Friday, August 26, 2016

The Loyal Heart: Lone Star Hero's Love Story #1 By Shelley Shepard Gray

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity and the author for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:


Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn’t expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places.
Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything. 
After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda’s home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip’s name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.
Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He’s mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can.
He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn’t prove to be an easy task—Robert knows something about
Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.

My Thoughts:

The Loyal Heart is the first book in Shelley Shepard Gray's latest series, Lone Star Hero's Love Story, and it is superb. As a huge fan of Shelley Shepard Gray's Amish Fiction, I knew I had to read this book and so glad I did. I am also a huge Historical Fiction fan and love the Civil War. Shelley Shepard Gray writes with authority on The Civil War, Reconstruction, the United States during this time, loss and grief, and the effects the war had on everyone.  I could NOT put this book down once I started. This book really grabs you and keeps you guessing. The characters in this book are real people with messy lives and I love that! These characters are totally relatable. Of all the characters I think I really enjoyed Robert Truax. His newly found faith and his loyalty to his unit, especially Phillip and Miranda Markham are really inspiring. Robert's life changed drastically when he joined the war and he worked hard to become a good man. I just really enjoyed his character and how he interacted with all the other characters, good or bad.  I really loved that I learned more about the Civil War and the reconstruction afterwards. I don't feel like I can do this book justice, but it is a great one and I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series, I am impatiently waiting! Shelley Shepard Gray is on my Top 10 Must Read Authors, no matter what genre she writes! I give this book 5+ STARS.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fetching Sweetness: Love Unleashed Book 2 By Dana Mentink

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity and the author for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

Standing Between Stephanie and Her Dream
Is One Hundred Pounds of Lovable Trouble

It should have been so simple for Stephanie Pink: Meet up with Agnes Wharton in a small town in California, retrieve the reclusive author's valuable new manuscript, and be promoted to a full-fledged literary agent.

But Agnes's canine companion, Sweetness, decides to make a break for it before Stephanie can claim her prize. Until Agnes has Sweetness safely back at home in Eagle Cliff, Washington, Stephanie will never set eyes on the manuscript she needs to make her dreams come true.

When Stephanie tracks the runaway mutt to a campground, she meets Rhett Hastings—a man also on the run from a different life and a costly mistake. Rhett agrees to help Stephanie search for the missing dog...thus launching a surprising string of adventures and misadventures.

Once Sweetness gets added to the mix, it's a recipe for love and loss, merriment and mayhem, fun and faith in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest.

My Thoughts:

Fetching Sweetness is the second book in Dana Mentink's Love Unleashed and it is so great! I had the pleasure of reading the first book in the series and fell in love.  As a fan of Christian Fiction and of course animals this book and series really caught my eye. Dana Mentink writes with authority on dogs, running business, the United States especially California, Washington State, and the Pacific Northwest, medical issues, road trips, publishing, and being a writer. I loved this book. I could not put it down once I started it. I found myself feeling like I was right there on this journey the characters all took. I enjoyed the characters but my favorite is Sweetness the dog. Sweetness is a big dog who loves adventure and really makes Stephanie and Rhett's lives much more interesting and bring out sides of them they really didn't know they had. Sweetness is a kind dog that really senses others needs and does what he can to take care over them, from people to other animals. I found Sweetness added such comic relief to this story. I really did find myself laughing out loud at the shenanigans of Sweetness. I really found myself relating to the journey of faith both Stephanie and Rhett were taking on their own and together. Gave me a lot to think about. From start to finish this book definitely kept me guessing and I loved the progression of this story. These books can be read as stand alone books even though they are a series. I HIGHLY recommend this story to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction and/or animal stories, you will NOT be disappointed! I cannot wait to read the next book in this series, it is on my wish list. I give this book 5 STARS.

A recipe for love and loss, merriment and mayhem, fun and faith in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest can only be found in Fetching Sweetness by Dana Mentink. It should have been so simple for Stephanie Pink: Retrieve a reclusive author's valuable new manuscript and be promoted to a full-fledged literary agent. But when the author's canine companion, Sweetness, makes a break for it and Stephanie has to track Sweetness down, she meets Rhett Hastings. They’re in for a surprising string of adventures and misadventures.

