Sunday, July 31, 2022

Book Review: Vying for the Viscount by Kristi Ann Hunter

About the Book:

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

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Hope Beyond the Waves by Heidi Chiavaroli

Hope Beyond the Waves JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Hope Beyond the Waves by Heidi Chiavaroli, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Hope Beyond the Waves

Title: Hope Beyond the Waves 
Author: Heidi Chiavaroli
Publisher: Hope Creek Publishers, LLC
Release Date: June 28, 2022
Genre: Christian, Dual Timeline Fiction

From award-winning author Heidi Chiavaroli comes a sweeping dual timeline story that explores hope and enduring love in the midst of the impossible. 

Massachusetts, 1993 

After making a grievous mistake that will change her life forever, Emily Robertson is sent away to live with her grandmother on Cape Cod. When Emily finds a timeworn photograph buried in a drawer, she realizes her grandmother has concealed a secret even bigger than her own. Will convincing Gram to reveal their family history help Emily make the most important decision of her life or will it prove her parents right—that family scandal is better off buried and forgotten? 

Massachusetts, 1916 

Atta Schaeffer plans to marry the man of her dreams and whisk her little sister away from their abusive father. But when she is diagnosed with a dreaded malady, Atta is forced into a life of exile, leaving her sister in harm’s way. 

On Penikese Island, Atta’s best hope lies with Harry Mayhew, a doctor who seeks a cure for his patients at any cost. But when experiments fail, Atta runs from Harry—and from God. Can she return to her sister before it’s too late? Or will her illness consume both her body and soul? 

A testament to faith and love, Hope Beyond the Waves is the raw account of the journey of two generations of women running from desperate situations toward irresistible hope.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | BookBub


Where Grace Appears Where Hope Begins Where Love Grows Where Memories Await


Chapter One

Osterville, Massachusetts
April, 1993

I stand rigid, arms pinned to my sides as my mother wraps me in a loose hug in Gram’s foyer.

“I’m so glad we thought of this arrangement,” she says.

Arrangement. As if shipping me off and hiding me away is a plan we’d come up with together.

My father kisses me on the forehead, but it’s awkward. Probably a show for my grandmother. He’s kissed plenty of babies on the campaign trail, after all—this is likely no different.

“Be good, Sweet Pea.” He turns to my grandmother, who barely comes up to his armpits. “Keep in touch, Mom. Don’t hesitate to call if…” His gaze flicks to me and he doesn’t finish his sentence.

What? Does he think I’ll find a cute boy in Gram’s retirement village? One who will get me in bigger trouble than Bryan already has?


heidi chiavaroli 

Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring places that whisper of historical secrets. Her debut novel, Freedom's Ring, was a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist, a Romantic Times Top Pick, and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.

Connect with Heidi by visiting to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


(1) winner will receive a Handmade French Market Seagrass Bag, hardcover copy of Hope Beyond the Waves, and Ocean-Lover Bookmark!

Hope Beyond the Waves JustRead Giveaway 

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight July 25, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on August 1, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


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

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Book Review: The Bound Heart by Dawn Crandall

About the Book:

One accidental kiss. That was all it took to throw Meredyth Summercourt's world upside-down. Determined to marry the ever-elusive Vance Everstone, she simply doesn't have the time or the desire to fall for her friend Lawry Hampton. However, with Vance out of the country and Lawry constantly at her side, Meredyth can’t help but wonder if what’s holding her to Vance is nothing more than a desire to redeem herself from their unfortunate past.

When Vance comes home to stake his claim on Meredyth, will she be strong enough to break free from the tangled web she’s convinced she deserves? Or will she find the strength to accept that God’s plan for her life could include redemption... and quite possibly the love of her best-friend?

My Thoughts:

I expect The Bound Heart by Dawn Crandall to land on my list of 2022’s Top Reads. The prologue’s content almost made me put the book down and might be triggering for some, but as I continued into the story, Meredyth and Lawry’s relationship hooked my attention. I read this gritty romance in less than twenty-four hours (a rarity, for me).

The hero in The Bound Heart, Lawry, rates as one of my favorite Christian fiction heroes. The way he loved Meredyth, even when she was broken and misguided, reflected Jesus’ unselfish love for the church. Lawry’s romantic intentions led to plenty of swoony moments, and I loved his persistent flirtations. Though Meredyth’s ultimate healing came from God, Lawry served an integral part, pointing her towards a beautiful redemption.

