Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

Review and Giveaway: Alice’s Notions by Tamera Kraft May 11, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 6:17 pm
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About the Book

Book: Alice’s Notions

Author: Tamera Lynn Kraft

Genre: Christian historical romance

Release Date: April 1, 2017

       Click to Purchase

In this quaint mountain town, things aren’t always what they seem.World War 2 widow Alice Brighton returns to the safety of her home town to open a fabric shop. She decides to start a barn quilt tour to bring business to the shop and the town, but what she doesn’t know is sinister forces are using the tour for their own nefarious reasonsBetween her mysterious landlord, her German immigrant employee, her neighbors who are acting strange, and a dreamboat security expert who is trying to romance her, Alice doesn’t know who she can trust

 

About the Author

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest and has other novellas in print. She’s been married for 38 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and two grandchildren. Tamera has two novellas in print: A Christmas Promise and Resurrection of Hope. Her first full length novel, Alice’s Notions released in April through Desert Breeze.

You can contact Tamera on her website at http://tameralynnkraft.net

Guest Post from Tamera Lynn Kraft

How Classic Movies from the 1940s Made Their Way in My Latest Novel

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

One thing I loved about writing my post World War Two novel was my main character’s passion for movies. Alice Brighton and her late husband loved to go to movies on Friday nights. Now, even after the war made her a widow, Alice still loves movies and compares everyone she meets to a movie character.

Of course for Alice, all these wonderful classic movies and movie stars and a part of her culture, but for me, it was so much fun because I love classic movies. In the novel, Alice compares her landlord to Cary Grant. Cary Grant is one of my favorites. After starring in movies like Suspision, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Notorious, Grant was one of the biggest stars around in 1946 when Alice’s Notions takes place. My favorite Cary Grant movie wouldn’t be made until a few years later. An Affair to Remember, released 1957, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr is one of my all-time favorites.

At one point in the novel, Alice thinks back to when her late husband always said she reminded him of Judy Garland. Garland would have been twenty-four at the time, just a bit younger than Alice, but she became a big star in her teens. She began acting at two years old when she debuted as Baby Francis and sang Jingle Bells. After playing in various roles including a few movies with Mickey Rooney, Garland had her big break in The Wizard of Oz. She went on to star in a ton of movies and had a thriving singing career until she committed suicide in the 1960s. One of my favorite Judy Garland movies released in 1945 during the war was The Clock. The Clock was about a woman who met and fell in love with a GI on leave. Their romance was intensified because they only had the weekend before he was shipped out again for the remainder of the war. This movie must have been in Alice’s mind since she had lost her husband shortly after the movie came out.

During Alice’s Notions, Alice goes on a date to see the movie, The Postman Always Rings Twice, starring Lana Turner and John Garfield. It was released in 1946 and was considered scandalous at the time because the two main characters have an affair and murder her husband. The main theme of the movie is you can’t get away with your sin. The truth will be revealed. In Alice’s Notions, the truth being revealed is also a main theme.

So you may be wondering what classic movie Alice’s Notions reminds me of. Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn was released in 1963. In that movie, Hepburn is being pursued and doesn’t know who she can trust. The movie has light hearted intrigue, suspense, and romance just like Alice’s Notions. Alice, also, doesn’t know who she can trust.

Blog Stops

May 11: Genesis 5020

May 11: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

May 12: Inklings and notions

May 13: Carpe Diem

May 14: Christian Bookaholic

May 15: A Reader’s Brain

May 16: History, Mystery & Faith

May 17: A Bakers Perspective

May 18: Have A Wonderful Day

May 19: Reading Is My SuperPower

May 19: Jami’s Words

May 20: Mary Hake

May 21: Daysong Reflections

May 22: Vicky Sluiter

May 23: Bigreadersite

May 24: His Grace Is Sufficient

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tamera is giving away a $25 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/b723

My thoughts:

I don’t know what it was about this book that drew me in, but it did. It might have been the opening chapter that was so tragic or Alice’s determination after the war.

This book is full of pieces to a puzzle and there seems to be more and more pieces with each chapter. It could be a bit confusing at times but I had this certainty that in the end it would all make sense.

My heart went out to Greta and I wanted Alice to give her a chance and the rest of the town. She seemed to kind and wasn’t your stereotypical German during this time.

