Monday, December 26, 2016

Sweet on You: Meddlin' Madeline Book 1 By Chautona Havig

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


Book Description: 

It is my hypothesis that social conventions are created to test our fortitude. Rockland circa 1900- As the mayor's daughter, Madeline Brown enjoys a rich social life that many might envy. But a sharp mind and a growing talent for observation leaves Madeline torn between avoiding social censure and exploring the world around her. With an aunt who considers higher education and employment equally unsuitable for the mayor's daughter, there is little to amuse her save endless committee meetings, evening socials, and her favorite pastime: curling up with an exciting detective novel. The temperance and suffrage movements hold little interest for a young woman who has just endured the rigors of her father's mayoral campaign. So when a young man shows interest in her friend, Madeline's interest piques--until his actions hint that he might not be the upstanding gentleman everyone presumes him to be. Unable to ignore her concerns, Madeline finds herself in the middle of an investigation into his character and discovers a side of Rockland she's never encountered. Will her new hobby reduce the tedium of her life, or will her "meddling" create tension for herself and her father? Will she be forced to squelch this budding skill of hers or has Madeline finally found her calling in life. Meddlin' Madeline: Welcome to Rockland's infancy.

My Thoughts: 

Sweet on You is the first book in Chautona Havig's newest series and it great. This is the first book by Chautona Havig that I have had the joy of reading. As a fan of Christian Historical fiction this book was a definite fit for me. I love reading these kinds of books, I come away learning more about the time period than I knew before. Chautona Havig  writes with authority about our country in 1900 especially Rockland, the social graces and hierarchy of this time, the different roles of men and women, and solving mysteries.  I enjoyed this book and its characters very much. In the beginning I had a little bit of trouble keeping the characters straight but as I progressed into the book the characters became vivid and clear in my head. The characters are an assembly of many different personalities, social hierarchy, belief system political views, and secrets that define them. I absolutely loved Madeline. She is a strong will woman who is trying to break out of certain roles expected from women but is traditional in other ways. When she decides something, her convictions are strong and nothing or no one can stop her.  She can definitely play the role of hostess, but not her favorite thing. She loves her mysteries both real and fiction. She is a funny woman who is strong in her convictions and her faith. In all that Madeline does her faith is in the fore front. Madeline is one a couple characters that are really funny. I found myself laughing hard in many areas of this book and in others feeling worried for the safety of good characters. I found myself unable to put this book down once I got the characters straight in my mind.  I am so glad I got to read this book and learn the things I did about this time frame and the history. I definitely have Chautona Havig on my Authors to read list. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I give this book 4 STARS.
Please check out below to find out about the author and her giveaway.






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Click Here  to purchase your copy.

About the Book

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It is my hypothesis that social conventions are created to test our fortitude. 

Rockland circa 1900-

As the mayor’s daughter, Madeline Brown enjoys a rich social life that many might envy. But a sharp mind but a growing talent for observation leaves Madeline torn between avoiding social censure and exploring the world around her.

With an aunt who considers higher education and employment equally unsuitable for the mayor’s daughter, there is little to amuse her save endless committee meetings, evening socials, and her favorite pastime: curling up with an exciting detective novel. The temperance and suffrage movements hold little interest for a young woman who has just endured the rigors of her father’s mayoral campaign.

So when a young man shows interest in her friend, Madeline’s interest piques–until his actions hint that he might not be the upstanding gentleman everyone presumes him to be. Unable to ignore her concerns, Madeline finds herself in the middle of an investigation into his character and discovers a side of Rockland she’s never encountered.

Will her new hobby reduce the tedium of her life, or will her “meddling” create tension for herself and her father?  Will she be forced to squelch this budding skill of hers or has Madeline finally found her calling in life?

Meddlin’ Madeline: Sweet on You.

Welcome to Rockland’s infancy.

