Posted in About the Book

Cover Reveal: Yesterday’s Christmas by A.M. Heath

Cover Reveal

 

I was in the middle of a 5 book series when I felt the Lord leading me in a different direction. Ancient Words fans can rest at ease since I expect to return to Maple Grove in a few short years. But for now, the focus is shifting to a brand new series. Now allow me to introduce you to the cover of what I hope will be a November 2018 release, Yesterday’s Christmas: 

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A Season Passed will be a four-book series. Each story is inspired by one of my favorite Disney movies. I’m currently working on the 2nd draft of If Only It Were Yesterday, an Alice in Wonderland inspired story, while also writing the 1st draft of Yesterday’s Christmas, a Beauty and the Beast inspired story. Lol I don’t know which one of these stories I’m more excited to share with you!! I just know you’re going to love them both when they finally arrive. I have so much to do before release day! 

Follow me here on the blog or my Facebook page to keep track of the developments. 

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Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden

188Page-Turning Romance and Intrigue in Award-Winning Author’s Next Historical Novel

Lucy Drake’s mastery of Morse code has made her a valuable asset to the American news agencies as a telegrapher. But the sudden arrival of Sir Colin Beckwith at rival British news agency Reuters puts her hard-earned livelihood at risk. Newly arrived from London, Colin is talented, handsome, and insufferably charming. 

Despite their rivalry, Lucy realizes Colin’s connections could be just what her family needs to turn the tide of their long legal battle over the fortune they were swindled out of forty years ago. When she negotiates an unlikely alliance with him, neither of them realizes how far the web of treachery they’re wading into will take them.

What I Loved: Where do I start? There was a detailed plot that kept the story moving at a steady pace. Camden is gifted at bringing a scientific study to light and she did well here with the details of plumbing and telegraphy. The setting comes to life. The bad guys aren’t one dimensional. The heroes and heroine are medal-worthy. But where A Dangerous Legacy shines the most is in the relationships between the characters. From page one, Lucy and her brother, Nick, grab your attention for their plight and their endearing relationship. Then there’s the playful banter between Lucy and Colin. Not to mention the more toxic relationships sprinkled throughout the story. I truly enjoyed every minute of it and I can’t wait to see what becomes of Nick Drake.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving A Dangerous Legacy 5 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy Christian Historical Fiction.

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

Audio Version: I had the pleasure of picking up the audio version and can highly recommend it as well.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Regency Brides Collection

180Romance is a delicate dance bound by rules and expectations in Regency England…
Seven couples must navigate society’s gauntlet to secure the hand of true love….

Charity and Luke are strangers who were forced to marry three years ago.
Adelaide and Walter share a love of music and disdain for elitism.
Caroline and Henry are thrown together by three orphans.
Helen and Isaac harbor his unlikely secret.
Esther is empowered to choose between two men.
Sophia is determined not to choose a man like Nash.
Jamie and William face a daunting London season together.

Will their faith grow and love prevail in a time when both were considered luxuries the elite could not afford?

Overall this was a really enjoyable collection. There were a few minor hiccups but with a collection this large, that’s bound to be the case. I feel comfortable recommending this one to fellow Regency lovers. Each of the stories were unique and unrelated. That makes it easier to pick it up and read one story at a time in between larger novels. I enjoyed being drawn into the Regency world with each individual author. There were a couple stories that felt more shallow to me but overall the set falls into the 4-4.5 star category with some obvious 5 star stories. Here are some of the highlights:

First Comes Marriage by Amanda Barratt: Charity and Luke are strangers who were forced to marry three years ago.
This was such a charming story and a great start to the set. If you enjoy a story where the couple marries before falling in love, this one fits the bill! And the spiritual theme was forgiveness.

Masquerade Melody by Angela Bell: Adelaide and Walter share a love of music and disdain for elitism. There was a Cinderella type of quality to Bell’s novella that I found delightful. And her message on trusting God when things don’t go as you plan was spot on.

