Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel

331

Lindsay Harrel presents a powerful story of healing, adventure, and learning how to live life to the fullest.

Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide in her small Minnesota hometown and living with her parents, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.

When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.

As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.

What I Loved: This was an adventure from page to page! But more than an adventure, it was a story with real heart. I loved watching Megan and Crystal evolve and their relationship deepen as the story unfolded. I also enjoyed witnessing their own personal love stories as well.
Harrel did an amazing job describing the various countries. There was enough info to feel as if you have left the states, but not too much that it slowed the story down. And there were so many tidbits sprinkled throughout, that I couldn’t help wondering if Harrel had been on this trip herself.
Aside from all the traveling and romance, there was a solid story centered around some very important themes. Turning to Christ, letting go of a painful past, learning not to worry, and forgiveness was among the spiritual highlights.

Rating and Recommendations: I happily give The Heart Between Us 5 stars and recommend it to Contemporary Christian fans or for those looking for a good vacation read.

~ I received a copy from the Fiction Guild. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Grand Prize Winner

Congratulations, Kathleen Anderson!! You’re the winner the If Only It Were Yesterday’s Grand Prize! 

Grand Prize

Posted in About the Book

Shopping List for Alice in Wonderland Fans

Are you a fan of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland? Or do you know someone who is? I put together a shopping list sure to please any Wonderland fan. Obviously, my list will not be extensive, so feel free to share your favorite Wonderland products in the comments.

200Adult Coloring Book: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Coloring Book
They used the classic illustrations and novel quotes when they put this one together.

210

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
You’ll find the ebook for free on Amazon and copies in paperback and hardback. *And don’t forget to look for In the Looking Glass!

CUPS!:

201

Disney Parks Exclusive Alice in Wonderland Triple Stack

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Disney Parks Exclusive Alice in Wonderland Mad as a Hatter 

203

Disney Store Alice in Wonderland Classic Mug

204

Disappearing Chesire Cat Mug

205

Alice in Wonderland Fine China Teacup and Saucer *Be sure to rabbit trail with this one. There’s a whole matching set!

206

Anise in Wonderland: Novel Tea Tins
*FYI: They have a whole collection of novel-inspired teas.

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Queen of Hearts itty bitty
*You’ll also find Alice and Mad Hatter

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KEYS! It’s such a simple thing, but it’s not Wonderland with keys!
I actually have one on a ribbon that I wear as a necklace. But you could add them to anything for a subtle Wonderland feel.

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Alice in Wonderland Tote by Litographs
SERIOUSLY, you MUST check out this website!! They create shirts, totes, scarfs, and posters with the actual words from your favorite classic novels! I’m only showing you one picture. There are 3 for Alice and soooooooo many more great novels to consider. GO CHECK OUT THIS LINK ASAP! And you’re welcome. 😉

Christian Fiction Books: 

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Girls of Wonder series by Christina Coryell

AmazonLiz

If Only It Were Yesterday by A.M. Heath
🙂 I couldn’t leave my own novel off of the list, now could I?

Did you find anything to add to your wishlist? Or do you have a product link that you’d like to share with me? 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Bride Tree by J.P. Robinson

370The year is 1789. France is reeling under the impact of a civil war between its social classes. When a secret agent from Rome joins forces with a vindictive politician bent on revenge, the stage is set for an explosive outcome that will shake the country to its core.

Meanwhile, Queen Marie-Antoinette engages the help of her lady-in-waiting, Viviane de Lussan, in a desperate battle to keep her throne… and her head. But how can she win a struggle she seems fated to lose?

Amid the chaos of the revolution, Viviane’s heart is torn between a nobleman who sacrifices everything for her and a peasant who promises true freedom.

Saturated with suspense and lavish detail, Bride Tree combines  elements of alternative history with Biblical allegory. The result is a  romantic thriller that will grab you by the heart and never let go.