Celebrate the release of Fetching Sweetness with Dana by entering to win the Sweetness Unleashed Prize Pack!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
fetching sweetness - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 24. The winner will be announced August 25 on Dana's blog.

fetching sweetness - enterbanner

Monday, August 22, 2016

When Death Draws Near: A Gwen Marcey Book #3 By Carrie Stuart Parks

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity and the author for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

Death has always been part of Gwen Marcey's job. But when faced with her own mortality, everything takes on a different hue.

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs and homes when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky. The Eastern Kentucky town, located deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, has been plagued by a serial rapist and a series of unexplained deaths. Before Gwen can develop a composite drawing, the latest witness vanishes, just like all the previous victims.

Turning her attention to sketching the face of an unidentified body, she discovers a link between his death and a Pentecostal serpent-handling church. Serpent-handling is illegal in Kentucky, and the churches have gone underground to avoid the authorities and continue to worship as they believe. Gwen is offered a handsome reward to infiltrate the renegade members, a reward she desperately needs as it seems her breast cancer has returned.

Joined by her digitally-obsessed, Generation Z daughter, Gwen goes undercover to a nineteenth century revival, planning to draw the faces of the snake handlers so they can be identified and arrested. Instead she uncovers a murderous plot and a festering evil.

My Thoughts:

When Death Draws Near is the third book in Carrie Stuart Parks series, Gwen Marcey, and it is FANTASTIC. I have had the pleasure of reading book one and two! I absolutely love this series! As a huge fan of Christian Fiction and Mystery/Suspense Thriller Fiction, I knew I had to read this Christian Mystery series. Carrie Stuart Parks writes with authority on different places throughout the United States, different religions/faiths throughout the world, artistry including forensics, criminal investigations, and the stages of death/decomposition.  I could NOT put this book down. From start to finish the twists and turns kept me guessing. I really enjoyed the characters in this book, good and bad. They are complicated and their lives are messy just like the rest of us. My absolute favorite is Gwen Marcey. She is a great main characters, she finds herself in many sticky situations that she has to get herself out of and she definitely finds unorthodox ways of getting out of her sticky situations. She is a Mom, a cancer survivor, and her life is always a roller coaster ride. I love her sense of humor and her "conversations" with people in her head especially her ex husband. I just find her spectacular. I also enjoyed reading Gwen's journey of faith. I found it inspiring.  I learned so much from this fiction book including religious sects, history of the Pentecostal church, and computer programs that aid in forensic artistry. I cannot say enough good about this book and this series. Although I think this book can be read as stand alone, I recommend reading them as a series so you have all the background, plus they are really good books!! I highly recommend this book and series to anyone who enjoys Christian Mystery/Thriller books, you will NOT be disappointed. I cannot wait to read more from Carrie Stuart Parks and more Gwen Marcey stories! I give this book 5 STARS.


Plunge into forensic artist Gwen Marcey's world, full of cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects. Add Carrie Stuart Parks' new Gwen Marcey novel, When Death Draws Near, to the top of your must-read list. Gwen accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before she can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her—before she becomes a victim herself?

Join Carrie in celebrating the release of When Death Draws Near by entering to win an Undercover Artist Starter Set.

when death draws near - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
when death draws near - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 22. The winner will be announced August 23 on the Litfuse blog.

when death draws near - enterbanner

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Beauty Refined: Book Two of Sapphire Brides By Tracie Peterson

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

Phoebe Von Bergen is excited to accompany her father when he travels from Germany to purchase sapphires in Montana. Little does she know that her father's plans--for the gemstones and his daughter--are not what they seem.
Ian Harper, a lapidary working in Helena, finds the young woman staying at the Broadwater Hotel more than a little intriguing. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie--a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom.

Meeting Ian has changed everything. Phoebe is determined to stay in America, regardless of her father's plans. But she may not be prepared for the unexpected danger as the deception begins to unravel.


