Saturday, February 16, 2019

Book Review: The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson


About the Book:

She knows women are expected to marry, cook, and have children, not go to war. Can she manage to stay alive, save her mother, and keep the handsome son of a duke from discovering her secret?

When Mulan takes her father’s place in battle against the besieging Teutonic Knights, she realizes she has been preparing for this journey her whole life—and that her life, and her mother’s, depends on her success. As the adopted daughter of poor parents, Mulan has little power in the world. If she can’t prove herself on the battlefield, she could face death—or, perhaps worse, marriage to the village butcher.

Disguised as a young man, Mulan meets the German duke’s son, Wolfgang, who is determined to save his people even if it means fighting against his own brother. Wolfgang is exasperated by the new soldier who seems to be one step away from disaster at all times—or showing him up in embarrassing ways.

From rivals to reluctant friends, Mulan and Wolfgang begin to share secrets. But war is an uncertain time and dreams can die as quickly as they are born. When Mulan receives word of danger back home, she must make the ultimate choice. Can she be the son her bitter father never had? Or will she become the strong young woman she was created to be?

This fresh reimagining of the classic tale takes us to fifteenth-century Lithuania where both love and war challenge the strongest of hearts.


My Thoughts:

First off, I loved the fitting title and gorgeous cover of the book.

I also loved the well-paced story line that held my attention from beginning to end. I liked that The Warrior Maiden was loosely based on the Mulan movie, but didn't strictly adhere to the movie's plot. The author gave fresh resolutions to scenarios from the movie. There was a different setting and reason for war. These variations allowed the story to give a nod to the original while retaining its own uniqueness.

I also liked that the author subtly addressed gender equality through the character of Mulan and her experiences. Though sometimes moody, Mulan's determination and resilience made her a strong female leader. Her ability to deal with difficult situations inspired others to have confidence in her. She demonstrated solid confidence and faith in God numerous times.

Unfortunately, I felt like this book was not as well-written as some of Melanie Dickerson's other books. Especially in the beginning, some conversations felt choppy and stilted. My husband and I agreed that certain things the characters did were unrealistic. (Not naming them because I don't want to include spoilers.) Plus, I strongly disliked Mulan's pet name for Wolfgang.

Bottom line: I loved the story enough to overlook the sometimes mediocre prose and give it a permanent home on my bookshelf.

Lastly, The Warrior Maiden is part of Melanie Dickerson's YA Fairy Tale Romance series. I have read some, but not all of them and this functioned fine as a stand-alone.




Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, February 15, 2019

First Line Fridays: A Flight of Arrows

Happy Friday!

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby
book.

Today I'm sharing the first lines from A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton:

"Satahuhsiyost -- Listen! Open your ears to a story I will tell you."

Last weekend I started its predecessor, The Wood's Edge, and as I write this, I am currently invested in the characters of that story. They have captured my imagination and I'm thankful for the kind of my book club leader in lending both of these novels to me.

What are you reading this weekend? Share your first line in the comments below.

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!


About the Book:

Twenty years past, in 1757, a young Redcoat, Reginald Aubrey stole a newborn boy—the lighter-skinned of Oneida twins— during the devastating fall of Fort William Henry and raised him as his own. 
 
No one connected to Reginald escaped unscathed from this crime. Not his adopted daughter Anna. Not Stone Thrower, the Native American father determined to get his son back. Not Two Hawks, William’s twin brother separated since birth, living in the shadow of his absence and hoping to build a future with Anna. Nor Lydia, who longs for Reginald to be free from his self-imposed emotional prison and embrace God’s forgiveness— and her love. 
 
Now William, whose identity has been shattered after discovering the truth of his birth, hides in the ranks of an increasingly aggressive British army. The Redcoats prepare to attack frontier New York and the Continentals, aided by Oneida warriors including Two Hawks, rally to defend it. As the Revolutionary War penetrates the Mohawk Valley, two families separated by culture, united by love and faith, must find a way to reclaim the son marching toward them in the ranks of their enemies. 

Book 2 in The Pathfinders Series.



