Friday, September 20, 2019

First Line Fridays: Where Dandelions Boom

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 Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson:

"Gabriel Avery hit the unforgiving pavement with a grunt."

Have you read this book? I read it in August with an online book club and it was my first time participating in an online one. Read my review here.

I received this book as part of Tyndale's My Reader Rewards Program. If you're interested in completing activities to earn free books, sign up using my referral link to start off with some bonus points!

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!


About the Book:

Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she’s discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer.


Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding.

Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?




First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Reunited in the Rockies

Reunited in the Rockies JustRead blog tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Reunited in the Rockies by Mindy Obenhaus, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Reunited in the Rockies Cover Image 
Title: Reunited in the Rockies 
Series: Rocky Mountain Heroes, Book 4  
Author: Mindy Obenhaus  
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired  
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Release Date: September 1, 2019

A fresh start…and an old love reignited?
A Rocky Mountain Heroes romance

For widow Kayla Bradshaw, restoring a historic Colorado hotel means a better life for her and her soon-to-arrive baby. But she needs construction help from Jude Stephens, the love she lost through a misunderstanding. Working with Kayla, the police officer finds himself forgiving her—and longing to rebuild her shattered confidence. But can they trust each other enough to forge a future together?  

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Christianbook

EXCERPT


      This wasn’t the first time he’d forced her to take a good, hard look at herself or her ideas. Much the way her father used to. Only one of the many reasons she adored her dad. Hugh Brennan had always believed in her.

      She surreptitiously watched the man beside her. Jude believed in her, too.

      The realization sent an unexpected wave of awareness shivering through her. But she quickly shook it off. Jude was her friend. And she was pregnant with another man’s child. Meaning any and all romantic notions were off-limits. For the sake of her baby, she couldn’t afford to make another mistake.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Mindy-35 

It took Mindy Obenhaus forty years to figure out what she wanted to do when she grew up, but once God called her to write, she never looked back. A three-time Carol Award finalist, Mindy is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren.  

CONNECT WITH MINDY: website | facebook | twitter | pinterest | goodreads | bookbub
 

GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive a signed copy of Reunited in the Rockies, a Pumpkin Apple White Barn candle and a "Love Is" journal!

Reunited in the Rockies JustRead Blog Tour Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on these tours for more chances to win. Full tour schedule on this tour shown below. Giveaway begins at midnight September 16, 2019 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 23, 2019. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Due to shipping cost, only US mailing addresses valid. 

For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.

 

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Book Review: Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

About the Book:

Libby Doyle, a free spirit who spends much of her time dancing with the butterflies in Ladenbrooke's gardens, has captivated Oliver Croft's heart. But after Oliver drowns, Libby also vanishes, and her parents, Walter and Maggie Doyle, are left to wonder what really happened between their daughter and the boy who lived next door.

Forty-five years later, after Walter's death, Libby's sister Heather returns to her family's cottage in the English countryside, in the shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, to sort through her parents' things. What she uncovers is a string of shocking secrets that lead her to wonder if anything Walter and Maggie told her about her childhood was true. As Heather sorts through the belongings left behind in the cottage, trying to separate truth from deceit, she has an uncomfortable reunion with her first love. Together they unravel a mystery that will change everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.

Award-winning author Melanie Dobson seamlessly weaves the past and present, fluidly unraveling the decades-old mystery to reveal just how the Doyle and Croft families are entwined.

Set in a charming world of thatched cottages, lush English gardens, and lovely summer evenings, this romantic historical mystery brings light to the secrets and heartaches that have divided two families for generations.


My Thoughts:

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson is a stand-alone novel with beautiful storytelling, a haunting mystery, and a dash of romance. Although I predicted a few of the twists, the novel is well-written and captured my attention from the start. I found myself surprised by the ending.

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor bravely addresses some serious topics. Generational patterns, deceit, and consequences play out through raw and painful situations. While reading, I sometimes found myself getting really sad. It seemed like tragedy after tragedy occurred in the characters’ lives. While I appreciate the authenticity, it made me so sad that I don’t think I would read this story again.