The rest of the town is filled with interesting characters that play into this story and give it more depth.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and if you like historical fiction I am sure you will like it too.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was give to me though the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 

 

Review and Giveaway: Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano April 27, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:45 pm
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To order your copy, click here.

About the Book


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Book: Behind the Scenes

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance

Release Date: April, 2017

Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn’t guaranteed to “take.” After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she’s finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill.”

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it’s simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.
When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she’s determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she’ll end up at risk as well.

As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there’s more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .

About the Author


Jen Turano
, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

 

 

 

Interview With Jen Turano

  1. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you personally?

Amusing things happen to me all the time, but I think my favorite was back in college when I was a lifeguard. You see, there’s a lifeguard code – You will be cool at all times, especially when you’re sitting in a lifeguard chair, twirling your whistle exactly so, and, you know…looking cool. So, there I was, in my black lifeguard bathing suit – swinging my whistle. It was an unusually hot day, so I’d angled my umbrella exactly right as I watched the diving-board section. Now, I know this might come as a surprise, but being a lifeguard at the neighborhood pool isn’t exactly thrilling. It’s rare that anything exciting happens, and that particular day was no exception…until a large gust of wind came out of nowhere and the umbrella took it upon itself to close – right over me. And because it was now really gusty, the umbrella then lifted up, taking me with it right off the chair and into the depths of the deep end of the pool. From all accounts, it was quite the sight. First, there I was, swinging my whistle and looking groovy. Then all you could see were my legs flailing about as the umbrella covered the rest of me, and then…I was plummeting toward the pool, hit the water with the umbrella over me, and promptly sank. Obviously I managed to get out of the umbrella, but in the process, part of my bathing suit came off, and…well, that’s a story for another day.

 

  1. What is your favorite book from your childhood?

“Andrew Henry’s Meadow.” It was actually my little brother’s book, gotten from one of those book of the month clubs, but I loved it. I recently found a copy on an e-site and ordered it, and it’s just as delightful today as it was back in my childhood.

 

  1. Who does the cooking and cleaning in your house when you are on a deadline?

I don’t actually cook much even when I’m not on deadline, so that’s not really an issue. Al and I do a lot of salads or throw some chicken on the grill. We also have a lot of grocery stores that have wonderful deli and gourmet foods, so we get a lot of things there. As for cleaning, I’m one of those neurotic people who can’t work without everything being in place, so I do a lot of tidying up before I go to bed. And, because I do some of my best thinking when I clean, I’ve been known to abandon my writing when I get stuck and pick up a mop or cleaning rag, which means my house is rarely a disaster since I need to get unstuck a lot.

 

  1. Where is your favorite place to write?

I do the majority of my writing in my office, although I will occasionally take a pad of paper and a pen outside to handwrite when I get bored of my office or it’s a really nice day and I don’t feel like being trapped inside. It’s not that my office is my favorite place to write, it’s more that my writing is my job and I’m more focused on that writing when I approach it as such.

 

  1. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I really like when characters and new story ideas begin to fester. That normally happens when I’m in the midst of another series. By the time I’m done with whatever series I’m working on, the next series is pretty firmly set in my mind, which means I can jump right in as I wait for edits on recently completed work. My absolute favorite part of writing, though, is when I turn in the very final edit on a book and don’t see it again until it comes out in print. Although, I must admit, I’ve never, not once, read one of my books after it has gone to print. Seems rather pointless since I do always know how the book is going to end.

 

  1. Why did you choose the timeframe or setting this book is written in?

I’ve been wanting to set a book during Alva Vanderbilt’s famous costume ball of March, 1883, for years. Since I decided to slowly travel through the Gilded Age, I just reached 1883 on my plot timeline, so knew I was finally going to get to throw some characters into the very midst of Alva’s ball. It was a blast to write, loved going back to all my books on this particular ball and seeing the pictures, and only wish the Vanderbilt house at 660 Fifth Avenue was still standing so I could visit it in person to visualize the splendors located inside a little more clearly.

 

  1. What inspires you?

I think like most writers, I simply get inspired by the world around me. I love to people watch, and I love to imagine all sorts of outlandish scenarios as I do that watching. I also get inspired by reading the headlines of the daily papers, and by the research books I read. I also love to look through old photographs of the Gilded Age, and became intrigued with Alva Vanderbilt’s ball when I saw a picture of a young lady, Miss Kate Strong, with a stuffed cat on her head and wearing a choker necklace with the name Puss engraved on it. That was all it took for me to investigate the Vanderbilt ball further, delighted to discover it truly was a ball that only comes along every blue moon.

