Tuesday, December 31, 2019

LADY EVER AFTER by Tamara Leigh, Reviewed by Kim

Medieval is my least favorite time period, unless I’m reading a Tamara Leigh story, then, it becomes my favorite! Throw in some time travel and I am hooked! Her stories are so good that I have trouble setting them down, and the characters stay with me for a long long time. This story is no different!
In a nutshell, I loved everything about this story! It is full of action, danger, intrigue, and romance. When Collier travels back in time to 1464, he must use what he knows from his time to save Lady Catherine - lesson here? 
Know your history people! 😂 

At First, Lady Catherine does not like or trust Collier. I really enjoyed how he broke down her barriers and the natural building of their love story - it was perfection. I also loved the role of the painting in the story. It really added an intriguing element. And now, I seriously need the story of James, Collier’s brother! If you have never read a Tamara Leigh story, trust me on this, you really need to!

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to review it. 


Back Cover Blurb:
From the USA Today best-selling author of DREAMSPELL comes LADY EVER AFTER, the second medieval time travel romance in the BEYOND TIME series.

THE WARS OF THE ROSES ~ England, 1464. As civil war rages, King Edward IV besieges the northern barons who support the dethroned King Henry VI. Among the last strongholds to fall is Strivling Castle, whose lady gives her life defending her home against the usurpers.

A LADY OF LEGEND ~ As foretold by her dreams, Lady Catherine Algernon is determined to defend Strivling Castle to the death. But when a besieger saves her life just as her nightmare unfolds, a future is forced on her she never dreamed possible—with a man who believes she is someone else. Who is this enemy who defied fate by averting the mortal blow? And how is she to keep him from laying siege to a heart more guarded than her home?

A MAN OUT OF TIME ~ Successful businessman Collier Morrow has everything he could possibly want, including a priceless, unfinished portrait of the legendary Catherine Algernon. When a lie costs him the woman he loves, he finds himself in the midst of the siege upon Strivling Castle, face-to-face with its defender who is the very image of the love he lost. Given an opportunity to redeem himself, he soon discovers the fiercely rebellious Lady Catherine is not who she appears to be. Should he return to his own time? Or risk the life he knew for another chance at love?


Available in digital ebook, paperback and audiobook:
Buy Lady Ever After at Amazon
 

 

Monday, December 30, 2019

THINGS LEFT UNSAID by Courtney Walsh, Reviewed by Kim

“We all have something to give, dear. You give away the very thing you need. If you need hope, find a way to give others hope. If you need a friend, find a way to be a friend. If you need forgiveness . . .” She paused. “Give forgiveness.”

This is my favorite quote from Things Left Unsaid! Its so true and so simple, but sometimes so hard to do! Especially that forgiveness part!
This story is so emotional, so powerful, and so real! It’s very layered and Courtney Walsh does an amazing job of slowly peeling back those layers. I seriously wanted to skip ahead to find out just what happened that long ago summer night. It was so interesting how this story all came together. How each person involved not only felt, but how they dealt with their feelings, or in some cases, didn’t! Each person reacted so differently, but so realistically. My heart actually ached for so many of these characters - for what they all went through and the lasting impact it had on their lives.

I can’t really go into any more details because of spoilers, so I’ll end with this, Courtney Walsh is an amazing writer and this story is not to be missed. 

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to review it.

BackCover Blurb:
An emotional novel of family, friendship and forgiveness from Courtney Walsh, the New York Times bestselling author of Hometown Girl.

Lyndie St. James is thrilled that her best friend, Elle, is getting married but unprepared for the emotional storm of the wedding week and returning to her childhood summer home of Sweethaven. The idyllic cottage community harbors some of her best—and worst—memories. It’s not only the tragic death of her childhood friend Cassie that has haunted her for ten years, it’s the other secrets she’s buried that have kept her from moving on.

But Lyndie isn’t the only one with secrets.

Cassie’s mother, father and brother, still struggling with the loss, have been drifting further and further apart. And Elle herself, the last to see Cassie alive, carries an impossible burden of guilt. Now reunited, each of them has a choice: to reveal the truths of that night or continue to live in its shadow. That means embarking on a personal journey of the heart—to escape the darkness and all its regrets and to finally come to terms with the past and, especially, with each other.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding and audiobook:
Buy Things Left Unsaid at Amazon
Buy Things Left Unsaid at Christianbook.com
 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

WINGS LIKE A DOVE by Camille Eide, Reviewed by Paula, Kim and Winnie!

PAULA'S REVIEW:
Wings Like a Dove by Camille Eide tells of harsh times in our nation’s history when bigotry ruled in the name of moral justice.

“We will never have unity as long as people demand sameness. Unity is not sameness, but oneness of purpose. But whose purpose.”

This story takes place in the 1930’s when almost everyone was poor and jobs were scarce.

Anna Leibowicz is forced to flee her life in New York City through a humiliation she brought on herself. She starts out for Chicago in search of her father, who has been missing for six years. She is led to a small town in Indiana where she finds work as a tutor for six orphaned boys in exchange for room and board until she can resume her journey.

