Ain’t Misbehaving Review & Giveaway

Ain't Misbehaving FB Cover copy

About the Book

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Title: Ain’t Misbehaving

Author: Marji Laine

Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Fiction

Release Date: January 16, 2017

True, Annalee’s crime amounted to very little, but not in terms of community service hours. Her probation officer encouraged her with a promise of an easy job in an air conditioned downtown environment. She didn’t expect her role to be little better than a janitor at an after-school day care in the worst area of town. Through laughter and a few tears, Annalee finds out that some lessons are learned the hard way, and some seep into the soul unnoticed.

Carlton Whelen hides behind the nickname of CJ so people won’t treat him like the wealthy son of the Whelen Foundation director. Working at the foundations after-school program delights him and annoys his business-oriented father. When a gorgeous prima donna is assigned to his team, he not only cringes at her mistakes, but also has to avoid the attraction that builds from the first time he sees her.

Click here to purchase your copy!

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

What an incredibly captivating contemporary romance! This is my first novel by Marji Laine and I’m so glad that her book found me. The story is well-written, the plot is intricately planned, the dialogue is so real and engaging, the characters are wonderful, the faith component of the storyline is seamlessly integrated, and the book moves at a great pace with lots of twists and turns.
Annalee is such a beautiful heroine, inside and out. Granted, she’s the baby daughter of a rich attorney running for the mayor seat in Dallas but she’s different from the high-society women. Annalee is sweet, compassionate, loving, down-to-earth, selfless, artistic, creative and so in need of approval and belonging. Yet she has trouble trusting men because of her past experience. CJ is the sole heir to the Whelan empire who has rejected all of his father’s demands to serve as the director for a children’s after-school center in a low income area of the city. He is devoted, loyal, kind, compassionate, hard-working, but he himself has trouble trusting women. Circumstances bring them together but so many incidents and accidents try to keep them apart, especially a particular secret CJ keeps from Annalee. Their slowly blooming friendship and romance is achingly sweet and often tear-filled.
CJ’s faith is amazingly solid and yet he still makes plenty of mistakes, clearly showcasing his need for the Savior and grace. Annalee’s receptive heart and sincere prayers are touching and quite inspirational.
Anyone who enjoys a well-written contemporary inspirational romance novel would absolutely love this book. I was given a copy of the book by author/publisher via Celebrate Lit Tour. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

Marji Laine

Marji Laine has completed seventeen years of homeschooling with the surreal notion that

she’ll now have time on her hands. But that’s unlikely. Her publishing company, Write Integrity Press, keeps her extremely busy. In her spare time, she teaches a high school and college Bible Study, leads a Sunday morning high school fellowship group, directs a children’s choir, and sings in her church’s adult choir.

She enjoys road trips with her family and friends, photography, scrapbooking, and participating in musical theater. Her favorite past time is game night with her family and her kids’ extended collection of friends.

Guest Post from Marji Laine

AIN’T MISBEHAVING delves into the depth of life from the perspective of a shallow, sheltered woman. Annalee Chambers has been raised to pay attention to all aspects of society, particularly the appearance of success. Being cultured and socially-educated, she’s not really prepared to work in one of the poorest sections of town. And she’s really not expecting to find such joy intertwined with such poverty.

Having my story set in my hometown has some fun aspects. I got to handpick the homes for the main characters and the locations for the after-school program. And even now when I drive past some of those places, I get all excited about the story again.

For instance, I chose a particular building downtown to be CJ’s (the hero’s) condo. It’s in One Arts Plaza. This condo was for sale when I was writing the book so I was able to download actual pictures of the place including the view from its southeast facing patio. You’ll laugh, but I don’t drive by that building without looking up to the 18th floor and half expecting to see CJ standing there.

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AIN’T MISBEHAVING goes much deeper than only the setting, though. It was written a number of years ago, so many that I barely remembered the storyline. But when I started editing, I was moved to tears again and again. These characters are so real, and I would love to meet them!

I hope you’ll enjoy AIN’T MISBEHAVING and watch for Annalee and CJ to have an extra special cameo part in Book 2 of the Dallas Duets, PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ.

Blog Stops

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 27

Janices book reviews, January 27

Remembrancy, January 28

Mary Hake, January 28

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 29

Inklings and Notions, January 29

Texas Book-aholic, January 30

Carpe Diem, January 31

A Baker’s Perspective, February 1

Multifarious, February 2

Daysong Reflections, February 2

Bibliophile Reviews, February 3

proud to be an autism mom, February 4

Power of Words, February 4 (spotlight)

A Greater Yes, February 5

Reading is my Super Power, February 5 (Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 6

margaret kazmierczak, February 6 (interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, February 7 (Guest review from Mindy Houng)

Bigreadersite, February 8

Avid Reader Book Reviews, February 8

Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, February 9

Pursuing Stacie, February 9


Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Marji is giving away a grand prize of Dallas chocolates, Texas snack box, and a packet of Bluebonnet seeds!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c516

Their Daring Hearts Review & Giveaway

Their Daring Hearts FB Banner copy

About the Book

TheirDaringHearts2

Author: Sharlene MacLaren

Genre: Christian Historical Romance (Civil War)

Release Date: Jan 9, 2018

Levi Albright rebelled against his Quaker roots to fight for abolition in the Union army in the first year of the Civil War. Two years later, 19-year-old destitute orphan Josephine Winters, with her chopped hair, boy’s clothes, and new name, “Snipp,” enlists in the Union army out of desperation.

Just over five feet tall and barely weighing as much as a newborn calf, Snipp seems to Levi to be barely old enough to hold “his” gun. But despite being teased by the regiment, Snipp quickly earns admiration for skill with a musket and unequaled bravery. When Levi explains one night that he is a Quaker leading a regiment, it leads to a late-night discussion of faith and a developing friendship.

But Snipp’s secret can only be hidden for so long. After an injury forces Josie to reveal her real identity, Levi is angered by her deception. Worse, Josie is marched out of the company without a chance to explain—or even say goodbye. Will their friendship survive? Or will the hatred saturating the war-torn nation affect even the heart of a peace-loving Quaker?

Click here to purchase your copy.

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“Only God could write so perfect a love story.”
And this book indeed is a beautiful love story. It is the first book written by Sharlene MacLaren that I have read and I’m hooked. This book blends good writing, a well-plotted story that is perfectly paced, a hint of intrigue and mystery, memorable characters, great dialogue, historical facts from Civil War with a strong element of faith, salvation, redemption and grace to produce a delightful read.
The solid faith Levi and Josie portray throughout the story is commendable and inspiring. Their compassion and care for those wounded, both physically and spiritually, bring them together in ways that neither have experienced before. Levi is strong, faithful, loyal, compassionate, full of God’s Word and love, thoughtful, loving, a natural leader and makes for a dashing hero. Josie is determined yet tender-hearted, loyal to family and friends, creative, compassionate yet so innocent about the ways of the world and romance. They go through a lot together during their days in the army and a wonderful friendship emerges even before the romance. A hint of intrigue and mystery regarding a traitor in their midst adds a layer of adrenaline to the plot.
Anyone who enjoys a well-written historical romance taking place during the Civil War will appreciate this book.
I was given a copy of this book by the author/publisher via Celebrate Lit Tour. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

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Born and raised in western Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren graduated from Spring Arbor University then traveled nationally with a contemporary Christian vocal ensemble. She married Cecil, with whom she’d grown up in Spring Arbor, and the couple had two daughters. Shar embarked on a teaching career that would span over 30 years. As she contemplated retirement, Shar sought God’s guidance, praying for a vocation that would provide the kind of fulfillment and joy she experienced as a teacher and mother. A lifelong gifted story teller, she began to write Christian romance novels. Her first book, Through Every Storm, published in 2007, was met with critical acclaim and brisk sales. The rest, as they say, is history. Whitaker House’s bestselling fiction author, she’s subsequently published 18 books, mostly historical romances. Shar enjoys reading, singing in her church choir and worship team, traveling, and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She’s very interactive on Facebook and Twitter. For more: www.sharlenemaclaren.com, www.facebook.com/sharmaclaren, Twitter @ sharzy_lu.