Blog Stops

April 27: Reading Is My SuperPower

April 27: The Scribbler

April 27: Genesis 5020

April 27: These Splendid Sentences

April 28: Back Porch Reads

April 28: Smiling Book Reviews

April 28: Fiction, Faith, and Fun

April 28: Just the Write Escape

April 29: Bookworm Mama

April 29: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

April 29: Books. Books. AND More Books.

April 29: Karen Sue Hadley

April 30: Lighthouse Academy

April 30: Radiant Light

April 30: Bigreadersite

April 30: Lane Hill House

May 1: Faithfully Bookish

May 1: Counting Pinecones

May 1: Blogging With Carol

May 1: Moments Dipped in Ink

May 2: inklings and notions

May 2: Blossoms and Blessings

May 2: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

May 2: Neverending Stories

May 3: For The Love of Books

May 3: Singing Librarian Books

May 3: Book by Book

May 3: Pause for Tales

May 4: A Baker’s Perspective

May 4: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

May 4: cherylbbookblog

May 4: Rachel Scott McDaniel

May 5: With a Joyful Noise

May 5: Baker Kella

May 5: A Reader’s Brain

May 5: Southern Gal Loves to Read

May 6: A Greater Yes

May 6: Christian Bookaholic

May 6: Connie’s History Classroom

May 6: Splashes of Joy

May 6: Just Commonly

May 7: A Simple Life, really?!

May 7: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

May 7: Daysong Reflections

May 7: The Power of Words

May 8: Ashley’s Bookshelf

May 8: Eat, Read,Teach, Blog

May 8: Giveaway Lady

May 8: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

May 9: Bibliophile Reviews

May 9: History, Mystery & Faith

May 9: I Hope You Dance

May 9: Simpleharvestreads

May 10: His Grace is Sufficient

May 10: History, Hope, Laughter & Happily-ever-after

May 10: Raining Butterfly Kisses

May 10: Reader’s Cozy Corner

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card and the four books: After a Fashion, In Good Company, Playing the Part, Behind the Scenes!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04910/

My thoughts:

This is the first historical I have read by Jen. Most historicals I read are rather serious in tone. And although this book does deal with some serious issues the tone is light and fun.

You really can’t help loving Permilia and in some ways I really identified with her. Her uncomfortableness in talking with people is something I struggle with, although I don’t think to her degree. I also loved her determination and how nothing really ever got her down for long. She was comfortable in her own skin.

Asher shows up immediately as a hero and I adored that. I enjoyed watching him become more drawn to Permilia even against his own wishes.

The rest of the book is cast with other characters that make the whole story interesting. Even though the first scene was rather long I was never bored because there was so much going on.

If you enjoy historical romance and want something in the fun side this is a perfect book to feed that craving.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 

 

Baggage Claim by Cathe Swanson March 30, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 6:11 pm
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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Click to purchase

Book: Baggage Claim

Author: Cathe Swanson

Genre: Christian Suspense/Romance

Release Date: February 14, 2017

 

There had to be at least one healthy branch on his family tree…

Who can he trust?

Ben Taylor, widower and father of four lively children, enjoys his easy, uncomplicated life. He likes his work and has a competent nanny to manage his household. Everything is good until he decides to seek out his biological parents and discovers a family tree with tangled roots and broken branches.

His comfortable life crumbles when he gets caught up in a criminal network of fraud and conspiracy at his new job. When Ben is forced into a dangerous alliance, he scrambles to find a safe situation and protection for his children before setting out to clear his name—all without getting himself killed in the process.

A nanny with a past…

Becoming a nanny was the perfect solution when Teresa Cooper needed a place to hide ten years ago, but now that she’s no longer in danger, she’s ready to move on and make a new life for herself. When Ben asks her to take the children to an unknown relative in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, she finds herself in hiding again, this time with four children in tow.

As the children explore the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula, Teresa begins to wonder about God’s plan for her future. Who is this stranger Ben trusts with his children? Why here? Can a city-bred nanny find joy in this wild corner of God’s creation?

