Sunday, October 13, 2019

"Once Upon a Christmas" by Andrea Boyd, Mikal Dawn, Toni Shiloh, Angela Ruth Strong, & Jaycee Weaver -- Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Once Upon A Christmas
Author: Andrea Boyd, Mikal Dawn, Toni Shiloh, Angela Ruth Strong, Jaycee Weaver
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 1, 2019
PrintEmbrace the magic of the Christmas season with these contemporary twists on timeless tales.
Upon a Dream — A rare sleeping disorder keeps Talia from performing, but when Philip recognizes her gift, he’ll do whatever it takes to see her onstage.
Claim My Heart — Li Na and Colin Wen face off in a Mulan-esque courtroom battle where the real win might be losing their hearts.
A Snow White Christmas — Sheltered heiress Amala White flees her conniving stepmother’s plans and finds refuge with a handsome orchard owner and his seven quirky uncles.
Christmas Ella — Reality TV meets Cinderella story when a location director is swept off her feet by a rising star.
A Splash of Love — Las Vegas glitz meets Land of Enchantment culture in A Splash of Love, a modern twist on the Little Mermaid.

My Thoughts

I liked how all the stories fit so many elements from the original story into the retellings. Things like similar names to the originals are fun nods to the fairy tales. Like the hero's last names being King, Noble, Royal, etc. I was only familiar with Toni Shiloh and Angela Ruth Strong, so it was nice to get an introduction to some new to me authors. Some specific thoughts follow...
 Upon a Dream by Andrea Boyd-- I liked this adaptation of Sleeping Beauty. I never knew there was a "sleeping beauty" illness. It was very interesting to read about and see how it would affect someone's life. How shocking would it be for someone with KLS to fall asleep not realizing they were pregnant and wake up with a baby bump? I liked Talia and Philip. I liked seeing character growth and the desire to do God's will. I wish that I could go see a production at the Grand Rose Theater!
Claim My Heart by Mikal Dawn-- I haven't ever read a Mulan retelling before, so it was interesting to see it done in a modern setting. I enjoyed reading the story and seeing the interactions between Li Na and Colin. There wasn't a big faith element, but it was a clean read. I got the feeling we should know some of the secondary characters the way that they were mentioned, but aside from one couple, it doesn't appear that any of the others were from previous books. The story had a nice flow and had many situations that had me laughing.
A Snow White Christmas by Toni Shiloh--  It was really interesting to have Snow White done in a modern setting. I liked Amala and Marcus. They seemed realistic with believable feelings and reactions. They want to do the right thing and sought to do God's will.
Christmas Ella by Angela Ruth Strong-- This was a fun adaptation of Cinderella. In some ways, Ella was 'Cinderella' and in some ways Paxton was, so it was an interesting mesh of the traditional role. I loved the scene where Ella meets Paxton for the first time. If I am understanding Paxton's relationship to Reese and Rasheil, they would be his half sisters, not stepsisters since they have the same mom. There isn't really a faith thread in the story, but is a clean read. I liked the secondary characters (well, some of them, anyway) and would love for Avery to get her happily ever after.
A Splash of Love by Jaycee Weaver-- The Little Mermaid isn't as common to find in a retelling, so it was fun to be able to read this one. It was fun to read lines that brought to mind Disney's Little Mermaid movie. I like Brie and Derek. They were realistic and believable.  There was a faith thread in the story which was nice. I look forward to reading more books by Jaycee Weaver.

About the Authors

AndreaBoydAndrea Boyd Author–Each of Andrea Boyd’s series represents a different genre but all fall into the category of romance. All offer an element of her own brand of humor. And all are a tribute to God. Besides writing, she loves spending time with her family, quilting, going to car shows, and driving around in her 1968 Barracuda convertible. Andrea lives with her husband, Tommy, and at least a couple of cats in York County, SC. Visit her at www.andreaboyd11.com.

MikalDawnMikal Dawn Author - Mikal Dawn is an inspirational romance author, wedding enthusiast, and military (retired) wife. When she isn’t writing about faith, fun, and forever, she is obsessively scouring Pinterest (with coffee in hand!) for wedding ideas for her characters.
Mikal lives in Oklahoma with her husband and two of their three children. Visit her at www.mikaldawn.com.

option2Toni Shiloh Author - Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. Visit her at www.tonishiloh.com.