I recommend Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson to readers looking for a well-written, captivating mystery.


September 2019 Book Giveaway

It's time for the BIG giveaway! This month's prize celebrates my TEN years of book blogging.  I'd hoped to write a companion post detailing the ups and downs of this blogging journey, but alas, I've run out of time.



Up for grabs this month are TEN Christian fiction novels! (Okay, technically Jane Austen isn't Christian fiction, but it's definitely worth reading!) One lucky winner will win them all.

Included in this giveaway:

1.   Reunited in the Rockies by Mindy Obenhaus
2.   Pony Express Hero by Rhonda Gibson
3.   The Complete Novels of Jane Austen
4.   Wooing Cadie McCaffrey by Bethany Turner (Advanced Reader Copy)
5.   You're the One That I Want by Susan May Warren
6.   Light From Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker
7.   Freedom's Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli
8.   Fair Play by Deeanne Gist
9.   The Sacrifice by Robert Whitlow
10. The Captive Heart by Dale Cramer

Most of these books have been read and some show more wear than others. Some of these are duplicates and I have no need for two copies. Others just weren't my cup of tea, but they may be sweet to you.




Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Must be a resident of the US with US mailing address, 18 years of age, and legally able to enter. Books will be shipped via Media Mail. No purchase necessary.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 16, 2019

Book Review: The Reckless by Marylu Tyndall

About the Book:

Captain Reena Charlisse Hyde always gets what she wants. She wanted to be the best female pirate on the Caribbean and she is. She wants to find the mythical Fountain of Youth and she knows the location of the map. And now after searching across the Caribbean for the man she intends to marry, she has found him. There are only two problems. He doesn't want to be found, and he's on board a Royal Navy frigate—the last place a pirate should venture.

Frederick Carlton thought he was finally safe from the woman who held his heart. But her attempt to rescue him labels him a deserter from the Royal Navy. He’s turned his life over to God and plans on being a preacher, but every moment he spends with Reena drives him deeper into a past he longs to forget.


Mutinies, deserted islands, treasure maps, battles, traitors, and villains send the couple sailing on a tsunami of adventure throughout the Caribbean in search of the Fountain of Youth. Frederick longs to escape the lure of the woman he loves. Reena longs for Frederick to love her again. But in the end, they will both have to choose between eternal youth or the lives of everyone they love.



My Thoughts:

The Reckless by Marylu Tyndall is the sixth installment in the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series. I haven’t read any others in the series and The Reckless was fine as a stand-alone. I believe this novel is self-published and there were some text formatting errors in the print version. These errors were infrequent and did not hinder my enjoyment of the novel.

From the start, this novel captured my attention, thanks in part to Reena and her antics. She fascinated me with her determination to find the fountain of youth and her steadfast resolve to make Freddy love her. True to her stubborn character, her journey to God is long and hard. Watching her learn and grow was a pleasure.

Aside from Reena’s character development, The Reckless boasts plenty of action, romance, and spiritual themes. There’s never a dull moment aboard The Reckless. Just when Reena, Freddy, and her crew escape one bad situation, they find themselves in another. The romance between Freddy and Reena is steady and steamy. While it is a clean romance -- no erotica -- there’s heavy sexual tension between the two of them due to their past history. Spiritual warfare and the desire for physical beauty are two themes that weave throughout the novel. Freddy’s ability to see spiritual beings and experience prophetic dreams added a spiritual component to the novel that is uncommon in mainstream Christian fiction.

I recommend The Reckless by Marylu Tyndall to readers who enjoy historical romance with a twist of fantasy. Having read this novel, I now intend to ask for several others in the series as Christmas gifts. Five stars!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: As the Light Fades by Catherine West


Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for As the Light Fades by Catherine West, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


High Res-As the Light Fades 
Title: As the Light Fades 
Author: Catherine West  
Release Date: September 10, 2019  
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Sometimes we’re placed in the strangest of circumstances for the most important reasons.