My Thoughts: I found the concept behind Bride Tree to be extremely interesting. Robinson’s choice to use alternative history (which in a nutshell uses real historical setting and some historical events while changing other events or the timeline to suit the story) really paid off. It gave him room to change things as needed in order to keep the reader guessing and offer the story even more possibilities.
There were some of the characters who could have been written with more depth. But the spiritual content was the real highlight here. His spiritual angle was spot on!  In many ways, I was often reminded of The Holy War by John Bunyan. He shared an amazing picture of how our fallen hearts are often led astray by the sinful temptations offered by Satan, and likewise how Christ draws us back to Himself with unmatched beauty and contentment. There was also a clear picture of Christ’s sacrifice as well as His fickle acceptance while here on earth.

I do want to give a slight warning. There were adult topics on the table, but it was never graphic or displayed in detail. It was always only alluded to or mentioned by name. Those who are familiar with the French Revolution will also understand the extremely violent nature of the setting. For those who aren’t familiar, you should know up front that this one includes a great deal more bloodshed. All that being said, there was a balance of honest human behavior and carefully crafted descriptions at work here. It was almost as if Robinson had decided to be just blunt and open about what happens but at the same time without going into further detail.
For me personally, as a conservative reader, I liked this type of balance. I struggle more when the author shares moment by moment details (or feelings and sensations if we’re speaking of sensual moments).

Rating and Recommendations: I give Bride Tree a solid 4 stars. If you enjoy the French Revolution or allegories, I think you’ll want to give this one a try.

~ I received a copy from the author. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a favorable one.

Posted in About the Book, History

Researching the South during the Gilded Age

In this post, I want to do two things: I want to share with you some of the research that went into my novel, If Only It Were Yesterday, and I also want to review and recommend one of my key research books.

Whether you’re a historical fiction fan or history buff, you’re likely to notice that our focus shifts from region to region based on what’s going on during that time. It’s not hard to find books (fiction or non-fiction) based on life in the South during the Civil War or even the years leading up to or shortly after the war. However, the last three decades of the nineteenth century shifts our focus either to the west during the western expansion or to the north during the Industrial Revolution. But what was life like in the South during those years?

I’m not saying you won’t find ANY information, but it is a lot harder to come by. Because the focus in our nation shifts, there’s a gaping hole in our common knowledge of the period where the South is concerned. As a historical fiction fan, when I think of books during the Gilded Era, I think of stories in the North featuring either wealthy families or poor immigrant families. Because of what we commonly see, when  I sat down to write If Only It Were Yesterday, I had some questions: The last time we looked at the South, wealthy families had slaves or paid black freedmen. But the average snapshot of America during the Gilded Age shows me that most servants are immigrants. The last time we looked at the South, they were destitute. For the first time, both the rich and the poor, the black and the white, had a great deal in common: they had a great deal of nothing. But the average snapshot of America during the Gilded Age shows that electricity was becoming common, among other advances. So it begged the question: How many of these common understandings of the North were true of the South?

I don’t doubt one of you will take up the challenge and do a quick Google search and find all that it took me months to find. But for me, it was like pulling teeth to find documented proof of what the South looked like during a time that was so focused on the North or the West. Which makes From Morning to Night by Elizabeth L. O’Leary an answer to prayer.

Right there on the cover, it says “Domestic Service in Maymont House and the Gilded Age South.” FINALLY! This was the sort of book that promised to answer my questions. And, boy, did it! It’s one of those books that I highlighted but found myself wanting to highlight nearly the entire page. There was so much information packed in here.

The book features an extremely wealthy family in Richmond. The Dooleys were the exception here in the South, but O’Leary graciously explained what was commonplace for the Dooley’s and how it compared with others around them. It offered insight into the progression of technology within the home during those inventive years. It also weaves in terminology and common practices between servants and the families they served. It offers insight into the lifestyles of the servants and their employers, helping others like myself who wish to know more about the day to day life of those in the South. Since the Dooley’s were among the wealthiest in the South, you are given a look at the best that money could buy as well as how it compared to those who wouldn’t have afforded quite so much.
And in case you were wondering the answers to my questions: servants in the South during that time were primarily black people and very few were immigrants or poorer white Americans. And while electricity was becoming commonplace in the North, it was behind in the South. Wealthy families in larger cities had a better chance of having access to it, but smaller cities or rural areas couldn’t afford to supply it.