Angela Ruth Strong Author - AngelaRuthStrongAngela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, been optioned for film, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon bestsellers. She also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at WRITE THAT BOOK. Visit her at www.angelaruthstrong.com.

JayceeWeaver smallJaycee Weaver Author - Jaycee Weaver is a wife, mother, and substitute teacher living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jaycee writes contemporary Christian romance with lifelike characters in everyday situations who always get their happy ending. Visit her at www.jayceeweaver.com.

More from the Authors

Dear Readers,
Thank you for stopping by the Celebrate Lit blog tour of Once Upon a Christmas. We are so excited to bring you this Christmas collection. All of us had a lot of fun writing it as we delved into the fairy tales of Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, Snow White, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid.
What we discovered when writing is that in the heart of every girl is the desire to be a princess. Now, I’m not talking about dressing up in a beautiful gown and wearing a crown while twirling around (although I, Toni, admit I would do that in a heartbeat). No, we discovered that in the heart of every girl (sister, mom, daughter, etc) is the desire to be loved and accepted.
Can Talia find someone who can accept all of her, including her health issues? Can Amala find someone who will love her for her and not her money? Can Li find acceptance for who she truly is and not the fa├žade she presents? Will Ella find a familial kind of love? And Gabrielle, can she find a love so powerful that all her dreams will come true?
As the heroines of our stories journey down their path to love and acceptance, they all come to realize a deep-seated truth. They are loved. They are princesses. They have a love of a King who laid down His life for theirs. A King who is preparing a home for them. A King who sees who they truly are and loves them without hesitation.
As you read these stories, we pray they touch your heart. We pray they entertain you and maybe even make you laugh a time or two. And lastly, we pray the Christmas truths bless you this holiday season.
Blessings,
Andrea, Mikal, Toni, Angela, and Jaycee

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads , October 2
Activating Faith, October 2
Genesis 5020, October 3
Among the Reads, October 4
Quiet Quilter, October 6
Stories By Gina , October 7
Batya’s Bits, October 7
Cordially Barbara, October 7
Melissa Henderson, October 8
Connect In Fiction, October 8
A Diva’s Heart , October 9
A Reader’s Brain, October 10
Maureen’s Musings, October 10
Remembrancy, October 11
She Lives to Read, October 12
Texas Book-aholic, October 15
janicesbookreviews, October 15

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the Once Upon a Christmas authors are giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


"Once Upon a Christmas" is available in paperback:
  • Paperback: 435 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (September 26, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1693553155
  • ISBN-13: 978-1693553158
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 1624 KB
  • Print Length: 437 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1693553155
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: October 1, 2019
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07VQN13BM


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, October 9, 2019

"Darcy by Any Other Name" by Laura Hile -- Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Darcy by Any Other Name
Author: Laura Hile
Genre:  Historical Christian Romance, Regency
Release Date: May 13, 2016
Darcy By Any Other Name - Ebook coverDiscover the Pride and Prejudice body-swap romance that has readers laughing in surprise and delight.
For most, this is a glorious evening of music and dancing. But out in the garden two men are arguing, while a ferocious rainstorm swirls round. And then the unthinkable happens: a lightning bolt from heaven strikes. In that instant everything changes.
Jane Austen’s heartthrob hero becomes the bumbling Reverend Collins. Shorn of his fortune, his social standing, and his good looks, Mr. Darcy is trapped in Mr. Collins’ body. And Mr. Collins wakes up to discover that he is master of Pemberley.
Could there be anything worse?
But the inner man is still Darcy. He is in love with Elizabeth Bennet. And now he is living in her house.
If you enjoy a smart, sparkling Regency romp in the classic “Heyeresque” style, then you will love Laura Hile’s Darcy By Any Other Name.
My Thoughts

I was quite surprised when I got "Darcy By Any Other Name" as it was a lot bigger than other books I usually read. I thought that it would take me a long time to read, but I had read 482 of the 646 pages in one day. It was easy to read and it flowed really well. As I read it, I could hear the characters' voices in my head even when the words weren't the same ones that were in the movie. The premise of the book was interesting and it was fun to see how Darcy and Collins acted when they were switched. Biblical truths are woven through the book and character growth was seen. I finished the book with a contented sigh. I look forward to reading more books by Laura Hile.

