Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep

280Book 2 in Reader Favorite Michelle Griep’s Charming Once Upon a Dickens Christmas Series

London, 1853: Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life, for there’s nothing more mundane than serving customers day after day. Every minute she can, she reads and dreams of someday becoming a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn.

William is a gentleman’s son, a charming but penniless rogue. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his scheming cousin. In an effort to secure the inheritance, William gives his uncle the impression he’s married, which works until he’s invited to bring his wife for a visit.

William asks Mina to be his pretend bride, only until his uncle names an heir on Christmas Day. Mina is flattered and frustrated by the offer, for she wants a true relationship with William. Yet, she agrees. . .then wishes she hadn’t. So does William. Deceiving the old man breaks both their hearts. When the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost.

Can two hearts survive such deception?

My Thoughts: Are you looking for a solid dose of Christmas cheer? You’ll find it right here in A Tale of Two Hearts. From the moment the book begins, I felt like I stepped into a Victorian Christmas setting. It was cozy, warm, inviting, and I always enjoy the historical facts that Griep weaves into her Christmas stories. While I did feel like there were characters who needed more depth, I greatly appreciated the lovely example Griep gives us of Christ wiping away our sins and forgiving our debts.

Rating and Recommendation: I recommend this to those looking for a Christian Historical or Christmas novel. I’m giving it 4 stars.

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

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Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Finding Christmas Joy by Amanda Tero

What I Loved: Tero reminds us that Christmas is more than a season, it’s about Someone to have an everlasting relationship with and she uses a common setting–pain– to bring the message to life. Lots of people feel alone or disjointed during the holidays. Whether you’re saved or not, Tero reminds us Who our focus and source of emotions ought to be centered on.
Finding Christmas Joy is a short story, so we’re not given much time with the characters and the cozy setting they bring to life, but the message is one that will stick with you.
Rating and Recommendation: I give it 5 stars and recommend it to those looking for sweet Christmas moment.
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Amanda Tero is giving away a copy of “Finding Christmas Joy” with one of her piano CD’s! You’ll be able to enjoy the music of the season as well as a story that brings you the happiness of the season. (Note: there are two giveaways: one for physical copies for residents of USA, and another for international residents)

LINK: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/483ac2ab27/?

INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY(electronic copies of both)

LINK: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/483ac2ab28/?

 

Be sure to stop by these other blogs to see what others are
saying about
Finding Christmas Joy! 

Posted in Book Reviews

Holly, Ivy, and Intrigue: A Christmas Novella Set

189Christmas Murder Mix-Up

“I have to get rid of her now.”

After four months of a blissful marriage, Paige is devastated to overhear her husband, Cooper, say those words to his best friend. Because of a suspicious Christmas gift, a gas leak, and a home invasion, Paige’s love for Cooper is tested to the limit. Will their marriage survive the Christmas Murder Mix-up?

Holiday Pursuit

When Brianna Rockwell’s brother finds himself in danger and disappears three days before Christmas, she does everything to rescue him. Brianna dodges bullets, escapes fire, and even turns to her longtime crush for help. But the closer she gets to solving the mystery and finding her only sibling, the more desperate someone gets to silence her forever…

A Holiday Intruder

Kelsey Jordan prefers upcycling junk and refinishing antiques for her store in a Georgia mountains town to being the center of attention. When a robbery and an unknown benefactor shove her in the middle of a decades-old mystery, and a real estate developer and a former baseball star compete for her attention, Kelsey isn’t sure who to trust.

My Thoughts: All together, this was a cozy read. The first two stories start off with a bang and include lots of fast-paced action and even some shootouts. The third one carried more of a family mystery. Each story brought a little romance to the table. As well as a sound Christian message. The novellas are not connected so it makes it easier to pick up or set aside during the busy holiday season.

Christmas Murder Mix-up: This starts off in an almost comical way, but things turn deadly pretty quickly. This was a very interesting, original story.

Holiday Pursuit: Wow! Talk about starting off with a bang. Bullets are flying on the very first page and the story doesn’t slow down much from there.

A Holiday Intruder: This one was more relaxed in terms of action. The love triangle made it a favorite of mine.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving Holly, Ivy, and Intrigue 4 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy a bit of action with their Christmas novellas.

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

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: To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

172Do They Have a Fighting Chance at Love?

After completing his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father’s knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past.

Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs in the town her father founded. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she’s reluctant to trust him. Yet as the mysteries of the town’s new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.

Eden believes she’s finally found a man of honor and integrity. But when the truth about Levi’s prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a way to win back the librarian’s affections?

What I Loved: One of the aspects that stood out the most was the hero. There’s something so special and so unique about a flawed hero. It was endearing to watch Levi struggle with his speech and the creative way he worked around it. Equally endearing for me was watching Eden’s spiritual growth. She has a righteous judgemental problem that so many Christians have fallen victim to and it was encouraging to see how Witemeyer brought her from one idea to the other. The reader can easily glean lesson while they were being entertained.

Rating and Recommendation: If you’re looking for another Christian historical or Christian western that you haven’t read yet, you’ll enjoy To Win Her Heart. I’m giving it 4.5 stars.