I highly recommend From Morning to Night to anyone who wishes to look deeper into the relationship between servant and employer, even if your primary concern isn’t focused on the South. But the book does bring the unique situation of the Gilded Age in the South to light. O’Leary balances what the historical documents reveal about the Dooleys with common experiences throughout the South as well as using quotes from various sources to further prove or explain the information.
I gladly give it 5 stars and a permanent place on my research shelf.

 

337Step off the lush carpet and push through the swinging door of the butler’s pantry to enter the bustling realm of domestic workers at Maymont House from 1893 to 1925. In From Morning to Night, Elizabeth O’Leary takes the reader behind the scenes in the opulent mansion of the Richmond multimillionaire James H. Dooley and his wife, Sallie. Drawing upon personal letters, business and government documents, and numerous oral histories of older Richmonders―both black and white―O’Leary examines the parallel and divergent viewpoints of server and served in this Virginia version of “Upstairs/Downstairs.”

Raised in slave-owning households before the Civil War, the Dooleys experienced the transformation of the master/mistress-slave relationship to that of employer-employee. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, they relied on a full complement of domestic servants to maintain their lavish residences and lifestyle. In turn, numerous men and women―predominantly African American―labored to meet the day-to-day challenges of running an elaborate household. At the same time, they negotiated the era’s increasing Jim Crow restrictions and, during precious hours off-duty, helped support families, churches, and the larger black community.

By examining the formalities and practices of the Dooleys at home and by giving a presence and voice to their “help,” From Morning to Night offers insights into domestic and social systems at work within and beyond the upper-class household in the Gilded Age South.

Buying Options: At the time that I was writing this post, I checked Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Half.com and found both used and new options cheaper at Amazon.

 

Posted in About the Book, Book Reviews

RELEASE DAY: If Only It Were Yesterday by A.M. Heath

There’s nothing like the gushing heart of a proud parent and that’s what I feel like today: A proud book parent. My dear Liz is all grown up and venturing out into the world. That’s a thrilling and scary feeling. I can’t control who reads it or how they feel about it or even what they say about it. I hope it’s well-loved wherever it goes. But as I sit back and remind myself, yet again, that done means done and I’ll never have to work on this beloved story again, I want to share some of the events surrounding the book launch. 

Liz Party

There’s a party taking place today! A tea party, in fact! You can join me on Facebook. If you’re unable to make it at 10 a.m. (central) you can join me over the next couple of days. I prefer to keep my parties extended for those who aren’t able to make the specific hour. Did I mention that I’ll be giving away some paperback copies at the party? 

There’s also a blog tour. You can visit other bloggers to hear their thoughts on the novel, as well as earn bonus entries for the grand prize giveaway. The full schedule is below the picture. 

Blog tour

Release Day Spotlights: 
Sept 4: 
Amanda Tero @ With a Joyful Noise
Becky Dempsey @ Blossoms and Blessings 
Alicia G. Ruggieri @ A Brighter Destiny

Reviews:

Sept. 5:
Laura Wilson @ Blue Eye Books

Sept. 6:
Alicia G. Ruggieri @ A Brighter Destiny

Sept. 10: 
Karen Hadley @ Karen Sue Hadley

Sept. 11:
Becky Dempsey @ Blossoms and Blessings

Sept. 12: 
Virginia Winfield @ Bigreadersite

Sept. 13:
Heather G. @ Blue Jeans and Teacups

Sept. 17:
Raechel Lenore @ God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae

Grand Prize

You can enter the grand prize giveaway here. It closes Sept 17, 2018. I’ll announce the winner here on the blog. I’m sorry, the giveaway is only open to Continental U.S. residents. 