Sweet on You is the first book in the Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries. Watch for the second book in the series, Such a Tease, in winter, 2017  

About the Author


chautona

I am fortunate enough to live in the great state of California (in the Mojave Desert) with my husband Kevin and five of my nine children. My eldest is married with five children, so I have the fun of a son-in-law and grandbabies to enjoy. I’ve graduated six out of my nine children from our home school, and they’re all doing quite well in their lives. My younger children keep me from getting too selfish, and someday I’ll be fully retired as their teacher. I have to say, I’m lookin’ forward to it. Teaching about gerunds was fun the first time… not so much anymore. I salute all of those in the education field. You are my heroes.

When I’m not writing (which I admit isn’t often) I enjoy blogging (a totally different kind of writing, trust me), paper crafts, sewing, smocking, photo editing, and old music. No, really, I like OLD stuff… the Beatles are too newfangled for me. Yeah,I know they’re before my time… but I like stuff before my PARENTS time.  

Guest Post from Chautona


The idea for Madeline came while I was searching for photos for another book idea (one I still haven’t fleshed out yet!). I came across an intriguing picture of a girl wearing a bowler and loved it. I wondered who she was and what she was reading. Well… then I turned the page and… wow! Dozens of photos appeared—all in the same general theme. Bowler hat, gloves, late Victorian/early Edwardian clothes…. I could just see her riding through town on a “wheel” and solving crimes. And well, the rest was born. I had to narrow down about twenty pictures to five. I couldn’t do it. So, I did six. I just hope I can limit myself to six.

Fun Facts:

Fact #1:

This is a historical novel, so that meant lots of research. Well, in the sense that it takes place in another period, anyway. Research proved much more difficult than you might imagine. You see, the world was in a state of flux in 1901. Victorian mores gave way way to a new, modern era—a new century! Though an exciting time in history, because everything was in a perpetual state of change, finding truly historically accurate information was almost impossible!

Additionally, the writing style is very different. This is partly due to a quirk of Madeline’s, but it is also because people used broader vocabularies back then. I wrote the book with a style that fit the era. It was difficult not to lapse into modern vernacular or even something a bit more twenties. After all, the series title was inspired by a song from the 1920’s!

Fun Fact #2

This book begins a journey of self-discovery for Madeline. One of the things I wanted most to do with this book was to explore the “birth” of a detective—to show what it might be like for someone to realize that he or she notices things that others don’t. Through Madeline, I explored how people would react to having their secrets exposed, and I tried to show just how difficult it would be to investigate suspicious things without becoming deceitful or putting oneself in compromising positions. It’s easy to assume people would appreciate knowing if they were being taken advantage of, but would they really? Would pride not get in the way of things? I suspect it would.

Each book does have a definite “mystery”. But, these aren’t traditional mysteries. There won’t be a murder until the final book, but each one will increase in difficulty for Madeline and the reader to decipher the truth and will add a new element of danger and self-discovery. Addtionally, there’s an overarching story over the entire series that won’t be resolved until the end.

Fun Fact #3

We have five more books to go! We’re just getting started with Madeline’s adventures. A sneak peek into the rest of the series: we’ll get to learn more about her best friend, Amy. I haven’t decided just what kind of girl Amy is, but I suspect she’s quite beautiful. I think that’ll play a part in a future book. She’s also likely to meet someone in her European tour. Will she be the friend with the suspicious letter in book four? Who knows? Not me!

Madeline’s Unofficial Glossary

One of the best parts about writing this series is playing with words that I grew up using and reading, but most people don’t use anymore. I had parents of a literary turn of mind, so I grew up being told to, “Slow down and enunciate.” This began at age 3. So, while other kids were told to “go potty,” I was told to “use the facilities.” I’ll never forget in second grade telling a classmate, “That’s your prerogative,” when she said, “I don’t like you.” She was… confused, I think.

Add to that the fun slang of the day, not to mention a quirk I’m not giving away, and I can honestly say I had a blast writing this book. However, I know not everyone is fond of sesquipedalian words or erudite language. So, with that in mind, I decided to write this glossary of words you will find in the book. Please note: definitions are mine and written with my tongue super-glued to the inside of my cheek.