 

Posted in About the Book

Cover Reveal: If Only It Were Yesterday by A.M. Heath

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If you’ve been following me here or on Facebook, you likely have heard about the new series I’m working on. A Season Passed contains 4 novels. Each of them is inspired by one of my favorite Disney movies.
First up is my Alice in Wonderland inspired novel titled If Only It Were Yesterday.

If Only It Were Yesterday is a story of good intentions, misunderstandings, history, life lessons, romance, conflict, time travel, Victorian lifestyle, tea, and just a little bit of that quirkiness that you’d expect to find in a Wonderland inspired novel.
I’m about 2/3rd of the way finished with the first draft, but already I can’t wait to hand this story over to you. But today I have the honor of showing you the official cover! I hope you love it as much as I do. Seeing the cover makes me even more anxious to bring this story to you. Lord willing, it’ll be a Fall 2018 release. It may sound like a long wait but it’s just around the corner if you’re the one responsible for its every word. 😉

Final Liz

In other news: I’m currently working on creating two more covers for what I expect to be the next two releases following If Only It Were Yesterday. Book 2 of A Season Passed (which I’ll be sharing all the juicy details VERY soon) and my secret project are currently on my desk and awaiting their covers.
What happened to the rest of the Ancient  Words Series? As you may know, there are two more novels to complete the series, but I find myself in a natural break and have decided to follow God’s leading to work on these other three books before finishing off Ancient Words. But don’t worry. If you’ve loved my previous work, you’re going to love what I have in store for you next. Here’s to our next adventure together!!

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

59From New York Times bestselling author comes The Wedding Dress.
Four brides. One Dress.
A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.

Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new—shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and  timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed.”

Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history—and its new bride—begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the timeless beauty of finding true love.

 

I’m going to state up front that this will not be a book for everyone. I want to lay out what I found and let you decide for yourself whether to add it to your list or not. 

My Thoughts: First of all, the book starts off so strongly. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the overall plot. I liked how Hauck bounced between two eras to tell this story and I was invested in both of these ladies and their struggling relationships with the men in their lives.
For me, the story took a wrong turn when Hauck introduced a mystical thread. It almost reads as a fantasy, except it isn’t. I don’t want to ruin the story, but I do want to point out some of what was found here. There is a dress with magical properties and the ability to fit “any woman who accepts it and believes in it” (quote from the novel), a mysterious man who appears to be a heavenly visitor, scenes where the characters mention smelling something spicy (think anointing oil here), among other things. This no longer lined up with my theology and I grew uncomfortable at times while reading it.
Without this mystical thread, The Wedding Dress would have been a hit for me. I found no fault with Hauck’s writing style or overall plot and even cared a great deal about the characters. But I can’t get passed what I can’t agree with.
There’s my honest opinion. Now, dear reader, decide for yourself what you want to do with it.

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

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Susan May Warren

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Dottie Morgan has no desire to share her home or her heart over the Christmas holidays. After all, her Christmas spirit froze over when Dottie lost her son in World War II. But when a blizzard of the decade traps Dottie in her home with four near strangers, she just might discover that opening her door might also open her heart to a Christmas miracle and a new reason to celebrate Christmas.

My Thoughts: Baby, It’s Cold Outside was full of heart. The kind of story that is perfect for being snowed in with.
Warren is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I just love this author’s heart and the message she’s able to weave into her stories. There’s more than just entertainment going on, yet it never feels heavy. Just a perfect blend of entertaining with a spiritual message.
There were descriptions that were a bit repetitive, in the beginning mostly. But this was easily forgivable. I loved the way she weaved the lives of 5 people together and also the history she brought to focus with her use of Storm Houses, early asthma treatments, and other cultural tidbits of the late 1940s.

Rating and Recommendation: I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good Christmas Christian novel or Historical Christian Fiction. I’m giving it 5 stars.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Return to Sender by Janice Thompson

21Holly O’Brien’s plans are flipped upside-down when she receives what she believes to be a Christmas letter in the mail. Turns out, the letter is from a complete stranger, and is intended for someone else. The passionate note—written with shaky handwriting—clues Holly in to the fact that the writer wants to reconcile with her estranged family. Holly flies into action to find the sender of the letter. Getting it into the right hands is critical. Her journey leads her to the Shady Acres nursing home, where she meets Gertie, the writer of the cryptic letter. Only one problem: Gertie, who has Alzheimer’s, has no memory of writing it. Enter Liam, Gertie’s handsome grandson. Does he have to key to unraveling this mystery? When Liam and Holly come together, sparks fly, but not all of them in the right direction. Can they work together to solve the mystery behind the letter? And will Holly witness a Christmas miracle as she gets to know this wonderful family? Inspirational author Janice Thompson is thrilled to share this heartfelt holiday story with her readers and wishes them all a very Merry Christmas.

 Return to Sender was everything you’d expect in a Hallmark Movie. It was cute, funny, warm, and sweet all at once. Thompson put together a cast of memorable secondary characters. It was a fun Christmas read that I’d recommend to anyone looking for a novella to enjoy in December. I’m giving it 4 stars.