After her carefully constructed life crumbles, Liz Carlisle finds herself back on Nantucket, picking up the pieces. With the family estate under renovations, the solitude she craves seems out of reach.

Matthew Stone intends to steer clear of his new tenant. She’s carrying a load of baggage, but as long as she pays the rent, he’ll let her be. He’s got enough to deal with caring for his wayward niece, Mia.

Liz doesn’t have time for teenagers and her track record with men is abysmal, but an unlikely friendship forms between the three.

When her former boyfriend is charged with assault, Liz is called to testify against him. But he knows the darkest secrets of her life—secrets she’d hoped to keep buried forever, and he’s ready to reveal them. Telling the truth is the right thing to do, but it may cost her everything she’s worked so hard for, and all she’s come to love.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon

EXCERPT


She’s here again. The pretty one. Can’t remember her name, although I think I said it earlier, when she arrived. They told me this morning it was Sunday, and she always comes on Sunday. We sit in the day room, where they have the television turned so loud nobody can hear themselves think.

Ha.

Considering the nut-jobs around here, that’s probably a jolly good thing.

“Did you have a good week, Dad? How was your lunch today?” Always full of questions, this one. She’s agitated, winding her blond hair around her fingers the way her mother used to do. Her blue eyes search my face, pierce through me, and I have to smile. She’s so much like her.

“Diana.” I say it loud, this little victory. This snatch of memory that will be gone in another instant. “Your mother. You look just like her.”

She stares at me like I’ve stood up, hand over heart, and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Which I never bothered to remember even when I had a mind that worked. My British pride wouldn’t allow it.


Excerpt From: Catherine West. “As the Light Fades.” iBooks.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


12.03.17-West.178

Catherine West is an award-winning author of contemporary women’s fiction. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband reside in Bermuda, and have two adult children and two beautiful granddaughters. Catherine is the winner of the 2015 Grace Award (Bridge of Faith) and a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award (The Things We Knew, 2017 and Where Hope Begins, 2019, and a Carol Award Finalist for Where Hope Begins. Her latest novel, As the Light Fades, releases September 2019.

Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com  

CONNECT WITH CATHERINE: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive a $75 Amazon gift card from the author!

Giveaway_AsTheLightFades_BlogJR

Be sure to check out each stop on these tours for more chances to win. Full tour schedule on this tour shown below. Giveaway begins at midnight September 11, 2019 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 18, 2019. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE
 

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Rescue by Tanya Eavenson



Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Rescue by Tanya Eavenson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Title: The Rescue 
Series: All Roads Lead to Texas #1  
Author: Tanya Eavenson  
Release Date: September 2, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction

Sometimes the path to freedom is found in an unexpected future.

Upon the death of her mother, Rosalind Standford’s life shatters, the pieces scattering to the wind when she is forced into a betrothal to a cunning banker. But when a telegram arrives announcing the man who captured her heart is on a train to Boston, Rosalind must hide her true feelings before the thin cord of her existence unravels the deadly secrets she keeps.

Cowboy Trent Easton returns to his roots in Boston society to find his childhood friend, the love of his heart. Instead he finds a broken woman engaged to a man close to her father’s age. Though she once rejected him, when Trent learns she’s in danger, he determines to do whatever it takes to keep her safe—even taking her to the altar in the black of night. But will his name and the remote wilds of his Texas ranch be enough to protect her? Or will freedom cost them their lives?

Read my review of The Rescue by Tanya Eavenson.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon 

EXCERPT 


Charlestown, Boston
May 1886

R
osalind Standford’s heart thudded against her ribcage as she lifted her pale green ball gown and stepped into the foyer. Where is he? She stood on tiptoe and scanned the dinner guests, trying to catch a glimpse of Trenton Easton. Disappointment and the worry that had plagued her for the last few days clutched her. Was the gossip true?

Surely Trenton would have told her. Or her own mother, if she knew. Mother was the only person who encouraged Rosalind’s feelings for her childhood best friend, feelings that had recently begun blooming toward something more.