She is making progress with her students and coaxing a small, mute black boy to speak, but she is wary of making friends. As soon as the town finds out she is a Jew, she is ostracized along with Sam, the black child.

This story is raw, it is real, it doesn’t shy away from hard things and yet it is filled with compassion and Grace.

“Will not all need mercy at some time in our lives? Mercy we do not deserve? It is a precious gift and yet it is free. Forgiveness and mercy are always possible because they are gifts from God.”

“If love is genuine, then compassion must follow, because compassion is the most basic act of love.”

“If ultimate love is found in the ultimate sacrifice, then I will consider what the cross of Christ truly means.”

This story holds eternal truths that have applications yet today. In my opinion, Ms. Eide has done a superior job of giving us much to think about and apply to our own lives.
*I received a complimentary ebook from WhiteFire Publishers on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

 

KIM'S REVIEW:
One of my favorite books is The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide. So I was really excited to read Wings Like a Dove. This story is set in 1933. With the presence of the Klan, there is a lot of bigotry, hate, and heartbreak in this story. But, there is also a lot of hope, love, and forgiveness.

I was drawn into this story from the first page and even when I wasn’t reading, I kept thinking about the characters. The things that Anna and Samuel go through will make your heart ache. I really loved Anna and her resilience and how she always made the best of her circumstances. I especially loved her relationship with Samuel. Thomas was a wonderful character. I love how he had taken in the boys to keep them from having to go to an orphanage. He truly showed the love of Christ.

This story is both heartbreaking and beautiful - a story you won’t want to miss.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

WINNIE'S REVIEW:
“We will never have unity as long as people demand sameness. Unity is not sameness, but oneness of purpose. But whose purpose? Who gets to decide?”

Camille Eide’s poignant and heart-wrenching story, Wings Like a Dove, swept me away and kept me riveted to the end. Set in 1933 when times were especially hard economically throughout America, this tale brought out not only the problems of poverty, but also those of racism and intolerance. Masterfully written and populated with colorful, layered characters, this is a story I won’t soon forget. Its rich imagery and impeccable historical detail, combined with tender messages of forgiveness, grace, and mercy touched my heart.

“Will we not all need mercy at some time in our lives? Mercy we do not deserve? It is a precious gift, and yet it is free. Everyone has the power to give it.”

The main characters, Thomas Chandler and Anna Leibowicz, endured much in their pasts, yet come together to try to help 6 orphaned boys. I loved Thomas’s kind, compassionate heart and Anna’s willingness to help others who were suffering, even though she had problems of her own. Samuel, one of the orphaned boys, was one of my favorite characters. He had wisdom beyond his years and had been traumatized over and over, yet his resiliency touched my heart. Anna’s friend Sarah was another favorite. Her courage and strength were inspiring. We all need a friend like Sarah in our lives.

This quote has a wonderful message for everyone.
“I think people dislike those they do not know because they cannot see the good in others. What if we choose instead to be blind to people’s flaws and shortcomings, and the differences we do not understand?”

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys excellent historical fiction. It has earned a place on my list of top reads of the year.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.


BackCover Blurb:
Can the invisible walls that separate people ever come down?

In 1933, Anna Leibowicz is convinced that the American dream that brought her Jewish family here from Poland is nothing but an illusion. Her father has vanished. Her dreams of college can’t make it past the sweat-shop door. And when she discovers to her shame and horror that she’s with child, her mother gives her little choice but to leave her family. Deciding her best course of action is to try to find her father, she strikes out…hoping against hope to somehow redeem them both.

When Anna stumbles upon a house full of orphan boys in rural Indiana who are in desperate need of a tutor, she agrees to postpone her journey. But she knows from the moment she meets their contemplative, deep-hearted caretaker, Thomas Chandler, that she doesn’t dare risk staying too long. She can’t afford to open her heart to them, to him. She can’t risk letting her secrets out.

All too soon, the townspeople realize she’s not like them and treat her with the same disdain they give the Sisters of Mercy—the nuns who help Thomas and the boys—and Samuel, the quiet colored boy Thomas has taken in. With the Klan presence in the town growing ever stronger and the danger to this family increasing the longer she stays, Anna is torn between fleeing to keep them safe…and staying to fight beside them.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest…


Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Wings Like a Dove at Amazon

Saturday, December 28, 2019

THE WEDDING DRESS CHRISTMAS by Rachel Hauck, Reviewed by Kim

This was such a good Christmas novella! It is part of series, but it easily reads as a stand-alone. I really like Rachel Hauck’s writing style and was immediately drawn into the story. I enjoyed going back to Hearts Bend. It’s such a sweet little town, especially at Christmas.
Buck is my favorite character in this, by far! He’s very charming and willing to give up so much for his family and Jo! Speaking of Jo, I really liked her and my heart ached for what she went through in the past. I loved them as a couple and rooted for them from the beginning of the story. Jo did irritate me a tad towards the end of the story with her unwillingness to compromise, but in the end, she came around! I also really enjoyed the mystery and intrigue of the Wedding Dress and how it added to the story

So, if you’re in the mood for a great Christmas novella, I’d say try this one out!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. 