About the Author

Cathe Swanson lives in Wisconsin with her husband of 32 years. They enjoy spending time with their family and being outdoors, kayaking, hiking, birdwatching and fishing, but summer is short in Wisconsin, so it’s important to have indoor hobbies, too. Cathe has been a quilter and teacher of quiltmaking for over 25 years, and she enjoys just about any kind of creative work, especially those involving fiber or paper. She enjoys writing stories with eccentric characters of all ages. Her books will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.

 

Guest Post from Cathe Swanson

When I was in high school, I thought I might like to become an occupational therapist. Instead, I got married, had babies, raised the children and launched them into the world. I took a few years to regroup, and then I started thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Shortly after that, my dad had a stroke, and when he came home from the hospital, I was fascinated by the work of the visiting therapists. I did some research and learned that physical and occupational therapy assistants make pretty good money and are able to do the best part of the job – the therapy. Therapists are often bogged down in paperwork and periodic assessments. The assistant has all the fun, and it’s just a 5-semester program.

So I trotted on down to the local community college and asked what I had to do to get signed up. The counsellor talked for a while about prerequisites, petitions, waiting lists, internships, and other such things. Eventually I realized she was trying to tell me that I was too old to embark on this career. Too taken-aback to be offended, I went home and wrote a book about it instead. After all, I’d invested a lot of time in research.

I’d been writing stories for years, and already had the bones of Baggage Claim. Once I gave my young hero a job as a physical therapy assistant, the story took on life. My mother’s interest in genealogy had sparked a question: What if a nice, normal person wanted to track down their biological family and it blew up in their face? So that’s where I sent my hero, and as one of my reviewers said, “It was not a Hallmark moment.”

I’m very happy as an author and have no real interest in becoming an occupational therapist. Indeed, that rejection was a turning point for me. I could have pushed forward and got that degree, but instead I went home and wrote. I have no regrets.

Blog Stops

March 28: Books. Books. And More Books.

March 28: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

March 29: Chas Ray’ s Book Nerd Corner

March 29: A Greater Yes

March 30: Genesis 5020

March 31: Reading Is My SuperPower

April 1: Quiet Quilter

April 2: autism mom

April 2: Avid Reader Book Reviews

April 3: Moments Dipped in Ink

April 3: Faithfully Bookish

April 4: Inklings and notions

April 5: Blossoms and Blessings

April 6: Blogging With Carol

April 7: Carpe Diem

April 7: A Baker’s Perspective

April 8: Christian Bookaholic

April 8: Karen Sue Hadley

April 9: History, Mystery and Faith

April 9: Bigreadersite

April 10: His Grace is Sufficient

April 10: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cathe is giving away Grand prize themed gift box that will include:
A decorative suitcase box
Earl Grey Tea
A handmade mug rug
A pretty mug
14 handmade all-occasion cards
And a paperback copy of Baggage Claim!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b2c8

My thoughts:

This is a book full of many layers. There is so much going on there is never a dull moment. Cathe is a gifted storyteller. She has crafted a story that will certainly engage you.

I was really interested in this book because part of it takes place in Michigan’s upper peninsula, which is one of my favorite places of all time. I love that we get a peek at in the winter.

At first I wasn’t sure how everything was going to connect. We have Teresa’s story of her in hiding and then we have Ben’s story of trying to find his family and also everything that is going on at work. I knew there was something funny (not ha-ha funny) going on there and before long it comes to light.

I dreaded knowing something bad would happen to Ben and his sweet family.

Cathe did a wonderful job of painting Ben’s family life with his kids. So normal but still very interesting.

Overall I really enjoyed this book.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon,  or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through The Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 

 

Shine Like the Dawn by Carrie Tunansky February 27, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 6:03 pm
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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Bookshinelikethedawnfinal2-199x300

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Book: Shine Like the Dawn

Author: Carrie Turansky

Genre: Historical

In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible tragedy reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. But Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart and she begins to wonder if what happened that day on the lake…might not have been an accident.

When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son Nathaniel, who is Maggie’s estranged childhood friend, returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.

Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate—and reconciling with God? Will their search for the truth about her parents’ death draw them closer or will it leave them both with broken hearts?

About the Author

cturansky-2-214x300CARRIE TURANSKY is an award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and novellas. She has been the winner of the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award, and a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award and the Maggie Award of Excellence. A prolific writer of contemporary and historical romance, women’s fiction, short stories, articles, and devotionals, Carrie lives in central New Jersey with her husband Scott. They have five adult children and four grandchildren.

