Saturday, June 15, 2019

"The Noble Guardian" by Michelle Griep --Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Noble Guardian
Author: Michelle Griep
Genre: Christian Historical
Release date: June, 2019
A Cross-Country Trip through Regency England Brings Intrigue, Rogues, and High Adventure
The must-read conclusion to Michelle Griep’s Bow Street Runners Trilogy: Life couldn’t be better for Abigail Gilbert—but it’s been a long time in coming. Having lived with a family who hated her, it’s finally her time for love. Abby sets off on a journey across England to marry one of the most prestigious gentlemen in the land—until highwaymen upset her plans and threaten her life.
Horse patrol captain Samuel Thatcher arrives just in time to save Abby. But she’s simply another victim in a job he’s come to despise. Tired of the dark side of humanity, he intends to buy land and retire.
Abby pleads with him to escort her for the rest of her journey. He refuses—until she offers him something he desperately needs to achieve his goal. . .money. Delivering her safely will give him more than enough to buy property.
So begins an impossible trek for the cynical lawman and the proper lady. Each will be indelibly changed by the time they reach her betrothed, if they don’t kill one another first—or fall in love.

My Thoughts

"The Noble Guardian" is the third book in the Bow Street Runners Trilogy, but it is enough of a standalone that you could read it without first reading the other two books. You do see the heroes from the first two books and Samuel was in them a little also, but you don't really feel like you missed anything as this is Samuel and Abby's story. I liked both of them and liked seeing them interact with each other and with Emma. There was a lot of adventure and twists that kept things interesting. I found the book to be well written and easy to read.

About the Author

Michelle GriepMichelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

More from Michelle

Highwaymen Aren’t All Glamorous
Highwaymen are often romanticized in historical romances, but the truth is these fella’s were generally not compassionate thieves at all. They were cutthroat robbers who sometimes killed. Here’s a brief history so that you’re in the know.
The term “highwayman” simply means a thief who steals—usually at gunpoint—from travelers on the road. Not all, but some of those attacks turned deadly, the robbers not wishing to leave anyone behind who could identify them. Others wore masks for the same purpose.
Long, deserted stretches of roads that were main thoroughfares were the particular favorite haunts of these men. Criminals would choose remote highways that supplied regular traffic going to and from major destinations, such as Hounslow Heath, about fifteen miles outside of London.
To combat these villains, in 1805 the Bow Street Horse Patrol was created. There were about sixty men hired to protect travelers on the principal roads within sixty miles of London. Most of the men had served previously in a cavalry regiment. Their most successful achievement was to rid Hounslow Heath of highwaymen.
And that’s where I got the idea for my hero, Samuel Thatcher, in The Noble Guardian. He’s a rough and tumble man who’s tired of life and the wickedness of man. Mostly he’s just biding his time until he retires—that is until he rescues Miss Abigail Gilbert from the clutches of one of the worst offenders of all…Shankhart Robbins.
Sound like an adventure? It is. Settle back with your own copy and see what it’s like to ride the rugged heath in a carriage, bounding along—until you hear the crack of a pistol.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, June 10
Genesis 5020, June 11
Carpe Diem, June 13
Wishful Endings, June 14
Stories By Gina, June 14
Hallie Reads, June 17
Moments, June 18
Bigreadersite, June 19
Remembrancy, June 20
Pause for Tales, June 21


To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize that includes a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Noble Guardian!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

"The Noble Guardian" is available in paperback:
  • Series: The Bow Street Runners Trilogy (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (June 1, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1683227492
  • ISBN-13: 978-1683227496
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 869 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (June 1, 2019)
  • Publication Date: May 3, 2019
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07L56G85N

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.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Guest Post by Amanda Tero

Writing the Perfect Length

When I began writing “Befriending the Beast,” I planned on it being a short story. Then it ate a few too many words and gained a little too much weight, so I thought of it as a novella. Now that I’m finishing up “Protecting the Poor,” I’m knocking on a novel-length’s door. Oops.

One of the questions that has haunted me in the past is determining what to label my project. Does it fall under a novella category—or a novel? Is it really a novella, or should it be a short story? How do I even know (especially as an indie author without the criteria of a publishing house)?

A quick internet search will give you a conglomeration of opinions of word count and categories—some so detailed as to have micro-fiction, flash fiction, novelette, etc. It is pretty easy to find a standard for word count lengths, so I’ll let you do the searching on your own. But I would note that I’ve never noticed a mainstream publishing house that advertises “novelettes” and such sub-categories, so I would personally choose either short story or novella.  

Something not often mentioned in simple word count charts is genre. In adult fiction, 20,000 words are considered a novella. In children’s fiction, 20k fits comfortably in proper length (there are no children’s novellas that I know of). Now, if “Tales of Faith” were an adult fantasy genre, they’d probably be viewed as mere short stories and novellas. Why? Because fantasies tend to be epic (think 100,000+ words) and “Befriending the Beast” falls at 14,500 words, “The Secret Slipper” at 24,800 words, and *sheepish grin* “Protecting the Poor” at 41,400 words.  

So, while word count charts can be helpful, don’t forget genre plays a vital role in determining the definition of your work (Writers’ Digest has an excellent article which goes into more detail on word counts and genres). Now, if you noticed in my examples, I have a difference of almost 27,000 words in the “Tales of Faith” series. Yeah, probably not ideal but hey, according to one article, some of your best-selling authors today have great variances in their lengths. I’ll just use this experience to learn from, and maybe in the future my series will be more consistent (no promises…).

This leads to the big, controversial question of the day: to aim for a specific word count or not. Every time I start a new project, I toy with the idea of whether or not to pin down a word count goal. NaNoWriMo challenges writers to reach 30k, which has been very vehemently discussed in many circles. For me, I cling to some of the best advice I’ve heard: “Write until your story is finished.” If it’s a short story idea, just write a short story. If it’s a novel idea, write your novel. The danger in aiming for a specific word count is two sided: adding fluff instead not substance or being too vague and rushed.

But what if you are trying to aim for a specific word count and you don’t have it? Let’s talk too-long first (which isn’t a problem I’ve had so far, but there are those…). Let’s say your historical fiction novel is at 120,000 words. According to various sources, that is too long for its genre (ideal is 80-90k). You have two choices before you: cut your story in half (60k and 60k), add about 20,000 words of substance each, and voila: a two-part story. Or you can just let your manuscript go on a diet. Most often, as writers we get idea-happy and don’t know how to say “no” to new ideas that want to weave twenty threads into one storyline. Cut it. Just cut it. Hone down on your theme and message and if a specific thread doesn’t apply to it, chop it off. Maybe save it for another idea (a bonus novella to accompany your novel?), but take a step back, view your work with a detached and critical eye, and ask yourself, “Is this really relevant to the story?” Because when your book hits the shelves, no one but you is going to know that 15,000 words of an irrelevant subplot were cut out.

Now for the poor stories that fall short of their goal. The solution is not to just add words. And here I insert a long, accusatory glare toward all of the college students out there who believe it to be necessary to add extra words such as “that” and “well” and “so” and “very” and other filler words just so that you can make sure that your essay is the required three pages (and yes, I could have just said, “accusatory glare at college students who add filler words to make their essays reach three pages”—see what I did there? If you didn’t count, I used fifty-four words for a sixteen-word sentence). Again, I repeat: do not add fluff. You don’t need to add six new paragraphs of description (unless the description is relevant to your story). Your characters don’t need to engage in more conversations (unless it moves the story forward). Instead, consider a new plot line. It doesn’t have to be a major thread, but something that adds depth to what you have. Your goal is always to add substance. What will make your message more powerful? What will get your reader to really embrace what you’re writing? Go on a brainstorming trek and ask “what if’s.” You’ll likely come up with just what you need to add those words.

Now that I have surpassed my goal of a 500-word article by about 444 words (note: 500 words was my minimum; aren’t you glad I added those 430 words on fluff and substance? Totally teasing…)… Do you have ideas for how to solidify or expand ideas to fit a certain length? What is your average word count goal?

About the Tour
In anticipation of the release of “Protecting the Poor” (book three in the Tales of Faith series), Amanda is guest posting or being featured on over a dozen blogs each month. Each post is unique to the blog—an inspirational post, an article on the writing craft, an excerpt from one of the Tales of Faith books… you’ll just have to visit each blog to see what comes up. ;) Amanda will link to each blog on With a Joyful Noise, so check in every week and see what blogs have a special Tales of Faith feature!

About Amanda
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.

Connect with Amanda

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

"Love's Truest Hope" by Laura V. Hilton, Rachel J. Good, & Mary Alford --Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Love’s Truest Hope
Author: Laura V. Hilton, Rachel J. Good, Mary Alford
Genre: Christian Fiction, Amish
Release date: May 28, 2019

Love's Truest Hope coverMission of Love blurb
A nontraditional Amish man called to minister to the inner-city youth. An overwhelmed Amish woman terrified of the idea. When lies and manipulators threaten to destroy her life, she’s forced outside her comfort zone. Will she learn that God’s love spreads to more than just her people?
Plain Redemption
Spring is a long way in coming to the Big Sky country of Montana, and Lyddie Hershberger is still living in the winter of her life. First her husband died a little more than a year earlier, then Lyddie lost their unborn child. Now, an accident sends her father-in-law to the hospital clinging to his life. Will the gloom of winter ever leave their West Kootenai community?
When word of his daed’s accident reaches Thomas Hershberger in Colorado, he rushes home to find all his old sins waiting for him there, along with the woman who destroyed his heart. His brother’s widow, Lyddie Hershberger.
After someone breaks into the family home while Thomas and Lyddie are at the hospital, it soon becomes apparent that his father’s accident is anything but.
As Lyddie and Thomas struggle to understand why someone wishes their family harm, old feelings of love resurface. Is it possible for Thomas to overcome the guilt he feels for his part in his brother’s death and convince Lyddie that their love can melt any heartache standing in their way?
Bid for Love
The top bidder in the Amish silent auction wins a day of yardwork from Marty and two of his friends. But why did this wealthy Englischer pay so much money when she has a professional lawn service? Marty is shocked to when she offers him money to turn her granddaughter Amish. He refuses, but when Olivia and her grandmother both end up missing, Marty is fingered for the crime. How can he ever prove his innocence when all the clues the police find point to his guilt?

My Thoughts

Mission of Love by Laura V. Hilton: I enjoyed reading this story and I liked Jace and Cindy. I did not care much for Linda, however, and it made me frustrated for her lack of help and concern for others. The ending came  a little abruptly as I would have liked to see a little bit more about whether Linda changed, but maybe that is a story to come.

Bid for Love by Rachel J. Good: I enjoyed reading this story, also. I wasn't sure what was going on with Gram. I felt like this story could have been a full length novel. This would have allowed the mystery to be elaborated more. It felt a little rushed. I liked Martin and Olivia and would have liked to see more of their relationship develop.

Plain Redemption by Mary Alford: I hadn't read any books by Mary Alford before. I enjoyed this story and was kept guessing about what was going on and what was going to happen. The fact that Lyddie and Thomas had a past history made the relationship feel less rushed. I liked the pacing of the story and didn't feel like it was as rushed as the other two stories in the book. I look forward to reading more books by Mary Alford.

About the Authors

Laura pictureLaura V. Hilton’s Bio
Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with thirty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs. Her most recent series is set in Mackinac County, Michigan, and includes Firestorm, The Amish Candymaker, and Married to a Stranger (July 2019).
Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.
When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.
rachel goodRachel J. Good
Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. The bestselling author of several Amish romance series, she grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for many of her stories. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farms and attending family events. Rachel has more than 40 books in print or forthcoming for both children and adults under several pen names.
Mary AlfordMary Alford’s Bio
Mary Alford is a bestselling author of over fifteen novels who loves giving her readers the unexpected. Combining unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots that test their faith and result in novels the reader doesn’t want to put down.

Blog Stops

Quiet Quilter, June 12
The Avid Reader, June 13
Bigreadersite, June 14
Emily Yager, June 14
Mary Hake, June 16
Splashes of Joy, June 17
Quiet Workings, June 20


To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit is giving away a grand prize of an eBook copy of Love’s Truest Hope and 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.
"Love's Truest Hope" is available in paperback:

  • Paperback:
     358 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (May 22, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1099614007
  • ISBN-13: 978-1099614002
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 6088 KB
  • Print Length: 360 pages
  • Publication Date: May 28, 2019
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07Q5YDQ8X

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.