BackCover Blurb:
December comes to quaint Hearts Bend, Tennessee, with a blanket of white and the glitter of Christmas lights.

For JoJo Castle there is no place like home. Her onetime love of adventure ended when her life in the big city came crashing down. Now that she’s home, she never wants to leave again.

Country music sensation Buck Mathews has charmed the world with his smile and his music. However, news of his mother’s illness brought him home to Hearts Bend for the holiday season.

Working with her cousin Haley in The Wedding Shop, JoJo has no aspirations of love. But when her high school crush returns to town, her buried feelings surface.

Busy with his career, Buck hasn’t had time for family and friends, much less love. Seeing JoJo in The Wedding Shop reminds him there are things more important than his career.

But JoJo and Buck have opposing life goals, and there’s no middle ground. Can love, especially the kind that touches hearts at Christmas, overcome her fears and his quest for greatness?

With the help of a very special wedding dress, there just might be a Christmas miracle
.


Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy The Wedding Dress Christmas at Amazon

Friday, December 27, 2019

#INTERVIEW with Author Pepper Basham, hosted by Paula Shreckhise

Pepper's Readers submitted questions for her to help celebrate the release of A MATCH FOR EMMA. Paula's are included here:
When did your love of reading start? 
Pepper: Oh wow! I can’t remember the first book I ever read…so I guess I have no memory of NOT reading. My mom and dad read Bible stories to me from really early and “stories” are an ingrained part of my Appalachian heritage, so I’ve always loved them.

What are two things about writing that you enjoy most?
Pepper: Two things: The entire creative process of watching a story grow! That is always amazing to me. You know that phrase from Chariots of Fire where Eric Liddel says “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure” – well, that’s how I feel when I’m creating a story. When I write, I feel God’s pleasure. I love that God allows me to watch a story unfold and a part of the creative process to a happily-ever-after.
Second thing, a related – I really enjoy watching the characters grow from beginning to end. I’m a happily-ever-after girl for sure, as seeing the struggles overcome, the insecurities calmed, and the fears braved in my characters reminds me of what God is doing in my life from start to finish. Writing, in many ways, is a parallel to my life. God is the author and all the ‘stuff’ that happens from start to finish are the plot points he’s using to refine me into my eternal happily-ever-after self.

Do you choose a word for the year?  
Pepper: Sometimes I do. I didn’t really know my word for 2019 until around April and finally realized what it was. Opportunity.
Do you choose one Bible verse for each book?  
Pepper: I don’t set out to choose a Bible verse for each book, but sometimes one emerges from the story. My heart in the stories is really ‘what is God teaching the characters’, and many times those lessons flow naturally from the truth with a certain Scripture verse or concept from Scripture…because if God is teaching something to my characters, it is naturally going to flow from the truths of his Word anyway 😊
Do you choose an overarching theme for each book?  
Pepper: Not blatantly, I don’t think. If a theme flows from the creation of the story, then that’s wonderful. I guess I have had overarching themes for my series – for example the overarching theme for the Penned in Time series was forgiveness and the overarching theme for the Mitchell’s Crossroads series has been ‘home’. But I’ve not really focused on a theme for each book. Sometimes I find one, but I don’t usually start with them.
Is contemporary romance the genre that you are most comfortable writing?  
Pepper: Trick question 😉 I’m not sure I’d say I’m more comfortable writing contemporary romance, because there have been some historicals I’ve written where the words flowed like magic. I really do think the comfort level for me is very specific to each story, not necessarily genre, if that makes sense.
What drew you to write a book loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma?  
Pepper: For some reason I’d known Emma Mitchell was going to be inspired by Austen’s Emma from the first time I wrote her onto the page in A Twist of Faith. Each of the books in this series have been loosely based on classics, so she just grew out of the Mitchell family as my very own matchmaking Emma from the very beginning. Plus, I really wanted to try and do Emma’s character justice, because Austen’s Emma gets such a bad rap, and when I’d read the book I saw more to her. I asked myself, “Why would a great guy like Mr. Knightley fall for Emma if she was so bad?” and as I reread the book, looking for that answer, I noticed more about her character to love. I wanted to try and show that for a more modern audience.
What was the most challenging part of writing A Match for Emma?  
Pepper: YES! Two things come to the forefront of my mind for this answer. 1. The slow-growing friends-to-more concept. Neither one of my main characters romantically loved the other in the beginning -and most romance books thrive on romantic tension, so trying to keep some tension while not moving the relationship too fast was a real challenge. 2. Making sure Emma was realistically flawed yet still likeable. I didn’t want people hating on her at all! I wanted them to see her generous heart, but still show all the ways she still needed to grow. I really hope I was able to do that.
I know you stalk the Biltmore! Do you get inspiration there? Do you take a notebook or recorder with you?  
Pepper: I LOVE the Biltmore!! And yes, it does provide inspiration. I mostly take my phone and dictate into it if there’s something I want to save. I also take LOTS of photos there, which I feel are inspiration too. I am a very visual writer. I gain inspiration from visual/tactile a whole lot and then it ignites my imagination.

