Sunday, August 7, 2022

Book Review: A Tenuous Betrothal by Jen Geigle Johnson

About the Book:

Rhianna Davies is well-acquainted with heartache after the painful loss of her parents. At the arrival of her ghastly uncle, she is brought even lower: Rhi has been banished from her family’s estate home and must rely on the kindness of her tightly knit Welsh miners for help. Without the protective love of her parents, Rhi has no illusions that hers will be a happy ending—until an addendum to her father’s will arrives in the hands of a prince.

Marc Wilhelm, Prince of Oldenburg, is in Wales with one purpose: to claim his betrothed. A long-ago promise between their fathers forges an indelible link between Rhi and Marc, but there remains just one problem: neither wants to marry a stranger. With no remaining ties to Wales, Rhi agrees to accompany Marc to Oldenburg, where he will forfeit their betrothal so she may have her pick of husbands. But their journey takes them down unexpected paths, from the depths of a Welsh mine to the marriage mart of London to a warm reception in Oldenburg. Rhi and Marc discover that their connection and their challenges run deeper than either anticipated, but whether from their own hesitations or from danger that threatens without, the couple might be thwarted before they can even begin the happily ever after they so richly deserve.


My Thoughts:

Reading A Tenuous Betrothal by Jen Geigle Johnson gave me a calm respite from life. It’s the type of sweet romance novel that makes me root for the characters without feeling desperate to gobble up their story. It’s relaxed and fun and pleasant. In other words, it’s a classic Jen Geigle Johnson novel.

I liked that A Tenuous Betrothal held story tension without the main characters acting as adversaries. Rhianna’s natural leadership skills give her the necessary stubbornness and strength she needs to do good for her hometown. Marc is a born leader with a bent for protecting others, but these two characters partner together throughout the novel. Whether it’s finding a spouse or bettering the lives of others, Marc and Rhianna respect each other and willingly support the other’s goals. Although their romance felt a tad angsty as they rehashed their reasons to not be together, Rhianna’s uniqueness, plus the strong partnership between her and Marc, kept me turning pages until I finished this agreeable story.

A Tenuous Betrothal lands as book three in Jen Geigle Johnson’s Royal Regency Romance series. I read book one, but not book two, and A Tenuous Betrothal worked fine as a standalone story. Though the events involving Napoleon and France take a backseat to the characters’ relationships, that background setting does carry over from book to book. I suggest reading the novels in sequence to see how these six royal brothers navigate political happenings and personal romances.

 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


Friday, August 5, 2022

July 2022 Reading Recap & August 2022 TBR


My July 2022 Reads: 
  1. Love and the Dream Come True by Tammy L. Gray - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  2. The Bound Heart by Dawn Crandall - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  3. Vying for the Viscount by Kristi Ann Hunter - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  4. The Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

  5. Love's Fortress by Jennifer Uhlarik - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Review to come.

  6. A Tenuous Betrothal by Jen Geigle Johnson - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  7. The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall - ⭐⭐⭐ - Read my mini-review on Goodreads (with spoilers).

  8. Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall - ⭐⭐⭐

  9. Florida: A Pictoral History by Hampton Dunn - ⭐⭐⭐ - Mixed feelings on this one. Lots of history, but could have been organized better. Also, a product of it's times - POC are almost completely ignored and women are frequently objectified. But yes, lots of fascinating history.

  10. Best. State. Ever: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland by Dave Barry - ⭐⭐ - Had some legitimately funny parts, but would have been better without the raunchy content.



Expected August 2022 Reads:


Since I almost completely disregarded last month's TBR list, my current TBR is largely the same! 🤣
  1. Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy - My local book club's selection for August. I read this novel when it released and I'm looking forward to experiencing it again! Read my review.

  2. Winning the Gentleman by Kristi Ann Hunter - Currently reading.

  3. The Hidden Prince by Tessa Afshar - I'm super excited about this one. Tessa's novels are always excellent!

  4. Prayer Without Pretending by Angela Ashwin - I'm currently reading and loving this book. Wish I had read it years ago!

  5. Suncoast Empire: Bertha Honore Palmer, Her Family, and the Rise of Sarasota by Frank A. Cassell - I've been interested in Bertha Honore Palmer since I read about her as a side character in Jocelyn Green's Veiled in Smoke. I love visiting her estate, Historic Spanish Point, which is about 45 minutes away. Looking forward to learning more about her  and her family.

  6.  Nightshade by Ronie Kendig - This book has been on my want-to-read list for a long time. Looks like I'm finally going to get to enjoy it! 🎉



What will you read this month?