AmazonLizBOOK DESCRIPTION:

Liz Cooke has two problems in life: Her social media is filled with brewing political conflict and her idea of a perfect man seems to have gone extinct a century ago. Inspired by the contents of an antique trunk, Liz dreams she time-travels to 1885. As she sets out to enjoy the Victorian era in all its glory, armed with knowledge gleaned through historical novels and period dramas, will she find the past to be all that she thought? And does the right man for her exist only in her dreams or has he been in her life all along?
Loosely inspired by Alice in Wonderland, A.M. Heath brings you a fun read chock-full of humor and whimsy with a special message for the avid reader in all of us.

You can add If Only It Were Yesterday to your TBR list on Goodreads or pick up your copy today at Amazon

If Only It Were Yesterday Quote 2

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson

330Reluctant debutante Keziah Montgomery lives beneath the weighty expectations of her staunch Confederate family, forced to keep her epilepsy secret for fear of a scandal. As the tensions of the Civil War arrive on their doorstep in Savannah, Keziah sees little cause for balls and courting. Despite her discomfort, she cannot imagine an escape from her familial confines—until her old schoolmate Micah shows her a life-changing truth that sets her feet on a new path . . . as a conductor in the Underground Railroad.

Dr. Micah Greyson never hesitates to answer the call of duty, no matter how dangerous, until the enchanting Keziah walks back into his life and turns his well-ordered plans upside down. Torn between the life he has always known in Savannah and the fight for abolition, Micah struggles to discern God’s plan amid such turbulent times.

Battling an angry fiancé, a war-tattered brother, bounty hunters, and their own personal demons, Keziah and Micah must decide if true love is worth the price . . . and if they are strong enough to survive the unyielding pain of war.

What I Loved: This was a fantastic debut novel! There’s so much to love and appreciate here. I always enjoy reading about a main character who has a disability or ailment of some sort, so I thrilled to read about Keziah and her struggle with epilepsy. I quickly connected with both Micah and Keziah. There were times, though, when I felt like some of the characters were too knowledgeable about the matters of war when the history books had yet to be written. But other than that, I found it to be a very strong and accurate historical novel. The characters relied heavily upon God to serve where they felt led to serve. The plot kept moving forward, and their romance was sweet and ended perfectly.

Rating and Recommendations: I’m giving it 5 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy Christian Historical Fiction, Civil War fiction, or those looking for fiction revolving around the Underground Railroad.

~ I received a copy from Tyndale House. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own.

Posted in About the Book

Preview: If Only It Were Yesterday by A.M. Heath

We’re only 1 week away from the release of my latest novel, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I can’t wait to put this one into your hands. 

The concept for the story grew out of my own life and the lesson I had to learn about idolizing history. If Only It Were Yesterday was written from the heart of a historical fiction fan TO the heart of a historical fiction fan. I hope you’ll find it entertaining as well as enlightening. Please, enjoy the first full chapter: 

ONE

All in the golden afternoon …

~ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Tell me that my love is welcomed. More than welcomed, tell me that it is desired. For you alone, I have overcome great odds. My longing to see your face was all that had sustained me when a great many others had perished–”

Oomph. Something solid bashed into my shoulder, knocking me off balance. The book containing my beloved Charlie Wesson and Eloise Carter crashed to the sidewalk at my feet.

Watch it!” a rather large and angry man yelled at me over his shoulder just as I gathered my bearings.

I stuttered a reply, but he didn’t hear it. It was just as well since what I had said didn’t make any sense. And worse yet, my book was dirty. I was at the best part, too. How could he be so rude?

I had stayed up way too late finishing A Shipwrecked Love, the novel in my hands, and my only desire was to reread the best scene before I returned it to the library. The scene where Eloise read Charlie’s love letter went down in history as one of my absolute favorite scenes in any book. I mentally added A Shipwrecked Love to my wish list for books I wanted to keep on my personal shelf at home. In order to do so, I would have to cross something else off the list since my apartment was too small for an extensive collection.

You should invest in an e-reader,” my friend, Shelby, had once said. “You could keep all the books you wanted, and it wouldn’t take up any space.”