What is your FAVORITE part of writing books?
Pepper: Creating them (the whole brainstorming stuff)  and then having people love them too. That is like icing on the cake. I love watching a story unfold into something more than I thought it would be—watching the characters ‘breathe’. But something that I didn’t expect loving AS MUCH as writing, was having readers join me and my fictional characters in the fictional worlds I create. It’s amazing and rewarding to have people fall in love with these people, places, and…smiling dogs.


To purchase A MATCH FOR EMMA or read Reviews by Paula, Winnie and Kim, see yesterday's post!

A MATCH FOR EMMA by Pepper Basham, #Reviews by Paula, Kim and Winnie

Come back tomorrow for Paula's #Interview with Pepper!
PAULA'S REVIEW:
I am a historical Christian Fiction girl. So when I say Pepper Basham is one of my favorite authors that is saying something!

A Match For Emma couldn’t be cuter, swoonier, or more down to earth. What’s more, it has a spiritual underpinning.

This is the third book in the Mitchell Crossroads series and it is inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma. What fun!

We have madcap matchmaker Emma setting her sights on another unsuspecting girl at Aunt Daphne’s Cafe. But Emma has been adept at matching people so far, or so she thinks.

Emma Mitchell and Jon Noble have grown up together and are best friends. Jon leaves his counseling practice in New York City to bring his father back to Ransom. Daddy Cam is in need of some TLC. Emma is saving for a trip to Europe to hone her culinary skills so she can open a local restaurant.

Will Emma realize her dreams or will they all fall apart, including her matches.

Ms. Basham gives us lots of quirks to enjoy- from a cat named Narnia to a Thor look-alike. And she even squeezed in her signature closet kiss!

Emma may be bent on matchmaking but her heart wants the best for the people in her crosshairs. Maybe God has other plans. He has lessons to teach Emma.

My favorite character was Ma Mitchell who dispensed Godly wisdom, and this is one of my favorite tropes- friends to sweethearts.

Enjoy this delightful Rom-Com a la Pepper Basham.
*I received this ebook from the author. I was not obligated to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

KIM'S REVIEW:

A Match for Emma is the third book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, but it reads well as a stand-alone. This is a sweet friends to romance story, which is one of my favorite tropes. It has touches of Pepper Basham’s trademark warmth and humor with an Appalachian feel.

Emma and Jonah are both very easy to like and root for. I loved their friendship and how they just seemed to fit together. I really liked how Jonah’s grief about his mom was written, it felt realistic, yet didn’t make the story feel depressing. I also really liked Emma and her relationships with others and how she always tried to help.

The highlights of the story for me were how the game of scrabble was used (so fun!), the way the romance naturally developed, Jonah’s awesome friend Liam (who really needs his own story!), and the epilogue - It is epic!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

WINNIE'S REVIEW:
“The only person who can give you what you need most is the one who can love you forever and always.”

I’ve been hankering for another visit to Mitchell’s Crossroads, so I was excited to dive into Pepper Basham’s new book, A Match for Emma. It was such fun to revisit the Mitchell clan for Emma’s story.

Some things I loved about this book:
 

I loved the characters. Emma and Jon had been best friends for years, and it was entertaining to see their relationship grow and change. Basham is a master at creating endearing, realistic, and flawed characters and wrapping them up in a story that brings them out the other side much better than they were. I enjoyed seeing characters from previous books in the series return in this book.

I loved the setting in small-town Appalachia where everyone is neighborly and knows everyone else’s business and are willing to jump in and help when needed—and sometimes when it’s not needed or wanted!

I loved the quotes from Jane Austen’s Emma at the beginning of the chapters. They added a little hint as to what was going to happen.

I loved the story which is based loosely on Jane Austen’s character of the same name. It’s imaginative, witty, romantic, and charming. “She’s Emma. She just moved her fairy tales and dolls to real people. God help us.”

I love Pepper Basham’s writing. It flows naturally, and her delightful sense of humor shines through her stories. The dialogue is witty and amusing, and she scatters the tale with inspirational messages so seamlessly that they aren’t preachy or overbearing. “A man isn’t going to solve the real problems in your heart, no matter how rich or handsome he is. He can never really complete you. You have to recognize who you are before God, before you’ll be really ready to share your heart well with another person.”

I love that this is a clean, wholesome, humorous story. It was such fun to read that I didn’t want it to end. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
Emma Mitchell may enjoy sprinkling romance into the lives of others, but her own plans involve a single first-class ticket to culinary school in Europe.

When her best friend, Jon Noble, suddenly moves back to Ransom, Emma’s fairly certain her life can’t get any better…until her matchmaking schemes nosedive, her culinary future falls flat, and a life-long friendship begins to teeter on the brink of something unexpected.

