The book actually appeared in two parts: Alastair’s story and Ariana’s story (from Errant King). At first I just didn’t realize they were both in the same HUGE story. In the meantime, Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins published The Door Within Trilogy, and I kept getting contracts, keeping me from Sword in the Stars until 2012. But God was pretty insistent about the story because I kept getting flooded with ideas for what will eventually become the 7-Book Myridian Constellation series. Seriously, you should see the looks I get at church when I sit down during worship to scrawl story ideas on the back of a church bulletin!

Blog Stops

The Lit AddictOctober 27

Bibliophile Reviews, October 28

Book by BookOctober 29

Aryn the LibraryanOctober 30

A Baker’s PerspectiveOctober 30

A Reader’s BrainOctober 31

Ashley’s BookshelfNovember 1

MultifariousNovember 2

Blogging With CarolNovember 3

BigreadersiteNovember 3

Inklings and Notions , November 4

Proud to Be an Autism MomNovember 5

Artistic NobodyNovember 5

Texas Book-aholicNovember 6

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsNovember 7

Janice’s Book ReviewsNovember 8

Carpe DiemNovember 9

Giveaway

f819d014-eca1-444a-ab3d-61c1815ab0ea
To celebrate his tour, Wayne is giving away a grand prize of The Official Bat Book Box O’ Mystery (including some one of a kind, early handwritten drafts of my published books)!!
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/d4ec/sword-in-the-stars-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: The Vintage Wren

About the Book

Book Title: the Vintage Wren Volume 1

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian / Fiction / General / Romance

Release date: May 25, 2016 (still in progress)

The Vintage Wren is a serial novel released in episodes on Amazon. However, subscribers can get FREE weekly installments (a chapter in length) delivered right to your inbox every Wednesday(ish—life delays it now and then). To sign up for weekly installments, click HERE.  To read past installments visit The Write Chatterings group on Facebook.

The Vintage Wren is a serial novel released in several chapter episodes. Volume One contains the first four and a half episodes in one full-length novel.

Cassie Wren. Legal assistant. Convenience queen. Thrifter extraordinaire. If there was a “green police” she’d be a fugitive from eco-friendly justice.

But when a friend’s teasing feels like a challenge, Cassie accepts it. The result? One year. Twelve months. Fifty-two weeks. Three hundred sixty-five days–of green.

It seemed simple enough. Cut back on paper plates, plastic forks, and straws. Easy peasy. But when her competitive side wars against her desire for convenience, Cassie finds it’s not so easy to be “eco-friendly” and “Cassie-friendly.”

January Shopping for Cassie’s annual New Year’s Eve party sparks an innocent comment that Cassie can’t forget. So, during their New Year’s Day goal planning session, Cassie’s friends tease her about her lack of eco-consciousness, and Cassie determines to change one new thing in favor of the planet every week. For a year. Even if it kills her.

She’s confident it will.

Cassie’s first month includes eradicating the extraneous paper, glass, plastic, and metal from her life. However, she finds that it’s not quite as easy as she thought. Paper and plastic cover everything manufactured or packaged–even water, produce, and restaurant food! Glass is great, but you can only have so many “reusable jars,” and metal reduction means her hair may end up a nightmare of uncontrollable frizzies!

She doesn’t even want to talk about her water reduction plans.

But it’s not all been bad. She’s saved a lot of money, has prospects for a new business, her impromptu blog is gaining traffic, and she even has a new boyfriend. Add to that, a few great friends who keep her going when things get rough, and the realization that there are only eleven months to go, and Cassie just might make it.

Now only if her car would cooperate and make it, too!

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

You guys. This book made me laugh out loud various times. And it takes a lot to make me laugh out loud when reading. But seriously. The main character, Cassie Wren, is even clumsier than I am. She is outspoken and impulsive but oh so lovable. She is just so real. She relates the struggles of being eco-conscious so well. I am not necessarily someone who is always super conscious about being green and helping the environment, but this book definitely made me think about simple things that I can do to help. I am for sure not planning on doing a year challenge like Cassie, but it is something to think about. I enjoyed the writing style of the book. The characters were very real and easy to relate to. If you are looking for a humorous and easy read, this is the book for you. (Also I may or may not have paused in the middle of this blog post to sign up for Chautona Havig’s newsletter to make sure that I don’t miss the rest of Cassie’s story. Trust me, it’s that good.)