 

Guest Post from Carrie Turansky

Hats, Glorious Hats!

By Carrie Turansky

 

MaggieinHatOne fun part of my research for Shine Like the Dawn was learning about hat making in the early 1900s. My heroine, Maggie Lounsbury is a milliner who designs women’s hats. She learned this skill from her grandmother who owns a small shop in the village of Heatherton. Maggie has an artistic eye and she enjoys making stylish hats, but she doesn’t like the overdone designs some of their customers request, so that creates some humorous conflict in the story.

 

Hats in the Edwa2e59191fde836985dfd98f399afeae46rdian era were large and often covered with feathers, flowers, lace, netting, berries and bows. The “bird nests,” as Coco Chanel called them, were held on with large hat pins stuck through piles of hair on the crown. These hats were called Gainsborough or Picture hats because of the way they framed a lady’s face. They often featured huge dried flower arrangements and sometimes included real leaves and twigs! No doubt the Garden hat was a fitting name.
1907 The Merry Window hat became very popular after the leading lady in the play by that same name wore a hat that was even taller and wider than usual. Some people complained these hats were too big and obtrusive in public places like the theater or picture shows. But English women loved them and wore them to all kinds of events.6ca0c7f3f38874b8095d6884c2fd52f6

 

The popularity of using large feathers and stuffed birds on hats caused concern for the welfare of birds. Many protective laws took effect and milliners had to use more ribbon and tulle and only large ostrich feathers to decorate hats. Those ostrich feathers came from birds that were raised on farms and their feathers were collected as they fell out naturally.
The movement toward smaller hats began around 1913 when hats still had high crowns but smaller brims. Straw boaters, small top hats, and mini versions of picture hats were very common.

 

68e75a1cae2f5eb955404bdff990157cMotion pictures had the greatest influence on Edwardian hat fashion. After the release of The Three Musketeers many ladies wanted to wear tricorne and bicorne shaped hats. They were still very large but now had shapes other than just round. Hat brims were folded up on the side, at an angle, or all around to create drama. Veils disappeared in the early 1900s only to come back again as a long scarf that wrapped over the hat and under the chin for the new sport called motoring.

 

I’ve had fun dressing Edwardian style for book launch tea parties and other book events. It made me feel very special to wear these lovely hats. What do you think of Edwardian Hats? Would you like to wear one?

 

Thanks to friends at the Vintage Dancer website for some of this information.

 

Stop by Carrie’s Facebook author page and view her live videos February 21 – 25, 3:00 pm Eastern. She’ll be talking about the story behind Shine Like the Dawn and giving away a fun prize each day to one person who leaves a comment. Even if you can’t catch the live video you can still enter for 24 hours after it’s posted. She is also hosting a book launch celebration and giveaway on her blog February 25 – March 6.
Like to my Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/authorcarrieturansky/
Link to my Book Launch Blog Post: http://carrieturansky.com/index.php/blog/

Blog Stops

February 21: New Horizon Reviews

February 21: Bookworm Mama

February 21: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

February 22: Tell Tale Book Reviews

February 22: Book by Book

February 22: History, Mystery and Faith

February 23: Bibliophile Reviews

February 23: Smiling Book Reviews

February 23: A Readers Brain

February 23: Faithfully Bookish

February 23: Lane Hill House

February 24: Back Porch Reads

February 24: The Scribbler

February 24: I Hope You Dance

February 25: Stuff & Nonsense

February 25: The Power of Words

February 25: A Greater Yes

February 26: cherylbbookblog

February 26: Moments Dipped in Ink

February 26: Splashes of Joy

February 27: Genesis 5020

February 27: inklings and notions

February 27: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

February 28: Karen Sue Hadley

February 28: A Simple Life, really?!

February 28: Neverending Stories

March 1: Daysong Reflections

March 1: Connie’s History Classroom

March 1: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

March 2: These Splendid Sentences

March 2: Singing Librarian Books

March 2: Blossoms and Blessings

March 3: Pause for Tales

March 3: blogging With Carol

March 3: Mary Hake

March 4: Radiant Light

March 4: For The Love of Books

March 5: Christian Bookaholic

March 5: Rachel Scott McDaniel

March 6: History, Hope, Laughter & Happily-ever-after

March 6: Baker Kella

Giveaway

giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away all 4 books: Shine Like the Dawn, The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, and A Refuge at Highland Hall.! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b0fb

My thoughts:

I have only read one other book by Carrie and I did enjoy it. So was excited to get the chance to read this one.