With a little inspiration from Jane Austen’s classic and a touch of Blue Ridge charm, will Jon and Emma discover that what they need the most may be the last thing they’re trying to find?


Available in digital ebook or paperback at Amazon

Thursday, December 26, 2019

DEADLY CHRISTMAS PRETENSE by Dana Mentink, Reviewed by Kim

Dana Mentink has long been my favorite LIS author. Her stories are always sprinkled with perfectly timed humor, the characters are always likable, the action is always nicely paced, and there’s always an unexpected twist at the end of the story. And if she writes in a canine friend, which she usually does, they almost always steal the show!
In this story, it was no different! Jingles the dog was my favorite character. I loved him - crooked paws and all! He had such personality and added a lot of humor to the story!

I really liked Liam and have been waiting for his story since Danger on the Ranch, which is book 1 of this series. He is a very layered character beneath his facade and his health issue added a lot of depth to his character. His relationship with Maggie was well paced and realistic.

As usual, I’m looking forward to Dana’s next story!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. 


BackCover Blurb:
A cowboy to her rescue…
but she’s not who he thinks she is.

Posing as her sister for Christmas is the only way to save her, but Maggie Lofton needs help—even if it means working with her twin’s cowboy ex-boyfriend, Liam Pike. But between the bull’s-eye on her back and the dangerous connection she’s forming with Liam, Maggie’s mission is harder than expected. Will their tenuous partnership be enough to shield her when the killer closes in?


Available in digital ebook, paperback, mass market paperback and audiobook:
Buy Deadly Christmas Pretense at Amazon
Buy Deadly Christmas Pretense at Amazon

Monday, December 23, 2019

THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS by Bell Renshaw, Reviewed by Kim

This is the second book in Bell Renshaw’s Winter, Montana series, but it easily reads as a stand-alone. I was so happy to go back to this perfect little Christmas town. As I read, I felt like I was in the middle of a Hallmark Christmas movie! I love Bell Renshaw’s writing style. You are immediately drawn into the story and the lives of the characters.
Ansley was definitely my favorite character. She’s so friendly, easy to like, and patient. Beau, while I liked him, was a bit harder for me to warm up to. He is a tad slow to make up his mind on whether or not to take the next step in his and Ansley’s relationship. He is dealing with some feelings of guilt that make him super cautious. But, once he finally does make a decision about Ansley, well, let’s just say you will for sure be in the mood for Christmas! I am looking forward to Bell’s next story. I can’t wait to see what she brings us next!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts are my own. 


BackCover Blurb:
Will the perfect Christmas be enough to convince Beau that a life with Ansley could be equally perfect?

Born and raised in Winter, Montana, Beau Bradley can’t imagine life anywhere else. During the holiday season his coffee shop, Mountain Grounds, is as busy as ever and now that his girlfriend is back in town, things finally seem to be lining up—until he gets a call that could change it all.

Ansley Strauss is back in Winter after a nine-month, art intensive in Canada and she’s ready to celebrate the Christmas season in the tried and true Winter-style. There’s only one problem: her boyfriend lacks Christmas spirit. Her solution? Make this Christmas perfect to remind Beau just how special this time of year is.

Set on a course for ultimate Christmas joy, Ansley and Beau find that life doesn’t always work out the way they hope it will. Beau faces the reality that plans can’t account for everything and sometimes risking it all is the only way. Ansley will have to come to the realization that no matter how perfect things are, it’s the imperfections in life that make it worth living.

It’s another Christmas in Winter, Montana where the coffee is always hot and the mistletoe beckons lovers to share a kiss.


Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy The Perfect Christmas at Amazon
 

Sunday, December 22, 2019

BESPOKE - A Tiny Christmas Tale by Amanda Dykes, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney and Paula Shreckhise

REBECCA'S REVIEW:
What does a world renowned composer, a small village blacksmith and a well- kept- secret have in common? A tragic accident; a ninth symphony.

This very small, but very powerful story will resonant deep within the recesses of your heart, leading you to discover that there are many ways to make beautiful music!

"Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright" . . . . all is well. 

*I purchased this story and was under no obligation to review. 

PAULA'S REVIEW:
Bespoke is a tiny little tale that is packed with a lot of feeling.

Amanda Dykes' masterful writing pulls us into the story of a renowned composer, Giovanni St. John and his daughter Aria returning to an island after many years away. The story wraps us in its melody as old hurts come to the surface once again. You could tell that she uses this story to pour out her heart; to convey hope through Aria, her father and James, the blacksmith. There is a bit of history, a bit of mystery, hope for the future and redemption of what was thought lost.

The author’s eloquent story has another purpose: the proceeds go to a ministry. A noble cause indeed.

I like what Ms. Dykes says in the afterward: “When a story spills forth, my dearest desire is to find God’s heartbeat in it.” The story mirrors God: “The Composer of our life songs, the Author of our stories, the Creator of light and warmth, the gentle Remover of our dross, Refiner of our Hearts, Healer and Redeemer of our brokenness.”