Blog Stops

History, Mystery & Faith, January 25

Genesis 5020, January 25

Inspiration Clothesline, January 25

ASC Book Reviews, January 26

Multifarious, January 26

Christian Bookaholic, January 27

Remembrancy, January 27

Carpe Diem, January 28

Inklings and notions, January 28

Blossoms and Blessings, January 29

Reading Is My SuperPower, January 29

The Fizzy Pop Collection, January 30

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 30

Moments Dipped in Ink, January 31

Mary Hake, January 31

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 31

Daysong Reflections, February 1

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 1

A Baker’s Perspective, February 1

Pause for Tales, February 2

Have A Wonderful Day, February 2

Connie’s History Classroom, February 3

Cafinated Reads, February 3

proud to be an autism mom, February 4

Bibliophile Reviews, February 4

Red Headed Book Lady, February 5

My Wrtier’s Life, February 5

Simple Harvest Reads, February 5 (Guest Post from Mindy Houg)

Pursuing Stacie, February 6

A Greater Yes, February 6

Texas Book-aholic, February 6

Bigreadersite, February 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 7

Janices book reviews, February 7


Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Whitaker House is giving away:

Grand Prize Package: Their Daring Hearts (Forever Freedom Series) #2 by Sharlene MacLaren; Summer on Sunset Ridge (Forever Freedom Series #1) signed by the author, Sharlene MacLaren, Abba Jerusalem Hyssop 6” Pillar Candle.
1st Place: Their Daring Hearts (Forever Freedom Series) #2 by Sharlene MacLaren; Heart of Mercy (Tennessee Dreams #1) by Sharlene MacLaren; Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book with Colored Pencils.
2nd Place: Their Daring Hearts (Forever Freedom Series) #2 by Sharlene MacLaren; Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book with Colored Pencils.!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c602

Liza’s Second Chance Review & Giveaway

Liza's Second Chance FB Banner copyAbout the Book

7-19-2017 from John S. Liza's Second Chance

Title: Liza’s Second Chance

Author: Molly Jebber

Genre: Christian Amish Fiction

Release Date: January 30, 2018

The sweet welcome of straight-from-the-oven sugar cookies and hot cocoa. The warm invitation of apple pie and fresh cold milk. In 1912 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery is the heart of a close-knit, faith-nourished community, where people can find a refuge, a place to start again—and love that can make their lives new . . .

For Liza Schrock, the bakery her late husband bought was an unexpected haven from their unhappy arranged marriage. Now she’s perfectly content to cook up mouth-watering delights for her hometown, give to those alone or in trouble—and remain happily unwed. And though she’s willing to give handsome, newly-arrived widower Jacob Graber all the help he desperately needs, she is sure they can stay just friends . . .

But as Liza also tries to aid Jacob’s troubled teenage daughter, she starts caring far too much for his gentle ways and steadfast hopes. And when a wrenching secret she must keep comes between them, can Liza find the faith to risk opening her heart again—and reach for one more chance at real love?

Click here to purchase your copy!

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

This is the first book by Molly Jebber that I have read. For full disclosure, I have to admit that I don’t read much Amish fiction. I have read more since becoming a part of the Celebrate Lit Tour review team, but it is not my go-to genre of fiction. That being said, this Amish fiction book that takes place in Charm, Ohio in 1912 blends love and faith in the small Amish community that provides second chances with historical happenings of that era. The deeply woven thread of faith and prayer in the storyline is also an added bonus.
Liza is a bakery owner in Charm who suffered through a terrible marriage to a verbally and emotionally abusive man. She is now a widow, enjoying her time with her sister’s family and bakery. Jacob is a widower just moved into Charm with his troubled teenage daughter. Sparks fly between the two, but many issues – past and present – interfere with their budding relationship. Liza is strong and capable but so timid and fearful in a courtship. Jacob is tender, loyal, and caring but sometimes too pushy and stubborn about getting his own way. Then there is Ellie, Jacob’s daughter, who is willful and spiteful, mostly because she’s still hurting from her mother’s death. Although the characters were definitely three-dimensional and layered, I unfortunately couldn’t really connect with any of them.
The storyline was plotted out well, but the book seemed a bit long and repeatedly addressed Liza’s emotional issues with remarriage more often than was needed.
If you enjoy Amish historical fiction, I’m sure you would enjoy this book. I was given a copy of the book by the author/publisher via Celebrate Lit Tour. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

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Molly Jebber’s books have been featured on Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Ten Recommended Reads, in USA Today’s HEA, Romantic Times and many other media sites. She’s tours and speaks about Amish history/traditions, writing, marketing, publishing, and about her books. She loves God, her family, friends. She enjoys swimming, golf, reading, and says yes to butterscotch pie and parasailing, but no to coconut and skydiving! Visit www.mollyjebber.com for a complete list of her books and speaking events.

Guest Post from Molly Jebber

Here’s a little about Liza’s story:

Hello Friends,

I loved writing about Liza. She has a lot to overcome in this book, but her faith in God, and compassion for others helps her to arrive at her decisions through difficult and happy times. I enjoyed visiting Charm, and it makes for a good setting for this story. The bakery is fun with all the sugary pies, pastries, and breads. The unique customers, and the place where friends are made, and where trouble happens. Most of all, I hope I’ve done a good job entertaining you as you read “Liza’s Second Chance”.

Blog Stops

A Rup Life, January 30

Books n Baubles, January 30

margaret kazmierczak, January 30 (interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, January 30 ( Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Avid Reader Book Reviews, January 31

Josephine’s Thoughts, January 31

Vicky Sluiter, February 1

Splashes of Joy, February 1

For The Love of Books, February 2

Christian Bookaholic, February 2

Blossoms and Blessings, February 3

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 3

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, February 4

Mary Hake, February 4

SusanLovesBooks, February 5

Carpe Diem, February 5

Reading is my Super Power, February 5 (interview)

The Fizzy Pop Collection, February 6

proud to be an autism mom, February 6

Bibliophile Reviews, February 7

A Greater Yes, February 7

Pursuing Stacie, February 7

Texas Book-aholic, February 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 8

Have A Wonderful Day, February 9

Janices book reviews, February 9

cherylbbookblog, February 10

Red Headed Book Lady, February 10

Bigreadersite, February 10

Pink Granny’s Journey, February 11

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 11

A Reader’s Brain, February 12

A Baker’s Perspective, February 12

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Molly is giving away a $75 Amazon gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c6d1

Son of Promise Review & Giveaway

Sons of promise FB cover copy

About the Book

00 Son of Promise

Title: Son of Promise

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Woman’s Fiction

Be it known, your sins will find you out, but God’s mercy endureth forever!
Can a wife find the grace to forgive when her husband’s withheld the truth?
Travis Buckmeyer has a secret son, and the morning’s come to tell his sweet wife. He hates breaking Emma Lee’s heart. She promised him one ten years ago, but hasn’t been blessed to carry a baby to term. Every miscarriage made the telling harder, but now his clock’s run out. He’s going for his son, praying he won’t lose her.
Click here to purchase your copy!