I think she has gotten better as she has written more books.

This book opens with a scene that will grab you and then keeps you wanting to read to see what will happen. There is mystery woven in that keeps this book exciting as well.

I adored Maggie, she is such a sweet character but I bit stubborn. I wanted to say to her so many times, “hey, give Nate a chance.”

Nate is a wonderful hero who is strong but also sensitive and dealing with the expectations placed on his life.

Faith is woven seamlessly throughout the book, which of course I love.

This was a book I didn’t want to put down. I highly recommend this one to historical romance lovers.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through The Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 

 

Review and Giveaway: The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher February 9, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:46 pm
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About the Book

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Book: The Newcomer

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Historical; Amish

Release Date: January 31

In 1737, Anna Konig and her fellow church members stagger off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. On the docks of Port Philadelphia waits bishop Jacob Bauer, founder of the settlement and father to ship carpenter Bairn. It’s a time of new beginnings for the reunited Bauer family, and for Anna and Bairn’s shipboard romance to blossom.

But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World–isolated, rigid with expectations, under the thumb of his domineering father–his enthusiasm evaporates. When a sea captain offers the chance to cross the ocean one more time, Bairn grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?

When Henrik Newman joins the church just as it makes its way to the frontier, Anna is torn. He seems to be everything Bairn is not–bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And the most dramatic difference? He is here; Bairn is not.

Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves together the lives of Bairn, Anna, and Henrik. When a secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?

About the Author


suzanne6Suzanne Woods Fisher
is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

 

Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher

Pennsylvania of 1737, the setting for The Newcomer, is like a foreign country. Parts of it might seem familiar—the same hills and creeks and blue sky, but we’d hardly recognize the settlers. People like Anna, or Bairn, or the mysterious Newcomer. We wouldn’t be able to understand their language, their customs and traditions. Their world was that different from our modern one.

The first group of Amish immigrants (first written about in Anna’s Crossing and followed up in The Newcomer) settled northwest of Philadelphia, then a vast wilderness, and relied on each other for safety, security, building projects, and church. In nearby Germantown, settlers were tradesmen, so they clustered houses together in small knots. The Amish farmers took out land warrants for sizeable properties and lived considerable distances from each other.

In The Newcomer, Anna cooked food in a cauldron over a large hearth. One-pot meals can trace their beginnings to open-hearth cooking when ingredients for a meal went into a large kettle suspended over the fire. Traditional dishes—ham and beans, pork and sauerkraut—used sturdy, available, and simple ingredients that improved with long, slow cooking. The dishes could be easily expanded when the need arose to set a few more places at the table. And it did, often. Large families and unannounced company inspired Amish cooks to find ways to “stretch the stew.”

Noodles (including dumplings and rivvels) could be tossed into a simmering broth to make a meal stretch. Most farms had a flock of chickens, so eggs were easily at hand. Today, homemade noodles are still a favorite dish.

Another “stew stretcher” was cornmeal mush, originally eaten as a bread substitute. Early German settlers who made their home in eastern Pennsylvania roasted the yellow field corn in a bake oven before it was shelled and ground at the mill. The roasting process gave a nutty rich flavor to the cornmeal. Mush is still part of the diet the Old Order Amish—cooked and fried, baked, added into scrapple, smothered in ketchup. Dress it up and you’ve got polenta.

Now here’s one thing we do have in common with 1737 Pennsylvania immigrants…a love of good food and a shortage of time! Here’s one of my favorite one-pot recipes—probably not the kind of stew Anna might have made for ship carpenter Bairn or the mysterious Newcomer (ah, which man one stole her heart?)…but definitely delicious. Enjoy!

Lentil Chili

Here’s one of my favorite “stew stretchers.” You can expand it even more by serving over rice.

Ingredients:

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced
10 c. water
1 lb. dry lentils
1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt (season to your taste)

½ tsp. pepper
2 c. salsa (your favorite variety)
29 oz. canned tomatoes, crushed

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Giveaway

kindle

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!https://promosimple.com/ps/b0d1

My thoughts:

Suzanne is a great author. She has written a very interesting story on so many levels.