My Thoughts:

A Beauty Refined is the second book in Tracie Peterson's series Sapphire Brides and it is amazing! I had the privilege of reading the first book in the series and was excited to be able to do it again. As a huge fan of Christian Historical Fiction and a bigger fan of Tracie Peterson. Tracie Peterson writes with authority about the world in 1907 especially Helena, Montana and Germany, the hotel business, mining, sapphires, lapidary business, and gems.  I was hooked from the start. This story focuses on Phoebe Von Bergen, a German woman who is traveling with her father for business. Her father is deceptive and has lied to Phoebe for years. She meets Ian and Kenny and her life is forever changed. Soon Phoebe starts to see the truth. As the story unfolds it becomes a dangerous situation for many of the characters.  This story grabbed me from the start and held me until the last page. I loved the characters in this book, good and bad ones but my favorite has to be Kenny. He is a young character but very intuitive. He wants to learn anything and everything especially learn to be a lapidary like Ian. Kenny loves Jesus and shares it with everyone. I also found him to be some comic relief in some of the harder parts of the book. I could NOT put this book down and as much as I enjoyed the first book, the second book was more amazing. I love Tracie Peterson's writing style, especially her ability to weave faith into the stories and enjoy all of the stories I have read by her.  Tracie Peterson is on my top 10 must read author list. A Beauty Refined is the second book in this series but could be read without reading the first book. I suggest starting with the first book and  I am glad I read the first book because that book gives the details of mining sapphires and how they were found in the first place in Montana.  I highly suggest this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction with some suspense, action, and romance. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series, wait impatiently for it! I give this book 5+STARS.


Little does Phoebe know that her father's plans—for the sapphires and his daughter—are not what they seem. If you love historical fiction, romance, and adventure, don't miss Tracie Peterson's A Beauty Refined. When Phoebe meets Ian, everything changes. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie—a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom.

Join Tracie in celebrating the release of A Beauty Refined by entering to win her Precious Gems giveaway (details below) and by attending her author chat party on August 9!

beauty refined - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/9. The winner will be announced at A Beauty Refined Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tracie and fellow fans of historical fiction, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

beauty refined - enterbanner

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 9th!

Evil Forebodings: For Some, The Fight Has Just Begun By Carol Keen

I received this book from Celebrate Lit Blogging Program and the author for no charge in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:


Tiffany Rodgers is the kind of danger that she never dreamed could happen to her in the quiet little town of Newville. She is being stalked and having strange visions. The animals even seem different of late, somehow affected by the changes in the air. Officer Allen Lawrence is drawn to Tiffany, but he has reservations. Is she losing her mind, playing games, or are the things that she is seeing more than just evil forebodings?


My Thoughts:

Evil Forebodings is the first book by Carol Keen I have read and it was good. I am a huge fan of Christian Suspense and Mystery so when I read the description I knew I had to read it. I found myself having a little trouble in the beginning getting into this book, as I found myself having trouble keeping track of the cast of characters but after a bit everything came together and I was into the book. I enjoyed the story and the characters. I really enjoyed the interactions between Tiffany and Officer Lawrence. I enjoyed their story and hope their story continues into the next books. Tiffany's ability to speak and understand animals gave this book an interesting twist. As the book progressed, many supernatural things started happening. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from Carol Keen. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Supernatural Suspense, you won't be disappointed. I give this book 4 STARS.

[Insert Tour Banner Here] 
 
Purchase your copy of Evil Forebodings here.

About the Book

[Insert Book Picture Here]

Evil Forebodings: Tiffany Rodgers is the kind of danger that she never dreamed could happen to her in the quiet little town of Newville. She is being stalked and having strange visions. The animals even seem different of late, somehow affected by the changes in the air. Officer Allen Lawrence is drawn to Tiffany, but he has reservations. Is she losing her mind, playing games, or are the things that she is seeing more than just evil forebodings?

About the Author

[Insert Author Picture Here]  

Carol E. Keen currently resides in Alabama with her husband and family. She spends her time writing, reading, working on photography, and working with her much loved critters. She started creating stories to share with others at the age of two years old. She was published for several years in FAMA magazine (Freshwater And Marine Aquarium) as a contributing editor. She published her first book on CD, called Simply Seahorses. She is overjoyed to be publishing her fiction to share with you now. Carol currently has more books in the “works”. Please feel free to follow her for updates. On a personal note: Carol really enjoys coffee and a good book!

Guest Post from Carol E. Keen

Well, I know it isn’t lady like or proper to squeak or go “Eeeeeee!” with excitement, but it’s so hard not to do so. I’m past excited to be on this tour with Celebrate Lit! First I have to say, these are wonderful folks who I’m so very blessed to get to work with!

Now, today I’m doing happy dances over your being here for the kick off for my book, Evil Forebodings. It’s my second published book, and my first full-length fiction novel. This book took eight, yes that is 8, long years to complete. What on Earth could take me that long to write one book?

It started with my first event called, NanoWriteMo. In my case, it was NanoWrite-less! Who had the “brilliant” idea to have a huge writing contest smack over Thanksgiving and two major birthdays in our family? It was a disaster. It was as bad as saying a night person like myself has to function at 8:00am and be good at it. I was alone in my endeavor and didn’t get far at all.

A few years later, I went back to working on this book. This time I had a huge emotional backset from an incident that was just traumatic. I was told, in essence, that I wasn’t good enough to write for a career, and that my focus was on all the wrong things in my life. This came from a published author, who really didn’t know me. I was weighed and judged unfairly, and it was devastating. I learned a great deal though, and pretty much gave up on doing things the way I had been.

Forging ahead anyway, my first book, Beauty For Ashes, was published. Then I got to work on Evil Forebodings. This story and its characters have never left me, and I knew I had to finish this book. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and I hope that you will enjoy it. While I believe all authors put some of themselves into their work, this book had a heavy dose of my heart infused into it in several places.

Thank you so much for joining me on this adventure, and please feel free to ask questions!

Blessings, Carol :)

Blog Stops

July 31: Mary Hake
August 2: Bukwurmzzz
August 4: Petra’s Hope
August 5: Carpe Diem

Giveaway

  [Insert Giveaway Picture Here]  

To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away three copies of her new book with a bookmark. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9f31

Evil Forebodings: For Some, The Fight Has Just Begun By Carol Keen

I received this book from Celebrate Lit Blogging Program and the author for no charge in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:


Tiffany Rodgers is the kind of danger that she never dreamed could happen to her in the quiet little town of Newville. She is being stalked and having strange visions. The animals even seem different of late, somehow affected by the changes in the air. Officer Allen Lawrence is drawn to Tiffany, but he has reservations. Is she losing her mind, playing games, or are the things that she is seeing more than just evil forebodings?


My Thoughts:

Evil Forebodings is the first book by Carol Keen I have read and it was good. I am a huge fan of Christian Suspense and Mystery so when I read the description I knew I had to read it. I found myself having a little trouble in the beginning getting into this book, as I found myself having trouble keeping track of the cast of characters but after a bit everything came together and I was into the book. I enjoyed the story and the characters. I really enjoyed the interactions between Tiffany and Officer Lawrence. I enjoyed their story and hope their story continues into the next books. Tiffany's ability to speak and understand animals gave this book an interesting twist. As the book progressed, many supernatural things started happening. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from Carol Keen. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Supernatural Suspense, you won't be disappointed. I give this book 4 STARS.

[Insert Tour Banner Here] 
 
Purchase your copy of Evil Forebodings here.

About the Book

[Insert Book Picture Here]

Evil Forebodings: Tiffany Rodgers is the kind of danger that she never dreamed could happen to her in the quiet little town of Newville. She is being stalked and having strange visions. The animals even seem different of late, somehow affected by the changes in the air. Officer Allen Lawrence is drawn to Tiffany, but he has reservations. Is she losing her mind, playing games, or are the things that she is seeing more than just evil forebodings?