The Bound Heart stands as the second installment in The Everstone Chronicles by Dawn Crandall. I recommend reading the novels in order. It had been over a year since I read book one, The Hesitant Heiress, and it took me a few chapters to remember who all the characters were. I highly recommend this story to fans of Christian who enjoy romantic sizzle in lush, historical settings.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Movie Review & Giveaway: The Case for Heaven

Movie Synopsis:

We all want to know what happens after we die. In THE CASE FOR HEAVEN, best-selling author and investigative journalist Lee Strobel explores the evidence for the afterlife in order to address man’s biggest fear: death. 

Inspired by his own brush with death, Strobel searches for answers to the most profound questions we all have, about heaven, hell, and Near-Death Experiences. Featuring interviews with experts and skeptics, THE CASE FOR HEAVEN will challenge, encourage and inspire as Strobel dares to probe the most important question. If there is a heaven, can we prove it?

Watch the Trailer:

More about The Case for Heaven:

  • We are curious by nature. Taking on the big questions about heaven, hell and the afterlife, The Case For Heaven—a documentary based on the best-selling book by Lee Strobel—invites you to carefully investigate the knowable and respond with faith to the unknowable. 

  • Featuring interviews with best-selling author John Burke, world-renowned pastor Francis Chan, the late Evangelist Luis Palau and more. 

  • THE CASE FOR HEAVEN will be exclusively on Pure Flix starting July 15th! 

  • "Viewers will be surprised, captivated and encouraged by 'The Case for Heaven,' a beautiful and compelling film. It will dispel many of their misconceptions about the afterlife. I’m thrilled with the enthusiastic reception the documentary has received so far – and I can't wait for an even wider audience to experience it.” -Lee Strobel

  • Watch The Case for Heaven on Pure Flix today!

My Review:

The Case for Heaven tackles one of life’s biggest questions: What happens after death? Lately, this question feels less cut and dry than my childhood Sunday School lessons presented it. Based off Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Heaven, the movie addresses this complicated topic by presenting the author’s research and conclusions. Strobel himself explains his thesis (that a person’s consciousness survives physical death) and draws on the stories of others to add validity to his supporting points.

The Case for Heaven’s three main arguments for life after death are: the Soul (or consciousness) of a person, Near Death Experiences (NDEs), and Jesus’ death, resurrection, and present-day work. I won’t spoil the movie by giving away all its content, but I will share my responses to the different parts. The first section about the Soul moved a bit slow to me and was the least engaging, but it laid the foundation for the rest of the movie. The section on NDEs fascinated me with the survivor stories, including one from a person who went to Hell. The final section about Jesus easily held my attention and encouraged my faith.

The Case for Heaven left me with feelings of sadness (because we are talking about death, the physical loss of loved ones) and hope (because the best really is yet to come for believers). I appreciated that the movie kept to Strobel’s thesis and essential points. It left out church culture and legalism, instead focusing on Jesus as most important. Diverse interviews with both believers and former believers added authenticity. The movie did not give a step-by-step plan of obtaining salvation, but left the watcher to consider the evidence and seek Jesus, the One in whom we find the true answers to our questions.

I’d happily rewatch The Case for Heaven. Though a handful of slow scenes felt like unnecessary filler, the movie intrigued me with its content and the fascinating topic of Heaven. Now I want to read the book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Disclosure: Many thanks to Pure Flix for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own. 


One reader of this post will receive a 3-month subscription to Pure Flix. US only. Giveaway ends 07/21/2022 at 11:59 P. M. EST.

Enter by leaving a comment on this post that includes your name and email address.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

June 2022 Reading Recap & July 2022 TBR

My June 2022 Reads: 

  1. A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz - ⭐⭐⭐⭐½ - I reread this novel for my local book club's June meeting. Read my original review.

  2. Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander - ⭐⭐⭐⭐½ - I didn't write a review for this one, but it was highly entertaining and thought-provoking.

  3. The Penderwicks At Last by Jeanne Birdsall - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - My daughters and I have been reading the Penderwicks series together for over six months. We finally completed the last installment of the series.

  4. The Songs That Could Have Been by Amanda Wen - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Read my review.

  5. Holy Vulnerability: Spiritual Practices for the Broken, Ashamed, Anxious, and Afraid by Kellye Fabian - ⭐⭐⭐½

  6. Impending Strike by Lynette Eason and Sami A. Abrams - ⭐⭐⭐

Expected July 2022 Reads:
  1. Love's Fortress by Jennifer Uhlarik - My local book club's selection for July. It will be a special meeting as the author will be joining us in-person for a night of bookish goodness.