Diffidence: noun
  • Pretending to be reserved in an attempt to hide the truth. Desperate. A misguided notion that pretending not to notice someone will create interest.
  Vicissitude: noun
  • The quality of never being able to make up your mind. A woman.
  Multi-eloquent: adjective
  • The misguided notion that one must be like Nellie Olson in These Happy Golden Years and allow one’s tongue to go “flippity-flop.” Example: Gossips are often multi-eloquent.
  Jitney: noun
  • Slang for a nickel. Also, a horse-drawn “cab.” Because it has fewer syll–nope. Not that. Because people like to confuse one another in speech. “Hey, do you have a jitney?” Gee… let’s see. I’ve got a nickel, but I left my horse and carriage in my other pants at home…
  Copacetic: adjective
  • Doesn’t matter, because I had to remove it from the book. I didn’t read the entire dictionary entry when I chose the word, and only saw 1880 mentioned. Alas, the first known use is 1919. Eighteen years after this book takes place. I consider the coiner to be tardy, and would appreciate that in the future, words be coined by the dates I need. Thank you. (Do you see the amount of research I must do. I have to check if words were even IN USE before I use them. And I still almost flubbed it.)
  Recalcitrant: adjective
  • Madeline… wait. That’s not quite right. But close enough. Okay. Madeline Brown when she has a bee in her bowler. Resisting authority or convention.
  Dialogue de sourds: noun (French)
  • Literally: a worthless conversation where both parties speak to a glass wall, hearing only themselves. Example: political conversations, theological conversations, ideological conversations, Facebook wall “discussions,” and arguments with toddlers.
  Asinine: adjective
  • Ridiculous or silly–like the assertion that someone saying the word is using foul language.
  Penurious: adjective
  • Marked by an inability to part with money. A lickpenny. (see how I did that?)
  Scintillating: adjective
  • A word meaning amusing or extremely interesting that lends itself more to sarcasm than plain speaking.
  Hawkshaw: noun
  • A nosy person who gets away with it under the guise of “helping.” Sometimes known as a detective.
  Fustian: noun
  • Um… yeah. This glossary. Madeline does lend herself to the fustian.
  There you go. It’s just a taste of what’s ahead. Happy reading!

Blog Stops


December 13: Bigreadersite
December 13: Jeanette’s Thoughts
December 14: Daysong Reflections
December 14: Baker Kella
December 15: Back Porch Reads
December 15: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 16: Pause for Tales
December 16: Quiet Quilter
December 17: cherylbbookblog
December 18: ASC Book Reviews
December 19: A Greater Yes
December 20: Lane Hill House
December 21: Reader’s cozy corner
December 22: Two Girls and a Book
December 22: Blogging With Carol
December 23: 1983
December 24: Neverending Stories
December 24: Carpe Diem
December 25: Bibliophile Reviews
December 25: The Scribbler
December 26: For The Love of Books
December 26: Ashley’s Bookshelf

Giveaway 

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To celebrate her tour, Chautona are giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway!

Link to Enter this great giveaway 





Friday, December 16, 2016

Giver of Wonders By Roseanna M. White

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


Book Description:

A miracle once saved her life ~ will another give her a future? Cyprus was little more than a child when a fall left her paralyzed...and when the boy known as the wonder-worker healed her. Ever since, she has wondered why the Lord spared her, what he has in store for her. But her pagan father thinks she was spared solely so she could be introduced to the wealthy wonder-worker, Nikolaos.
Nikolaos has never questioned that his call in life is to dedicate himself to the church and to God. Never, that is, until he and his cousin Petros meet the compelling Cyprus Visibullis. For years he struggles with the feelings she inspires...and with the sure knowledge that Petros loves her too.
Petros knows he will never be good enough for Cyprus's father to consider him as a match for his favorite daughter not as long as Nikolaos is there. But when tragedy strikes the Visibullis family, he will do anything to save his beloved. Unfortunately, his beloved is determined to do anything to save her sisters ~ even at the cost of herself.
As the festival of lights bathes their Greek city in beauty, Cyprus, Petros, and Nikolaos celebrate the miracle of their Savior s birth together one last time. And in remembrance of their Lord's greatest gift, one of them will make the ultimate sacrifice for the others...and a centuries-long tradition will be born.