About the Author

laura-hile-2My journey as a writer began with the Internet.  And with Jane Austen.
How is that for an unlikely combination?
I have always loved classic Regency romances. You know the kind – with a dashing, honorable hero and a lovely, intelligent heroine. Delicious banter, unexpected plot twists, humor, and a happy ending. If faith is woven into the story, so much the better.
When I discovered an online forum for Jane Austen-related fiction, I was hooked. With Jane’s characters for inspiration, I began writing and posting serialized Regency stories. To keep readers coming back for more, I developed my signature style: intertwined plots, cliffhangers, and laugh-out-loud humor.
The comedy I come by in my job as a middle school teacher—there’s never a dull moment with teens!
I live in Beaverton, Oregon with my husband.

More from Laura

I see that double-take you just did.  Darcy By Any Other Name is a what? A Pride and Prejudice body-swap romance? Seriously?
Indeed yes. And it’s a really fun read. I blame my sense of humor. And the fact that I think too much.
Here’s the thing: we women are captivated by Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy—we are! Handsome, aloof, and wealthy, he embodies the perfect male. By comparison, the ordinary guy has no chance. (And heaven help the fellow who is plain!)
Yet we know that attraction involves more than good looks and a fat wallet.
I began to play with this thought. Because Mr. Darcy is also honorable, intelligent, kind, and funny—qualities that transform an ugly man and capture a woman’s interest. The shared smile, the twinkle in the eyes, the finishing of her sentences. These are endearing! These are why we women fall in love!
Once the body swap idea showed up, I knew I had struck story gold. Will Darcy-as-Collins capture Elizabeth Bennet’s heart?
No, wait! She cannot fall for him because he’s the wrong man—no, the right man! But he’s in that podgy body! She cannot love Mr. Darcy when he’s—ugly! Can she?
Ah, but of course she can. Now what?
Think of Darcy By Any Other Name as a happy roller coaster ride. And you know what they say about those: “Get in, sit down, and hold on.”
Do leave a comment and enter the giveaway. I think you will enjoy this fun, romantic book.

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, September 30
Back Porch Reads, October 3
Sara Jane Jacobs, October 3
Mary Hake, October 4
Remembrancy, October 5
Emily Yager, October 5
Bigreadersite, October 6
Rebecca Tews, October 6
Creating Romance, October 8
janicesbookreviews, October 9
By The Book, October 10
Moments, October 11
Pause for Tales, October 11
Texas Book-aholic, October 12
A Reader’s Brain, October 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Laura is 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.
https://promosimple.com/ps/ef43/darcy-by-any-other-name-celebration-tour-giveaway


"Darcy By Any Other Name" is available in paperback:
  • Paperback: 662 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (June 4, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1530600367
  • ISBN-13: 978-1530600366
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.5 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 5135 KB
  • Print Length: 663 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: May 13, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01FORFUHG

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.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

"Stitches in Time" by Suzanne Woods Fisher -- Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Stitches in Time
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Contemporary Amish fiction
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Detachment had worked well as a life strategy for horse trainer Sam Schrock. Until he met Mollie Graber . . .
New to Stoney Ridge, schoolteacher Mollie has come to town for a fresh start. Aware of how fleeting and fragile life is, she wants to live it boldly and bravely. When Luke Schrock, new to his role as deacon, asks the church to take in foster girls from a group home, she’s the first to raise her hand. The power of love, she believes, can pick up the dropped stitches in a child’s heart and knit them back together.
Mollie envisions sleepovers and pillow fights. What the 11-year-old twins bring to her home is anything but. Visits from the sheriff at midnight. Phone calls from the school truancy officer. And then the most humiliating moment of all: the girls accuse Mollie of drug addiction.
There’s only one thing that breaks through the girls’ hard shell–an interest in horses. Reluctantly and skeptically, Sam Schrock gets drawn into Mollie’s chaotic life. What he didn’t expect was for love to knit together the dropped stitches in his own heart . . . just in time.
Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge for a touching story of the power of love.