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Book Review: Love and the Dream Come True by Tammy L. Gray

About the Book:


The Anticipated Series Finale to the 2021 Carol Award-Winning Novel, Love and a Little White Lie.

Their faith will face its toughest test yet.

Four years after getting the biggest break of his life, Cameron Lee's music career has taken a nosedive, leaving him two options: become a sellout or give up on his lifelong dream. He reluctantly returns home for his sister's wedding, hoping to avoid his past and find his love for music again.

Single mom Lexie Walters has suffered her fair share of tragedies and setbacks, but she has finally scraped together the money to achieve her dream of going into business with her cousin as an interior designer. When Lexie's life is at an all-time high, she runs into her teenage crush, Cameron Lee.

Lost in the emotional turmoil of failure, Cameron is immediately drawn to Lexie and her infectious smile and optimistic spirit. Moreover, he adores her mouthy, no-holds-barred daughter. But fantasies only last so long, and soon Lexie and Cameron must face the real world, the one fraught with heartbreak, disappointment, and questions that sometimes can only be answered by a leap of faith.

Read an excerpt from Love and the Dream Come True on the publisher's website.


My Thoughts:

Love and the Dream Come True by Tammy L.  Gray delivers up Cameron Lee’s long-awaited love story (since book one in this series). I adored the romance between Cam and Lexie. Their relationship sizzles, but the tension does not obscure the story. In one another, they each find a partner that challenges and encourages personal growth. A satisfying love story that I could easily reread right now.

Cam’s exploration of the how’s and why’s of his life made him the shining character in Love and the Silver Lining. His deep emotions gave authenticity and depth to the plot without it feeling heavy or slow. Opposite to him, I cringed at some of Lexie’s mindsets and ideas. Though her character development takes longer to arrive, I like how things wrapped up.

Love and the Dream Come True lands as book three Tammy L. Gray’s State of Grace series. The narrative provides background information, but this novel has major carry over from book two, Love and the Silver Lining. While reading Love and the Dream Come True, I felt like I needed to reread book two in order to really grasp everything. As such, I recommend reading the entire series in order. All the books earned either four or five stars for me and I recommend them to fans of inspirational contemporary romance.

 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Author Interview & Giveaway: Overtaken by Grace by Debbie Milam



About the Book


Book: Overtaken By Grace

Author: Debbie Milam

Genre: Christian Living, Inspirational

Release date: May 15, 2017

Are you weary, wounded, or worried? Does grief weigh heavy? Do burdens feel too great to bear? Then you are perfectly positioned for a miraculous move of God. Overtaken by Grace is a transparent read, grounded in scripture and alive with hope. It depicts how God epically shows up and shows off and gives you the tools to experience His hope, healing, and miracles. Join Author Debbie Milam as she guides you on an adventure, diving deep into the bible to see what it says about:

  • God’s Presence in Our Lives
  • God’s Love in Our Relationships
  • God’s Peace in Our Emotions
  • God’s Power in His Word
  • God’s Joy in Our Gratitude
  • God’s Hand in the Miraculous

Haven’t you struggled long enough. God is waiting with open arms for you to let go and be overtaken by His grace. He is inviting you on the undertaking of a lifetime.

Click here to get your copy!


About the Author


Debbie Milam is an award-winning occupational therapist, author and past syndicated columnist for United Press International’s Religion and Spirituality Division.

She is the author of Miracles in the Middle, Overtaken by Grace, And God Said and Lord Show Me You Are Here.

Debbie’s ground-breaking work has been featured in First for Women, the Miami Herald, Elle, and Ladies Home Journal, and on the Hallmark Channel, PBS, and WebMD.

Through her 501(c)3 Grace Love Well Foundation, her mission is to inspire people to the beauty, love, power, and presence of God. As an organization we have donated thousands of books to churches, missions work, prisons, pastoral counselors and prayer teams.

For more resources to deepen your intimacy with God and find peace in His presence, visit us online at gracelovewell.org or YouTube/Debbie Milam.


More from Debbie

Through the profound joy and sorrow life brings and by His grace I have seen signs and wonders, experienced miraculous healings and came to know how alive the Lord is. Our gracious God supernaturally healed me from a 10 year life altering brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder, comforted me from the deep grief after the loss of more loved ones than I can count, and blessed me in more ways than I can imagine.  The same God who did this for me is right there for you too.  The full story of these miracles is detailed in my book Overtaken by Grace. I would love to share the hope of Christ with your readers.


Author Interview with Debbie


Q:
Do you have a favorite quote from this book?

Debbie: Breathe, dear one. Rest in His love and His Word, and know this too shall pass. Just as day turns to night and night back to day, circumstances also change. In the middle of uncertainty we crave certainty, yet the only thing to be completely certain of is God’s infinite love and His promises over your life. He knows you are hurting and He is your comfort.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from your book?

Debbie: That God loves them so deeply and profoundly. I want to encourage them to see their life and their circumstances through a lens of grace. To help them to experience God’s power by showing them expanded possibilities with reflective questions like:

What if that challenge—the one we cannot make go away, the one that overwhelms us—is a precious treasure, a gateway to God, to know His mercy, love, and grace? What if we begin to believe that His strength is made perfect in what we cannot do alone, and that we can, as Philippians 4:13 says, do all things through Christ who gives us strength?

What if in the valley we truly believe in our victory? What if all is well—not because circumstances change but because of His love and goodness? Then will we fall into His grace, knowing that if we are experiencing a challenge, God invites us on the undertaking of a lifetime.

God’s invitation is for a deeper, more love-infused walk than we can imagine. In whatever trials we find ourselves, God is right beside us, His Holy Spirit alive within us. He knows how much we hurt and how confusing our circumstances often are. He sees our tears and knows our fears. Then His Word whispers, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10, NLT).

Life is an adventure filled with various seasons and multiple peaks and valleys. Our family has rejoiced in the harvest of profound joy, love, healing, and blessing; weathered the uncertainty of trauma and physical and emotional illness; deeply grieved the losses of more loved ones than I can count; and stood in awe at the continuous resurrection power of Christ in our lives. Life is a beautiful, messy, blessed, and sometimes broken glory road paved with love, tears, and faith.

Besides the book that is laden with hope and grounded in scripture I’ve also included a Bible study that can either be done as personal reflection or in small groups.


Q: Are you working on another book now?

Debbie: Yes, it is called God’s Way to Stress Less. It is based on an online course that I released in 2019. In these ever-changing times of uncertainty now more than ever we need to apply God’s word to our lives. Being an occupational therapist and resiliency coach, I share evidence-based stress reduction principles that align with God’s word. After living through a season of PTSD and complex grieving, I have so much compassion and empathy for those who feel overwhelmed, anxious, and grieved. Through practical strategies, personal stories, experiential activities and personal reflection my prayer is that others will have what they need to experience God’s great peace.


Q: Would you share something about yourself that most readers wouldn’t know?

Debbie: I write my books not as an expert. I write as a fellow traveler who is wildly in love with the Lord, radically blessed and ridiculously challenged. The physical struggles of living with severe immune deficiency/autoimmune issues and grieving the loss of over 40 loved ones showed me the relentless love of God. The challenges became a gateway to experience so many blessings. I share openly, honestly and compassionately about the joys and sorrows of loving God and loving people. Here are two other fun facts. I have 83 adorable immediate family members and I am a Christian with Jewish roots.


Q: Where can readers find out more about you and your book?

Debbie: Readers can learn more at my website Gracelovewell.org. The website is filled with free resources, online courses, audio and video.


Blog Stops


Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 23

Texas Book-aholic, July 24

Inklings and notions, July 25

For Him and My Family, July 26

deb’s Book Review, July 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 29

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, July 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 31

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 1

Beauty in the Binding, August 2 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, August 2

Cats in the Cradle Blog, August 3

Splashes of Joy, August 4 (Author Interview)

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, August 4


Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Debbie is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Link for giveaway: https://promosimple.com/ps/1f7f9/overtaken-by-grace-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, August 1, 2022

Epic Book Launch: Reunion in Saltwater Beach by Julia Carobini

About the Book



Book: Reunion in Saltwater Beach
Author: Julia Carobini
Genre: Inspirational Romance/Women’s Fiction
Release date: June 22, 2022

From the author of Walking on Sea Glass ... He's a big city lawyer. She's the small town beach girl who broke his heart. Any hope for a second chance expired twelve years earlier ...

Jax Cooper returns to Saltwater Beach but has no plans to stay any longer than necessary. Once his mother's estate is wrapped up, he'll be on a plane back to Chicago—and hopefully to a future as the youngest law partner in his firm.

Addi Barrett never left the small beach town of Saltwater. She chose instead to dote on her ailing mother, help her father's business, and find new friendships in old places. That didn't mean she never had dreams of her own ...

When a Cooper family member goes missing, a foster dog needs some lovin', and a long-hidden secret bubbles to the surface, Jax and Addi find themselves thrown together over and over again.

Can they find their way to a second chance at love? Or will past hurts rise up to make happily-ever-after impossible?


BOOK EXCERPT (#4)

The last thing she wanted to do today, on this solemn occasion, was to redirect the attention to her.

Her gaze caught Jax entering his mother’s place. He pulled Lily into an embrace, holding her to him for several seconds. Addi had never had a sibling of her own and wondered what it would be like to have someone share some of her family’s burdens.

Jax towered over his sister, as he always had, yet his arms had filled out over the years, muscles now in places where they hadn’t been previously. He looked strong. And commanding. Addi sensed a shift in the home at his arrival, as if this family mourning the loss of their mother had just received some desperately needed support.

Their brother Lucky approached, saying something she couldn’t quite make out. She turned her head away. Eavesdropping was so rude! She attempted to make herself look busy, when, in truth, the ability to look away didn’t last long.

Addi peered at Jax one more time, watching as he swept the room with one long glance, and yet did not appear to notice her. She blinked. She was invisible to him—just like old times. That sense of rejection she had experienced as a young adult with stars for dreams returned as if those old feelings had never left. She turned them over in her gut, working hard to tamp them down.

Addi backed away from the table. If only she hadn’t volunteered to help Lily. She could have begged off or found a replacement. How she wished she could curl up with a book right now. Or bake something.

Can they find their way to a second chance at love? Or will past hurts rise up to make happily-ever-after impossible?


LINKS TO ALL EXCERPTS 

Excerpt One: https://travelerswife4life.com/reunion-in-saltwater-beach/

Excerpt Two: https://janemouttet.wordpress.com/2022/08/06/epic-book-launch-reunion-in-saltwater-resort-excerpt/

Excerpt Three: https://blossomsandblessings.blogspot.com/2022/08/reunion-in-saltwater-beach-by-julia.html

Excerpt Four: https://moments-of-beauty.blogspot.com/2022/08/epic-book-launch-reunion-in-saltwater.html

Excerpt Five: https://guildmaster97.wordpress.com/2022/08/07/reunion-in-saltwater-beach-epic-book-launch/

Excerpt Six: https://www.amoderndayfairytale.net/2022/08/reunion-in-saltwater-beach-epic-book.html

Excerpt Seven: https://storiesbygina.wordpress.com/2022/08/06/reunion-in-saltwater-beach-epic-book-launch/


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


JULIE CAROBINI writes inspirational beach romances. She is the author of 22+ books across two names and is known for spunky heroines, charming heroes, quirky friends, and the secrets they keep. Her bestselling titles include Walking on Sea Glass, Runaway Tide, Finding Stardust, The Christmas Thief, and more. Julie has received awards for writing and editing from The National League of American Pen Women and ACFW, and she is a double finalist for the ACFW Carol Award. She lives on the California coast with her husband, Dan and their rescue pup, Dancer. Grab a free eBook here: www.juliecarobini.com/free-book

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Book Review: Vying for the Viscount by Kristi Ann Hunter

About the Book:

For Hudson, the newly titled Viscount Stildon, moving to England from India where he was born and raised was already an arduous enough endeavor. When he learns the fate of the racing empire he inherited along with his title depends upon him getting in the good graces of another stable owner, he's even more at a loss.

The stable at the neighboring estate has been Miss Bianca Snowley's refuge for years, and when a strange man appears to be stealing the horses, she jumps to their protection without a second thought. Upon learning Hudson is actually the new owner, she can't help but be intrigued by the area's newest eligible bachelor.

Any thought of romance is quickly set aside, however, when Hudson proposes they work together to secure suitable spouses for each other. As their friendship grows, Hudson and Bianca begin to reconsider what they truly want in life. But will societal expectations and the weight of their responsibilities keep them from pursuing their true desires?


My Thoughts:

Vying for the Viscount by Kristi Ann Hunter lived up to the hype. The story held my attention from the beginning, and I delighted in returning to the novel nightly. Filled with flowing prose and good storytelling, it’s the kind of book that makes reading a joy. I cheered for Hudson and Bianca (who I found especially charming and relatable). The setting felt fresh although historical romances set in England are common in Christian Fiction. Having horses as integral to the plot made me love the book even more.

Vying for the Viscount stands as the first installment in Kristi Ann Hunter’s Hearts on the Heath series. It reads fine as a standalone, but I enjoyed it so much, I’m eager to start into book two!



Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.