With her unique voice, this author calls to us to empathize and reach deep for spiritual truths.
*I purchased this ebook from Amazon. All opinions are my own.*

BackCover Blurb:
A Secret. A Bicycle. A Promise…
While the elusive Secret Symphony of Giovanni St. John captivated the world’s fascination, it left his daughter closed away in the Silent House – she, the one who holds the fullness of truth about the ninth symphony. Now Aria St. John is determined to not only break free of the loss that has defined her, but to honor her father through one final gift in his last days.

On the tiny Isle of Espoir, only one man can help in her quest: James Shaw, the village blacksmith… and the lost friend of her childhood.

Will they be able to overcome the tragedy that separated them before it’s too late?

Written to slip easily into the stolen moments of the busy holiday season, this enchanting novelette delves into the miracle of second chances, the gift of God's healing redemption, and the joy of the unexpected.


Available in digital ebook, paperback and audiobook:
Buy Bespoke at Amazon

Saturday, December 21, 2019

HER PLACE IN TIME by Stephenia McGee, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise


Time travel has fascinated people since Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court and The Time Machine by Jules Verne. I admit I have a penchant for time travel movies such as The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Lake House.

In Her Place In Time: A Time Travel Romance novella, Stephenia McGee intrigues and inspires in a unique genre- a Christian Time Travel. I was captivated by this tale that had a very ill Lena Lowry donning a Civil War era gown and stepping back in time to a plantation house being used as a hospital in 1864. Unlikely? Probably! But God governs time and space and this was a story that carried a message that God cares about us and wants to grant us good gifts. Is it a stretch of the imagination? YES! But it was a very enjoyable stretch that shows what a great imagination Ms. McGee has. In addition, it provided a back story for part of the novels in the Liberator series by Ms. McGee. In her Historical Notes she gives us a peek into her research for this novella.
*I purchased this ebook from Amazon. All opinions are my own.*

BackCover Blurb:
Can love offer a new future…in the past?

A mysterious gown, unexpected courage, and a love that transcends time.

Nursing student Lena Lowery faces a grim diagnosis and a dangerous surgery. On the cusp of the life-changing procedure, Lena stays at the Rosswood Plantation Bed and Breakfast for one last weekend with her mother. There in an antique armoire, Lena discovers a Civil War-era gown that holds an unimaginable cure…a trip back in time to when the house served as a hospital.

Confederate Sergeant Caleb Dockery lost his brother, his eye, and nearly his life. Stuck in a makeshift infirmary, he’s counting the days until he can return to duty…and seek revenge. When a stranger appears, he suspects she’s a spy. If he can’t return to duty and find the revenge he craves for his brother’s death, he can serve his country by stopping this traitor. But her nursing skills are saving lives, and her courage and independence stirs his heart. When Lena’s safety is threatened, Caleb must strain the loyalties that bind him or risk losing her forever.

Caught between a future that holds no promises and a past that could offer new life, Lena must face an extraordinary decision. Should she return to her own time where her days are numbered? Or can she and Caleb find a love that stretches across time?

If you like historical romance with a twist, strong female characters, and heroes that transcend eras, you’ll love this journey through time that tests the limits of love.

*Her Place in Time is set in the house from The Liberator Series, just prior to the start of Leveraging Lincoln. Fans of the series will enjoy seeing Annabelle and Peggy in this new novella, but it's not necessary to have read the series prior to reading the novella.


Available in digital ebook, paperback and audiobook:
Buy Her Place in Time at Amazon
 

FOREVER LATELY by Linore Rose Burkard, "Time Travel" Reviewed by Paula and Trixi


PAULA'S REVIEW:
Forever Lately by Linore Rose Burkard is an unusual time-travel romance.

“It is difficult, when faced with a situation you cannot control, to admit you can do nothing. “ Lemony Snicket; “You need to be a little bit crazy. Crazy is the price you pay for having an imagination.” Ruth Ozeki; “ When you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile.” Lucy Maud Montgomery. These are some of the quotes that begin each chapter in this fantasy story. They are thought provoking and a real hoot! The chapters vary in length which makes for more enjoyable pacing.

The cover piqued my interest with its pretty silhouette of figures in Regency garb. I have always been fascinated by time travel books and movies.

For Maine author, Claire Channing, the characters in the book she is writing just won’t behave! Especially when she finds herself in a ballroom, in period clothes, in England, in 1816!

This was a sometimes funny, sometimes serious but always entertaining glimpse into Regency England through the eyes of a 21st Century woman. Thrown back in time, Claire tries to cope and make sense of things when she falls in love with Julian St. John. Funnier still is when Julian tries to figure out modern day conveniences on his trip to the future. Which era will they end up in? How will they solve this conundrum?

This story had me quickly turning pages to see how the well-drawn characters would respond the to danger confronting them. Ms. Burkard has taken a unique premise and further tuned it on its head.

Wonderful story that seemed perfectly logical to me!

*A copy of this book was provided by the author through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*


TRIXI'S REVIEW:
“That was the plan, the outline she’d labored over for this new book which she called Forever, Lately. Later, when it all fell apart, Claire would wonder how she’d stumbled upon real people to inhabit her story. If she’d known they were real, she might have known, too, that they wouldn’t ever do as she planned.”

“Note to self: If characters are going to change from what the writer envisioned, they must do so early on in the writing.”

Right off the bat as soon as I read these lines, I KNEW this was going to be a fun read! How many times have I heard authors say this very thing, that their characters simply won’t cooperate? As if they completely took over the story and ripped it out of the writer’s hand, lol! I’ve never read time travel novels but I absolutely adore Regency fiction so I figured the combination of the two would be delightful. 


This was so much more than I expected, in a good way, and all the plot twists keep me wondering where Burkard would take me next. I fell hard for Julian St. John at first glance and was quite jealous that Claire stole his interest. But at the same time, I loved watching from the sidelines the interactions between author and characters. It was a very interesting perspective! There were quite a few places where I couldn’t help but laugh and quite a few that I wanted to tell Miss Clarissa Andrews off. She was no lady, at least not a respectable one the way she prowled around St John trying to manipulate his affections. 

The whole idea of time traveling to and living in the Regency era was intriguing; one I wished could happen for real because I’d be the first to sign up! This was a delightful adventure all around and would satisfy the heart of any Regency era fiction fan. Linore Burkard is one to keep my eye out for; she quickly became a favorite of mine! I have since added her to my list of must-read Regency authors.
*I received this book courtesy of the author through Interviews & Reviews, and was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *


BackCover Blurb:
"A writer of historical fiction travels back in time—and into the world of her characters. An enjoyable and dramatic era-spanning love story."
Kirkus

"Move over, Poldark! Julian St. John is our new English heartthrob!"
Lisa K. Simonds, Author, All In
"The plot is intriguing..."
The BookLife Prize

"Such a fun read! I do believe it is my favorite of your books!"
Debbie Lynne Costello, Author, Sword of Forgiveness

1816, England
Julian St. John needs a wife. An oath to a deceased guardian must be kept. Miss Clarissa Andrews, a vexatious beauty, has dangled after him all season but he has no intention of choosing such a she-devil.

Maine, Present Day
Author Claire Channing is desperate to write a bestseller to save her failing career. She moves into her grandmotherʼs abandoned cottage to write the book, but a local resort baron wants to raze the place. Without the deed, the clock is ticking on how long she can stay. She thinks she’s writing St. Johnʼs story. But when she discovers an old prayer shawl and finds herself in his Regency world, she falls in love with him, a man she thought she invented! Miss Andrews, however, is also real—and she’d rather see Julian dead than in another womanʼs arms!
Claire must beat the clock to prevent a deadly tragedy, but can love beat the limits of time itself?
 


Available in digital ebook, paperback:
Buy Forever Lately at Amazon
 

Friday, December 20, 2019

MISTLETOE MENAGERIE by Janine Rosche #Interview and #Review by Nicole Cook

Nicole: The fabulous Janine Rosche is joining us today at Inkwell Inspirations to discuss her newly released Christmas novella, Mistletoe Menagerie, which is the prequel to her upcoming debut novel, This Wandering Heart.  Janine, thank you so much for joining us today!

Janine: It’s my honor, believe me!

Nicole:  Mistletoe Menagerie is the perfect novella for the holiday season.  This heartwarming Christmas novella of second chances and finding love again will have readers of contemporary romance eagerly anticipating the release of This Wandering Heart in May.  (PS Download it using the book funnel link below!)        
What message or inspiration do you hope that readers will take away from Mistletoe Menagerie?

Janine: This story, as well as the three full-length novels that follow it, all carry the same underlying theme. After loss, tragedy, or hardship, there is still reason to hope. In Mistletoe Menagerie, I tried to put flesh on Psalm 27:13- “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Sage and Luke have both lost someone dear to them. They are torn between honoring the person they loved and carrying on. No matter what my readers have experienced this past year, I hope they’ll see something of themselves in either Sage or Luke and welcome moments of grace and joy when they arrive.

Nicole:  After the brief introduction of Robbie in Mistletoe Menagerie, I can’t wait to read his story in This Wandering Heart. Could you share with us any information about your future releases and/or your current work in progress?

Janine: Oh, Robbie. I adore him. When I first started writing This Wandering Heart, I wasn’t sure a 350-page novel could contain his personality. He has a big, devoted heart and uses every bit of it to love his family and of course, Keira. And yet, he’s fun-loving as can be. But in his story, the same traits that make him a great hero stir up trouble and threaten the custody of his sweet, four-year-old daughter, Anabelle. Unfortunately, the best person to help him is the one he drove away once before. Keira knows the joy of loving Robbie Matthews, as well as the pain of losing him. And now there’s even more at risk: his daughter and her dream.

I hope readers will fall in love with Robbie, Keira, and Anabelle, then stick around to hear his sister Ryann’s story in Wildflower Road (October 2020) and his best friend Thomas’s story in Glory Falls (January 2021). And for those who have read Mistletoe Menagerie, this isn’t the last we’ll see of Pastor Shane.

