Friday, January 25, 2019

First Line Fridays: The Warrior Maiden

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 two lines from The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson:

"Galloping her horse past the big oak tree, Mulan pulled the bowstring taut. She aimed at the knothole with one eye closed and sent the arrow flying toward the target."

Pretty much from the moment I opened the mail package, I've wanted to dive into this novel.  Such a lovely cover! Look for my review in a week or two.  :)

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

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!


First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Book Review: The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin


About the Book:

Facing the past may be the most fearsome battle of his life.

Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.


Violet Lindstrom wants to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, arranging entertainment for the men of the 357th and setting up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.


Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near . . . and secrets can't stay buried forever.




My Thoughts:

Though I normally avoid war novels, I enjoyed The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin. Initially, I was put off by Adler's drive to become an ace pilot (which involves shooting down five enemy aircraft). However, as Adler's mindset shifted and the author noted that Adler attempted to take down enemy aircraft without ending a life, I more fully embraced the story.

Adler has huge family drama that drives the plot line and his character development to a certain extent. Throughout the novel, Adler grows and changes – moving from an ashamed coward to a redeemed man who has made mistakes. I always like lots of character development in a story and his personal growth was one of my favorite aspects of the novel. The author used Adler and his situation to address the need for repentance, the art of an authentic apology, and emotional/relational healing.

Sarah Sundin is a seasoned novelist and her writing expertise shines in The Sky Above Us. The story is interesting, well-paced, and has a side note of mystery. The novel is not a romantic comedy, but contains some humor that juxtaposes the seriousness of war and death. Both Adler and Violet undergo substantial character development and come out better in the end. Faith-related themes are laced into this well-written story. I recommend The Sky Above Us to fans of historical fiction.

One final note: The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin is the second novel in the Sunrise at Normandy series. I have not read the first novel and this one was fine as a stand-alone. I'm looking forward to reading both the first and third installments in this series! 





Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book 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."


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Forever Yours Event: Love Match by Jo Noelle






Love Match by Jo Noelle

Can two people learn to trust again to make their marriage of convenience into a love match?

With university behind him, Lord Gerard Morrow the Earl of Norham, is preparing for a grand tour to the future with a fellow time traveler. His first night home, he receives a summons from his father the Duke of Kyloe to come to Scotland or their family will be ruined.

 Lady Layla Colvin was roused from her sleep to marry the duke’s son as part of settling a gambling debt. Everything she looked forward to vanished with the words "I will." She will never have a come-out, or a suitor, or a wedding dress—and apparently not a husband either.

Two years later when Gerard walks back into her life, she runs the other way. How can she trust a man who abandoned her immediately after the vows were said?





   





Gerard Morrow

No good news ever comes after midnight nor in a torrential rainstorm. Yet there Gerard Morrow, Earl Norham, stood in his long shirt and his mother in her wrapper, looking anything but a duchess, as their butler, Davies, accepted two letters from a rider. He waved the rider on to the kitchen door to get a hot cup of tea and await the family’s reply.

Davies’ candle guttered from the breeze of closing the door, and the small group moved farther into the Great House. The butler lit two more candles and turned with the letters in hand, extending one to the Duchess Kyloe and the other to Gerard. “For you, Your Grace. And My Lord.”

The notes were damp from the rain and Gerard’s mother held it with shaking hands before handing it to her son. “You read it.” She shoved the letter to Gerard and waited, muttering, “That man. Love him. I do, but he better not have gotten himself into trouble. Or worse. What’s worse though? Dead—that’s what. Oh, Gerard tell me he’s not dead.” His mother’s French accent deepened when she was anxious, and at this moment it was thick as clafoutis.

There was no signature, but the stamp of the Duke of Kyloe in the wax from his father’s signet ring told him who it was from. Gerard read the note aloud to her, “Do not worry, my dearest Shamay. I’ll be home in a few days. It will all be settled then.” Gerard handed her the letter though she’d never learned to read—English or her native French. He knew things must be was bad. His father had only penned three sentences to try to reassure her.