My Thoughts:

Giver of Wonders is the latest book by Roseanna M. White and it is beautiful. As a fan of Biblical Fiction and of Roseanna Whites I was very excited to have the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book. Roseanna M. White writes with authority about St. Nikolaos during his life, the world at that time especially Greece, the different beliefs at that time, growing up in a 2 religion home, the hierarchy of the time, dowries, what we could call a loan shark now, and the superstitions at that time.  From the beginning this book grabbed me and held me until the end. As it ended, I wasn't ready for it to. Definitely left me wanting more. The characters in this book are very complex and well written. I really enjoyed characters good and bad but I think my favorite was Petros. He is a kind, patient, and loving man. He was willing to wait as long as it took for Cyprus to love him. When her life took a rough turn he never turned his back on her. Rich or poor he wanted to marry her and wouldn't settle for a marriage that could advance his career. Petros loved his cousin Nikolaos and followed him faithful. He was always helping Nikolaos to believe in himself and the wonders he created in God's name. This book truly captured the story of St. Nikolaos and how he lived his life, giving to those in need without anyone knowing where or who it came from. Anyone that did find out it was him, they kept his secret. He always lived his life in a way that glorified God and brought non believers to God. I cannot say enough good about this book. I love Roseanna M. White's style of writing, her storytelling puts you right there in the story, she always writes leaving a reader wanting more. I LOVE IT!! This retelling about St. Nikolaos really captured the spirit of this holiday season and showed what it should be about, giving to others. I feel so lucky having the opportunity to read this book.  Roseanna M. White is in my Top 10 Must Read Authors. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, you will NOT be disappointed.  I give this book 5+ STARS. Please check out the giveaway offer and information about this fantastic author.



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About the Book

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A miracle once saved her life ~ will another give her a future?

Cyprus was little more than a child when a fall left her paralyzed…and when the boy known as the wonder-worker healed her. Ever since, she has wondered why the Lord spared her, what he has in store for her. But her pagan father thinks she was spared solely so she could be introduced to the wealthy wonder-worker, Nikolaos.

Nikolaos has never questioned that his call in life is to dedicate himself to the church and to God. Never, that is, until he and his cousin Petros meet the compelling Cyprus Visibullis. For years he struggles with the feelings she inspires…and with the sure knowledge that Petros loves her too.

Petros knows he will never be good enough for Cyprus’s father to consider him as a match for his favorite daughter not as long as Nikolaos is there. But when tragedy strikes the Visibullis family, he will do anything to save his beloved. Unfortunately, his beloved is determined to do anything to save her sisters ~ even at the cost of herself.

As the festival of lights bathes their Greek city in beauty, Cyprus, Petros, and Nikolaos celebrate the miracle of their Savior s birth together one last time. And in remembrance of their Lord’s greatest gift, one of them will make the ultimate sacrifice for the others…and a centuries-long tradition will be born.

About the Author

roseannajuly2016-1

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two small children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.
 

Guest Post from Roseanna White

I was fed up with Christmas.

Or, no. I was fed up with the Christmas the world kept shoving at me. The one that was all about presentes. I’d always enjoyed gift giving and receiving, but I began to wonder: What was it I really valued—my Savior . . . or the stuff? We all say the right thing when this question is brought up. But we also all talk about “giving people Christmas” who can’t afford it. About how disappointed our kids might be if they wake to few packages under the tree. And you know, that belies our claims that it’s all about Jesus, doesn’t it?

And of course, when one thinks of gifts at Christmas, a jolly old elf springs to mind. So I started thinking that if I wanted my kids to understand the meaning of Christmas, it might be time to pull the plug on the embodiment of the commercialism: Santa Claus.