Nicole: When chatting with Rachel Scott McDaniel recently, I shared with her that both of you are my favorite debut authors to follow on social media because of the fun ways that you interact with your followers and your eagerness to introduce readers to wonderful Christian fiction authors.  Through participation on some of the same authors’ launch teams as you and seeing your social media posts, I’ve noticed that we enjoy many of the same books.  Who are some of your favorite Christian fiction authors that you would love to recommend to our readers? 

Janine: My favorite topic! As I answer this, I’m staring at eight copies of Rachel’s book, Above the Fold. EIGHT! I’m giving them as gifts to my book club because I know they’ll love it. A clever plot, intriguing setting (1920s Pittsburgh), and a real swoony hero make it a fantastic read! I also just finished Denise Hunter’s latest, Lake Season, and must now spend hours contemplating if I loved it more than Dancing with Fireflies and Adam more than Riley (from Just a Kiss). Ugh. Another great recent release is Love You, Truly by Susan Tuttle. It’s a globetrotting whirlwind of a love story that made me a forever fan of hers!

Nicole:  It is always so fun to discuss swoony heroes with you!  You know that I’m a huge fan of Denise Hunter’s too.  Riley is one of my favorite heroes of Denise’s, but Wade from A Cowboy’s Touch will always have my heart!  Above the Fold was an amazing debut novel, and I can’t wait to read more of Rachel’s future books.  I have never read any books by Susan Tuttle, but after your recommendation, I definitely want to read Love You, Truly!

Nicole:  What books are on the top of your to-be-read pile during this holiday season?

Janine: First up is Pepper Basham’s A Match for Emma. Not a Christmas story, but it’s always a good time for a Basham book! On audio, I’m re-listening to Tinsel in a Tangle by Laurie Germaine. It’s the most adorable Christmas story about a seventeen-year-old elf who doesn’t fit in with the rest of the elves because of her human-height. She must learn to love her uniqueness while working with Niklas, the heir to the Santa Claus throne and her childhood friend-turned-foe to save Christmas. It’s a splendid ride and the sweetest romance!

Nicole:  What is one gift that you hope Santa leaves in your stocking on Christmas Eve?

Janine: Another labrador retriever puppy! Not really. Dog beds already cover most of the floor in my writing studio. So, I’d love a Jamie Fraser Funko pop. Robbie may or may not be modeled after him, so I’d like to have one to sit on my shelf!

Nicole:  Ha, ha! I have three labrador retrievers myself, and I always say I want another one too!  They are just so adorable!

Janine, thank you again for joining us today.  This has been a pleasure to chat with you!

Janine: Thanks, Nicole! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Author Bio:
Prone to wander, Janine Rosche finds as much comfort on the open road as she does at home. This longing to chase adventure, behold splendor, and experience redemption is woven into each of her rustic romance novels in the Madison River Romance series. When she isn't writing or traveling, she teaches family life education courses to college students, takes too many pictures of her sleeping dogs, and embarrasses her four children and husband with boy band serenades.

Back Cover Blurb:
Is one whimsical night enough to turn sorrow into a lifetime of hope?

On Christmas Eve, Sage Matthews races through the city zoo, desperate to honor the tradition she shared with her deceased mother. Yet a simple train ride beneath twinkling lights isn’t enough to quell the ache in her heart for the kind of Christmas she used to know. As she grieves, the last person she expects to see at the helm of the zoo festivities is her childhood crush.

Growing up, Luke Tennison never had any Christmas traditions, let alone a family to share them with. Now, as the assistant general director at the zoo and a widower, he counts down the days until the strings of lights dim and the tinsel disappears. When he approves a last-minute request for the zoo to host children from a foster home on Christmas morning, he asks Sage for help, in hopes it may bring a smile not only to the kids, but to the once-joyful girl he used to know.

Together Sage and Luke spend the midnight hours wandering through the sleeping zoo and preparing a magical and merry menagerie that the children will never forget. But with heavy snowfall threatening to close the roads, they’ll need a miracle, or all their efforts will be for naught.


Author links:
www.JanineRosche.com



NICOLE'S REVIEW:
Fans of author Janine Rosche’s are in for a real treat with this enchanting Christmas novella filled with wonderful characters and beautiful Christmas traditions.

Mistletoe Menagerie, the prequel to Janine Rosche’s Madison River romance series, is the perfect novella for the holiday season. This heartwarming Christmas novella of second chances and finding love again will have readers of contemporary romance eagerly anticipating the release of This Wandering Heart, book one in the series, in May.

The zoo is especially magical this time of year for people of all ages. Holiday lights, train rides, and preparations for hosting a group of foster children at the zoo bring childhood friends Sage and Luke together for an incredible Christmas Eve that neither thought could ever be possible.

Mistletoe Menagerie is highly recommended for readers of contemporary romance, especially readers who enjoy books by Denise Hunter, Courtney Walsh, and Becky Wade.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher and was under no obligation to leave a review. All opinions expressed are mine.

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