Rosalind’s stomach quivered at the thought. She ran her fingertips along silver threads and embroidered sequins at her waist. She’d picked this satin gown for Trenton, knowing it would accent her gray eyes, a trait he only last week said gave her a dove-like beauty.

Again she swept her gaze over the room, past her mother, her father—her gaze, unfortunately, snagging on that of Mr. Glover Richards, a man almost her father’s age. He walked toward her, the click of his heels on the wooden floor lifting above the hum of scattered conversations and the hammering of her eardrums. She forced a smile and nodded, then turned to step away. His stiff, damp fingers slid around her upper arm, halting her movement.

A chill ran up her spine. “Mr. Richards.” She pulled back.

His dark eyes narrowed, assessing. An amused smile twisted his lips. He bowed. “How are you this evening, Miss Standford?”

She trembled as her name slid past his thin lips with a hissing sound. It was silly, but she couldn’t help herself. The man gave her the cold shivers. She didn’t want to talk to him, let alone suffer his touch, though lately he’d spent so much time with their family he’d become hard to avoid. It was as if he and her father had become dearest friends. Manners demanded she give a polite response, but she couldn’t bring herself to like the man. “Doing well, thank you. And you?”

“I’m grateful for your father’s invitation to Mr. Easton’s home.”

“Being the bank’s vice president has its advantages, does it not?” She folded her gloved hands and squeezed them together, wondering if Mother felt the same unease at Mr. Richards’s constant presence.

“Indeed it does. It’s my hope this new partnership between your father and me will secure more”—the corners of his mouth rose as if he enjoyed a private joke—“pleasant opportunities to come.”

“I see,” she answered, although she didn’t understand his meaning. Father never spoke of business around her or her mother, but whatever the dealings, Mr. Richards seemed happy. “I hope you and my father have a great partnership.”

Trenton descended the stairs, so handsome in his formal wear he took her breath away. He strolled past her, his jaw tense and his blond hair nearly touching his collar. Without looking to the right or left, he headed toward the dining room.

It’s true. Trenton and his family were leaving Boston. The dinner was not a celebration but a final farewell. Tears stung her eyes. How could Trenton have kept this to himself? “If you will excuse me, Mr. Richards.”

“Allow me?” He crooked his arm.

“Thank you, but no. My father is waiting.” She hurried away before Mr. Richards could insist. Another minute with Mr. Richards might cause her to miss speaking to Trenton altogether.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 

Tanya Eavenson is an international bestselling and award-winning inspirational romance author. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee, eating chocolate, and reading a good book. You can find her at her website http://www.tanyaeavenson.com/.  

CONNECT WITH TANYA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Book Bub

GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive a Woman of Faith bracelet and ebook copy of The Rescue.

The Rescue JustRead giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on these tours for more chances to win. Full tour schedule on this tour shown below. Giveaway begins at midnight September 10, 2019 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 17, 2019. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Due to shipping cost, only US mailing addresses valid. 

For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.

 


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, September 13, 2019

First Line Fridays: The Enlightenment of Bees

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 Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden:

"The day my world crumbles I am dreaming about pie crust."

Have you read this book?

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!


About the Book:


Sometimes a shattered dream leads to an amazing journey. 
At twenty-six, apprentice baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, a job baking at The Butter Emporium, and her first love—her boyfriend, Ethan—by her side. But when Ethan declares he “needs some space,” Mia’s carefully planned future crumbles. 
Feeling adrift, Mia joins her vivacious housemate Rosie on a humanitarian trip around the world funded by a reclusive billionaire. Along with a famous grunge rock star, a Rwandan immigrant, and an unsettlingly attractive Hawaiian urban farmer named Kai, Mia and Rosie embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
From the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian border camp during the refugee crisis, Mia’s heart is challenged and changed in astonishing ways—ways she never could have imagined. As she grapples with how to make a difference in a complicated world, Mia realizes she must choose between the life she thought she wanted and the life unfolding before her.
In a romantic adventure across the globe, The Enlightenment of Bees beautifully explores what it means to find the sweet spot in life where our greatest passions meet the world’s greatest need.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Book Review: One Final Breath by Lynn H. Blackburn

About the Book:

Revenge has no statute of limitations.