First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Book Blast: The Billionaire Looks Back by Christie Logan

The Billionaire Looks Back by Christie Logan:

A famous athlete turned billionaire. The woman he loved and left behind. When they meet again, will sparks re-ignite? Or will a long-kept secret tear them apart forever?

Billionaire football star Shawn Canaday may seem like every woman’s dream, but his reappearance in Applewood, New York makes him Marg Hahn’s worst nightmare. She fell for him once, before fame and ambition became more important to him than love, and she has the evidence to prove it—Lauren, their twenty-four-year-old daughter. Marg soldiered on as a single mother, raising her child on her own while keeping Shawn in the dark. She didn’t want to hold him back from all he hoped to achieve. Now guilt and a promise to an old friend bring him back to town, where he and Marg reconnect. When they find themselves stranded together, they discover their love never died. But he still doesn’t know about Lauren. When he learns the truth, will they at last be a family? Or will he turn his back on Marg for good?




Excerpt:

She and Shawn had met the summer between his prep school graduation and his first year of college. He'd already secured his college scholarship and was spending time at home with his parents. Marg had a summer job serving cones, sundaes and milkshakes at the local ice cream stand. "What are you talking about?" He asked. "I noticed you right away. There you were, all business behind the window, asking to take my order and I blanked. Stood there like a fool, completely forgetting what I wanted."

"You ordered a large chocolate cone," Marg answered.

"You remember that? All I remember was how cute you were in your little Dairy Maid outfit, and how much I wanted to get you to go out with me."

"Oh, that outfit." She shuddered. "So ugly. I hated it."

"Nah. You rocked that thing. And I hung around till closing, hoping to talk to you."

"When you found out I was walking home, you offered to drive me. And I let you. My mom would have killed me if she knew I accepted a ride from a strange boy." She smiled. "You weren't exactly a stranger, though."

"No?"

"No. I knew who you were. You were pretty famous around town. Local hero. Kid from humble means with the whole world in the palm of his hand…" Marg's voice trailed off. Where had she heard those words before? Then she remembered. Shawn's own father had spoken them back in the day.
"Right now Shawn has the whole world in the palm of his hand. How are you going to live with yourself if you take that away from him?"

Shawn didn't seem to notice she'd drifted off into her thoughts. "I'm glad you took the chance with me. It was a great summer."

Marg stiffened. A great summer. That's all it was, for him. A little fling to enjoy, fun while it lasted, easy to forget. She was the only one who had to deal with the consequences.

A chill crept through her. The closeness and camaraderie she'd felt just moments ago drained away, leaving her empty.
He must have picked up on her change of mood. "I'm sorry," he said. "That was a clumsy way to phrase it."

"Forget it," she answered, turning her face away. She stood and descended the stairs. "Have you finished your tea? I'll take the cups back to the kitchen."

"Sure." His voice was tentative, but she refused to look at him. It wasn't her job to manage his emotions. "I, uh, I wanted to take a look around the basement. I'll do that now."

As she rinsed out the cups in the sink, Marg second-guessed herself. Yes, the romance had left her with consequences: Lauren. It had been tough trying to juggle an education, job, and childcare, but she'd managed. And she had a beautiful daughter to love. In the end, Marg knew she was the lucky one.


Praise for The Billionaire Looks Back:

Clean, heartwarming and heartbreaking, this was a mesmerizing read.

This story had me turning pages, a well-written story that held my interest throughout.

This book has all the classics of a great lost love coming back to find their happy ending.

What a sweet story about second chances.




Author Christie Logan:

Christie Logan writes sweet romance straight from the heart. She lives in upstate New York with too many pets, too many dust bunnies lurking under the bed, and too many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head. She thinks everyone deserves a happy ending and in her books, everyone gets one.

Giveaway Details: 

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/5/19 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Book Review: When I Pray For You by Matthew Paul Turner

About the Book:

From the moment I saw you,
I started to pray.
Big prayers and small ones 
I have sent God's way.

I prayed you felt safe,

full of joy and content.
When I whispered "I love you,"
you knew what I meant.


From the author and illustrator of the best-selling When God Made You comes a new illuminating message about God's design affirming young readers.