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

This is the first book of Caryl McAdoo’s that I had the privilege of reading. I realize that this book is the latest installment of a family saga but it could be read as a stand-alone. If I had read the previous books, I would have had better insight into the family dynamics, the personalities within the families and probably Travis and Emma Lee’s relationship but the author provided enough details in this book that I did not feel lost in the story.
The story takes place in southern Texas in 1950. Travis is a farmer who breeds cows and horses and Emma Lee is his artist wife of 10 years still hoping and praying to expand their family. Travis discovers that his 12-yo son, from one night with a waitress during his traveling, needs his help and the couple set out to do what is good and right. Travis and Emma Lee are wonderful characters, full of flaws and faults, who are not afraid to admit their weaknesses and say they’re sorry. They both embody what a true Christian should look like – full of love, forgiveness, faith and prayer. Cody, Travis’ son, starts out being a punk but the story chronicles God’s hand on him and how He changes Cody one day at a time.
The story is well-constructed and full of hope and second-chances. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I had hoped. The historical setting of 1950s didn’t pique my interest and I had a difficult time following the language and lingo of southern Texas in the 1950s. Third person point-of-view in which the book is written switched quite a bit, which confused me and impeded my flow of reading. I did appreciate the sweet love and romance between Travis and Emma Lee. I also appreciated the sense of family and bond that the couple created for Cody. The visions and words from the Lord given to Travis, Emma Lee, and Cody (among others) were great reminders that God is very much alive and ready to move in our lives when we’re willing.
I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher via Celebrate Lit Tour. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

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Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and a quick scroll through her novels’ rankings by Christian readers attests to the Father’s faithfulness. She loves writing almost as much as singing the new songs He gives her—look her up on YouTube to hear a few. Her high school sweetheart husband won her heart fifty-two years ago, and now they share four children and seventeen grandsugars. Ron and Caryl live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.

Guest Post from Caryl McAdoo

SON OF PROMISE—a companion story to my Texas Romance Family Saga’s book ten CHIEF OF SINNERS—features Travis and Emma Lee Buckmeyer, who readers first meet in CHIEF. She’s the sister of its heroine Sandy Harris, and he is a friend of its hero Buddy Nightingale; he’s also the son of Crockett Buckmeyer (from book eight COVERING LOVE) and grandson of Patrick Henry Buckmeyer (hero of book one VOW UNBROKEN).
A standalone, it isn’t necessary for readers to know all these ancestors to enjoy SON OF PROMISE, but those who do will surely love it all the more. What I know is that this couple won a chunk of my heart. Their faith is outstanding and their love inspiring. In the ’40s, Emma Lee didn’t have the fertility options young women do today, and miscarriage after miscarriage left her hurting. That’s why he hadn’t told her.
He didn’t want to hurt her, but circumstances had changed, and time was up. She had to be told that morning he already had a son born from a one night liaison thirteen years before because he was leaving to claim his Cody from a reform school and bring him home.
The boy had never known real love, but I loved him from the first. Forced to grow up way too fast—lying, stealing, and participating in most any other rebellious act—he’s missed so much. He’s overwhelmed with Travis and Emma Lee—their home, their partnership and love for each other, and their generosity toward him.
He planned to light out from the start, but days piled on top each other, and he never pulled the trigger.
In VOW UNBROKEN, there was an awesome canine named Blue Dog, and I went into his POV (Point Of View—got into his head) a couple of times. My Simon & Schuster editor ‘requested’ that I lose those segments, and so I did. But in this novel, I get into a canine’s head again . . . I’m hoping readers will find that fun.
In years past, I owned, managed, and milked a herd of eighty-plus dwarf goats and loved their Great Pyrenees guardians, so it was fun to include them in the story. I love how Emma Lee was able to sell her paintings for exorbitant prices, but remained so humble and unassuming. And that she and Travis opened their home (they’re so much like my husband and me) to total strangers. We’ve had so many people live with us over the years, to help them, be blessings—the hands and feet of God in the earth.
I pray my story gives God glory and that its readers will be drawn closer to Him through it. He blesses me and highly favors me daily. I can’t thank or praise Him enough!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 18

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 18

Christian Author, J.E.Grace Blog, January 19

Splashes of Joy, January 19

Karen Sue Hadley , January 20

Maureen’s Musings, January 20

proud to be an autism mom, January 21

Bibliophile Reviews, January 21

Reading is My SuperPower, January 22 (Interview)

A Greater Yes, January 22

Texas Book-aholic, January 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 23

Baker kella, January 24

Janices book reviews, January 24

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 25

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 25

Quiet Quilter, January 26

Carpe Diem, January 26

C Jane Read, January 27

A Baker’s Perspective, January 27

Simple Harvest Reads, January 28 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Pursuing Stacie, January 28

Red Headed Book Lady, January 29

margaret kazmierczak, January 29

cherylbbookblog, January 30

Bigreadersite, January 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 31

Avid Reader Book Reviews, January 31


 Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away

GRAND PRIZE : $50 Amazon Gift Card
1st Prize: Choice-of-Caryl’s Titles (print or ebook)
2nd-4th: ebook of SON OF PROMISE!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c511

A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill Review & Giveaway

A Courtship on huckleberry Hill fb banner copyAbout the Book

a courtship on huckleberry hill MM (1)

Title: A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill

Author: Jennifer Beckstrand

Genre: Christian Amish Fiction

Release Date: December 26, 2017

Elsie Helmuth’s plain-spoken ways got her in trouble once before, so she needs to make a good impression at her new teaching job. But she’s not about to let disabled student Wally Sensenig work below his potential. And she definitely won’t put up with his hot-headed older brother sabotaging her efforts, no matter how handsome he is. . .

Sam is nearly at the end of his rope caring for his ailing, widowed mother, working their farm, and raising his siblings. He’ll admit Elsie’s ideas are bringing Wally out of his angry shell—but why does she have to be as stubborn as she is pretty? Yet as it turns out, Elsie has taught Sam something about himself as well. And he’ll do whatever it takes to make up for his mistakes—and win her heart forever.

Click here to purchase your copy.

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“For sure and certain.”
I’ll be repeating this phrase in my head for many days to come. I don’t read Amish books much, mostly because I am busy reading other genres. From the handful of Amish books I’ve read, I’ve enjoyed this book the most. The author, who is new to me, has a delightful way of writing that turns every day incidents into memorable events, both heart-warming and heart-wrenching. Even though softball, school, gatherings of family and friends, and farming can seem like mundane routine things, the author uses these happenings to bring spark and interest into the plot and gives life lessons through them all. There is no mystery or suspense or adrenaline woven into the plot but the storyline moves at a good pace and keeps the reader engaged.
The author’s writing style is fluid and easy to follow. The dialogue, especially between the two main characters Elsie and Sam, ranges from angry and heated to humorous and sweet. There are some serious laugh-out-loud moments in the book that had me cracking up and shaking my head at the same time. The characters in the book are layered and deeply lovable.
Elsie is the new school teacher who lives with her grandparents (and her grandparents are sure to bring laughter and smiles as you read). She’s stubborn, proud, smart, a gifted teacher and softball player who has a tender heart and will do whatever it takes to do what she believes is right. Sam is the oldest in the family now responsible for the farm and his siblings and mother. He’s also stubborn and quite proud, loyal to family and friends and hardworking but has quite a temper. Sam does grow through the book and understands how to control his temper better and also learns to apologize in humility.
It was a delightful journey of second chances, basking in the warmth of love from family and friends, and savoring the beautiful moments that can be had in an environment uncluttered from modern technology.
I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher via Celebrate Lit Tour. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

Jennifer Beckstrand

Jennifer Beckstrand is the RITA-nominated, award-winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hillseries and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Her much-anticipated Amish series, The Honeybee Sisters, has created a lot of romantic buzz. Sweet as Honey received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and Sweet as Honey and A Bee in her Bonnet were both awarded Top Picks from RT Book Reviews. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters’aendi Bitsy. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-three years, and she has six children and six adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand

I have a very special place in my heart for teachers. My dad was a high school math teacher. My mother taught second grade for over twenty years. My son-in-law taught choir in high school, and my daughter taught seventh-grade science. Another daughter taught American history labs at the university and still another daughter taught classes for a youth summer program.

Elsie Stutzman is a dedicated teacher who was dismissed from her last teaching job in Ohio and is trying to make a fresh start and a good impression in Bonduel, Wisconsin. Unfortunately one of her students, Wally Sensenig, is making things difficult for her, and Wally’s hot-headed older brother seems determined to get her fired. But Elsie is a dedicated teacher, too stubborn to back down and too steadfast to give up on anybody.

Elsie’s grandparents, Anna and Felty Helmuth, have other plans for her. They want her to fall in love with one of the local boys, but they’re finding it a little difficult to get the two young people together.

Teachers have an immense impact on our lives. We all remember a favorite elementary school teacher who inspired a love of learning or a high school teacher who encouraged us to reach for greatness. One of my favorite teachers was Mrs. Zobell, who taught ninth grade English. I distinctly remember her reading “The Outsiders” out loud to our class. She had a way of making great books and great stories come to life, and she sparked a love of reading (and writing) that I will always be grateful for. The teacher who had the most impact on my life is my dad. He helped me through Calculus in high school and inspired me to major in math in college.

I hope we will take the time this month to thank the teachers in our lives for all they do for us and all they do for our kids.

Who was one of your favorite teachers and why?

Blog Stops

Christian Bookaholic, January 16

proud to be an autism mom, January 16

Blossoms and Blessings, January 16

Reading Is My SuperPower, January 17

Mommynificent, January 17

Avid Reader Book Reviews, January 17

Bibliophile Reviews, January 18

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, January 18

The Power of Words, January 18

Multifarious, January 19

A Greater Yes, January 19

Texas Book-aholic, January 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 20

Karen Sue Hadley, January 21

Splashes of Joy, January 21

A Reader’s Brain, January 22

Mary Hake, January 22

Southern Gal Loves to Read, January 23

SusanLovesBooks, January 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 24

Janices book reviews, January 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 25

Carpe Diem, January 25

Quiet Quilter, January 26

margaret kazmierczak, January 26 (Interview)

cherylbbookblog, January 27

Red Headed Book Lady, January 27

Pink Granny’s Journey, January 27

A Baker’s Perspective, January 28

Simple Harvest Reads, January 28 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Pursuing Stacie, January 28

Because I said so- and other adventures in parenting., January 29

Vicky Sluiter, January 29

Bigreadersite, January 29


Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to three winners!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c6cf

Soul’s Cry Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

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Title: Soul’s Cry

Author: Cara Luecht

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: June 15, 2017

Ione has everything she’d wanted with her busy shop filled to the brim with sumptuous fabrics, gossiping debutants, and a neatly increasing profit margin. Not to mention the unexpected attention of a man who doesn’t know her past.

And then the letter dropped from the mail slot onto to lush carpet. He was back. And the abuse, the shame, rushes in, reminding her of how unworthy she really is.

Miriam also has everything she’d wanted—and with a baby on the way, for the first time in her life, she has everything to lose. When she’d been alone, the future had held promise, but now with her life full, it also holds fear.

Unwilling to risk a vision of loss, Miriam stops painting what will be…right before Ione needs it most.

Click here to purchase your copy

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

This is the first book by Cara Luecht that I’ve read. This book, the third book in Portraits of Grace series, is a well-written book that blends romance, suspense and some pieces of history from Chicago’s World Columbian Exposition. I did not read the first two books in the series and reading the previous novels would have helped me fill in the backstories of the many characters in the novel. But the author does provide the pertinent details of the backstories so I didn’t feel lost while reading through this third installment.
The author’s writing is easy to read and fluid. The undercurrent of faith and prayer is subtle but definitely present throughout the book, especially with two of the characters being involved in ministry. The plot is well-crafted and the pace of the story is just right.
Clarence Tamm, the villain of the book, is incredibly scary and eerie. He is an excellent psychopath and truly carries quite a bit of the plot. Ione, his target, is a woman from a broken background finally able to rise above her circumstances with the help of friends who love her. She has always been strong and independent but must learn to accept others’ help and love during the difficult journey she travels in this book. Evan, though he is a love interest, has a smaller role in the story and isn’t quite as developed as Ione or Clarence.
Though this isn’t technically her story, Miriam (who was introduced in the first book Soul Painter) has a journey in this book as well and she learns through repercussions of her doubt and fear that she needs to trust the gift that God has given her.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and also through Celebrate Lit Tour. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

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Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. In addition to freelance writing and marketing, Cara works as an English Instructor for a local college. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Guest post from Cara Luecht

The moment you realize how subtle racism can be.

As someone of Northern European ancestry, I approach this topic with caution and with the knowledge that I can never fully understand racism in America from a personal perspective. That being said, part of me knows that unless white America owns up to the problems that still exist, they will never go away, or if they do, they will not go away because of what I have done. I don’t want to be on the right side of history as a spectator.

Writing Soul’s Cry was daunting, because the main character in this part of the trilogy is African American. I’ll tackle the challenges with that in another blog. For now, I want to talk about one simple example of ongoing racism.

A few months ago, my publisher contacted me looking for inspiration pictures for the cover. The picture I had pinned to my desktop for Ione was from the 1800s, and heaven-only-knows how I would find permission to use it. Besides, it was in black-and-white, and we needed something that would go well with the other covers in the trilogy.

Ione’s Inspiration Picture

I went to the popular sites that cover designers use to look for modern pictures of women, in Victorian Era clothes, who had the smart, determined expression I’d imagined for Ione.

I found a bunch of models–problem is, they were all white.

I then typed in “African American Victorian Woman.” One picture. And she was dressed as a burlesque dancer. Nice. I tried “Black woman in 1890,” a bit miffed that I had to use the term “Black” rather than “African American”—nothing. I got desperate, rolled my eyes, and even attempted the archaic “Negro woman in 1890” in hopes of getting something…nothing.

I tried other sites. I found the same problem.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised—when you think of a high-society Victorian woman, does an African American face come to mind?

This doesn’t match up with the truth, though. In the late Victorian era, there was a thriving, influential, African American community in Chicago as well as many other major cities. While there were indeed crowded ghetto areas, the “Black Elite” prospered in the medical and legal professions.

Unfortunately, we rarely hear of these remarkable people who moved beyond the place society had deemed was theirs, who built on the humble foundation of literacy, who pushed innovation forward, who served on boards and cultural societies, and who worked to pull their families out of the devastation of slavery and the Civil War.

It is uncomfortable to admit, but the picture that comes to mind when thinking of an African American in the late 1800s has more in common with slaves than with a prosperous, thriving community.

And since poor African Americans outnumbered wealthy ones, I suppose one could make the argument that this reflected how a majority of African Americans lived. And that would be true…

…but it would also be true for whites. One of my grandfathers was born in an Iowa coal town. Another, into the dustbowl conditions of North Dakota. In fact, if I look back in my own history, almost every one of my ancestors lived in poverty.

So why is it that when I think about a Victorian Era woman, the picture that comes to mind looks like someone from the set of Meet Me In St. Louis.

And here’s the twist…because the picture of the woman in my mind looks a bit like me (in that we are both white), her poise, the no-nonsense posture and expression…it makes me feel a bit of pride—even though I have no real connection with her. The fact is, I can look at these old pictures and see in her the determination I hope to have. I want to live up to this woman’s expectations. As crazy as it sounds, when I look at these pictures, I feel pride in a heritage I do not own. My family was in poverty, but because of these pictures, I can identify with affluence. Prosperity does not feel like a foreign concept.

Now imagine that every picture of a white woman I saw as representative of my past looked haggard, tired, and hopeless.

I’ll leave the implications for you to puzzle out.

Blog Stops

Connie’s History Classroom, January 23

Blogging With Carol, January 24

Simple Harvest Reads, January 24 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

allofakindmom, January 25

Avid Reader Book Reviews, January 26

Pursuing Stacie, January 26

A Reader’s Brain, January 27

proud to be an autism mom, January 28

Bigreadersite, January 28

Bibliophile Reviews, January 29

A Greater Yes, January 30

margaret kazmierczak, January 30 (Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, January 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 1

Janices book reviews, February 2

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 3

Carpe Diem, February 4

A Baker’s Perspective, February 5


Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a grand prize of signed copies of the entire series!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c729

A Song Unheard Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

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Title: A Song Unheard

Author: Roseanna M. White

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: January 2, 2018

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

Click here to purchase your copy!

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“They could be two melodies, existing in the same world but never mixing. Counterpoint, each line unique. Or they could be a harmony, blending together and making something new.”
How does Roseanna White do this? Book after book, she crafts beautifully written novels with wonderfully and deeply layered characters who lodge themselves in my heart. Even the title has layers of meaning underneath and makes itself memorable long after the book is finished. The author puts twists and turns and a healthy dose of intrigue to keep the pages turning faster and faster. She creates realistic and delicious backgrounds to each novel with her thorough historical research and has me bouncing in my reading chair for the next book to be written and released….. like yesterday.
This book, A Song Unheard, is all of this and so much more. Set during the beginnings of WWI, the author paints the brutality of war and sin against the bigger and more beautiful backdrop of God’s love, grace and forgiveness. The premise of the book, in which Willa must steal the key to a cypher to help the war effort, is fascinating, dangerous, and intriguing. There is quite a bit of suspense and intrigue in the plot, which keeps the story moving effortlessly.
And then there are the characters. And the romance.
Willa is an orphan, adopted into a large family of orphans, and feels responsible for the well-being of the younger ones in their “family”. She is determined, tough, loyal and so so broken in feeling inadequate and unlovable. She starts out her next job feeling slightly betrayed by her “sister” Rosie, the heroine of the first novel A Name Unknown. She is a violin prodigy, untaught but naturally gifted. She is sent to find the key to a cypher, believed to be on the person of Lukas, a world-renowned Belgian violinist. Willa’s faith journey is painful, desperate, yet so real and honest.
Lukas is a physically and emotionally violinist but still talented, handsome, charming, fiercely loyal to his family and so incredibly tender. Talk about a swoon-worthy hero! The dialogue between Willa and Lukas is funny, intelligent, yet sweet at the same time. Lukas’ faith journey is less traumatic than Willa’s but nonetheless powerful, even in its quiet way.
And the music…..yes, music is one of the unforgettable themes of the book. It is truly incredible how God gifts certain individuals a way to speak into the souls of men through music. And the author’s writing is so lyrical that I could actually hear the music as I was reading the book. Indeed, “for the sake of the music.”
I cannot wait for the next book in the series – An Hour Unspent! Rosie and Willa’s “older brother” Barclay will meet his match!
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via Celebrate Lit Tour. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

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Roseanna 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 White

I started playing the piano when I was 7. I didn’t discover any long-dormant genius or anything, but I liked it. When my sister quit, I kept playing. In middle school, I switched teachers, and moving from the lady at my church that I knew so well to someone who was just my piano teacher made a difference in how I applied myself. It deepened my love of music.

We all know how some random moments stand out forever in our memory. One such for me happened on the school bus. I was sitting with my best friend, talking about the new piano piece I was learning. “Via Delorosa” means Road of Sorrow, and it’s a song that tells musically about Jesus’ journey to Golgotha—ending with the faint chime of the nails being driven into his palms. As my beloved Mrs. Peto went through this song with me the night before, I remember her circling a D♯ that I’d missed and saying how important that note was. That it made the whole line weep.

That it would make the hearers weep. An epiphany so huge I had to share it with my friend. A well placed sharp could make music weep! Who knew?

That was but one lesson Mrs. Peto taught me in how music could evoke things words never could. A woman of strong faith, she also taught me how a song could preach the Gospel. Music can be medicine. It can be hope. It can be tears. It can be truth. Music can be Jesus to a hurting heart that turns its back on words.

This is a lesson I never forgot, and I had it always in mind as I was writing A Song Unheard. In this story, both my hero and heroine are musicians—violinists. But Willa (who is SO STUBBORN) wouldn’t listen to words of faith from any of the people in her life “suddenly spouting such nonsense.”

But then, in her darkest hour, she hears a slip of melody. And she realizes it’s the Lord.

I pray as readers move through the story of Willa Forsythe—violin prodigy and top-notch thief—that their spirits’ ears hear more than words, more than just a story. I pray they hear the Lord whispering that ultimate song. The one that says, “I love you.”

Want to hear the song Willa eventually wrote in the book? You can! The violin music in this trailer is officially dubbed “Willa’s Song” and written specifically for this book. I hope you enjoy it! http://bit.ly/ASongUnheardTrailer

Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, January 11

History, Mystery & Faith, January 11

Genesis 5020, January 11

Bookworm Mama, January 11

A Simply Enchanted Life, January 11

Avid Reader Book Reviews, January 12

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 12

Blogging With Carol, January 12

Multifarious, January 12

proud to be an autism mom, January 12

Faithfully Bookish, January 13

Christian Bookaholic, January 13

Karen Sue Hadley, January 13

Mary Hake, January 13

A Greater Yes, January 13

Remembrancy, January 14

Blossoms and Blessings, January 14

Just the Write Escape, January 14

Connie’s History Classroom, January 14

Texas Book-aholic, January 14

A Reader’s Brain, January 15

Rachel’s Back Talk, January 15

Smiling Book Reviews, January 15

Cordially Barbara, January 15

Pursuing Stacie, January 15

The Fizzy Pop Collection, January 16

Kat’s Corner Books, January 16

The Artist Librarian, January 16

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 16

Bigreadersite, January 16

Mommynificent, January 17

Seasons of Opportunities, January 17

Moments Dipped in Ink, January 17

Baker Kella, January 17

Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot, January 17

God’s Little Bookworm, January 18

allofakindmom, January 18

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, January 18

Inklings and notions, January 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 18

Pause for Tales, January 19

Have A Wonderful Day, January 19

Just Commonly, January 19

Bibliophile Reviews , January 19

Janices book reviews, January 19

Radiant Light, January 20

The Power of Words , January 20

Book by Book, January 20

CAC Devourer, January 20

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 20

Splashes of Joy, January 21

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

Neverending Stories, January 21

Faery Tales Are Real, January 21

A Baker’s Perspective, January 21

margaret kazmierczak, January 22

The PhD Mamma, January 22

Cafinated Reads, January 22

Daysong Reflections, January 22

Romances of the Cross, January 23

Purposeful Learning, January 23

Rachel Scott McDaniel, January 23

Carpe Diem, January 23

Simple Harvest Reads, January 23

Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, January 24

Henry Happens, January 24

Joy of Reading, January 24

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 24

Raining Butterfly Kisses, January 24


Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a Grand Prize Package of a signed copy of the book as well as a lovely album of soothing songs based on the Scriptures called Hidden in My Heart (winner’s choice of CD or digital download)!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c72a

The Valentine Verse Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

the_valentine_verseAuthor: JoAnn Durgin

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: May 5, 2017

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for February 14th anymore! Love should be celebrated every day of the year. That’s Thornton Fielding’s philosophy. In spite of a few false starts in the arena of love, he holds out hope he’ll eventually find the woman of his dreams. The problem? He loves his job, and there’s no end in sight to his travels. But when Thornton returns to his tiny hometown of Cherish, Minnesota, he meets a beautiful and intriguing woman he believes might be God’s answer to ending his bachelor status—permanently.

Vara Alexandris is soured on love and scoffs at the notion of soul mates. But soon after meeting the handsome and unconventional Thornton, the speech and language pathologist suspects he might be the perfect ally to help jump-start her stroke patient’s recovery—if only Vara can keep Thornton grounded in Cherish long enough. This man who spouts romanticized and idealistic ideas about love seems all too eager to resume his world travels. Could it be Thornton actually prefers globetrotting in order to avoid a romantic relationship?

Is it time for Vara to call the dreamer’s bluff? And can Thornton convince Vara to put past heartache behind her and trust in God’s plan for her heart?

Join Thornton and Vara in USA Today bestselling author JoAnn Durgin’s latest release full of her trademark humor, romance, and lively, small-town characters in a story of God’s fierce passion and loving guidance for His children—if only they pay attention! The Valentine Verse is sure to warm your soul during any season of the year.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

 About the Author

JoAnn Author Photo (Princess Cruise)JoAnn Durgin is the USA Today bestselling author of the beloved Lewis Legacy Series as well as Prelude, the prequel to the series. Her other works include the Amazon bestselling Catching Serenity, Heart’s Design and its sequel, Gentle Like the Rain, The Wondrous Love Series, Echoes of Edinburgh, Perchance to Dream, Whisper to My Heart, Thee Will I Cherish, The Christmas Challenge, and the popular Starlight Christmas Series.

A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn now writes contemporary Christian romance full-time and lives with her family in her native southern Indiana. Writing Christian fiction is her passion, and she loves nothing more than sharing the hope to be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“Coming into the coffee shop for her new favorite morning drink was almost as addictive as the man who’d pre-paid her death.”
Who can put this book down after a sentence like that? You’ll have to read the book to find out what that sentence actually means since this is a contemporary romance novel and not a romantic suspense ?. This book was my introduction to Joann Durgin’s writing and I’m extremely pleased about discovering this new-to-me author. The story is well-written and quite fun to read. The dialogue is clever and quirky and intelligent. The flirting is outrageously funny and sweet. There are lots of references to pop culture that were fun to read and reminisce about. There isn’t a lot of action in the plot and the storyline is carried by the dialogue between characters. The book concentrates on character development and focuses on Vara and Thornton getting to know each other and falling in love…and page by page, I fell in love with them, too.
“And he’s always spouting about Valentine’s Day and how it shouldn’t be reserved for just one day of the year. Thornton feels love should be celebrated every day of the year.” This is Thornton. He’s an amazing Renaissance Man – well-versed in literature, music, dance, art, history and pop culture; loyal, committed to family, compassionate, creative, intelligent, oh-so-romantic and wealthy to boot, AND faithful to Jesus. I mean, he’s perfect, right? Well….he has his past, his hurts, his shame and he still needs to learn a thing or two about love and trust. But he does sweep Vara off her feet. Completely.
Vara is still struggling to recover from her ex-boyfriend’s betrayal. She has a lot of hurts and insecurities to work through. She comes from a bustling Greek family with two older brothers and three younger sisters (who are just fantastic secondary characters, by the way). She is good at what she does as a speech and language pathologist, is compassionate and passionate, forthright in stating her opinions and feelings, and rises to any challenge Thornton puts out there.
This is a story of how two people fall in love – step by step, one conversation and one thoughtful deed at a time. They pray for each other and pray with each other – about their relationship, about others around them, about their fears and dreams. This is a story that will make the younger hearts sigh and dream for THAT relationship. This is a story that will make the not-so-young hearts remember the early days of our love and be grateful for the heady beginnings (and for the lasting love that developed from those beginnings). Oh, and, there are some plot twists to keep things lively.
I’m hoping for a sequel to this book to continue delving into Vara’s family – perhaps a book about one of her sisters?
I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher through Celebrate Lit Tours. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

 

Guest Post from JoAnn Durgin

A Little More about The Valentine Verse from Author JoAnn Durgin

I adore writing and reading contemporary Christian romance, but I’ve noticed very few novels in the genre have an actual Valentine’s Day theme and/or title. Perhaps authors believe it would limit the “shelf life” of their book. The way I see it, if Christmas novels (and Hallmark Christmas movies) can be popular year-round, why not Valentine’s Day books?

I’ve always been somewhat of a rebel in my writing career. Don’t tell me I can’t do something or I might just try it (within reason)! After a Christmas release last year followed closely by the eighth installment (500 pages!) of my longest-running series, I knew I couldn’t possibly release a Valentine’s Day book. That’s when one of the primary themes of The Valentine Verse “hit” me—Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be reserved only for February 14th. Expressing our love to one another should be celebrated throughout the year! This concept became the philosophy of the hero, Thornton Fielding, and the book released in early May. Let me tell you a little more about the idea for Thornton…

I dedicated The Valentine Verse to my uncle, Mr. Thornton, and named my hero after him. My uncle was instrumental in my being able to quit my full-time paralegal job in mid-August 2014. Without going into specific details, there were three things that took place (“signs,” if you will) beginning earlier that same year, which seemed to clearly indicate I should try to make writing my full-time career. My debut novel released in late 2010, and the story of my road to publication can be found on my website at www.joanndurgin.com. By early 2014, my books were beginning to find faithful readers, and I was blessed with decent sales. The third and final “sign” and blessing came from Mr. Thornton. Truly, it was as if God were saying, “JoAnn, what more will it take for you to step out in faith?” I promised the Lord and myself that I’d take a year and see how it went…and I haven’t looked back since! I took the leap of faith, but I’m also doing what I feel the Lord has called me to do. Almost three years to the day of quitting my day job, I released my 24th novel. God is so good, and it is my great honor and privilege to write for His glory.

Thank you to Celebrate Lit for the gracious opportunity for this blog tour. The Valentine Verse features fun characters (how can you miss with a small Minnesota town named Cherish?), heartwarming lessons, *sightings* of two of my most popular heroes from another series, and even a surprising twist at the end! I hope you’ll enjoy The Valentine Verse.

Blessings, friends.

JoAnn

Matthew 5:16

Blog Stops

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 9

Christian Author, J.E.Grace Blog, January 9

Mommynificent, January 10

Power of Words, January 10 (Spotlight)

Karen Sue Hadley, January 11

Reading is my Super Power, January 11 (Interview)

Quiet Quilter, January 12

Remembrancy, January 13

proud to be an autism mom, January 14

Bibliophile Reviews, January 15

Texas Book-aholic, January 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 17

Janices book reviews, January 18

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 19

Carpe Diem, January 20

A Baker’s Perspective, January 21

Simple Harvest Reads, January 21 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

God is Love, January 22

A Greater Yes, January 23

margaret kazmierczak, January 23 (Interview)

Pursuing Stacie, January 24

Bigreadersite, January 24


Giveaway:

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To celebrate her tour, JoAnn is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5dd

Food for Thought Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

fullsizeoutput_be4Title: Food for Thought

Author: Janet Lynn Mitchell

Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Help

Release Date: December 1, 2017

Food for Thought is filled with personalized verses just for you. It’s been written to help you claim God’s Word as your own. The thoughts included within the verses are from fellow dieters. Food for Thought is not meant to be a substitute for actual Scripture, but an addition, bringing you new insight, perspective, hope and encouragement as you move toward and reach your weight-loss goal. Blank pages have been placed in the back so that you can add additional Scripture and/or words of encouragement. Recite these verses and include them when you pray. Then watch as God’s Word rejuvenates and empowers you. Experience your faith increasing, as faith comes by hearing, reading, speaking, and living the Word of God.

About the Author

Janet ProfileCandid, dynamic, friendly…and memorable are some of the words used to describe Janet Mitchell. Her fun, engaging style keeps her audiences wanting more. As a master storyteller, she shares her heart, passions and faith, relating incidents from her life that will touch you and make you laugh. Janet addresses relevant life issues and how it just takes one to make a difference in your world!

Janet has held staff positions with Youth for Christ and Forest Home Christian Conference Center and has served as the director of a Christian preschool. Janet is a CLASS Speaker (Christian Leaders, Authors, and Speakers) and is a popular speaker for women’s events, MOPS, family camps and single-parent groups.
As a senior in high school, Janet lost the use of her legs following surgery. On the night of her tenth surgery, she met Marty, who became her cheerleader and was alongside her as she learned to walk again. Eventually, he became her husband. Janet and Marty have been married for over thirty-five years and have three children. Janet’s knee problems reoccurred when she was thirty-two. She was horrified to learn she had been a victim of medical negligence, fraud and concealment. Her additional surgeries had been attempts to correct the mistakes. Janet has since become a voice for others who have suffered medical fraud. Assembly Bill 2571, borne out of her misfortunes, unanimously passed both the California Assembly and the Senate and was signed into state law on August 31, 2000. Her story, Taking a Stand, has motivated others to “take a stand” and remain firm in their faith through the good, bad, and the outrageous.
Janet has been featured on radio programs across the nation, including popular programs such as Focus on the Family and Billy Graham’s Decision Today. Janet has appeared on television programs such as, Fox, CBS and ABC News, Aspiring Women, The Harvest Show, and Chuck and Jenny. Her stories and articles have appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Multnomah’s Stories for the Extreme Teen, and in magazines such as Woman’s World, Light and Life, and Celebrate Life. Her Testimony, “When Doctors Make Mistakes,” was published in the July/August 2005 issue of Today’s Christian Woman magazine.
Janet’s book, A Special Kind of Love, published by Broadman and Holman and Focus on the Family, has been highlighted by Rick Warren in his “Ministry Toolbox.” Her Hands on Faith: Family Nights and Hands on Faith: Family Fun books by Carson- Dellosa are now available along with Janet’s five new Praying Scripture Flip Books. Janet’s Taking a Stand was released in November of 2006. It is truly a testimony of God’s faithfulness through the good, bad and outrageous. This past year Janet’s latest book, Words Matter became available. One thing Janet has learned is:
It just takes one to change the world we live in.

Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“Join me and share with others that they too can use these verses when they pray. See what happens in your life when you speak words from His heart to yours and from your heart to His. Watch as God’s Word rejuvenated and empowers you. Experience your faith expanding, as faith comes by hearing, reading, speaking, and living the Word of God.”
These words by the author Janet Lynn Mitchell, sent to the bloggers and reviewers on this tour, basically sum up the reason behind this wonderful flip book. The flip book contains Scripture verses in various translations of the Bible and reflects thoughts from fellow dieters. But the Scripture and thoughts are not just for dieters. It’s for all of us. This book does a great job of arranging the Bible verses according to themes, varying from accountability to witness. It also has Scripture in many different translations, which I found quite fascinating. I’m used to Scripture verses in NIV, ESV, and NKJV. Reading familiar verses in MSG or NLT or CEV made me read the verses more carefully and think them through from a different mindset. I love how different translations of the Bible can help me read the Bible in a fuller and more meaningful light.
“For as I think in my heart so I am.” – Proverbs 23:7
I received a copy of this book from the author through Celebrate Lit Tour. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

Blog Stops

Multifarious, January 5

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 5

Splashes of Joy, January 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 6

Mary Hake, January 7

proud to be an autism mom, January 7

Reading is my Super Power, January 8 (Interview)

A Greater Yes, January 8

Bibliophile Reviews, January 9

Texas Book-aholic, January 10

Carpe Diem, January 11

A Baker’s Perspective, January 12

Pursuing Stacie , January 13

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 14

Remembrancy, January 15

Pink Granny’s Journey, January 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 16

Janices book reviews, January 17

margaret kazmierczak, January 17 (Interview)

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

Bigreadersite, January 18


Giveaway

amazon gift card 50

To celebrate her tour, Janet is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c513

The Angel Paws Collection & Giveaway


The Angel Paws Collection – Guest Post from Mindy Houng

Angel-Paws-Collection-Cover-200x300Name of book: The Angel Paws Collection

Author: Mimi Milan

Genre: Multicultural, Contemporary Romance

Release date: December 7, 2017

Please note: Although these books are categorized as sweet fiction, unfortunately, I would not classify them as such. There is language and the sexual content is on the edge.

Scent for Angel

To fight… or fall in love?

The only thing Tanner McKoy wants is to disappear into the backwoods of North Carolina, hopefully forgetting about his tour in Afghanistan. However, forgetting seems improbable. And disappearing is impossible when a determined grad student uses her new shelter rescues to track him down.

After a miserable breakup with her fiance, Eva Perez returns to grad school to complete her thesis and become a physical therapist. Unfortunately, that means assisting on several case studies – one of which includes a surly army veteran who refuses help. How can she win a battle with someone still stuck in combat mode?