When investigator Gabe Chavez had his cover blown by an aggressive reporter, the silver lining was being able to rejoin the dive team. The downside? Dive team captain Anissa Bell, a woman who both fascinates and frustrates him.


Anissa grew up as a missionary kid on the Micronesian island of Yap and always planned to return after college. But she remained stateside, determined to solve the case that haunts her--the murder of her best friend and the disappearance of a three-year-old child.


When Anissa's fractured past collides with Gabe's investigation into the tragic shooting death of a teenage boy in Lake Porter, they'll have to put aside their complicated history with each other in order to uncover the killer's identity.



My Thoughts:

One Final Breath is the third installment in Lynn H. Blackburn’s Dive Team Investigations series. One Final Breath functions as a stand-alone novel as sufficient backstory is given. However, I think I would have been more connected to Anissa and Gabe if I had read the other books. As it was, neither the mystery nor romance captured my attention until the middle of the story.

One Final Breath’s strength lies in its well-crafted crime/mystery component. The criminal wasn’t easily predictable and I didn’t know the who or why until the story revealed the character and motive. Even once the bad guy was revealed, the suspense built and it was a unique climax. At that point, I was definitely not wanting to put the book down. Getting a peek into the criminal’s mind was a bit creepy.

I recommend One Final Breath by Lynn H. Blackburn to readers of romantic suspense who have followed this series from the beginning and are already interested with these characters.  Three stars.

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

Monday, September 9, 2019

Book Spotlight: The Amish Christmas Matchmaker



Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for The Amish Christmas Matchmaker by Vannetta Chapman, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


The Amish Christmas Matchmaker by Vannetta Chapman 
Title: The Amish Christmas Matchmaker  
Series: Indiana Amish Brides #4  
Author: Vannetta Chapman  
Publisher: Love Inspired 
Release Date: September 1, 2019  
Genre: Inspirational Amish Fiction

She’ll find him a wife for Christmas…

Which of these Indiana Amish Brides is next?

With her wedding business thriving, Annie Kauffmann could never leave her beloved Amish community.

So when handsome Amish cowboy Levi Lapp tries to convince her father to move the family to Texas, she must put a stop to it.

If Annie finds Levi a wife, he might forget his dream of moving…but can she keep from falling for him herself?



EXCERPT

  
She shook her head so hard that her kapp strings bounced back and forth. She had promised herself she wouldn’t get into an argument with him. That wasn’t her plan.

But she needed for him to see what was at stake.

Suddenly she thought of the brainstorming sessions she’d had with Priscilla, before they’d started Plain & Simple Weddings. Part of their initial challenge had been convincing families that they needed their services, and that in the end, it would be less expensive for them. She was up against the same sort of thing with Levi. He simply didn’t understand that he needed her services, and she wasn’t talking about catering.

Levi Lapp thought he needed a fresh start, but that wasn’t the case at all. When had moving away from your problems ever solved anything?

Levi didn’t need to move; he needed to believe in himself.

He needed to be able to envision his future here—in Goshen, Indiana.

He needed a woman, and she knew several that were available. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vannetta Chapman  

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She is the author of over twenty novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, Shipshewana Amish Mystery Series, and Plain and Simple Miracle series. Vannetta is a Carol award winner, a Christy finalist, and she also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She currently writes Christian suspense, Amish romance, and Amish mystery. She was a teacher for 15 years and resides in the Texas hill country.

CONNECT WITH VANNETTA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a copy of The Amish Christmas Matchmaker (print or digital), a quilted Amish mug mat, a woven Amish mug mat, and $10 Amazon gift card!


Be sure to check out each stop on these tours for more chances to win. Full tour schedule on this tour shown below. Giveaway begins at midnight September 9, 2019 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 16, 2019. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Due to shipping cost, only US mailing addresses valid. 