Three Little Matchmakers by Susanne Dietze: Caroline and Henry are thrown together by three orphans. This one was one of my favorites. Dietze is gifted at crafting an endearing story with equally endearing characters.

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady by Michelle Griep: Helen and Isaac harbor his unlikely secret.
Griep brings a dose of excitement with her novella!! There’s certainly a message here on judging one another and on having a benevolent heart.

When I Saw His Face by Nancy Moser: Esther is empowered to choose between two men.
I enjoyed reading about an older heroine. I struggled a bit more with this particular story but I felt at home with Moser’s writing and look forward to giving her other works a try! Moser focuses the reader on themes of understanding and following God’s specific plan for your life.

The Highwayman’s Bargain by MaryLu Tyndall: Sophia is determined not to choose a man like Nash. Tyndall treats the reader to another sweet romance. There was a great message here about trusting Christ with your needs and not running ahead.
*I will note for like-minded readers, that the heroine’s salvation experience included feeling a hand on her shoulder while she was alone in the room and a gust of wind where there were no open windows. Otherwise, it was a very safe and clean story.

Jamie Ever After by Erica Vetsch: Jamie and William face a daunting London season together.
Vetsch wraps up the collection rather nicely. Jamie Ever After was another one of my favorites. Very nicely done!

~ I received a copy from Net Galley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for my review.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander

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A Christmas story to launch a brand new three-book series . . . The Carnton Novels
Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas – and of sacrificial love.

Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year old son.With the bank threatening to evict, she discovers an advertisement for the Women’s Relief Society auction and applies for a position – only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity – and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?
Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women’s Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects.Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies – one, in particular – is far more than he bargained for. 

Set against the backdrop and history of the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, Christmas at Carnton is a story of hope renewed and faith restored at Christmas.

What I Loved: THIS is a prequel novella done right!! Prequel Novellas have grown out of favor with me because many are beginning to feel like an unnecessary prologue. But with Christmas at Carnton, Alexander has renewed my faith in the trend.
From the very beginning, Christmas at Carnton felt like its own story. We are introduced to some characters that we’ll see again in the series but what won me over was that Alexander kept the focus right where it belonged: with Jake and Aletta.
But it wasn’t just her focus that deserves the praise, Alexander brings to life the hardships of war in the midst of the Christmas season. And it’s a great start to her new series. I’m looking forward to visiting Carnton again.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving it 5 stars and recommending to those who enjoy Historical Christmas, Christian Christmas novellas, or Civil War fiction.

~ I received a copy from Book Look Bloggers. I was not compensated for my review. All thoughts are my own. 

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah by Angie Dicken

169Schoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life.

Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart…and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble.

Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him.  When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Gate. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.

More from My Heart Belongs in Series…
My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss: Priscilla’s Reveille by Erica Vetsch (January 2017)
My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: Carmella’s Quandary by Susan Page Davis (March 2017)
My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight by Susanne Dietze (May 2017)
My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring by Carrie Fancett Pagels (July 2017)
My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily’s Dilemma by Andrea Boeshaar (September 2017)

My Thoughts: I’m a sucker for a mining camp story, so I was drawn to Dicken’s Castle Gate and wasn’t let down. The story didn’t focus on life inside the mines quite so much but was rich on the difficulties of the immigrant miners, namely the Greek miners. The place where this story really shined was in immersing the reader into the Greek culture and traditions. This is an area that I haven’t run across often in Christian Fiction and found it delightful. It’s always sobering to witness prejudices being played out in a story, and I leave with so much respect for those who traveled the hard roads earlier in our nation’s history as well as leave with a lesson or two about how to respond to it in today’s climate.
My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah was a delightful read with a delightful cast! I enjoyed my time with the Pappas family and only wish we could expect more from these friends.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah 4 stars and recommend it to those who enjoy Christian Historical Fiction or mining camp settings.