About the Author

[Insert Author Picture Here]  

Carol E. Keen currently resides in Alabama with her husband and family. She spends her time writing, reading, working on photography, and working with her much loved critters. She started creating stories to share with others at the age of two years old. She was published for several years in FAMA magazine (Freshwater And Marine Aquarium) as a contributing editor. She published her first book on CD, called Simply Seahorses. She is overjoyed to be publishing her fiction to share with you now. Carol currently has more books in the “works”. Please feel free to follow her for updates. On a personal note: Carol really enjoys coffee and a good book!

Guest Post from Carol E. Keen

Well, I know it isn’t lady like or proper to squeak or go “Eeeeeee!” with excitement, but it’s so hard not to do so. I’m past excited to be on this tour with Celebrate Lit! First I have to say, these are wonderful folks who I’m so very blessed to get to work with!

Now, today I’m doing happy dances over your being here for the kick off for my book, Evil Forebodings. It’s my second published book, and my first full-length fiction novel. This book took eight, yes that is 8, long years to complete. What on Earth could take me that long to write one book?

It started with my first event called, NanoWriteMo. In my case, it was NanoWrite-less! Who had the “brilliant” idea to have a huge writing contest smack over Thanksgiving and two major birthdays in our family? It was a disaster. It was as bad as saying a night person like myself has to function at 8:00am and be good at it. I was alone in my endeavor and didn’t get far at all.

A few years later, I went back to working on this book. This time I had a huge emotional backset from an incident that was just traumatic. I was told, in essence, that I wasn’t good enough to write for a career, and that my focus was on all the wrong things in my life. This came from a published author, who really didn’t know me. I was weighed and judged unfairly, and it was devastating. I learned a great deal though, and pretty much gave up on doing things the way I had been.

Forging ahead anyway, my first book, Beauty For Ashes, was published. Then I got to work on Evil Forebodings. This story and its characters have never left me, and I knew I had to finish this book. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and I hope that you will enjoy it. While I believe all authors put some of themselves into their work, this book had a heavy dose of my heart infused into it in several places.

Thank you so much for joining me on this adventure, and please feel free to ask questions!

Blessings, Carol :)

Blog Stops

July 31: Mary Hake
August 2: Bukwurmzzz
August 4: Petra’s Hope
August 5: Carpe Diem

Giveaway

  [Insert Giveaway Picture Here]  

To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away three copies of her new book with a bookmark. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9f31

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

If My Husband Would Change, I'd Be Happy: And Other Myths Wives Believe By Rhonda Stoppe

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

Like most brides on their wedding day, you no doubt were filled with love for your husband and the hope of a happy life together. But perhaps today, as the realities of life together have settled in, those happy expectations are going unfulfilled. And it's tempting to think, "If only my husband would change, I'd be happy."
That myth is but one of many that Rhonda Stoppe dispels in her easy-to-read exploration of what it takes to experience a truly happy marriage. In the process, she addresses such important topics as
  • understanding your husband's need for your unconditional respect
  • rekindling the love that drew you to your husband in the first place
  • refusing to believe the lie that you'd be happier married to someone else
  • learning to be content in the midst of financial struggles
  • thinking about sex from a biblical worldview
If you desire to rekindle the love and hope you felt on your wedding day, this book will go a long way toward making that dream come true.
Contains discussion questions and personal reflections at the end of each chapter.

My Thoughts:

If My Husband Would Change, I'd Be Happy: And Other Myths Wives Believe is the first book by Rhonda Shoppe I have had read and I really enjoyed it.  If My Husband Would Change is a great book for any wife whether newlywed or a seasoned wife. I found Rhonda Shoppe's style. I really enjoyed the her writing. I found myself laughing in many places, she uses humor in many areas, which really kept my interest and made the book different from other books I have read on marriage. This book is well researched and well written. This book really shows Rhonda Shoppe's heart about marriage and family. I definitely found this book thought provoking and convicting, busting the myths we wives hear about marriage and life. I recommend this book to anyone who is married whether 1 month or 40 years, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read more from Rhonda Shoppe. I give this book 4 STARS.