An e-reader? Seriously? Me? It was like she didn’t know me at all. An e-reader was so cold and distant, while a book was warm and inviting. A book could very well hug you back if you were to fall asleep reading and it fell on your face, or if you rested it on your arm. Books were friendly.

And it was more than friendship.

Books were classic. Timeless.

E-readers were not.

In my mind, it really was that simple. E-readers were state-of-the-art, moving fast-forward. Don’t get me wrong. It’s 2016, and I use electricity. I own a laptop and a smartphone.

But I dream in candlelight.

I hugged the book to my chest with a sigh, looking out onto the busy square of Carroll, Tennessee, and wondered what it had looked like 100 years ago. Would my little shop have been standing? I looked behind me where Curiouser and Curiouser Antiques and Rare Gifts stood. My grandmother, and guardian, had passed away four years earlier, leaving me with an empty building and the encouragement to pursue my passion for history through antiques. I couldn’t live in the past as I had longed to do, but I found that I could still surround myself with the past. I lived above my store in the tiny apartment, so I was quite literally surrounded by antiques.

Turning forward again, I continued my walk to the library. In good weather, this walk was one of my favorite times of the day.

This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I breathed in the scent of fall and recited the verse again to myself for good measure.

The Grayson Library was a repurposed historic home just behind the square. Childhood memories and the smell of endless pages flooded my senses the moment I opened the heavy door. Lucy stood behind the counter and gave me a smile and a wiggle of her fingers. I smiled in return but kept the book in my arms and bypassed her station. Without a word, I stepped behind her and slipped through the door labeled, “Staff Only.” I wasn’t staff. However, this would be my dream job if things in the antique business came crashing down, which I prayed never happened. But I had an open invitation to visit the staff only areas. It didn’t matter what day or what time of the day, I was always welcome, and I knew there would be a tea party awaiting me.

I walked down the short hall and gave a tentative knock on Betty Tanner’s door, causing her gray head to lift and her eyes to fall upon me.

Lizzie, I was hoping you’d come today.” I didn’t mind that Betty was the only one who called me Lizzie. We had a special friendship. I was Liz to my friends and Elizabeth Cooke to the rest of the world.

I moved across the room and around the desk to give my grandmother’s most-cherished friend a hug. “You know I can’t stand to miss Tuesdays. The cupcake teapot is my favorite.”

Betty laughed as she took the five steps to the countertop she had installed behind her desk. I watched as she made the preparations for afternoon tea. She felt the weight of the kettle. Satisfied with the water level, she turned on her hot plate and set the kettle down. Then Betty reached into her cabinet for an extra setting, matching the cup, pot, creamer, and sugar bowl that already sat on her special tea table underneath the window. The cabinet held the other five tea sets. Betty had one set for each day of the week. Sunday’s set stayed at home since she never worked on Sundays. I knew she also had a nighttime set that she used while at home after work and, of course, special sets for each of the major holidays. An assortment of tea cookies remained hidden in her desk drawer for the harder days in life. And at least twenty flavors of tea sat in the drawer above them.

What flavor today, Lizzie?”

Earl Grey. I just finished a book about a duke, and it has me thinking about Earl Grey tea.”

Betty laughed. “The duke reminded you of the earl?”

Well, you don’t have any duke tea, and he was sort of a nasty fellow. I think the earl will suit my mood.”

She shook her head in that good-natured sort of way that people often do when they know you’re just a bit crazy but they’re choosing not to call you out on it.

Speaking of nasty fellows, someone bumped into me on the way over. He knocked my book to the ground and didn’t even bother to say he was sorry. What happened to men and manners, anyway?”

Betty stopped, a tea bag dangling from her hand like a clock on a chain. “Book? Lizzie, were you reading again while you were walking down the sidewalk?”

She would point out the only part of the story I didn’t mention. “I might have been, but that’s not the point.”

She huffed. “Lizzie, you could have been hurt.”