With lyricism, whimsy, and heartfelt emotion, Matthew Paul Turner reveals the tender emotions connected with watching a beloved child grow up and experience the world. Paired with Kimberley Barnes's vivid and playful illustrations, When I Pray for You is a beautifully affirming book, in which children and parents will see their own stories come to life. 


When I Pray for You celebrates the dreams, hopes, and longings parents pray over their children, and shares with the little ones how much care and concern a loved one feels for them. 
This is a book you will read to your child again and again. Perfect for any occasion, as well as for milestones including baby showers, birthdays, and graduations. 



My Girls' Reactions:

My girls are always excited to get a new book and as soon as they saw the cover of When I Pray for You, they asked me to read it. Our first read through took awhile as they loved the illustrations and wanted to point out all kinds of interesting things. My three year old especially liked the puppy and the page where the girl jumps out of bed. I'm not sure how much of the story they absorbed at first as they were completely captivated by the illustrations. However, now that I've read it to them a few times, I think they are enjoying both the illustrations and the narrative.


My Thoughts:

I enthusiastically recommend When I Pray for You, written by Matthew Paul Turner and illustrated by Kimberley Barnes, to anyone with a child in their life. The poignant prose had me tearing up the first time I read it to the girls. The book is well-written and perfectly captures so many of the moments and stages children pass through as they grow up.

My favorite sentence (coming from a mom-perspective) is: “'Cause when I pray for you, / God knows this is true, / every word I whisper / is a prayer for me too.” Isn't that so true? To be the mommy God wants me to be, I need prayer just as much as my girls do.

While When I Pray for You affirms to children how much we love and pray over them, it also challenged me to pray more in those little moments of the day, not just during bedtime prayers with the girls or my personal prayer time.

Lastly, the illustrations in When I Pray for You are absolutely beautiful – bright and whimsical. I especially like the little girl's wild, curly hair as I've got one with hair just like that.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, February 8, 2019

First Line Fridays: The Wood's Edge by Lori Benton

Happy Friday!

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today I'm sharing the first line from The Wood's Edge by Lori Benton:

"A white flag flew over Fort WIlliam Henry."

I'm planning to read this novel this weekend! Both my husband and book club leader tell me it's great, so I'm expecting a good story!

What are you reading this weekend? Share your first line in the comments below.

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!


About the Book:

At the wood’s edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact? 

The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.  

On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.  

When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both—Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?


First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Book Blast: Pathways by Camille Peters

Pathways by Camille Peters 

Eileen has never been interested in love. Ever since her father's abandonment, she's vowed to never experience such pain again. But the enchanted forest has different ideas. When the continuously shifting pathways lead her to a mysterious stranger, Eileen finds her promise to fiercely guard her heart increasingly difficult to keep.

One night when she becomes lost in a storm, the enchanted forest's pathways lead her to the castle, home to the kingdom's Dark Prince, where Eileen finds herself entangled in what many consider an opportunity but which Eileen believes to be a curse: competing for the Dark Prince’s hand through a series of tests that judge one’s royal worth. Eileen is neither royal nor interested in becoming a princess. But the mysterious stranger she met in the woods has his own reasons for helping her succeed, but the cost of his assistance may be too high: that of Eileen's heart, the one thing she's vowed never to give.


Inspired by “The Princess and the Pea”



  


Praise for the Book: 

 "This was SUCH a cute book! The characters were very well developed…The supporting characters were just as endearing...as the main characters. The descriptions of surroundings were impeccable, I could just see the environment and feel the feelings that were invoked by them. The plot was really well thought out, the ideas were super creative, and I love the general fairy tale feel...I couldn't put it down, I just fell in love with the characters and I can't WAIT for the next one!” 

 "I ADORE the creativity in this book! The forest is so magical and has so many enchanting moments throughout the story. I loved being transported into a fairy tale theme as I read; it was a perfect escape into a sweet and charming era! I absolutely loved the direction the story went and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the adventure Eileen stumbled upon. There are so many fun characters in the story, each with unique personalities! This is such a darling story about loyalty, romance, friendship and all with a fairytale feeling!” 

 "This is a delightful story of romance and adventure, centered near a magical forest that guides its travelers to discover not only its own enchantments, but also to find true love along the way. It is also a story of growth and overcoming one's weaknesses, and of going forward despite one's fears. Both of those things are inspirational to me, and I found myself relating to the characters and hoping for their success. An enjoyable journey to give hope to your heart!” 

 "I really enjoyed this story. The characters are fun and delightful and they were well developed. I liked that it was only loosely based on an existing fairy tale and branch out in interesting ways to create romance and drama. I get really bored with the same re-telling over and over and this was fresh and new.”

 


Excerpt:

A knock sounded on the door. I bit back a sigh, both of impatience and relief. “Come in.”

I gasped as the door swung open, for it wasn’t Alaina who stood there but—“Aiden?”

He beamed, his eyes lighting up as they settled on my face. Warmth seeped over me to see him again after all these weeks, and my heart performed several cartwheels as he stared at me, his expression tender.

“Aiden!” I fell into his arms, burrowing myself against him.

He nestled against my hair. “It’s wonderful to see you. I admit I thought it’d be much longer before our paths crossed again, and I’m pleased that’s not the case.”

I tipped my head back to gape up at him. “Wait, what are you doing here?”

“An excellent question; one I was about to ask you. May I come in?”

I slowly nodded. He shut the door behind him, his eyes never once leaving my face. The shock of seeing him at the palace of all places slowly subsided and I tentatively smiled. “I can’t believe you’re here. I never thought I’d see you again.”

He returned my smile with a lopsided one of his own and my insides fluttered. “I promised we’d see each other again. How are you?”

I sighed. “I’m in a bit of a predicament.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Indeed. So you’re a secret princess keen on trying to persuade the prince to marry you?”

I pulled a face. “No, this is all some horrible misunderstanding.”

“Is it?” He folded his arms and leaned against my bedpost. “And how did a common girl end up in such a plight?”

I narrowed my eyes at him. A secret danced within his dark eyes, taunting me. “You don’t happen to know the answer, do you?”

He chuckled, and the warm sound I’d fiercely missed washed over me. “I do, actually.” His smile widened. “I’ve really missed you, Eileen. I’m so glad you’re here.”

“Why am I here?” I pressed my hands on my hips and glared at him, demanding he answer me.
He straightened and came over until he stood directly in front of me, enveloping me in his warmth and causing the strange sensations that only came from him to fill my heart. “It so happened I witnessed your unexpected arrival last night.”

“What are you even doing here?”
“Isn’t it obvious? I’m a member of the court.”

My brow furrowed. “I don’t understand. How does your being a member of the court explain why I now find myself trapped here?”

“Because thanks to my position, it wasn’t difficult to convince the guards that you’re one of the princesses come here to woo the prince.” He winked.

I gaped at him, my heart pounding furiously. With each beat my insides burned, my anger searing and poisonous. “You told them what?”

He frowned. “I told the guards that you’re a princess.”

“You mean to tell me,” I hissed through gritted teeth, “that it’s your fault I’m tangled in this dangerous mess?”

Perplexity twisted his expression. “Mess? It’s an opportunity.”

“An opportunity for what, exactly? To be executed?”

He rolled his eyes. “Why so dramatic?”

My fists tightened. “If I’m caught posing as a royal, what do you think will happen? You think the royal family will merely have a good laugh before releasing me? No, they’ll send me to the gallows.” My blood chilled. I needed to escape. I stomped to the door, but Aiden blocked my exit.


Author Camille Peters: Camille Peters was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah where she grew up surrounded by books. As a child, she spent every spare moment reading and writing her own stories on every scrap of paper she could find. Becoming an author was always more than a childhood dream; it was a certainty. Her love of writing grew alongside her as she took local writing classes in her teens, spent a year studying Creative Writing at the English University of Northampton, and graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in English and History. She’s now blessed to be a full-time author. When she’s not writing she’s thinking about writing, and when’s she’s not thinking about writing she’s…alright, she’s always thinking about writing, but she can also be found reading, playing board games with her family and friends, or taking long, bare-foot walks as she lives inside her imagination and brainstorms more tales.