~I received a copy from Net Galley. I was not compensated for my review. All thoughts are my own.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: A Stranger at Fellsworth

181In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancé has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, where her estranged uncle serves as the school’s superintendent. Upon arrival, Annabelle learns that she must shed her life of high society and work for her wages for the first time in her life.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to purchase land he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s death, Owen begins to consider a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.

What I Loved: Sometimes a novel is just so perfectly smooth and entertaining that you can’t even begin to explain its awesomeness. A Stranger at Fellsworth was that novel for me. From the very beginning,  I was pulled into a story of adventure, romance, and that classic Regency setting. Ladd kept my attention throughout the entire novel with a story that kept pace and the characters evolved.
I read this one without having read the first two novels of the series and it read as a standalone. If there were any characters who crossed over, I didn’t know about it so there doesn’t appear to be any obvious spoilers.

I also had the pleasure of listening to this one in audio and can highly recommend the audio version. The narrator was easy to understand and pleasing to hear.

Rating and Recommendation: I highly recommend this one to those who enjoy Christian Regency and am giving it 5 stars.

~I received a copy from The Fiction Guild. I was not required to review. All thoughts are my own. 

Posted in Book Reviews

Cover Reveal and GIVEAWAY: A Mother for His Family by Susanne Dietze

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I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Dietze’s Regency novel, The Reluctant Guardian last week, and I’m already looking forward to her next. Take a look at her upcoming release and hear some of the inspiration behind the cover. 
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About the Book/Synopsis: Lady Helena Stanhope’s reputation is in tatters…and she’s lost any hope for a “respectable” ton marriage. An arranged union is the only solution. But once Helena weds formidable Scottish widower John Gordon, Lord Ardoch, and encounters his four mischievous children, she’s determined to help her new, ever-surprising family. Even if she’s sure love is too much to ask for. All John needs is someone to mother his admittedly unruly brood. He never imagined that beautiful Lady Helena would be a woman of irresistible spirit, caring and warmth. Or that facing down their pasts would give them so much in common. Now, as danger threatens, John will do whatever it takes to convince Helena their future together—and his love—are for always.
About the Author: Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the author of several historical romances who’s seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her at: Web Page // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest
Inspiration Behind the Cover: 
Susanne shared her Inspiration behind the cover in saying: “I love marriage of convenience stories and always wanted to write one! It’s always fun for me to read a book where the wedding happens at the beginning and things progress out of order with the couple: marriage first, then love. I was able to offer three scene suggestions for the cover, and the wedding was my first choice so I’m thrilled the amazing art department at Harlequin chose to work with it. It’s a hopeful scene, since both the hero and heroine, John and Helena, think getting married will be the answer to their problems: he needs a mother for his three kids and niece, and she needs a respectable home. However, they learn right away that saying “I do” might provide solutions to their immediate issues, but not all of them, and forging a family can be a challenge—one that both breaks and heals their hearts! I love looking at them in this scene and knowing they have adventures ahead that will bring them closer together!”
Bloggers Participating:
You can pre-order your copy today!
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Susanne Dietze is offering a giveaway just for the event! Follow the link to enter. 
Here’s a quick word from Susanne: Don’t forget to enter to win the giveaway! It’s a Spa Moment (alas, a moment is all I can afford with a kid in college.). You can win a copy of The Reluctant Guardian, which takes place in the same story universe as A Mother for His Family; a Beauticontrol Regeneration Pure Hydration Sheet Masque (over $10 value for this lovely masque), and a signed bookplate.
Posted in About the Book

Cover Reveal: The Birth of Grace by A.M. Heath

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This is one of those surprise projects that fell into my lap and stole my heart all at once. I didn’t expect to tell this story anytime soon and yet here I am!

The Birth of Grace is special to me for two reasons: It carries a Pro-Life message and it’s inspired by my grandmother, Anita Vasquez.