 

About the Author

The author of dozens of books in a variety of genres, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert where she uses story to nudge her readers to the feet of the Master Storyteller.

 

Guest Post from Chautona

How Writing about Cassie’s Eco-Challenge Has Changed My Way of Living

I didn’t think it through—not really. I mean, how hard could it be? All I had to do is give Cassie my own reactions to things like giving up straws and having to use tote bags at the grocery store. I just needed 52 simple things she could change in her life—one new one for each episode.

Piece of cake.

I should have known better. I don’t do things halfway when I get into them. Yes, I’ve discovered that Cassie is more like me in some ways than I ever imagined. And as I’ve researched things for her to freak out about, I’ve done a bit of freaking out myself. Certain questions and thoughts won’t go away.

For instance, in 2017 1.26 BILLION dollars were spent on plush toys. Just plush toys. Stuffed animals. And I don’t know how many weren’t purchased. Those are just the ones that were. That’s… a LOT of stuffed toys. If each toy cost 20 dollars (and we all know most are half that or less these days), that’s 63 million of those toys purchased and brought home.

In one year.

Shampoo, conditioner, and laundry soap bottles. Not sure why this one bothers me as much as it does. I think, actually, it’s the huge amount of water as much as it is all the plastic.

Look, we no longer have eight females in our house. But we do still have four there at all times—five on breaks. That’s a lot of shampoo bottles every year. A big portion of both laundry soap, shampoo, and conditioner is… water. We pay for a big bottle (lots of plastic and water) and to ship that to us—either because we had to have it shipped to a store for us to buy it or we had to have it shipped to our house.

I am paying extra for water that I could add myself at a fraction of the cost.

And the things go on and on. The lake that almost disappeared in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan because of how much water it takes to grow and process cotton.

See, the thing is, I’m not a green nut.

I don’t think it’s as easy to “destroy the planet” as we like to say. I do think, much like we do with our bodies and such, that we can reduce the quality of the world around us, however.

And while I’ll never jump on Cassie’s bandwagon—certainly not for life, I have made a few changes in how I do things. And as time goes on, I find myself making even more.

Like what, you ask?

I’ll tell you.

Here are three small ways I’ve changed how we do things in our house.
  1. I started buying Dropps. They’re an automatically-shipped laundry pod. Each one is tiny—just a little smaller than the average “pod” and a whole lot cheaper. Also, there are no extra dyes or other things that are supposed to be bad for you and the planet.

I don’t really care about that. I just care that they work. And they do. And they’re cheaper than my Tide. 🙂

  1. I got a shampoo bar for my birthday. I thought it would be like washing with regular soap—especially after I started rinsing my hair! It freaked me out. One idea down the drain… I thought.

But no, after the second or third use, it still felt weird while wet, but it dried beautifully, and I didn’t need to use additional conditioner. It’s in the bar or something. I even tried the old way again to compare after-shower tangles. Identical.

  1. Dryer balls. Those felted wool balls really do work! A wonderful reader of mine sent me some, and it made my day! My youngest daughter and I are now trying to work with felted sweaters to try to turn them into dryer balls—or maybe even into sheets! (although, I think the balls bouncing around also kind of pound the clothes into submission or something. “Sheets” might not work, but I’m tempted to try it!

Look, you’ll never find me standing in front of a case in a mini-mart, freaking out because I want a Coke and can’t justify it. That’s not going to happen. But if I can choose a reasonable alternative to what I already do, well… it’s time to consider that.

There you have it. Three ways my life has changed since writing Cassie’s crazy story.

Blog Stops

The April Journal , October 16

Among the Reads , October 16

Inklings and Notions , October 17

Lots of HelpersOctober 18

Carpe Diem, October 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool AcademyOctober 19

Real World Bible StudyOctober 20

A Baker’s Perspective, October 21

The Lit AddictOctober 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly KissesOctober 22

Janice’s Book ReviewsOctober 23

Aryn The Libraryan , October 23

Bigreadersite, October 24

Mary Hake, October 24

Cultivating UsOctober 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations , October 26

MultifariousOctober 26

Bibliophile ReviewsOctober 27

Proud to Be an Autism MomOctober 28

Texas Book-aholic, October 29

The Mimosa BlossomOctober 29

Giveaway

Vintage Wren giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize package that includes 5 Shopping totes, a Shampoo Bar, a Foldable Straw, and a $10 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/d4eb/the-vintage-wren-celebration-tour-giveaway