 

Giveaway Details $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/28/19 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Blog Blitz: The Sewing Sisters' Society by Ruth Logan Herne

sewing sisters society blog blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz and Giveaway for The Sewing Sisters' Society, a collection of historical novellas by Ruth Logan Herne, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sewing Sisters Cover 2 (4) Title: The Sewing Sisters' Society  
Author: Ruth Logan Herne  
Genre: Historical/Western Romance novellas
Release Date: January 22, 2019

Hattie McGillicuddy might not look like your typical matchmaker, but Hattie makes things happen in the little town of Second Chance, South Dakota. With the arrival of the railroad and official statehood, Hattie’s determined to bring brides west, and not just any brides. Brides who need the wide open prairie as much as the prairie- and the prairie men- need them! Three pioneer stories of unlikely love are woven around a little town full of homespun characters that take us back to another place and another time but with the same faith, hope and love we cherish today.

Macy can’t sew a lick, and she’s come to town with a sacrifice and a secret, but when Hattie’s first apprentice is attracted to the pastor of the only church in town—the man raising her illegitimate son— will the truth set her free? Or make her leave the town and her son behind? (The Pastor Takes a Wife)

Unjustly accused, Nellie comes west to escape the law. She has a way with tucks and gathers, and every Western town could use more tucks and gathers. She’s determined to improve the drab look of the prairie and manages to brighten hearts as well. But will her quick speech and firm ideas of women’s suffrage draw Levi Eichas closer or send the somber carriage maker running? (Second Chance Christmas)

Grief has robbed Ann Hazel, but when her aunt pushes her to go west and help an ailing Hattie McGillicuddy turn hems, Ann’s shamed into it. She’s managed to avoid life for awhile, but when Sol Eichas’s nanny comes down sick, Ann reluctantly agrees to help. As she winds her way around Sol’s heart and home, can the two troubled souls leave the past behind to embrace a future together? (Second Chance at Love)


EXCERPT FROM A Second Chance at Love:

Ann should have stayed right where she was in Pennsylvania.

Guilt, fear and sorrow made for somber seatmates as the dark train chugged west across desolate land. Beiges and browns mixed with hints of gray, and the three stretched wide in every direction, occasionally broken by claim shacks looking no bigger than the muskrat lodges in Crawford Pond.

Quick tears stung her eyes.

She couldn’t think of water. Of her home. Her old home, she corrected herself. Or her life there.

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want…

Well, He wasn’t her shepherd. He wasn’t any such thing, He wasn’t Lord, God or any other lofty name men of the cloth spewed.

He was nothing. Nothing at all.

Ann squared her shoulders and lifted her chin in anger because anger was so much better than all those other feelings combined. Anger was manageable, most times.

The rest?

She clung to her satchel and the anger, sure of both. She’d boarded this train at Aunt Jean Ellen’s insistence. Her maiden aunt meant well, but if it wasn’t for Jean Ellen’s friend needing immediate help, Ann would have stayed tucked in the valley, waiting for the sun to rise and then fall each day, an acceptable monotony. She’d go back to that soon enough, once she got her aunt’s friend Hattie on the mend.


PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon
 
...and COMING MARCH 2019!

A Most Inconvenient Love - Front Cover

A Most Inconvenient Love - Ruthy's first full-length historical novel! 
Set in Second Chance, South Dakota (like The Sewing Sisters' Society)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ruth2blogan2bherne

Best-selling, multi-published, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne is the author of nearly fifty novels and novellas through traditional publishers and her own independent works. She loves God, her family, country, coffee, chocolate and dogs, and wishes possums would leave the cat food on the side porch alone. And yet… they don’t. With over a million books in print, Ruthy is living her dream of touching hearts and souls by writing the kind of books she likes to read.

She lives on a pumpkin farm in Western New York where they grow all kinds of cool things for fall from sumptuous squashes and veggies to gorgeous stacking pumpkins. Ruthy’s farm is quickly becoming the place to be every September and October!  

CONNECT WITH RUTHY: website | Facebook | Twitter

Sewing Sisters blitz giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will win a 'books and chocolate' prize pack from the author (US only), including at least:
  • (1) print copy of The Sewing Sisters' Society
  • (1) print copy of Christmas on the Frontier
  • chocolate!
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight February 6, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm February 13, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.



Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops
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