Friday, July 31, 2020

Month in Review -- July

  • Wrote everyday at least a minimum of 100 words? yes
  • Number of days that I wrote 500 words a day: 19
  • Wrote 11,622 words this month
  • Be creative
    • Tat -- 3 crosses
    • Crochet -- 2 jellyfish
    • Knit
    • Sculpt
  • Exercise 5 days a week? no, but 3 weeks I did
  • Read my Bible everyday? missed a day
  • Blog posts that weren't book reviews: 0
  • Read 10 books

Thursday, July 30, 2020

"A Bride of Convenience" by Jody Hedlund -- Book Review

About the Book

Unemployed mill worker Zoe Hart jumps at the opportunity to emigrate to British Columbia in 1863 to find a better life and be reunited with her brother, who fled from home after being accused of a crime.

Pastor to miners in the mountains, Abe Merivale discovers an abandoned baby during a routine visit to Victoria and joins efforts with Zoe, one of the newly arrived bride-ship women, to care for the infant. While there, he's devastated by the news from his fiancee in England that she's marrying another man.

With mounting pressure to find the baby a home, Zoe accepts a proposal from a miner of questionable character after he promises to help her locate her brother. Intent on protecting Zoe and frustrated by his failed engagement, Abe offers his own hand as groom. After a hasty wedding, they soon realize their marriage of convenience is not so convenient after all.


My Thoughts

"A Bride of Convenience" is the third book in the Bride Ships series. I think it does okay as a standalone book. There are characters mentioned from the first two books, but I don't think you would be terribly lost if you didn't read the other books first. (I still recommend reading books in order, though). I found the book to be well written and easy to read. The biblical faith element was well done and woven through the story. The characters desired to do God's will. The book doesn't include physical intimacy other than kissing, but there are mentions of "manly urges", "inflamed desires", and the like along with the kisses being "passionate". The characters are married at this point, so it is not indecent for them to kiss passionately. I look forward to reading the last book in this series and other books by Jody Hedlund.



About the Author 

Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

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.



"A Bride of Convenience" is available in paperback:
  • Series: The Bride Ships (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; 6/1 edition (June 30, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764232975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764232978
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 8498 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 30, 2020)
  • Publication Date: June 30, 2020
  • Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0821PQM6T

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

"A Strand of Hope" by Amanda Tero -- Book Review, Art Contest, and Giveaway

About the Book

Journey with a horseback librarian into the hidden crevices of Kentucky mountains. Feel her pain as she struggles not only to barely make ends meet, but as she also attempts to connect the pieces of her own life while her mom continues to make selfish decisions.

Lena Davis is the daughter her mom never wanted.

But she survived. Through stories. Because books didn’t judge. Books weren’t angry she was alive. Books never expected her to be anything but who she was.

As she grows up, her beloved library becomes her true home. So when the library is designated part of President Roosevelt’s Packhorse Library Project, Lena is determined to get the job of bringing books to highlanders, believing she’ll finally be free of her mom forever.

But earning the trust of highlanders is harder than she imagined, and her passion for books might not be enough to free her from her chains.

The Packhorse Library Project was part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration to encourage education in the remote parts of the mountains. “A Strand of Hope” is a historical fiction novella based on real events but set in the fictional town of Willow Hollow in the Appalachian mountains.



My Thoughts

"A Strand of Hope" is a YA book, but can be enjoyed by older readers (It has been a long time since I fit the YA label!). This book is well written and I could imagine myself there with Lena in her cold shack, or in the mountains delivering books. As is typical of books by Amanda Tero, this book did not have a romance thread, but it had a great biblical faith element woven through it. Some great truths are shared during the book that can be applied to readers in this day and age as well. I liked how we got the setting established for the other books that are to come in this series. I can't wait to read the other books in the series as well as other books by Amanda Tero.



About the Author


Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age—reading anything she could get her hands on and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories that she had written for her sisters and continued to add to her collection with other short stories, novellas, and novels. It is her utmost desire to write that which not only pleases her Lord and Savior, but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.