My grandmother was adopted, and I’ve always been curious to know the story behind it. As it turns out, there are multiple adoption stories floating around. When I found out that more than one story existed, I was at first frustrated and then inspired. I began to feel the familiar tug of a novel buried deep within and soon crafted one about a granddaughter searching for the truth.

Because I want to guard my family, I’m choosing to separate the truth from the fiction. The fictional family does not resemble my real family in any purposeful way, and neither do the fictionalized adoption stories.

The cover and the title may be a tad misleading so allow me to explain. The character featured on the cover is Kaitlin Jefferson. She’s seeking the truth behind her grandmother Grace’s adoption. The adoption stories appear as short stories weaved into Kaitlin’s story. So throughout the novel, we move from the present day to the 1940s. Besides searching for the truth about her grandmother, Kaitlin is also dodging unwanted matchmaking schemes from her entire family and trying to get to know a certain handsome stranger better. This is a story of heart and comedy combined.

While my grandmother may have been viewed as a product of a bad choice or even a burden, she was offered life. And with her life, she loved. I don’t know what my great-grandmother faced. I don’t know if she chose to give her daughter away out of selfish reasons or necessity. But because she chose life, I’m alive today. Her one decision has given life to 8 children, 20 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren and counting. To my great-grandmother: We may not know your name, but we thank you all the same.

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Projected Release Date: Sadly, this novel is still in the early stages of its first draft. Lord willing, I’ll be releasing 2 novels in Fall of 2018 as part of my new series, A Season Passed. Unless the Lord changes my course, my goal is to publish The Birth of Grace in Aug of 2019. I know it seems like forever away but you’ll catch me talking about Grace quite a bit in the months to come.

I’d appreciate your prayers as I continue working on all three upcoming novels. You can keep up with my progress by following me here on the blog as well as on Facebook.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Reluctant Guardian by Susanne Dietze

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Under the Spy’s Protection 

When Gemma Lyfeld inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she’s rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her…

Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he’d be.

What I Loved: I enjoy a good Dietze novel. They’re always perfect for a quick, light read and The Reluctant Guardian was a prime example of that. Dietze engages the reader with vivid historical detail and authentic lingo. I appreciate the captivating mystery as well as a very interesting side of the Regency era that I had not heard about before now. And Dietze wraps this up with tons of playful banter and a solid message for the soul.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving The Reluctant Guardian 4.5 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy Regency fiction.

 

 

Posted in Book Reviews

GIVEAWAY and CD Review: Glory Song by Matt Redman

60About the album:

Matt Redman teamed up with several of his worship-artist friends for this album, first releasing the track “Gracefully Broken (feat. Tasha Cobbs Leonard).” Tasha Cobbs Leonard also released her own version of this song on the same day! The album also features Kierra Sheard, Guvna B, Madison Cunningham, and Kim Walker-Smith.

What I Loved: My first impression of the sound or mood of the album was that it was upbeat and smooth. It doesn’t have a rockish sound or a soft lullaby sound. It’s just right smack in the middle. I find it to be consistent with the Matt Redman sound we’ve heard up till now. I think it’s a great addition to praise and worship music. The lyrics are God-focused and God-honoring. Gracefully Broken was a quick hit with me. Another favorite is One Day (When We All Get to Heaven) because I love the blend of something new with a classic hymn and they had done an excellent job with this track. Place of Praise is another favorite of mine. It’s simply beautiful and helps me to focus on the basics of my relationship with Christ.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving it 5 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy Christian Contemporary or Praise and Worship music.

~I was given a sample from FlyBy Promotions. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own.

Enjoy this sample song from the album titled, Gracefully Broken: 

Pick up your copy right here!

You can also try your hand at winning a copy! Follow the link right here to enter to win!

 “Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Discussion Questions:
What is your favorite Matt Redman song?
What is your favorite line from Gracefully Broken?

And for your pleasure, we have two more videos for you. One is the full song with the lyrics and the other is the story behind the song. Enjoy!