His mother stood beside him, her hands clutched to her chest. “What of the other letter?” she asked.

Earl Norham separated the seal and unfolded the letter. His eyes scanned it quickly, without reading it aloud to his mother. Gerard, Do not read this to your mother. It is for your eyes—your ears only. Come to Scotland, now. Your future, your very life and mine depend upon your speed. Directions to Colvin Keep just over the border past Coldstream were included at the bottom of the letter.

The Duchess’s hands grasped Gerard’s forearm, and her eyes pleaded to know what it said.

“Father wants me to come where he is.” Gerard hoped that his voice sounded nonchalant.

But something must have tipped off his mother. “Your Father needs you. Hurry. Change.” She pushed him toward the staircase.

He had been home less than six hours and three of those had been in sleep, having traveled home today from university. His mind whirled, half irritation and half disbelief before he turned up the stairs. His father should have been here to welcome him instead of stirring up some kind of trouble for himself across the border.

“Davies, send word to the stables to ready a good horse.”

Within minutes, Gerard was dressed, draped in an oil coat, and on his horse, riding through November rain toward Scotland. Wind blew against his cheek and rain pelted his back. At least he wasn’t facing into the storm.

What in the devil’s name is Father up to now?Gerard had been worried for a year now, too much gambling and drinking in public rooms. Mother tried to keep Father at home to lessen the whispers that inevitably started. Northumberland didsn’t have real society, but his reputation was tarnishing nevertheless. Gossip traveled even to him at Cambridge though London was several day’s travel.

His horse trotted along the dark road, and his mind whirled about his future. Gerard just hoped that he could have a grand tour before everything fell completely apart—a year. He’d even be satisfied with six months before he had to come back to take over the responsibilities his father should be shouldering. From what he’d seen of the house in the short while he’d been there, it needed care. Upkeep and repairs lagged behind need. It seemed as if there were fewer servants than before, and the road was sorely unkempt.

How much had his father lost? He sucked in a cold breath. Apparently, enough to cripple the estate. Four months then, if he couldn’t have a year. He could visit France and Spain. He’d save Italy for a trip in the future.

It took several hours to get to Colvin Keep. Gerard’s eyes burned for want of sleep, and his legs were strained and weak from several days in the saddle prior to this fast flight over the border when he left his horse with the groom. The sun was turning the cloud-covered eastern sky a milky gray.

Before Gerard could mount the stairs, the Duke of Kyloe burst through the front door.

Relief tempered the worries Gerard had ridden with the last twenty miles. He looked over his father from head to toe. His health seemed good, no injuries, no illness. He didn’t even appear to be in his cups. He must have been sitting near a window, watching for his son’s arrival and quickly ushered him to the house.

“Well done. The note arrived in good time, as did you,” his father said, pulling him out of his coat as the butler began to remove it.

There was a cry upstairs before it was muffled behind a slammed door. It surprised Gerard more than startling him. The sound was more one of excitement than fear or pain. He supposed it could be insanity, but he hoped not.

“Come now, I’ve a brandy for you and someone important to introduce you to.” His father lead him away.

The house was quite awake as he walked through to a back parlor. Several maids rushed past with arms full, and there were candles burning all along the way. His father’s host must take country hours to the extreme for there to be so much commotion before sun up. When they entered the room a large man was sitting in a chair near the fire, otherwise, they were alone.
His father cleared his voice loudly and said, “Charles, please allow me to introduce my son and heir, Lord Norham, Gerard Morrow. Gerard, this is the Marquess of Roxburgh.” The men exchanged greetings, then Gerard’s father commented to their host, “I haven’t spoken to him about our agreement yet, so if we could have a minute before meeting you in the chapel.” His voice trailed off with obvious expectation.

“Good then, I’ll leave you to it.” Charles nodded, downed his drink, and left, leaving Gerard alone with his father. He stopped at the doorway, pulling a watch from his pocket. “This business must be concluded within the hour, or honoring our original arrangement will be expected.” Then he closed the door behind him.