For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.

 

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Book Review: Confident Moms, Confident Daughters by Maria Furlough

About the Book:

What we say to our daughters lasts a moment. What we show our daughters lasts a lifetime.

No matter how much we try to tell our daughters that they are beautiful and lovable as they are, words are not enough. And if we're honest, we don't always set the best example. How can we build up confident girls if we struggle to be confident ourselves?


With deep compassion, Maria Furlough delves into the root causes of our insecurity, offers biblical guidance for seeing ourselves as God sees us, and shows how to model our newfound confidence to our impressionable daughters. Speaking as a daughter, a youth leader, and a mother, Furlough shares her own struggles and triumphs, as well as expert advice from a pediatrician, a nutritionist, a Christian counselor, and more.



My Thoughts:

In Confident Moms, Confident Daughters, author Maria Furlough aims to encourage and equip moms who desire to help their daughters live free from insecurity in an image-obsessed culture.

The author balanced well the ideas of “true beauty” and physical beauty. She emphasized “true beauty” as most important, but validated the feminine desire for physical beauty. She gave practical tips to help a mom feel confident about her physical characteristics. She encourages a woman to focus on what she loves about her body and play to those strengths by purchasing clothes that fit well or trying a new makeup style. In short, use and enjoy what works for you. She is not saying to dress provocatively. Rather, she’s encouraging women to be clothed with “strength and dignity” (a phrase by her daughter on page 138) and that includes dressing in clothes that make one feel strong and confident. Being confident yourself is a crucial step to helping your daughter be confident in her body.

My main takeaways from Confident Moms, Confident Daughters were: 1.) Don’t speak negatively about your body or your daughter’s body. 2.) Don’t vent or dump your issues on your daughter. Talk to the husband, friends, or family, but don’t make your daughter carry your burdens or issues. 3.) Reflective listening. 4.) Honest communication and connection creates an inroad for you to be able to speak truth to your daughter about this crucial issue.

I recommend Confident Moms, Confident Daughters by Maria Furlough to any mom. I will keep this book and reread it in the future. The discussion questions to talk with your daughter about are more appropriate for tween and teen girls. My daughters are much younger and I don’t think they would completely understand or process the questions deeply. Still, the information in the book is valuable as I can start applying the recommended practices when they are young.

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

Friday, September 6, 2019

First Line Fridays: Love and Other Mistakes

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 Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate:

"Natalie Groves eyed the bag of gingerbread M&M's on the other side of the office meeting room and prayed for a divine intervention of Red Sea proportions."

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and you can read my full review here. Have you read this story?

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!


About the Book:

Natalie Groves once had big dreams. But soon after her fiancĂ©, Jeremy Walters, inexplicably broke off their engagement and left town, her father was diagnosed with cancer. Now tasked with keeping her family afloat, Natalie’s grand plans have evaporated . . . and God feels very far away.
Fast-forward seven years, and Jeremy is back in Charlottesville with an infant son and years of regrets. When his niece, Lili, lands on his doorstep in need of a place to stay, Jeremy needs help—and fast.
An internship opening finally presents Natalie a chance at her dream job, but she needs a second income to work around it—and the only offer available is Jeremy’s. They could be the solutions to one another’s problems, provided they don’t kill each other in the process. When they join forces, sparks fly. But they both know there’s a thin line between love and hate . . . and that love will turn out to be the best decision—or the biggest mistake—of all. 


First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Book Spotlight: Sweet Melody by Heidi McCahan #SweetMelTour


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Sweet Melody
(Seabrook Romance #1)
By Heidi McCahan
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback and ebook, 242 Pages
August 1st 2019

When a struggling bakery owner is rescued by a wannabe songwriter with hidden culinary talents, they discover they can make sweet harmony … if they can only learn to work together.

Rhett Foster longs to change the world with his music, yet he can’t even finish writing one song. Battered by a string of failures and disillusioned, he returns home to Portland, Oregon. While he desperately wants to create a chart-topping hit, his dad mandates a new mission: move to coastal vacation hotspot Seabrook, Washington and expand the family’s successful restaurant chain.

In danger of destroying her late parents’ legacy if she doesn’t diversify her menu, Lindsay Carmichael will try anything to save her bakery. But with a tiny budget and an injured employee who can’t work, she has no choice but to sink the last of her savings into buying a dilapidated food truck and hiring Rhett as a part-time barista. What she doesn’t know is that the handsome songwriter has a secret … one that could destroy her business and her heart.

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Excerpt from Sweet Melody


The front door opened, and a twenty-something guy came in, wearing a tight-fitting black T-shirt, ripped jeans and black work boots. Huh. Definitely not a local. With his brown hair swooped upward and classic handsome features, he looked like a front man for a band. Or the cover model for a romance novel. His caramel-colored gaze found hers, so intense. A delicious tingle swept across her neck then danced around to her cheeks. She couldn’t look away even if she wanted to.

“Hi.” She squeaked out a greeting.

Quinn’s eyes widened.

“Hey.” He moved closer, his gait easy and confident. “Do you know where I might find the owner or manager?”

Lindsay couldn’t stop a frown. Did she not look qualified to be in charge? Granted, she probably seemed younger than twenty-four, in jeans and frilly apron over her yellow T-shirt. Still, he didn’t have to jump to conclusions.

“I’m she. I mean, this is her.” Oh brother. Maybe she was too young. Or he was too good-looking.

The register spat out a receipt and she tore it off then handed it to Quinn. “Will you sign this, please?”

“Sure.” Quinn scrawled her signature across the narrow slip of paper.

Lindsay shifted her attention back to the flawless stranger. “This is my bakery. How may I help you?”

“First, I’d like some coffee, and I have a few questions about the sign you’ve posted. I hear you need a barista?” He jerked his thumb over his shoulder toward the window.

Wow. That didn’t take long.

“If you’ll have a seat, I’ll be right with you.” She angled her head toward the empty cafĂ© area.

“Sweet. Thanks.” He flashed a killer smile then sat down at one of the small round tables nearby.

Mercy. Lindsay tore her gaze away. She nudged the cake a little closer to Quinn. “Please tell Noah I said happy birthday.”

“Will do.” Quinn scooped up the box, gave Lindsay a wink, then turned toward the door.

Lindsay ignored Quinn’s subtle recognition of her flustered state and tried to pull herself together with Mr. Perfect still watching her. She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear and skirted the counter.

He stood and extended his hand. “I’m Rhett Foster.”

“Lindsay Carmichael.” His palm was warm against hers. Hopefully he’d overlook the clamminess of her grip.


About the Author


Heidi secretly dreamed of writing a book for most of her childhood, but a particularly painful rejection letter in middle school convinced her to tuck that dream away. Instead, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington and a Master’s Degree in Athletic Training from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After a brief career as a Certified Athletic Trainer, Heidi married her husband Steve, then she dusted off her big dream of becoming a published author and launched her first contemporary romance into the world in 2014. A huge fan of coffee, dark chocolate, and happily ever after, Heidi currently lives in North Carolina with Steve, three active boys and one amazing Goldendoodle.



Tour Schedule



Bookstagram Tour



Tour Giveaway



One winner will receive a signed paperback with bookmark, $10 Amazon gift card, Sticky Fingers Strawberry Scone mix and a Seabrook Sea, Salt and Surf 100% soy wax candle from Hometown candle company.

US only
Ends September 18, 2019


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Book Spotlight: Chronic Love by Brooke Bartz



Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Chronic Love by Brooke Bartz, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


 
Title: Chronic Love: Trusting God While Suffering with A Chronic Illness 
Author: Brooke Bartz  
Publisher: Ambassador International 
Release Date: September 1, 2019  
Genre: Christian Living, Health and Wellbeing

Suffering is inescapable in this world. 