I have read several Amish books but none set when they have come to America. I enjoyed hearing about how they settled the land and the lessons they had to learn along the way.

From the opening chapter you will wondering what is going on with Barin, where does his heart lie? Does he care enough about Anna to come back to her?

And who is this newcomer, will he steal Anna’s heart?

There is a lot of mystery surrounding the whole story and so many questions as you go.

I did not read the first book in this series and still completely enjoyed and was able to follow this book.

If you enjoy historical Amish fiction then I recommend this one.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through The Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 

 

Summer on Sunset Ridge by Sharlene MacLaren January 23, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:40 pm
Tags: ,

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Summer on Sunset Ridge, Freedom Series Book 1summeronsunsetridge_cover2-194x300

Author: Sharlene MacLaren

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Brought up on a Quaker farm near Philadelphia at the brink of the Civil War, plainspoken Rebecca Albright is charitable, peace-loving, submissive—and a feisty abolitionist. Determined to aid the Underground Railroad no matter what the cost, her path collides with that of formidable slave-catcher Clay Dalton. When Rebecca is assigned to nurse Clay back to health following a near-fatal gunshot wound, her uneasiness around him and the questions surrounding his mysterious past complicate their strained but developing relationship.

Sherriff Clay Dalton is grimly fighting several battles of his own as he stays on at the Albright farm to work off his debt to the family that has saved his life and taken him in. He is torn between his past commitments in the South and his unlikely present among this quiet Quaker community in the North. Almost against his will, he begins to ponder the impossible idea of a future with Rebecca.…

When tensions between North and South escalate, Rebecca and Clay find themselves propelled on a journey to discover just who God has called them to be, and they soon realize that each holds a key to the other’s answer.

About the Author

Sharlene MacLaren Born and raised in western Michigan, award-winning, bestselling author Sharlene MacLaren sharmaclarenhs_blue13-249x300attended Spring Arbor University. After graduating, she traveled with a nationally touring Christian vocal ensemble, returning home to Spring Arbor to marry her husband, Cecil, whom she’d known since childhood. Together they raised two daughters. Now happily retired after teaching elementary school for 31 years, “Shar” enjoys reading, singing in the church choir and worship teams, traveling, and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. Her novels include the contemporary romances Through Every Storm, Long Journey Home, and Tender Vow; the beloved Little Hickman Creek series (Loving Liza Jane, Sarah, My Beloved, Courting Emma, and Christmas Comes to Little Hickman Creek, a novella), and three historic romance trilogies: The Daughters of Jacob Kane (Hannah Grace, Maggie Rose, and Abbie Ann); River of Hope (Livvie’s Song, Ellie’s Haven, and Sofia’s Secret); Tennessee Dreams: Heart of Mercy, Threads of Joy, and Gift of Grace.

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February 1: Reader’s cozy corner

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Giveaway

summer-on-sunset-ridge-prizes-300x209

To celebrate Sharlene’s tour, Whitaker House is giving away:

Grand Prize

Brown and tan fashion purse with cross, multiple interior and exterior pocketsand

and

Five Sharlene MacLaren titles: Summer on Sunset Ridge (Forever Freedom #1); Heart of Mercy (Tennessee Dreams #1); Livvie’s Song (River of Hope #1); Hannah Grace (Daughters of Jacob Kane #1); Loving Liza Jane (Little Hickman Creek #1)

Second Prize

“Keepers of the Light” Orange/Cinnamon/Clove candle from www.acheerfulgiver.com and

Summer on Sunset Ridge

Third Prize

Summer on Sunset Ridge

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway!

https://promosimple.com/ps/af21

My thoughts:

This is the first book I have read by Sharlene. I have wanted to read her work for some time as I have heard great things about her writing.

I have to say I was not disappointed. She has created a captivating story that drew me in from the first page and just kept building on layer after layer.

Rebecca and Clay’s first encounter is an interesting one and not how I imagined it at all. I couldn’t wait to see how Sharlene made these two unlikely characters fall in love.

I loved Rebecca’s heart for freeing slaves and wanting to be involved in the Underground Railroad, even taking risks she know she shouldn’t.

I also was anxious to see how Clay’s heart might shift when it came to slavery.

With all of these layers it’s no wonder this is such an interesting read.