But I wasn’t hurt.” Why was she not seeing the real issue here? “He bumped into me, and he had the nerve to yell at me for it when he should have apologized.”

Apologized?”

Yes, apologized. There was once a day when a man would never dream of bumping into a woman on the street without apologizing for it.”

But Lizzie, those days have passed, and it really does sound like you ran into him.”

You would think that someone as old as Betty would be more outraged at the decline in society. “I couldn’t really say if I did or didn’t run into him, but, again, that’s hardly the point. He should have apologized.”

She frowned. “Even if it was your fault?”

That’s just the point!”

What’s the point?”

It doesn’t matter who was at fault. He should have apologized. A simple sorry isn’t so hard.”

So, you’d want him to give you a fake apology, is that it?”

YES! A fake apology! That’s exactly what I wanted.” Now she was getting it!

Her gray brows turned in, and her frown deepened. “Lizzie, you really do live in another world.”

That’s just my point!”

Her shoulders fell. “What was your point again?”

Maybe she wasn’t really getting it after all. Okay. Now, I love Betty. I really do. But why was it that she was not following this conversation? With an exasperated sigh, I tried again. “My point is that it’s a crying shame that society has fallen so far that a man would actually yell at a woman on the street.” Betty opened her mouth to say something, so I held up my hands and “threw myself under the bus,” so to speak. “I know, I know, it was likely my fault. But just hear me out. If he would have apologized to me, as any good gentleman should, I would have quickly and gladly apologized to him and taken the full blame. I would have done it gladly, but he ruined it by yelling at me. What could I have possibly said then?”

You could have apologized,” Betty said flatly, finally setting the tea bag into the cup.

The words were gone from my head the moment he yelled at me. I just wish I lived in a simpler time. A time when men were manly, and, yet, they treated women with tender respect. A time when problems were simpler.”

And what time period do you think that is?”

What time period wasn’t it? I tilted my head in thought. “Just when did our society suddenly decline?”

When? It’s always been decaying.”

That seemed like an odd thing to say considering she’d witnessed some of those simpler times I was talking about. During her 82 years, Betty had attended the sock hops and had worn the poodle skirts. She had seen Elvis Presley on TV. Granted it was in black-and-white at first, but still! She had memories of a time when it was safe to walk to town, or stand outside and wait for the bus, or go to a public restroom. She could remember a time when our nation wasn’t ashamed to be considered a Christian nation. When the Ten Commandments were proudly sitting on government property. A time when babies weren’t pulled from their mother’s womb. A simpler time. A glorious time.

I couldn’t help myself. My mind wandered back even further. What would it have been like even before her time? When ladies still wore beautiful gowns, and men bowed over their hands in introduction? When our country was stable? When confusion and heartache didn’t paint the pages of every newspaper? When the nation went to church on Sundays, and the Bible was taught in schools?

I know God doesn’t make mistakes but, oh, how I wish He had seen fit to bring me to Earth during that time in history. I craved the peaceable times in our nation’s history. I suppose it’s why I only read historical fiction. Why would I want to read fiction about today when it was yesterday that I longed for?

I’m not dense. I’ve read enough to know that there were problems in the past. I’ve studied the Civil War. I know about the racial conflict that engulfed our nation. But I also know how easy it is to fix. Women’s right to vote is good. Segregation is bad. Prohibition confused me since what seemed so right somehow sparked a greater evil. I didn’t know how to answer that one problem. But the rest seemed manageable enough. Unlike this presidential election going on today. My social media was overwhelmed with the conflict surrounding the upcoming election. What I wouldn’t give to see one of our prior presidents on the ballot today.

My mouth almost watered at the thought of standing before a ballot with Abraham Lincoln listed as an option. Granted, I wouldn’t have been allowed to vote in 1860, but the fact remains that there were moments in our history when the choice was simple. Today, it was everything but simple.

AmazonLiz

Liz Cooke has two problems in life: Her social media is filled with brewing political conflict and her idea of a perfect man seems to have gone extinct a century ago. Inspired by the contents of an antique trunk, Liz dreams she time-travels to 1885. As she sets out to enjoy the Victorian era in all its glory, armed with knowledge gleaned through historical novels and period dramas, will she find the past to be all that she thought? And does the right man for her exist only in her dreams or has he been in her life all along?
Loosely inspired by Alice in Wonderland, A.M. Heath brings you a fun read chock-full of humor and whimsy with a special message for the avid reader in all of us.

You can pre-order If Only It Were Yesterday. Or add it to your Goodreads list.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

329Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first. 

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they’ll not soon forget.

What I Loved: This was a prime example of fine Christian fiction. From the moment the story began, I was captivated by Tressa, her world, and her story. And as it unfolded, I was treated to an interesting new mystery. The conclusion of the mystery wasn’t clear from chapter one, so it was nice to go on the treasure hunt with the rest of the cast. The romance was sweet and clean. But what really stood out to me was the way Politano crafted the story to include tips on keeping a vineyard to mirror the Christian life. Again, and again, and again I found myself being convicted, refreshed, and reminded of various areas in my relationship to Christ. If you read this novel, keeping in mind the Biblical context of Christ being the vine and you being the branches, there is so much more waiting here for you than just an entertaining story! Bringing the focus back on Christ is what makes Christian fiction such a valuable form of entertainment, and Politano kept the focus where it ought to be in the most natural way.
Oftentimes, with a vineyard setting, the reader may see things such as wine tastings but that wasn’t the case here. The focus was solely on the growth of the grapes and not the producing of wine.

Rating and Recommendation: I highly recommend A Rumored Fortune to all Christian Fiction fans but especially fans of Christian Historical Fiction. I give it 5 stars.

~ I received a copy from Bethany House through Net Galley. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a favorable one. All thoughts are my own.

*I picked up the audio version and can highly recommend it as well.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Another June With You by Krista Noorman

101Shannon McGregor never expected to run into her high school sweetheart, especially not as the best man of the wedding she’s photographing. But Micah’s back, as handsome and charming as she remembered, and pressing her for the truth about why she ended their relationship—a truth she’d rather keep to herself. 

Life is good. Micah Shaw has a job he loves, great friends, and a wonderful girl by his side. But seeing his first love again opens his eyes to the charade he’s been living without her. He never really got over Shannon or the dreams they had for their future—dreams she seemed to casually brush aside when she broke things off a decade ago without much explanation.

As wedding events unfold, avoiding Micah is impossible, and with their connection as strong as ever, Shannon finds herself battling the desire to tell him everything. How long will they circle the truth before Shannon admits defeat? And what does it matter when he’ll be gone by Sunday?

A sweet, clean second chance romance. The first book in the McGregor Family series.

What I Loved: Another June With You was great friction-filled romance! It was an endearing cat and mouse game of former sweethearts who have allowed secrets, hurt, and even a bit of pride and insecurity to stand between them. After reading other novels along this theme, I walked in thinking I knew what to expect, but Noorman threw in some unexpected twists and turns along the way … not to mention a few laughs.
The reader is also treated to spiritual themes such as relying on God to find your true happiness and trusting Christ when things don’t go as planned.
Fans of Noorman’s previous Cornerstone series are in for a treat when previous characters step in for a cameo. It’s not strongly connected so don’t feel bad if you hadn’t read the other series yet. In Another June With You, we’re introduced to the Shannon and her siblings, and we catch a glimpse at what the upcoming novels have in store for us. The McGregor Family is already promising to be a fantastic series!! I can’t wait to get my hands on the next two books!!

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving it 5 stars and I recommend it to Christian Contemporary fans.

~ I was given a copy from the author. But all thoughts are my own. And I was not obligated to review or love the book. 

Here’s a bonus for you!! It’s .99 RIGHT NOW on Amazon! 

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Quote from the author: She’s the wedding photographer. He’s the best man. They were high school sweethearts, but she suddenly walked away. He wants the truth, but will it keep them apart forever?

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