Visit here for more information about the book!



Art Contest and Giveaway!


For more fun and games, visit Amanda Tero's blog.



"A Strand of Hope" is available in paperback:
  • Series: Librarians of Willow Hollow (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 173 pages
  • Publisher: ARTStudios (July 16, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1942931328
  • ISBN-13: 978-1942931324
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 6620 KB
  • Print Length: 116 pages
  • Publication Date: July 28, 2020
  • Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B08B5NZPTY

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

"Legacy Redeemed" by Robin Patchen -- Book Review

About the Book


Vanessa will fight to rescue her sister. Caleb will fight to protect Vanessa. But Abbas has evil plans for them all.

Former human trafficking victim Vanessa Baker wants nothing more than to raise her daughter in safety. But when she learns that her sister, Nadia, is in trouble, Vanessa can't ignore it. Nadia's captor is a man who once owned and abused Vanessa, and she'll risk everything to see her sister freed.
Soon after Vanessa stepped into Caleb Peterson's life, he knew she was the one God intended him to marry. Never mind that she loathes him, never mind her accusing eyes and her angry disposition, Caleb has tried for years to prove himself trustworthy—efforts Vanessa has only spurned and rejected. When he discovers her plan to take on an evil man from her past, Caleb will help her, whether she wants his help or not.
But Vanessa has once again put herself squarely in Abbas's sights. And it looks like he won't let anyone—not the irritating sister or the pushy boyfriend—get in the way of his plans.

My Thoughts

"Legacy Redeemed" is the fourth book in the series. I think that I would have gotten a better understanding of what was going on if I had read the first two books in the series (I did read the 3rd book). This book deals with the after effects of human trafficking. I think that Robin Patchen dealt with the issue very well and realistically (I imagine, not having first hand experience with this issue). I liked Caleb and his reliability and determination. Vanessa was harder to like with her constant worry and untrusting ways (I totally get why she was that way, it just made it harder to like her). Katarina was a fun addition to the storyline. There was a biblical faith thread throughout the book and the characters sensed God's leading in their lives. I was surprised by some of the things that happened in the book. I look forward to reading more of Robin Patchen's books.




About the Author 

Robin Patchen writes contemporary Christian suspense, romance, and romantic suspense. Her books are often set in New England, where she grew up. She creates strong, protective heroes and intelligent, courageous heroines.

For a free book, join her newsletter at https://robinpatchen.com/AmazonFree.

Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Robin to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.



"Legacy Redeemed" is available in paperback:
  • Series: Nutfield Saga (Book 11)
  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (July 17, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 979-8663926829
  • ASIN: B08D4QXF5G
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 19791 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Publication Date: July 28, 2020
  • Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B08412Y9DJ

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

Monday, July 27, 2020

"An Appalachian Summer" by Ann H. Gabhart -- Book Review

About the Book


In 1933 Louisville, Kentucky, even the ongoing economic depression cannot keep Piper Danson's parents from insisting on a debut party. After all, their fortune came through the market crash intact, and they've picked out the perfect suitor for their daughter. Braxton Crandall can give her the kind of life she's used to. The only problem? This is not the man--or the life--she really wants.

When Piper gets the opportunity to volunteer as a horseback Frontier Nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains for the summer, she jumps at the chance to be something other than a dutiful daughter or a kept wife in a loveless marriage. The work is taxing, the scenery jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and the people she meets along the way open up a whole new world to her. The longer she stays, the more an advantageous marriage slips from her grasp. But something much more precious--true love--is drawing ever closer.

Bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart invites you into the storied hills of Eastern Kentucky to discover what happens when one intrepid young woman steps away from the restrictive past into a beautiful, wide-open future.


My Thoughts

“An Appalachian Summer” was well written and kept me wanting to read. The Frontier Nursing Service that sent nurse midwives and couriers up into the Appalachian Mountains was an interesting subject. It makes me want to learn more about the program. I really liked Piper and Jamie and spending time with them. It wasn’t a traditional romance since we didn’t see them fall in love, them having reached that conclusion already on their own. The biblical faith thread was nicely done and woven through the story. I look forward to reading more books set in the Appalachian Mountains and others written by Ann H. Gabhart


About the Author 

Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. An award winning author, she's published many books for both adults and young adults. Her books cover several genres from historical to small town family stories to cozy mysteries (mysteries published with author name A.H. Gabhart). Her ideas are sparked by events in Kentucky history and by experiences in her own family. Her first Shaker novel, The Outsider, was a finalist for the ECPA Christian Fiction Book of the Year. Love Comes Home won the Selah Book of the Year award, and These Healing Hills was the Faith, Hope & Love Readers' Choice Women's Fiction Book of the Year.

Ann lives on a Kentucky farm not far from where she was born. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. Ann enjoys hiking on her farm with her grandkids and her dogs, Frankie and Marley. See more about her books at www.annhgabhart.com or join the conversation on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/anngabhart.



"An Appalachian Summer" is available in paperback:
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Revell; 6/1 edition (June 30, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800729285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800729288
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 6699 KB
  • Print Length: 360 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0800738608
  • Publisher: Revell (June 30, 2020)
  • Publication Date: June 30, 2020
  • Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0821NQ5HB

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

Monday, July 13, 2020

"The Ring Does Not Fit" by Sunshine Rodgers -- Author Interview, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  The Ring Does Not Fit
Author: Sunshine Rodgers
Genre: Romance, Fiction, Christian, Fantasy
Release Date: November 19, 2019
Alena is stuck in a mundane marriage and longing for somethingfront cover
different. New clothes. Bigger bling. Flashy cars. Miraculously and
inexplicably, it all happens in a flash and she is finally married to
the man of her dreams, but something still seems to be missing. In all
her excitement, the one thing she’s looking for is the one thing she
can’t seem to keep.

Click here to get your copy!

Author Interview:
Q: Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

 A: I generally just use  a one liner or one  sentence to create the entire storyline for the book. For example, in "The Ring Does Not Fit" the idea was..."A Nonbeliever married to a Christian finds God in an unlikely way."

Then my passionate internal response is...."And go!"

As if I am acting out an improv scene and I need to make the idea come to life right on the spot!  

And  I just start writing. No critic. No judgements.  I don't develop characters. In fact, I don't even know who my characters are until I start writing.  I don't create a story map. My first draft is a tremendously different book than the one that is is actually published. Truthfully, the ideas for the story occur to me as I write. I will then use the later drafts of my book to go back and delete lines, change characters or fill in the plot holes, usually  after around Draft #12. 




Q:  Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or you can just sit in the middle of a cafĂ© full of people and write?

A:         I am able to write my novels in any location. I have been known to finish chapters at odd hours of the night or  write ideas during my lunch break in the office or read and edit pages with tons of noisy chatter around me. I can "get in the zone" pretty quickly. But my all time favorite location is my personal workspace  at home. I close the door, turn on the ceiling fan, sit in my comfy chair.  It's just me and my computer.  I listen to movie soundtracks (music without lyrics) to keep my mind entertained and my spirit active. I allow myself an hour to write and then take a 10 minute break and then write for another hour. And the trend continues. I am someone who needs to take a break by getting up and walking around and also someone who is disciplined enough to continue writing through the day and well into the evening.




Q: When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
 A: In Miss Bond’s class in first grade of Shady Grove Elementary, our  assignment was to write and illustrate a book. Mine was titled “The Bear Who Lost His House.”
I wrote about the friendships the bear made that would help him “find his way.” When I was 9 years old, I started writing in a journal and  fast forward 23 years later, and I still write in a journal.

I remember back in college, I started writing creative adventures about Angels, God, Satan and demons (the characters I currently use!).  English was always my favorite subject; it just came naturally for me. It’s still a continual passion.

Honestly, writing a book was always on my bucket list and ever since I held my first book in my hand, I knew I had found my life's calling.



Q: How long does it usually take you to write a book?

       A:   From first word to completed book in hand...the process for me takes about 9 months. My goal is to publish 2 books a year. So I want to keep the process moving and carve out efficient time for my chapters. I have an internal mission to complete my 2-books-a-year goal and will sit and write days at a time in pursuit of my personal deadline. There have been plenty of times in the past where I was juggling two or three books at a time, finishing up one and starting another in the very same day. 




Q:  Do bits of yourself/friends show up in your characters?

A: I am very guilty of using real people for my stories.
In fact, for my best selling  book “After You: A Demon is Always Lurking Nearby”, I
used seven of my friends as characters. They had to sign release
forms.

And for the book I am working on now, tentavely called "The Characters Within", I am
using 36 of my co-workers as characters on the pages.

So I definitely draw from reality. And I love it! It’s like I can
create a memorial with my friends and loved ones on the pages and
allow them the satisfaction of moving through this journey with me.

And my husband, Travis, is always an "Easter egg" character in all of my books!

About the Author

Sunshine Rodgers is an International Best-Selling author, speaker and
motivator who excels in sharing the hope and light of the gospel in
her books. Her characters experience the love and grace of Jesus
Christ and the beauty of Heaven. Sunshine hopes her pages will get you
passionate about your faith. Her books have been made into audio books
and translated in different languages. Her social media sites and
personal blog reach thousands of readers a week. Sunshine has appeared
in magazines, newspapers and live media interviews and is working on
her merchandise line (available on her website!). Sunshine now enjoys
her days traveling for signings, author events, speaking engagements
and book tours.


More from Sunshine

“Why are we never satisfied?  I mean, we can have
houses, cars and money and still want more! If I were to break it
down, I would have to say…insecurity.  Maybe we feel like we’re not good
enough. I don’t know about you, but I compare myself with others
all the time just by looking at social media and feeling like I don’t
measure up.
My book “The Ring Does Not Fit” concentrates on appreciating what is right in front of you,
celebrating those who are still with you and staying humble.
Because the grass is not always greener on the other side and there
is always more going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about.
I wanted to explore the issue of contentment  in my book.
The only way to really get over any personal frustration
and constant comparison  is to have
an attitude of thanksgiving and praise where you are thankful
for what you have, no matter how little or big it is.
That’s the first step to loving life.”
– Sunshine Rodgers

Blog Stops

Quiet quilter, July 8
Through the Fire Blogs, July 10 (Author Interview)
Blossoms and Blessings, July 13 (Author Interview)
For the Love of Literature, July 17 (Author Interview)
Andrea Carmen, July 17
Quiet Workings, July 18
Artistic Nobody, July 21 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sunshine is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Visa card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

"A Very Austen Romance" by Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, Chautona Havig, & Mandy H. Cook --Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway


About the Book

Title: A Very Austen Romance
Authors: Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, Chautona Havig, Mandy H. Cook
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: June, 2020
A Very Austen Romance - Ebook finalA Very Austen Romance features a delightful medley of novellas, each set in Jane Austen’s Regency world. Your friends from Pride and PrejudiceEmma, and Sense and Sensibility, enjoy new adventures in this lovely collection of stories by Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, Mandy Cook, and Chautona Havig.
Be treated to prequels, spin-offs, and sequels of Austen’s novels, along with original and supporting characters in starring roles. If historical romance is your preference, you’ll love these well-crafted stories written by beloved authors in the genre.

Click here to get your copy!
My Thoughts

"King of Hearts" by Robin Helm: I thought this was a cute story and was interesting being in Kitty's point of view. I thought that it was going to have some sort of tie to Alice in Wonderland with the name of the story and the quotes from the book, but I didn't see any kind of tie to Alice. It was a little rushed with there being three possible suitors and when she finally settles on one, there really isn't anything showing them falling in love. It is a novella so there isn't a lot of time to show things, but they barely knew each other. The ending wrapped things up, but in a way felt a little like info overload.

"You've Got to Kiss the Girl" by Laura Hile: I enjoyed reading this story. It was an interesting twist on Pride and Prejudice and what might have happened. I liked how the parts that were straight from the book were incorporated into the story. It was fun getting to see some of the characters in a different light.

"A Step Too Far" by Wendi Sotis: I think this is the first story/book I have read by Wendi Sotis so I wasn't sure what to expect. I found this story to be sweet and well paced. It was another alternative to Pride and Prejudice and explored what would have happened had Darcy and Elizabeth met under different circumstances. I liked this version very well.

"John Knightly Wins a Wife" by Barbara Cornthwaite: This story was by another new to me author. It is always fun to find new authors from collections like these. This story differed from the first three in that it was not centered around Pride and Prejudice but on Emma. The story seemed to jump from one person's view to another which was a little confusing at times.

"Charming Miss Dashwood" by Chautona Havig: Like the previous story, this one also did not follow Pride and Prejudice. This one (as evidenced by the title) is based on Sense and Sensibility.  Knowing Chautona Havig used the movie as inspiration, I imagined the characters as the ones from the movie.

"In the Looking Glass" by Mandy H. Cook: This story was by another new-to-me author. I'm not sure what this story is based on. I was thinking it was Mansfield Park but then Fanny turned out to be a  Bingley so maybe it is a conglomeration of the different stories. Or maybe it is supposed to be about Charles and Jane's children. Without some reference to know for sure who the characters were, it didn't really feel like a Jane Austen adaptation. The story was well written, but the romance was almost non existent and seemed synthetic. 


About the Authors

Robin HelmRobin Helm‘s books reflect her love of music, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction.
Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy: Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy; the Yours by Design series: Accidentally YoursSincerely Yours, and Forever YoursUnderstanding Elizabeth;  More to Love; and Lawfully Innocent. Ms. Helm also contributed stories to A Very Austen Christmas and A Very Austen Valentine.
She plans to publish Maestro in 2020.
Her life in (usually) sunny, small town South Carolina is busy, but affords time for writing, reading, teaching piano, and playing games on her phone. (Would you believe she’s an elder in a war game?)


Laura HReaders are loving Laura Hile‘s joyous Regency novels. Her signature style—with intertwined plots, cliffhangers, laugh-out-loud humor, and romance—keeps them coming back for more.
The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There’s never a dull moment with teen students!
Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a collection of antique clocks.
Her fiction is for everyone, even teens.

Wendi SotisWendi Sotis lives on Long Island, NY, with her husband and triplets. While searching for Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view, she became thoroughly enamored with Jane Austen Fan Fiction or JAFF. In early 2010, she dreamed of an idea for a story and hasn’t stopped writing since: PromisesDreams and ExpectationsAll Hallows EveThe Keys for LoveSafekeeping (with just a dash of Austen); The Gypsy BlessingFoundation of Love (The Gypsy Blessing 2); and A Lesson Hard Learned.
The Marriage Pact, and some of Wendi’s works-in-progress, have branched away from JAFF to Regency Romance (the Loving an Aldridge Series) and Contemporary Romantic Mysteries (the Implicated series). Wendi will also continue bringing Darcy and Elizabeth together again and again in an unusual manner.

Barbara CornthwaiteBarbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.


Mandy Helms CookMandy Cook was an RN for over ten years, half of which she served in the Navy, living in far-flung places, enjoying experiencing the world while following her calling. Just before she and her handsome Marine were both deployed to different places, they married. They now have three children, ages five and younger.
She previously published The Gifted, using her nursing experience to lend accuracy to her story about an ER nurse who is handed a gift that changes her life forever. Adversity, and a long history of secrets, constantly battle against her natural instinct for truth and justice, but will the truth be worth the dare?
Mandy also contributed a story to A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 1.


Chauton HavigChautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.


Take a Book-Themed Quiz

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the A Very Austen authors are giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.