A copy of this book was given to me though the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 

 

Never Forget by Jody Hedlund January 12, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:02 pm
Tags: ,

 

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Never Forget

Author: Jody Hedlund

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: January 4, 2017

Rose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Islandneverforgetfrontfinal-194x300

June 1880

Will she betray his trust to stay on the island she loves?

Abbie Wilson is content to spend her days clamming, crabbing, and tending Rose Island Lighthouse. Her grandpa is the head light keeper, but his senility may lead to their eviction. Since leaving the island would kill her beloved Gramps, Abbie will do anything to keep him in the one place he knows and loves.

Wealthy Nathaniel Winthrop III’s wild living has gained him a reputation as the ‘bad boy’ among the elite social circles of Newport. After a blow to the head in a yachting accident washes him up on Rose Island, Nathaniel has no memories of his past.

Abbie tends the wounded stranger in her home only to realize he assumes they’re married. Although she knows she needs to correct Nathaniel’s mistake, his presence calms Gramps and provides a way to prevent eviction from the lighthouse.

The longer the charade continues, the harder it gets for Abbie to tell Nathaniel the truth, more so as she begins to fall in love. Everyone she’s ever loved has abandoned her. Will Nathaniel leave her too, once he discovers he’s not really her husband?

About the Author

jody-hedlund-web-copy-250x300Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and Christy Award,  best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Guest Post from Jody Hedlund

Which Do You Prefer: Series or Standalones?

By Jody Hedlund

Readers usually have strong opinions about whether they like series or standalones.

Some readers refuse to read books that are inter-related. Others can’t get enough books about their favorite characters.

I see the pros and cons of both.

For series, I don’t like feeling lost as I try to wade through previous characters along with their backstory. I recently started a series by a well-known author and was disappointed to realize the first book was connected to a previous series she’d already published. From the get-go, I felt left out as though I didn’t quite know who all the characters were or their significance.

On the other hand, for standalones, I sometimes feel as though I would like the story to continue. I’ve invested in the setting and characters and so enjoy when I can return to that place and continue to glimpse the characters I’ve fallen in love with—even if from a distance.

My favorites are books that fall in the middle between standalone and series. I like to think of them as standalones within a series. Becky Wade’s Porter brother series is like that. Each of the books centers around one of the brothers (and a tomboy sister). While characters from other books make an appearance in the stories, each plot is separate and complete without any reliance upon another book.

My Beacons of Hope lighthouse series falls in the middle too. The books are related in that they all take place at lighthouses and share a symbolic “cross of hope” that is passed on from one book to the next. A minor character in a previous book becomes the hero or heroine in the next book. But each book can be read by itself without having read any of the others.

In other words, readers can pick up my newest release, Never Forget, which is the fifth and final book in the series, and they wouldn’t be confused about who the characters are or what their history is. The plot starts with a bang and ends with a satisfying sigh. It is complete story unto itself.

And yet, for those who’ve read other books in the series, they’ll get to see the happily-ever-after of a character from a previous book. And they’ll also get to find out where the cross of hope finally ends.

If you’re not a fan of series, I encourage you to give the Beacons of Hope series a try. It might satisfy the need for standalones and series all in one neat little package.

To that end, I’m giving away all FIVE books in the series as part of the Celebrate Lit blog tour to one lucky winner!

Tell us: What is your preference: Standalones, Series, or Standalones within a Series?

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January 23: Henry Happens

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Giveaway

never-forget

To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away the entire Beacons of Hope series. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/ad6d

My thoughts:

Jody Hedlund is one of my favorite historical romance writers. I especially enjoy her writing because a lot of her books are set in Michigan (my favorite state) so I wasn’t sure about this one, but she proved it doesn’t matter the setting, Jody is a wonderful author no matter where the story take place.

This book opens with a scene that easily places you in the trouble Abbie is in and we quickly develop sympathy for her. I adore Gramps and she handles him with love.

The we meet Nathaniel. It’s easy to see that prior to him losing his memory he wasn’t a very nice guy.

Jody developed the misunderstanding of Abbie and Nathaniel’s “marriage” very well. Next thing you know Abbie finds herself in a bind and doesn’t know what to do.

So many layers, misunderstandings, and questions of what will happen when everything comes to light. This is a great book that will keep you turning page after page until you reach the end.

A copy of this book was given to me through The Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own.