My Thoughts

"Stitches in Time" is the second book in the Deacon's Family series. I would recommend reading the first book ("Mending Fences") before reading this book. Most of the characters were also in the Bishop's Family series (and some were introduced in an earlier series I didn't read). I found the book to be well written and that it had a nice pace. There was character growth in several different characters. This is the story of Sam and Mollie, but also the continuation of Luke and Izzy's story. It actually felt more like Luke and Izzy's story at times. There were a few things that felt like they weren't resolved and that the book ended abruptly. I am thinking that things will get resolved more in the last book in the series. I look forward to reading the rest of the series and other books by Suzanne Woods Fisher.

About the Author

Carol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing.

More from Suzanne

Have you ever felt the tug to become a foster parent?
On any given day, there are nearly 438,000 children in foster care in the United States. Most states have a critical need for more foster parents, and the number of children placed in foster care increases yearly.
There are plenty of assumptions about having foster children, but most are incorrect. The media has a tendency to focus on the negative, but from all the research I conducted to write this book, for every bad news story, there were two good ones. Good stories just don’t make the news.
Below are some of the most common assumptions about foster care, with corrected information that is applicable across the United States (but keep in mind that each state has their own requirements).
Myth: Kids in foster care are bad or troubled.
Truth: Children in foster care are good kids taken out of a troubled situation. They need a caring foster parent who is patient and understanding. When given the opportunity, most of these children begin to thrive.

Myth: To be a foster parent, you need to be married and own a home and be a college graduate.
Truth: You don’t need to be married or to own a home or even be a college graduate. That means if you’re single or renting, you can be a foster parent.

Myth: I can’t afford to be a foster parent.
Truth: There are monthly reimbursement rates for children in foster care based on the level of care you provide. Medical and dental care is paid through state Medicaid programs.

Myth: Most kids in foster care are teenagers.
Truth: The average age of a child entering foster care is seven years old.

Myth: Most kids are in foster care because their parents have abused drugs.
Truth: Now, this one is not a myth. It’s true. There are fifteen categories that can be responsible for a child’s removal from a home. Drug abuse from a parent has had the largest percentage increase.

Myth: Fostering could require a commitment until the child turns eighteen.
Truth: Generally, children remain in state care for less than two years. Only six percent spend five or more years in foster care.

Myth: It’s too hard to give a child up to his biological family.
Truth: Most children are in foster care for a short time, returning to their biological families. Reuniting a child to his family is the ideal situation. Foster families provide a safe haven for a child. Healthy grieving is to be expected, but it’s for the right reasons. It’s healthy.

Myth: You can’t adopt foster children.
Truth: In 2016, more than 65,000 children—whose mothers and fathers parental rights were legally terminated—waiting to be adopted. Also in 2016, more than 20,000 children “aged out” of foster care without permanent families. Research has shown that those who leave care without being linked to a “forever family” have a higher likelihood than the general youth population to experience homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration as adults.

Is there room in your heart and family for a child in need? There are many ways to get involved, some that do not even require foster care. One recommendation: volunteer with The National CASA Association (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children. You can find out more information here: www.casaforchildren.org.
Or consider small ways to connect to children in need—after school tutoring at your public library. Volunteering at a community center. Buy Christmas gifts for a family in need through an Adopt-a-Family program with a local church. Support a family who does provide foster care with respites—babysitting or meals. There’s many ways to get involved to care for children in need. And every little bit makes a difference.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, September 26
The Becca Files, September 26
SusanLovesBooks, September 26
Through the Fire Blogs, September 27
Texas Book-aholic, September 28
Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 29
Blogging With Carol , September 29
Hookmeinabook , September 29
The Avid Reader, September 30
Mia Reads, September 30
janicesbookreviews, October 1
CarpeDiem, October 1
Stories By Gina, October 2
Activating Faith, October 2
A Reader’s Brain, October 3
EmpowerMoms, October 3
Wishful Endings, October 3
Pause for Tales, October 4
Quiet Quilter, October 5
Vicky Sluiter, October 5
Hallie Reads, October 5
Bigreadersite, October 7
By The Book, October 7
She Lives to Read, October 7
Moments, October 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of her book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
"Stitches in Time" is available in paperback:
  • Series: The Deacon's Family (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 1, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800727525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727529
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 8568 KB
  • Print Length: 330 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0800727525
  • Publisher: Revell (October 1, 2019)
  • Publication Date: October 1, 2019
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07PXTDY38


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.