“The chapel?” Gerard looked toward his father. “And what agreement? Your letter made it sound like life and death. What have you done?” A scowl pulled on his lips.

“You’ll want this,” he said, handing Gerard a glass of brandy.

Gerard set the glass aside without taking a taste. “Out with it.”

“I attended a card party of sorts at the seat of Lord Hume of Berwick. I was doing well, so I didn’t see trouble in allowing the stakes to rise.”

“How much?” Gerard interrupted. He didn’t need to hear the details just the total of their losses.

“Well, there’s an easy solution to it all.”

“How much did you wager? Or should I say lose?” Gerard folded his arms.

His father gazed out the window as his hand resting on the back of a chair trembled. Without looking at his son, he replied, “All of it. And more.” Several long moments passed before he turned toward his son and said, “We are ruined.”

Gerard picked up the glass of brandy, downing it in one gulp. “Tell me I heard you wrong.” He slumped into the nearest seat.

“You will still own the family seat at Norham Castle, pile of rocks that it be, and the land when it is passed to you, but you will likely still be paying off my debt into your own old age. I have lost more than I have or can even reasonably get if I were I to sell everything of value and double rents on the land for decades to come. Upon my death, I will leave you the title, the responsibilities, and abject poverty to go with it.”

Gerard was silent for a long moment trying to calm down. He had to breathe slowly through his nose to maintain his composure. “Father, do I even want to know why we are meeting the marquess in the chapel?”

Duke Kyloe sat heavily on a couch, dropping his head into his hands. “It’s the only way out. You’ve not heard him wrong. The marquess has made a generous offer—if you marry his daughter tonight, in moments really, the debt is dissolved.”

Gerard shot to his feet as a cold flame passed through him. He backed away from his father. “I will not. I do no consent. I’m but twenty-three. Why would you tell a man I would marry his daughter in the middle of the night?”

His father had truly wagered beyond all reason and sold Gerard’s life for the flip of a few cards. He wanted to run. To leave and never look back. Father had clearly lost his mind. He paced around, back and forth, trying to sort it out in his mind. “I leave in two days for my tour, it’s planned and arranged. James Cottrell is coming—he’s meeting me tomorrow at home.”

“There’s plenty of time for all that, you’ll see.” The old duke shook his head. “It’s not up to you. I’m afraid, the bargain has been struck and accep—.”

Gerard cut him off, “Father, no. You realize that we are already spread too thin as it is, since last time. What will you tell Mother?”

He stepped closer to Gerard. “I’ll tell her nothing of this. You’ll marry this night and free me of all my debt to Charles, and by extension you too, or we will never recover.”

If he gambled away what Gerard suspected he had, then it was true that Gerard would be heir of nothing but debt. Everything was lost. He raked his hands through his hair and continued his path, pacing the floor.

Gerard owned nothing outside of the estate and only then upon inheritance. If it were only him, Gerard might allow his father to crumble beneath debt in his old age. But it would affect his mother greatly. I can’t put Maman though that.His shoulders slumped. Annoyance and sorrow twined together in his gut. He was defeated before this conversation began. “There really is no choice then. I’ll agree.”

“Of course you will. There is a dowry, but it will not be transferred until you two are living agreeably together.”

“Good. Then you can’t gamble away anything further while I’m gone. And I'm still going on my grand tour.” Not as grand as he’d hoped. Already he was calculating how long he could really be gone before his father was back up to no good at some Lord’s card table.

“You'll be a married man now, so behave yourself.”

“Are you serious? I’m the only person in this conversation right now with integrity. I don’t think you need lecture me. A there are no worries there. I'm going with James.”

“He hardly removes my worry,” his father replied. “You've known each other since you were on leading strings. And his reputation is worse than mine.”

“Ha!” Gerard doubted that. “Nonetheless, he's coming, and he'll keep me straight.”

“See that he does. We've never had a Duke of Kyloe that wasn't madly in love with his wife.”

“Please, you've already ensured that I’ll fail on that account. I’m marrying someone I’ve don’t know—never even seen.”

“Marriage is easy. Apply yourself to her happiness, and you’ll both have it.”

Marriage was easy? He wondered how easy all of this was for his mother. He wouldn’t have to worry about making this sham of a marriage work at the moment—that can come later—much, much later. Gerard wasn’t even going to be home. “I’m leaving after the ceremony and going on my tour the next day.” Gerard knew he had to travel from London on the full moon.

“There was no other agreement beyond the marriage contract and settlement. You’re free to do so, and she will live at home with her parents for a time.”

His father turned to leave the room, but Gerard caught his arm. “What’s her name?”

“I hadn’t asked. We’ll hear it at the ceremony. At any rate, it will be Lady Morrow moments from now.” He drank the last of his cup and walked Gerard to the chapel to await his bride.

      





 



  Author Jo Noelle Jo Noelle is a Colorado native but lived in several mountain states--Idaho, Utah, and California. She has two adult children and three small kids. She teaches teachers and students about reading and writing, grows freakishly large tomatoes, enjoys cooking (especially desserts,) builds furniture, sews beautiful dresses, and likes to go hiking in the nearby mountains. Oh, and by the way, she's two people--a mother/daughter writing team. We write dessert romances--satisfyingly sweet, and you'll want more. 





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Giveaway Details $25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash Ends 2/7/19 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 may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, 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 I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



 a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, January 18, 2019

First Line Friday: The Sky Above Us

Happy Friday!

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

Today I'm sharing the first line from The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin:

"Wars weren't won with caution, and aces weren't made in straight and level flight."

This book was quite a surprise to me! When I opened the package, I thought the publisher had made a mistake.... until I found the card tucked inside that said I had won it in a giveaway!

If you want to learn more about the book or read an excerpt, visit the publisher's website.  I intend to review it by the end of the month, so check back closer to release date!

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

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!


First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Book Review & Giveaway: Who I Am With You by Robin Lee Hatcher



About the book:

For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith.

Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.

Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination. 

When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have broken their hearts, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again.

Who I Am with You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever.

Who I Am with You is the first book in Robin’s new “A Legacy of Faith” series.



My Thoughts:


Who I Am With You by Robin Lee Hatcher is the first installment in the Legacy of Faith series. It's a dual timeline novel with one story in present day and one story in the late 1920s/1930s. The author made both settings feel authentic to their respective times while binding them together with a well-loved Bible and its handwritten notes. Timeless Biblical truths about forgiveness, prayer, and love echo throughout both stories.

To me, Who I Am With You felt more like a fiction novel than a romance novel. While there was some romance and tension, it wasn't a main focus of the story, as is the case in some Christian fiction. Still, I enjoyed watching Jessica and Ridley's relationship grow in spite of the difficult circumstances in both of their lives. Both characters learned the necessity of forgiveness and faith. I especially liked Ridley's character development and the changes he embraced throughout the story.  

I recommend Who I Am With You by Robin Lee Hatcher to readers looking for a faith-filled heartwarming story. I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but I'm not sure if I would read it again. If you have read and enjoyed books by Robin Lee Hatcher in the past, you'll probably enjoy this one!



About the author:

Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 75 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an ACFW Carol Award winner and an eight-time finalist and has won two RITA Awards and been a finalist eleven times. Her numerous other awards include the Christy Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award. She is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat.

Giveaway:




a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book 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."

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Book Spotlight: With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander

Banner_WithThisPledge_BlogJR

Welcome to the Blog Tour and Giveaway for With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander, the first full novel of the Carnton series, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

9780718081836 Title: With This Pledge
Series: Carnton, Book 1  
Author: Tamera Alexander  
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: January 8, 2019  
Genre: Historical Romance  

History takes on vivid life in the stunning first full-length installment of USA TODAY bestselling Tamera Alexander’s new series, The Carnton Novels.  

What can a woman—a mere governess—do against the scourge of slavery?

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Clouston’s quietly held principles oppose those of the Southern Cause—but when forty thousand soldiers converge on the fields of Franklin, Tennessee, the war demands an answer. The Carnton home where she is governess is converted into a Confederate field hospital, and Lizzie is called upon to assist the military doctor with surgeries that determine life or death. Faced with the unimaginable, she must summon fortitude, even as she fears for the life of Towny, her fiancĂ© and lifelong friend.

As a young soldier lies dying in Lizzie’s arms, she vows to relay his final words to his mother, but knows little more than the boy’s first name. That same night, decorated Mississippi sharpshooter Captain Roland Ward Jones extracts a different promise from Lizzie: that she intervene should the surgeon decide to amputate his leg.

Lizzie is nothing if not a woman of her word, earning the soldiers’ respect as she tends to the wounded within Carnton’s walls. None is more admiring than Captain Jones, who doesn’t realize she is pledged to another. But as Lizzie’s heart softens toward the Confederate captain, she discovers that his moral ground is at odds with her own. Now torn between love, principles, and promises made, she struggles to be true to her heart while standing for what she knows is right—no matter the cost.

From the pages of history and the personal accounts of those who endured the Battle of Franklin, Tamera Alexander weaves the real-life love letters between Captain Roland Ward Jones and Miss Elizabeth Clouston into a story of unlikely romance first kindled amid the shadows of war.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | CBD | Book Depository

EXCERPT

Head HERE for an exclusive excerpt!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

alexandert

Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous industry-leading honors, including the Christy Award (two-time winner, seven-time finalist), the RITA Award (two-time winner, four-time finalist), the Carol Award, the Maggie Award, the Booksellers Best Award, and Library Journal's top distinction, among others. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband now reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where they live a short distance from Belmont Mansion and Belle Meade Plantation, the setting of Tamera’s two USA Today bestselling Southern series.  

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

giveaway_withthispledge_jr

(1) winner will win a release copy of With This Pledge + $10 Amazon Gift Card

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 14, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm January 28, 2019. US only for a print copy of the book. International winners will receive an ebook. Gift card prize will be issued as an e-gift card. 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!

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
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Friday, January 11, 2019

First Line Friday: You're Loved No Matter What

Happy Friday!

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a book they have near them or are reading.

Today I'm sharing the first line from You're Loved No Matter What by Holley Gerth:

"Here's the scandalous truth: we can be loved, accepted, happy, and less stressed without being perfect."

My husband surprised me with the book. I had a list of what books I wanted for Christmas. Not only did I receive them, but he also picked this out for me and so far it has been good.  Right book at the right time kind of deal.

If you want to learn more about the book or read an excerpt, visit the publisher's website.

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

Have a great weekend!


First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Monday, January 7, 2019

January's Book Giveaway: Gateway Weddings by Myra Johnson

New year, new book giveaway!

This month I am giving away a gently used paperback of Gateway Weddings by Myra Johnson.




About the Book:

Three Missouri women enter the gateway to life, love, and longing. 

Valerie Bishop, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, is afraid to leave her home. Can ex-con Healy Ferguson show her the path to freedom? 

Sailor Kern is enamored of romance author Chandler Michaels. Will she fall for his lines or find a real hero in Parker Travis? 

Jilly Gardner has reluctantly agreed to help out her estranged foster parents. Will Cam Lane help the family heal the breach? 

Will these three couples be open to the plan God has for their lives and loves?


About the Giveaway:

Enter using the Rafflecopter. Must be a resident of the US and legally able to enter. Books will be shipped via Media Mail. No purchase necessary.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, January 5, 2019

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz


About the Book:

Though Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is just the keeper of his bees – and the woman who could provide an elixir to help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Can they make a new beginning in this New World? Or will their hopes be dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony?

Laura Frantz's prose sparkles with authenticity as she digs into her own family history to share this breathless tale of love, exile, and courage in colonial America.




My thoughts:

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz captured my attention instantly with its setting, the foreign words, the underhanded activities, and the subtle attraction between Magnus and Lark. Descriptive imagery brought the places and characters to life in my mind. As the story unfolded, several issues began to play out: slavery, smuggling, adoption, a personal relationship with God. These matters added a pleasing depth to the story and induced character development. The action and romantic tension carried the story along until sometime after they landed in Virginia. At that point, the momentum and my interest waned a bit. However, Laura Frantz writes beautifully and the satisfying ending more than made up for the slowing pace.

Overall, I liked A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz even though it wasn't quite what I expected. It has a permanent home on my bookshelf and I'll read it again. I recommend it as a faith-filled love story to fans of historical romances.

Read an excerpt from A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz on the publisher's website.

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, January 4, 2019

Blog Blitz: A Cowboy in Shepherd's Crossing

A Cowboy in Shepherd's Crossing blog blitz

Welcome to the blog blitz and giveaway for A Cowboy in Shepherd's Crossing by Ruth Logan Herne, hosted by JustRead Tours.
ABOUT THE BOOK

a cowboy in shepherd's crossing hires Title: A Cowboy in Shepherd's Crossing  
Series: Shepherd's Crossing #2  
Author: Ruth Logan Herne  
Publisher: Love Inspired
Release Date: January 1, 2019  
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cowboy bachelor Jace Middleton was ready to leave Shepherd’s Crossing for good – until he learns his family’s unspoken secrets.

Now Jace finds himself not only caring for his twin baby nieces, but working with beautiful, strong-willed designer Melonie Fitzgerald to renovate his grandmother’s run-down estate.

Love wasn’t part of the plan… but Jace soon finds himself wishing Melonie could become part of his unexpected family.  

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | CBD


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

shepherd's crossing giveaway

 TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive (US only):
  • all 3 Shepherd's Crossing books (Her Cowboy Reunion, A Cowboy Christmas, A Cowboy in Shepherd's Crossing)
  • bookmarks
  • a Seekerville notepad
  • a bag of chocolate
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 4, 2019 and last through 11:59pm January 11, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within a week 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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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel's Dream by Pepper Basham


About the Book:

A British missionary meets a chilly welcome in a remote Appalachian community.

Laurel McAdams is well acquainted with trouble, but her dreams keep her hopeful that life can improve on her mountain in the Blue Ridge. Still, trouble does come in the form of an outsider.

Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins his uncle's missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel's imagination.

Faced with parents angry over his teaching methods, Laurel's father's drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?

Journey into North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where a young woman's dreams are held captive by rugged landscape and long-held traditions.


My Thoughts:

As I started reading My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel's Dream by Pepper Basham, Laurel's culture intrigued me with its superstitions and plainspoken occupants. The uniqueness of the setting and characters carried the story for me as the relationship between Laurel and Jonathan was sweet, but slow. I enjoyed their friendship and mutual love of books, but I would have liked the romance to develop earlier.

Following one's dreams is a strong theme in the novel and I appreciated Laurel's determination to follow her dream of attending college and improving life for those in her community. One of my favorite quotes was, “Dream, girl, but trust God to take better care of your dreams than you ever could (Pg. 139).”

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel's Dream is a stand-alone novel, but I wish there was an epilogue or second book to address certain situations. From the author's acknowledgment page, it seems the latter may someday be reality. I recommend this book to readers looking for a gentle story of friendship turned love. 

Visit the My Heart Belongs website to learn more about the other novels in this series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 Reading Goals

2019...  A new year.

Time to start a brand new reading challenge! I always do the Goodreads Reading Challenge and for several years now, I've actually made my goals. Last year, I wanted to read 40 books and to my surprise, I far surpassed my goal.

This year, I'm aiming a little higher: 65 books.


2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Jolene has read 0 books toward her goal of 65 books.
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This is totally doable. If I read one a week, that would bring me up to 52 books. Now add in a few devotionals or children's books and I should be able to reach 65. Not easy, but doable... and so rewarding!

 





I'm also considering the Hope By the Book Reading Challenge.  Lately, I've seen so many reading challenges pop up, but I don't want to be dominated by feeling like I have to complete all these different challenges and I'm thinking I just might do this one.

Here's a peek:




If you want more information on this particular challenge, visit Hope By The Book.