Jesus told us we would face perilous trials and that even our bodies would feel the effects of the Fall. For women dealing with chronic illness, most books offer quick-fix counseling or devotional verses taken out of context, helpful only for momentary encouragement.

For true and lasting comfort we must dig deeper into God's Word and the context in which those much-used passages were written.

In Chronic Love, Brooke Bartz reveals a deeply raw and descriptive account of life with a chronic and debilitating illness, and she shares with readers how comfort and strength can be found through the Truth in God's Word.  

Specifically designed for women who daily battle chronic illness, Chronic Love's goal is to provide solid Scriptural encouragement for the fight.
 
PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook


BOOK EXCERPT


He will carry you. He will wrap his invisible wings around you and rock you, put peace over your war, sing over your fragmented heart, and hold you up as you try to slink down and retreat. He will supernaturally do this through the peace that passes all understanding in Christ. 

He gives answers to questions in such a way we just don’t understand as humans; yet this kind of help He gives protects our heart and mind.“ I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” Ephesians 1:18.

The pain might still be there, but you will find His peace, courage, and strength as you disclose your many prayers and petitions without any fear or trepidation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 

Brooke Bartz is a stay-at-home wife and mom who lives daily with a chronic disease, knowing firsthand the daunting, gnawing physical and spiritual pain it causes. Yet disease was not always her close companion; in the years before her diagnosis, she grew up playing sports and earned a full scholarship to play volleyball at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor. Not yet a Christian, she transferred colleges and attended an event for an on-campus ministry; as the Lord had planned, she heard the Gospel and He saved her. Soon after and while still in college, she married her childhood crush and began a volleyball coaching career.

Living with rheumatoid arthritis and gastroparesis, Brooke desires for women to know the truth about the God who loves them and is with them each day as they face disease and disability; she shares the Truth of the Bible as their ultimate healing. Brooke’s passion is spurring on the women God leads to her sphere of influence, inspiring their hearts to keep their strength and hope at the foot of the cross, to trust in the Great Shepherd to one day heal them completely in glory, even though for now they are suffering on earth.  

CONNECT WITH BROOKE: Instagram

GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive a print copy of Chronic Love, a Chronic Love T-shirt, a Chronic Love coffee mug, a copy of Trusting God Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges and the workbook for Trusting God Even When Life Hurts!





Be sure to check out each stop on these tours for more chances to win. Full tour schedule on this tour shown below. Giveaway begins at midnight September 3, 2019 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 10, 2019. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Due to shipping cost, only US mailing addresses valid. 

For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.

 


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Book Review: The Rescue by Tanya Eavenson

About the Book:

Upon the death of her mother, Rosalind Standford’s life shatters. She is forced into a betrothal to a cunning banker close to her father’s age. Cowboy Trent Easton, Rosalind’s childhood friend, returns to his roots in Boston society to find her engaged to another. Though she once rejected him, when Trent learns she’s in danger, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe—even taking her to the altar in the black of night. But will his name and the remote wilds of his Texas ranch be enough to protect her? Or will freedom cost them their lives?




My Thoughts:

At first, I didn’t think I would like The Rescue by Tanya Eavenson. Near the beginning, the characters’ conversations sometimes felt unnatural and I wished certain scenes had been fleshed out more. I wanted to linger in the moment to read more about what the characters were thinking and feeling, but it moved on quickly.

However... it turned out that I loved reading The Rescue by Tanya Eavenson! There’s danger, romance, and a good storyline. With ease, the novel held my attention. While I found the villain’s actions to be predictable, danger lurked constantly and the plot’s suspense built up to the end. I enjoyed the swoony romantic tension between Trent and Rosalind as well as watching their relationship deepen as circumstances changed. Rosalind’s desperate situation advanced her character development as she learned God’s truths. I felt like the theme about forgiveness played out too quickly to feel legit. However, I did appreciate the author including such a theme.

I recommend The Rescue by Tanya Eavenson to fans of historical romance who also enjoy suspense. In spite of its flaws, it’s the kind of book I would read again.

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