Touched by an Angel

An explosion during a tour in Afghanistan took Rhett Marshall’s sight, but not his mind. Too bad his family can’t seem to grasp that fact. He’ll do anything to regain control over his life again… even take drastic measures like marrying a complete stranger just so he can call his own shots.

Luciana Lopez came to the United States on a student visa – which is about to expire. Unfortunately, finding an employer to petition for her so she can stay in the country has proven impossible. Could marriage to a desperate army veteran be the answer to her immigration problem?

Enjoy the second novel in the groundbreaking, heartwarming series, Angel Paws Rescue, that donates twenty percent of proceeds to help army veterans and shelter animals.

When Angel Sing

Fast food, fast cars, and fast women…

Eddie Rivera, a Chicano rock star hoping to break into the American music scene, has always lived life in the fast lane. The last thing he planned on was a country cutie with the belief that a guy “won’t buy the cow if he’s getting the milk for free.” Can a shot at her lifelong dreams and a rescue kitty help him change her mind?

From boys to battlefields, Rachel Linden may have lost her hearing but she has never lost a fight. Of course, she’s never had her dream of singing dangled in front of her either. Is there a strategy she can employ to win a war of wishes… without losing her heart?

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

 

Mimi Milan is an award winning, bestselling author of both historical and contemporary romance. Currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Queens University, she spends most of her time in the suburbs of Charlotte, crafting stories her family and imaginary friends inspire.

Mindy’s Thoughts

This novella collection was my introduction to Mimi Milan’s writing. All three stories are well-written, engaging, and fun to read. The setting of the three contemporary romance stories is a small town in North Carolina.
The plots of the story are well-developed, even though they are novellas. The dialogue flows well and the surrounding beauty of the town is well-portrayed in the descriptions. The characters have depth with rich layers and I found myself really bonding with them.
In the first story, Scent of an Angel, Tanner is a wounded veteran needing a prosthetic leg to learn to walk again. He’s angry, bitter, and depressed after returning to his mother’s home. Underneath all the gruffly solider attitude lies a tender and gentle heart, a determined and focused intelligence, a gift for writing, and a desire for love. Eva is a student physical therapist almost done with her schooling who gets roped into helping Tanner adjust to his new leg. She’s survived a verbally and mentally abusive relationship and decides that she needs to return to her independent, feisty, take-charge self to avoid repeating her mistakes. Sparks fly, of course, when these two butt heads. Throw in a matchmaking Mama (Tanner’s) and a great shelter dog named Hunter (Eva’s) training to be a therapy dog and you have a nice, heart-warming story.
The author also addresses some serious topics in this series like the variety of physical, mental, and emotional wounds our veterans may carry and the benefit of a guide or therapy dog, as well as the large number of animals that unfortunately do not get adopted. She also has the heroine be Puerto Rican and brings in some of PR’s distinct culture into the book, which was neat.
With the second novella, Touched by an Angel, I really liked the continuity from the first novella in the collection and enjoyed reading a bit more about Tanner and Eva who were the main characters from the first book. This particular story had some twists and turns that kept it intriguing.
In this novella, there is emphasis on different social dilemmas of today. The dilemma of those students with visas who are denied working visas after graduation, the dilemma of social expectations from a woman of ethnic background (here, the culture from Dominican Republic is detailed), the dilemma of racism and bigotry, and the dilemma of a wounded veteran working to rebuild his life are all addressed in this novella. Despite its short length, the author did a good job addressing these issues while building a story based on great characters.
Rhett is blind but is a gifted artist. He’s a kind, gentle, soulful, loyal and thoughtful man trying to get away from his father’s controlling ways. Lucy is an art historian struggling to figure out how to stay in US since being denied her working visa. She’s feisty, passionate, and loving. Bear, the service dog, is adorable and adds quite the excitement to the plot. Lucy’s aunt Maria is absolutely hilarious and adds a lot of humor to the dialogue and storyline. No spoilers here – but the second half of the novella did take me by surprise and I did not see that epilogue coming. I would love for this novella to be expanded into a full-length novel!
The third novella, When Angels Sing, addresses different social dilemmas from the previous two novellas. There is an element of suspense in this novella, which was a fun surprise.
It was nice to see Lucy in this story from the second book. I really liked that the author allowed previous characters to make cameo appearances to tie the three books together.
In this book, Eddie is a rising Latino rock star who survived a terrible childhood in California and went through the foster system. He’s set his sights on getting that number one single and likes to party quite a bit. Yet deep down, he yearns for home, hearth, and family. But he doesn’t realize it until he meets Rachel. Rachel is a veteran who lost her hearing but loves to sing. She’s a farmer by day and by choice, hefting the responsibility of managing and working her family’s farm. Yet her dream is to sing, and maybe even be on stage one day. I really connected with Eddie and Rachel and loved how deep and layered their personalities were. The cat, Mr. Kitty, is adopted from Angel Paws but has less of a role in this book since he can’t really be of service to a deaf woman. Rachel’s mom is a lovable secondary character and helps to matchmake a little.
This story addresses the havoc created by alcohol and drug abuse, havoc created by greed that propels people to do unreasonable things, and the brokenness of the foster care system, among other things. Even in the darkness of this havoc, Rachel clings to her dream and her sunshine helps Eddie see his dream into reality.
I really enjoyed all three of the novellas in this series. Each novella is surprisingly very different from the other, but each has a wounded veteran and an arts person as the hero and heroine with a pet/service animal adopted from Angel Paws Rescue. I recommend the series to anyone who enjoys clean, heart-warming contemporary romance.
I received a copy of this book through CelebrateLit Tour. I was not required to give a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

Guest Post from Mimi Milan

I have to be honest.

I don’t know why I wrote Scent of an Angel.

The journey first began when I was asked to join a box set of sweet contemporary romances with seven other authors. Eager for a new experience (my first box set!) I immediately agreed. However, I wasn’t sure what I would write. I had never written a sweet contemporary before – only historicals. While clean and even inspirational, my stories were all full of action and suspense, too. That didn’t exactly sound like “sweet contemporary” to me. So, I set out to find stories that would draw inspiration.

At the same time, I was assigned to read The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. (Did I mention I’m now in grad school?) I couldn’t get the story out of my mind. I kept dwelling on all the pain and suffering soldiers must endure in order to keep the rest of us safe here at home. Their pain doesn’t end, either. Many return to the States with both physical disabilities and mental illnesses that most civilians couldn’t imagine living with. Right then, I knew I wanted to do something that helped the ones that made it back to us. Since the books in my first series, The Jericho Resistance, donates funds to fight against human trafficking, I liked the idea of copying the same model to help support our veterans. That’s when Tanner McKoy and Eva Perez came to life, driving the story and my mission onward.

Touched by an Angel and When Angels Sing were natural follow-ups for the Angel Paws Rescue anthology.

Today, I’m pretty fortunate. I was asked to join yet another series, The Twelve Days of Christmas Mail Order Brides. So, I’m about to finish up edits on my contribution, The Dancing Lady. I’m at my kitchen table in my nice, warm two-bedroom home with a cup of coffee and a muffin from my favorite local bakery. The children are still asleep, making the house unusually quiet. Looking out the frosted window at a yard lightly dusted with white, I feel safe and at peace. All is right in my small corner of the world. I thank God for that.

I thank Him for the veterans that make it so.

 Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Mimi is giving away a grand prize of The Angel Paws Collection Celebration Tour Giveaway!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5db