But I’m a historical novelist, and I believe in looking at the real history before making decisions. So one morning before our homeschool day began, I sat down and did some online research about Saint Nicholas. About the traditions he began that persist to this day. Who was he, before the Victorians turned him into the figure we know today as Santa?

I read. And I was awed.

Within fifteen minutes, I realized that St. Nick wasn’t the problem with Christmas. This was a man who was committed, above all, to honoring Jesus. Who believed in giving anonymously, so that all the glory went to God. Who performed miracles. Who healed and shepherded a flock under persecution.

St. Nicholas was a man who deserves my honor and respect. Who should be my inspiration for what Christmas is really about, not my scapegoat.

Nicholas gave generously—and in secret. It wasn’t until after his death that the stories started making their rounds about the many times he quietly gave of his wealth. But for centuries afterward, whenever someone wanted to give a gift anonymously, they would sign it from St. Nicholas—it was like saying, “This is because God loves you.”

Why are we giving? Is it to give God glory . . . or to please ourselves and our families? Would you still give if you got no credit for it? If no one even knew it was from you?

That day I read about St. Nicholas, I also decided I’d write a book with him as one of the main characters. A novel that brings one of our traditions—gifts coming down chimneys, stockings stuffed with goodies—to life. And so, we have Giver of Wonders. Is it a Christmas story? It is. But not like the others out there.

Is it about Santa Claus? It is, but not the version you see all over your TV. Is it about giving? It is. But not about presents wrapped and put under the tree. It’s about sacrifice. And it’s about Jesus. And it’s about what He really asks of us, and what He really did for us. And what we’re willing to give for love of Him.

Because that, my friends, is Christmas.

Blog Stops

December 6: Neverending Stories
December 7: A Greater Yes
December 8: Book by Book
December 9: Stuff & Nonsense
December 10: Blogging With Carol
December 10: Giveaway Lady
December 11: New Horizon Reviews
December 12: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
December 12: Genesis 5020
December 13: Daysong Reflections
December 13: Inklings and Notions
December 14: A Reader’s Brain
December 14: Pause for Tales
December 15: Redeemed Hope Dweller
December 15: simple harvest reads
December 16: Baker Kella
December 16: For The Love of Books
December 17: Bibliophile Reviews
December 18: Henry Happens
December 18: Bigreadersite

Giveaway

stocking
To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a stocking full of wonder! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Pursuing Gold By Cynthia L Simmons

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: 

With his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis.
With only a newly-minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner’s daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter’s forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue gold on behalf of their business, as they learn to pursue their heavenly Father to find hope and peace.



My Thoughts: 

Pursuing Gold is the latest book by Cynthia L. Simmons and it is wonderful. This is the first book by Cynthia L. Simmons I have had the pleasure reading.  As you know, Christian Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres and I have a special interest in the Civil War time. The Civil War period has always interested me. Cynthia L. Simmons writes with authority about the Civil War, this time period in the South especially, the banking system in place at the time, medical conditions and medicine, homeopathic remedies at the time, and the social hierarchy at this time.  I love reading books like this because I always come away learning new details about the time period, and this book was no exception. I ate this book up! Could not put it down, from the start this book grabbed me until the end. I enjoyed the characters in this book. They are well written and real. The characters in this book struggled with everyday issues. I really connected with and enjoyed Mary Beth Roper. I really found myself able to connect with her. She is a strong woman, strong in faith and her convictions. She takes care of her ill father and helps his business partner where she can. She struggles like the rest of us, her faith is inspiring. After watching and caring for my sick Dad I could really relate to this part of her character. The connection they had was so similar to my connection with my Dad. I felt many of the emotions she went through.   I also found her faith as she went through this inspiring. Marked quite a few passages from the book for myself to meditate on.  I found myself laughing in many parts of this book and crying out in others. I really loved this book and found myself unable to put it down. I enjoyed Cynthia L. Simmons style of writing, I really felt like I was there with Mary Beth Roper on her adventures and going through her struggles. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I look forward to reading more of Cynthia L. Simmons books, and maybe more of Mary Beth's story. I give this book 5 STARS.