  2. Vying for the Viscount by Kristi Ann Hunter - This will be my first book by this author! 

  3. Prayer Without Pretending by Angela Ashwin - Currently reading!

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

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

What will you read this month?

Friday, July 1, 2022

Book Spotlight & Giveway: Shadow of Honor by Ronie Kendig

About the Book

Book: Shadow of Honor

Author: Ronie Kendig

Genre: Science Fiction

Release date: June 14, 2022

The war he fears may be the very one he’s been called to start.

Held captive, tortured by monsters of a nightmarish alien race, Marco Dusan clings to a final goal: keep these beasts from the Quadrants, even if it means orchestrating his own death. But his dreams betray that singular design. In them his bonded calls to him across lightyears. Does he leave her to fight Symmachia alone, or risk bringing an unwinnable war to every planet in the Quadrants?

On board the alien dreadnought, Eija Zacdari flounders, torn amidst military machinations, prophecies, and an inexplicable bond with one of the fearsome creatures who have imprisoned her friends. Only by uncovering the truth about an ancient conflict now shrouded in deception will she find her place.

Faced with her true identity, Eija sees her purpose snap into focus, and she realizes the war Marco fears may be the very one he has been called to start.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Ronie Kendig is a bestselling, award-winning author of over thirty books. She grew up an Army brat, and now she and her Army-veteran husband have returned to their beloved Texas after a ten-year stint in the Northeast. They survive on Sonic & Starbucks runs, barbecue, and peach cobbler that they share–sometimes–with Benning the Stealth Golden. Ronie’s degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters.

Excerpt from Shadow of Honor

Shaken, Eija touched her temple, head still pounding from the oxygen deprivation she’d suffered beneath the beast’s attempt to crush the life from her—that and the minutes stuck in an oxygen-deprived pod. Until she figured out what had prompted the creature to release her and crouch before her, she didn’t dare move.

Insane! The docuvids of the Lavabeasts had not exaggerated. These monsters were fast, lethal, vicious. Yet . . . twice she’d been in its grip, and it’d held back from actually turning her into a dusty pile. Why?

Yeah, maybe don’t ask. Just . . .

What? What could she do against beasts that reduced people to ash with their arms?

Keening filled the ship. With bewildering speed, the other three Draegis bolted out of the bay, their thudding steps fading down the passage as they headed to the aft port, where their ship clung to the Prevenire like a remora on a shark.

Nerves thrumming, Eija glanced at Marco, whose chin was tucked to his chest again. Unconscious? Twitches of his head and hands alleviated that fear. Probably super focused on piloting the ship to the Sentinel.

So we can all die.

Right. So much for the relief she’d felt. Her gaze slid down to the immobilized Lavabeast at her feet. What was wrong with it—him? Was he more AI than biological? Had he powered down or something? Fried his neural net? What was she supposed to do?

She discarded each question as it arose. Assessed her precarious situation. The crackling and swelling of his strange skin said he was still breathing. So alive, not dead.

I can help with that.

He was also awake—glowing eye slits proved that.

Reef shifted on the deck where he’d landed after being tossed by one of the monsters, his arm hanging at an odd angle. Gray eyes came to hers, asking what neither of them could actually voice—What just happened? Why had the other Lavabeasts fled? Why had this one not killed her or left?

“Why isn’t it moving?” Reef hissed as he slowly climbed to his feet.
She shook her head, still terrified of arousing the beast’s anger.
Locked on the Draegis, Reef inched closer and angled toward her.

“You okay?”

“Yeah. Sure.” Again, she again checked on Marco, who still had his head down. Maybe the other Draegis had done something to him. “Marco?” she called quietly at the same time she heard Reef suck in a breath.

In front of her, the mountain of lava erupted with a piercing howl, terrorizing her as it lunged. Like a lightning strike—a very large, fat, black bolt—it shot forward.

Blog Stops

Beauty in the Binding, July 1 (Spotlight)
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 1
Inklings and notions, July 2
deb’s Book Review, July 3
Worthy2Read, July 4
Locks, Hooks and Books, July 5
For Him and My Family, July 6
Wishful Endings, July 7
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 8
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 9
Blogging With Carol, July 10
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, July 11
The Book Club Network, July 11
Christina’s Corner, July 12
Through the Fire blogs, July 13


To celebrate her tour, Ronie is giving away the grand prize package of an Exclusive Signed, Sprayed-edge Edition of SHADOW OF HONOR, a candle with a custom fragrance connected to Shadow of Honor, a gaming mat with a custom Laura Hollingsworth Illustration of Kardia, and a three-pack character card set for SHADOW OF HONOR!!

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

Link for giveaway: