Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Duke's Dilemma:The Wolf Deceivers Book 2 By Elaine Manders

I received a copy of this book from the author and have chosen to review it. My opinions are my own.


Book Description: 

 Edward Dalton, the new Duke of Langsdale, must soon take a wife to ensure the hereditary line. A young war widow seems the perfect choice. She is charming, well respected with impeccable character, and her connections to the Ton’s most important people is an asset he can’t ignore. But Edward is intrigued by another widow. The mysterious, hauntingly beautiful Lady Wayte.

Cassandra Wayte could not be a more unsuitable match. She isn’t received by polite society, and her notorious dealings with London’s underclass is the talk of nobility from White’s patrons to the most fashionable hostesses. It’s even whispered she murdered her elderly husband. But Edward sees a different side of the tragic lady, and he determines to discover the secrets tormenting her. As he peels away the layers of her resistance, he discovers a malevolent adversary stalking Lady Wayte and exposes a level of depravity that shocks even his war-hardened sensibilities. Can he win her trust and her heart? And at what cost to the dukedom?

As Cassandra’s relentless search for her husband’s murderer exposes both her and Edward to unseen dangers, all they can rely on is their love for each other and their faith in God. 


My Thoughts:  

The Duke's Dilemma is the second book in Elaine Manders series, The Wolf Deceivers, and it is really good. This is the first time I have read anything from Elaine Manders and I am so glad I did. This book is a mix of Christian Historical and Suspense Fiction.......2 genres I love. This historical fiction takes place in Regency Era, an Era I am learning more and more about, totally love it! Elaine Manders writes with authority about The 1880's in England, The hierarchy, society mores, language, and the issues of the time and our time PTSD and sex trafficking. The characters are definitely interesting and good or bad they made the story. My favorite character is Sarah. She is a great character. She is comic relief in the midst of this book. Her viewpoints and her antics really made me laugh and see this world through her eyes. Sarah is a part of Edward and Cassandra\s romance, helped them to see who each of them really were. I enjoyed Edward and Cassandra's story, one of hope, forgiveness, righting wrongs, and their romance. As I stated above I have not read any books from this author so I came in at Book Two but never fear this book stood on it's own two feet and I felt like I missed anything. So it CAN be read that way so don't hesitate to buy it because it says Book 2. I enjoyed this book and I really like Elaine Manders writing style. She writes beautifully and with all of the characters and things going on, she did an excellent job "juggling" it, keeping it all straight, and by the end ensured we as readers, were able to know the full story. This author writes some of the most horrible things the underclass went through, she handles it beautifully in a non violent way Elaine Manders is a new to me author so I am going to have to get more books of hers.   So I highly recommend this book to anyone who like Christian Regency Romance with some pretty intense Who Did It? I look forward to her next book in this series. I give this book 4.5

PLEASE CHECK OUT ABOUT THIS AUTHOR AND THE GREAT GIVEAWAY





The Dukes Delimma FB Banner copy

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book 


Book title: The Duke’s Dilemma  
Author: Elaine Manders  
Release date: May 27, 2017  
Genre: Historical Romance, subgenre: Regency  

Should he wed the perfect match—or the one he loves? Edward Dalton, the new Duke of Langsdale, must soon take a wife to ensure the hereditary line. A young war widow seems the perfect choice. She is charming, well respected with impeccable character, and her connections to the Ton’s most important people is an asset he can’t ignore. But Edward is intrigued by another widow. The mysterious, hauntingly beautiful Lady Wayte. Cassandra Wayte could not be a more unsuitable match. She isn’t received by polite society, and her notorious dealings with London’s underclass is the talk of nobility from White’s patrons to the most fashionable hostesses. It’s even whispered she murdered her elderly husband. But Edward sees a different side of the tragic lady, and he determines to discover the secrets tormenting her. As he peels away the layers of her resistance, he discovers a malevolent adversary stalking Lady Wayte and exposes a level of depravity that shocks even his war-hardened sensibilities. Can he win her trust and her heart? And at what cost to the dukedom? As Cassandra’s relentless search for her husband’s murderer exposes both her and Edward to unseen dangers, all they can rely on is their love for each other and their faith in God.

About the Author


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Elaine Manders writes wholesome Christian romance and suspense about the bold, capable women of history and the strong, dependable men who love them. She prefers stories that twist and turn and surprise, told by characters of faith. She lives in Central Georgia with a happy bichon-poodle mix. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, crafts, and spending time with her friends, daughter, and grandchildren.

Guest post from Elaine Manders

Historical romance became my favorite genre back in the seventies and eighties, and one of my favorite settings was Regency England. A Regency can be a romance in the Jane Austin mode or historical romance set during the Regency period. There is a difference, and The Duke’s Dilemma falls into this latter category. Yes, there is some of usual drawing room intrigue in an Austen novel, but The Duke’s Dilemma contains a serious spiritual theme. The plot fitted perfectly into my new series, The Wolf Deceivers. I wrote the original manuscript nearly twenty years ago as a light, secular romance, but when I revised it to Christian romance, I was delighted to find the inspirational thread deepened the characters. Instead of merely fighting for her reputation while trying to wrest the duke from another woman, Cassandra, the heroine, must fight for her survival. Instead of being another handsome, sardonic nobleman, Edward, the hero, uses his intelligence and grace to protect Cassandra and win her love. Even the secondary characters captivated me. Little Sarah’s match-making antics suited the Regency theme and provided some levity during the darker moments of the plot. Lady Ashford, Cassandra’s foil, developed a tenacity I had to admire in spite of all her shortcomings. And Sir Harcrumb became a villain I loved to hate. Though the characters changed a great deal in the retelling, the plot remained basically the same. The only thing I added was a surprise twist at the end—something that has inadvertently become a part of my brand. Every story is a learning experience for me, and I’m always grateful for how much I learn from my research and from the Holy Spirit. I’ve become more aware of those who deceive, and how vulnerable people, especially young people, are to Satan’s tactics. Also, I’ve unexpectedly come away with a better understanding of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Although this is a new label, we all know it has affected people throughout history. Yes, The Duke’s Dilemma has taught me much, and I hated to say good-bye to these characters. I love stories that move me during the writing and only ask two things of my books. That they bring enjoyment to my readers and glory to my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I hope this one does both.

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Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away:
Grand prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card 1st place: paperback copies of Books 1 and 2 of the Wolf Deceivers series, The Chieftain’s Choice and The Duke’s Dilemma!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bbab

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Return: Amish Beginnings Series Book 3 By Suzanne Woods Fisher

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

Book Description: 


Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family's rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans, but then she never had to. Not until the night when she's taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. During her captivity, Betsy faces brutality and hardship, but also unexpected kindness. She draws strength from native Caleb, who encourages her to find God in all circumstances. She finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the intense new feelings this compelling man awakens within her.

Handsome and complex, Hans is greatly anguished by Betsy's captivity and turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. Eagerly, Tessa responds, overlooking troubling signs of Hans's hunger for revenge. When Betsy is finally restored to the Amish, have things gone too far between Hans and Tessa?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.


My Thoughts:  

The Return is the third book in Suzanne Woods Fisher's Amish Beginnings  and it is fantastic. As a HUGE fan of both Amish and historical fiction, this was the best of both worlds.Suzanne Woods Fisher is one of my must read authors especially in Amish Fiction, I love her style of writing, she intertwines fact and fiction perfectly and transitions between characters POV seamlessly.  Suzanne Woods Fisher writes with authority about Prerevolutionary Pennsylvania, Indians in this part of the US and the raids that went on,  and Amish faith and people during this time.  The historical component in this book is very interesting, it's not one I was very knowledgeable with so I learned so much from this book and author. I had read the first book in this series but hadn't read the second book. The Return is the third book in this series but definitely can be read as a stand alone. I didn't feel lost or overwhelmed. Suzanne Woods Fisher does a great job of recapping previous books without it being too much information. The cast of characters in the front really helped keeping up with the relationships of the characters. These characters are well written, dealing with real things at this time in our history.  I really enjoyed this book and HIGHLY recommend this author and this book to anyone who enjoys Amish and /or Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed. 
I give this book 5 STARS. 

I apologize to Celebrate Lit and Suzanne Woods Fisher for not getting my review posted on time.







the return FB banner copy 

About the Book

The Return-Book Cover

Book title: The Return  
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher  
Release date: Sept 1, 2017  
Genre: Amish  

In a wild country, the true cost of love may be more than they can bear Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans—but then she never had to. Not until the night she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she’s developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances. Greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far? Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.  

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About the Author


Fisher_SuzanneWoods (1)

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing and The Newcomer in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Three Sisters’ Garden: Corn, Squash & Beans! Corn was a new food to the immigrants to the New World, introduced to them by Native Americans. Soon, it became an essential part of their daily diet, in one form or another. Growing it brought yet another new discovery: companion planting in the form of the Three Sisters’ Garden.

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According to Iroquois legend, corn, squash and beans were three inseparable sisters who only grew and thrived together. 18th century Native Americans wouldn’t have understood the science behind why companion planting worked, but they knew it did. Beans, like all legumes, have bacteria living on their roots that help them absorb nitrogen from the air and convert it to a form that plants can use. Corn, which requires a lot of nitrogen to grow, benefits from the legumes and provides a pole support for the beans to climb. Low growing squash leaves shade the soil and prevent weed growth. Their sharp and prickly leaves deter pests. This tradition, of planting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, became a sustainable system to provide long-term soil fertility among Native American tribes that farmed. The wisdom of planting Three Sisters’ Garden was adopted by the immigrants, including our own Betsy Zook from The Return. Betsy learned of the technique while a captive among a tribe of Indians and later, after she had been returned to the Amish, shared her knowledge with Anna and Bairn.  

ThreeSistersGarden

Have you ever considered growing a Three Sisters’ garden? All you need is the right kind of seeds, a mound of dirt in a sunny spot, and to not forget to water. Mother Nature will do the rest. Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling, award-winning author of novels about the Old Order Amish. Her interest in the Plain People began with her grandfather, who was raised as a Dunkard (German Baptist) on a farm in Pennsylvania. Suzanne loves to connect with readers! You can find her on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.

*Images courtesy of Dream Home Improvement and Technology Exchange Lab

Blog Stops


Blog Stops

August 1: Quiet Quilter
August 1: Remembrancy
August 2: Bigreadersite
August 3: Genesis 5020
August 3: Book by Book
August 4: Carpe Diem
August 6: Artistic Nobody
August 7: Pause for Tales
August 7: Splashes of Joy
August 8: Live.Love.Read.
August 9: Mary Hake
August 9: Simple Harvest Reads (Spotlight)
August 11: The Power of Words
August 11: Karen Sue Hadley
August 12: Cafinated Reads
August 12: TinaTruelove
August 14: Vicky Sluiter
August 14: By The Book

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is doing an amazing giveaway from August 1 through 14! Check it out:
Four winners will receive one of the prizes below:
  • An Amish Gift Basket and a copy of The Return
  • Amish popcorn sampler and a copy of The Return
  • The Amish Beginning 3 book set series
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
You can enter at Suzanne’s website  (http://suzannewoodsfisher.com/contests/) or on her Facebook page (http://gvwy.io/q1kb9u4)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Crazy About Alaska: Alaska Dream Romance Book 3 By Shannon L. Brown

I received this book from the author for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own. 


Book Description: 

Two men are interested. She picked the wrong man once. Will she choose the right one now?
As a single mother and a real estate agent, Holly works hard. Climb a roof? Check. Work with her former, difficult professor? Maybe. She wants a husband who can love her and her twin girls. When other men run because she has kids, they become her secret.
College professor Adam enjoys his work, his dog . . . and his secret life. After his home burns, he needs to find a house in a hurry. Oh-so-appealing former student Holly is perfect for the job—and his heart. Adam has to win her before the other man does. When secrets are revealed, will love grow or die?


My Thoughts: 

Crazy About Alaska is the third book in Shannon L. Brown's series, Alaska Dream Romance and it is a good read. I haven't read any of Shannon L. Brown's other books but am definitely going backward to read this whole series. I read this book as a stand alone and Shannon L. Brown did a great job of catching new readers up and ensuring they don't feel lost. Shannon L. Brown writes with authority on Alaska, single parenthood, what it is to be a professor, real estate, and finding love. This book is a Christian Contemporary Romance Fiction, which I was not a fan of previously, but have found myself enjoying again. The characters in this book are interesting, definitely real people dealing with real life stuff. I really enjoyed Holly. Right from the start this character had me laughing at her predicaments. I wasn't so excited about her keeping her children a secret, but I understood it. I loved watching Holly's journey to love and faith.  I really enjoyed Shannon L. Brown's writing, I love Alaska and through her writing I felt like I was there. I really enjoyed this book and definitely have to pick up the other two books in this series. I have found a new to me author and I am excited to read more from Shannon L. Brown. I recommend this book and series to anyone who enjoys Contemporary Christian Romance, you will NOT be disappointed. I give this book 4 STARS 



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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


CrazyAboutAlaska_eBook-Amazon

Book title: Crazy about Alaska  
Author: Shannon L. Brown  
Release date: June 30, 2017  
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance  

Can she trust love? Holly has her eye on a handsome state trooper. Not on her boring, oh-so-serious, former professor, Adam. Having her toes curl when she’s near Adam must be ignored. Holly just wants a great dad for her twin girls. She’s going to find one, write a novel to fulfill her dreams, and create a happy life. Falling in love isn’t part of her plan.

About the Author


ShannonLBrown

Writing books that are fun and touch your heart Even though Shannon L. Brown always loved to read, she didn’t plan to be a writer. She earned two degrees from the University of Alaska, one in journalism/public communications, but didn’t become a journalist. Years passed. Shannon felt pulled into a writing life, testing her wings with a novel and moving on to articles. Shannon is now an award-winning journalist who has sold hundreds of articles to local, national, and regional publications. Shannon was born and raised in Alaska so she enjoyed writing the books in the Alaska Dream Romance series. “The Feather Chase” was her first published book and began the Crime-Solving Cousins Mystery series. The eight-to-twelve-year-olds in your life will enjoy this contemporary twist on a Nancy Drew-type mystery. Shannon lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her professor husband and adorable calico cat.

Guest Post from Shannon Brown

Open Doors When a character opens the door and steps from her world into mine, writing about her is easier. Holly Harris in Crazy About Alaska is a real estate agent, and I was once one. I’ve driven clients around and shown them houses only to have them go a different direction. My husband and I bought a new house a few years ago, so I have tales to tell from that experience too. (Readers may think the purple shower is made up. Think again.) I chose to bring a college professor into her life as a love interest. I’m married to one. Some of myself always finds its way into a story. Sometimes, it’s just something I might like to do. Holly’s sister Jemma rehabs furniture in Falling for Alaska, book one in the series. The idea for her business came while I was watching HGTV’s Flea Market Flip. Taking trash and making it beautiful sounds like something I’d like to try. Jemma also dislikes coffee and drinks tea. (Here I am again.) But she is not exactly me. She’s cooking challenged, and I’m a good cook. Does the story become about the author when she inserts herself into it? Reality is only a fun fraction of the book. Holly has two men vying for her affections. That never happened. (It might have been fun if it had!) She also has five-year-old twins. I never experienced that. By far the most challenging of the sisters in the series was Bree in book two, Loving Alaska. She’s a doctor, and my knowledge of the medical profession comes from sitting on the exam table, not from doing the exam. I spoke with doctors I knew and brought her to life. But Bree isn’t all made up either. She despises being in nature, especially camping. I’ve camped on a frozen river, beside a lake after canoeing or boating in, and many more places, but I’m with Bree and hotels are greatly preferred. There I am in the story again. Reading the books I’ve written helps you know who I am. I’m a woman with a big imagination who enjoys bringing stories to life. Oh, and that slightly sarcastic sense of humor you may notice with Jemma and Holly? That might be from me as well.

Blog Stops

Giveaway


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To celebrate this tour, Shannon Brown is giving away a grand prize of a book lovers gift basket – a basket filled with book-related things!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bb35

Grounded Hearts By Jeanne M. Dickson

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: 

In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.

Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.

But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?
 



My Thoughts:  

Grounded Hearts is the latest book from Jeanne M. Dickson and it is fantastic. I absolutely love to read debit books and authors and Jeanne M. Dickson is definitely a new author that is one my to read list. Besides this book being a debut it is also Christian Historical Fiction and Romance, so this book really drew my interest. Jeanne M. Dickson writes with authority on: World War II, our world during this time, Ireland,Canada, midwifery, and RAF pilots (Flyboys). As a fan of Historical Fiction I have read many books about WWII but haven't ever read about Ireland during this time. I love learning new things and this book definitely taught me a lot. I am part Irish and I am Catholic so I found a real connection with this book. I could not put this book down, start to finish it kept my interest and left me wanting more, signs of a great book. I truly enjoyed the cast of characters, the character that I really connected with is Nan O'Neil. She is Irish Catholic and she lives the Catholic life. Her Catholicism guides everything Nan does including the Catholic church’s views on suicide, confession, doing penance, Saints, and worship. Her heart to want to help Dutch, despite Ireland's neutrality law, which if Nan is caught, she faces imprisonment. As Nan takes care of Dutch, they find a connection that is so strong. I loved learning about my roots in this book. I found myself feeling a spectrum of emotions, I found myself laughing, holding my breath, and crying. This book really touched me. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction Historical Romance, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read more from Jeanne M. Dickson, she is a must read author. I give this book 5 STARS. 

A Letter From Lancaster County By Kate Lloyd

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:  

Two Sisters Get a Second Chance at Life and Love

Angela
Her mother's untimely death, a struggling marriage, a strained relationship with her sister, Rose, and regrets over what might have been haunt her. Despite being a wife and mother, she feels she has little to show for her life.

Rose
Still single, she longs for a husband and children. But Angela has all that and still isn't happy. Rose wants to be closer to her older sister, but she and Angela couldn't be more different. Both strong women, will their sibling rivalry ever end?

* * *When a letter arrives from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Angela and Rose decide to visit Aunt Silvia, their mother's Mennonite sister, in the heart of Amish country. This vacation could provide the opportunity both sisters need to sort out their issues. And yet instead of finding a new way of connecting with each other, Angela and Rose discover surprising family secrets that add to their strife and threaten Rose's romance with a new beau.

Through it all, the two sisters must find the faith necessary to face their personal problems and allow God to restore hope and healing to their hearts and relationship as only He can.



My Thoughts:  

A Letter From Lancaster County is the latest book in Kate Lloyd's new series, Lancaster Discoveries Series, and I loved it. As a huge fan of Amish Fiction this book was a have to read for me. This is the first book from Kate Lloyd  I have had the pleasure of reading and I am hooked. I found myself drawn to this book from the beautiful cover to the back cover book description. Kate Lloyd writes with authority on: The Amish and The Mennonite life, Seattle, Lancaster County, sibling rivalry, and finding faith. I could not put this book down, this book grabbed a hold of me from the first page until the very last one.  The characters are well written and very relatable. I found myself drawn to Angela and Rose. These sisters seem so different on the surface but that is just a facade. The rivalry has kept them from knowing each other truly. As they navigate the secrets that have been uncovered, they find they have to lean on each other and God to get through it all. I could relate with their struggles, as I have 2 other siblings and we struggle just as Rose and Angela. I also could relate to family secrets, since my Dad has passed many things have come to light that we never knew. I found their journey to finding their faith admirable. This book brought out many different emotions for me. In parts I found myself laughing in some parts, holding my breath in anticipation in others, and crying is some parts. I truly find Kate Lloyd's style of writing fantastic, as I read this book I felt like I was right there in Lancaster County being a part of the story. I have found a new to me author that I can't wait to read more from Kate Lloyd. I highly recommend this book and author to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction, you will NOT be disappointed. I give this book 5 STARS.


 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Cover Story: Branigan Powers Mystery Book 2 By Deb Richardson-Moore

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

Book Description:

A bizarre hit-and-run brings Branigan Powers back to the crime-solving beat
A fatal crash involving two college students heading home for the holidays seems like an unfortunate accident. But when the surviving girl wakens, she tells a curious story of the vehicle that forced them off the road--an old-fashioned, 1950s-style hearse.
Reporter Branigan Powers delves into the mystery that takes her to the college campus, and leads her into dangerous fraternity and sorority pledge parties.
Reunited with the homeless Malachi Martin, who is so adept at seeing what isn't there rather than what is, Branigan must uncover what is really going on at the college before other students are put in danger.
This second installment in the author's first cozy mystery series delves into the world of newspapers and life on the streets--both of which the author knows well.

My Thoughts: 

 The Cover Story is the second book in Deb Richardson-Moore's Branigan Powers series and I love it! I had the pleasure of reading the first Branigan Powers book, The Cantaloupe Thief, so when this latest book came out I HAD to read it. This is a Christian Mystery Story and it is fantastic. This story definitely grabs you from the start and doesn't let go until the end. Again Branigan is part of an investigation as a reporter and an Aunt. In this book we meet new characters and also read about favorites from the first book. I loved being part of another Branigan Mystery, right there with her as she digs deeper into this latest situation. I absolutely love the character, Branigan Powers. She is a sensitive, strong woman who does everything in her power to find the truth and report the truth. I could NOT put this book down. I love Deb Richardson-Moore's style of writing, she knows how to write an incredible story that keeps readers at the edge of their seats. This book definitely brought out many emotions, I found myself laughing in parts, crying in some, and holding breath in others. All makings of a great mystery. I recommend reading The Cantaloupe Thief first. I cannot say enough good about this book! I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Mystery books, you will not be disappointed in this story or this author. I cannot wait to read more of this series! I definitely give this book and author 5 STARS.

Israel-God's Heart: Landscapes and Legacy By Ron Gafni and Kathleen Barrett

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: 

 Many of us only dream of traveling to the Holy Land. Very few, like Israel's top aerial photographer, Ron Gafni, soar above the craggy mountain ranges of Masada, the salty Dead Sea, and the iconic locations where Jesus walked. "Israel - God's Heart - Landscapes and Legacy," beautifully captures the ancient landscapes of this great nation, as well as presents the legacy of God's Redemption plan for the world.

As you slowly turn the pages, you will find unexpected vantage points, such as the Tower of David surrounded by city lights and fast paced cars. And, a hot air balloon floating over a field of cotton. From a bird's eye view, you will also experience a vibrant, bustling, modern Israel. Biblical references and thoughtful narrative, by Author Kathleen Barrett, intertwines with awe inspiring photography to bring you to the Holy Land time and time again.


My Thoughts: 

Israel- God's Heart is a beautiful book filled with breathtaking photographs of modern day Israel and great narrative about the Holy Land. Between the narrative and the photographs I HAD to read this book. I loved seeing Israel through Ron Gafni and Kathleen Barrett's eyes. I attened private school for 8 years and we studied and learned the maps of the Bible so I found myself drawn in to the differences and just how beautiful the Holy Land is. I have always wanted to see the Holy Land myself and now I am even more drawn to see it. This book helped satisfy this desire to go. The photographs of all of this land really puts you there seeing this incredible landscape. The colors are vibrant, showing the very important pieces in our history, God's artwork. I found the scriptures and descriptions enhancing the photographs. I have read through the book at least 20 times, seeing new things each time. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves photographs and wants to see the Holy Land. I give this book 5+ STARS. 

I apologize for the lateness of this review.

The Captain's Daughter: London Beginnings Book 1 By Jennifer Delamere

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

Book Description: 

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater which is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

An injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.


My Thoughts: 

The Captain's Daughter is the first book in Jennifer Delamere's latest series, London Beginnings, and it is fantastic. This is the first book by Jennifer Delamere I have had the pleasure of reading and I can't wait to read more. Jennifer Delamere writes with authority on England especially London during the Victorian Era, India and the Army at that time, the theater, and actors and actresses. I found myself drawn to the cover of this book, it is beautiful and well done. When I read the description I HAD to read it. As a HUGE fan of Christian Historical Fiction this book was a must read for me.  I found Jennifer Delamere's style of writing inviting, the pace of the story was good, and the story kept me engaged from start to finish. The characters in this book were well written and real people dealing with real life during this time. I really enjoyed the characters in this book but I think my favorite was Rosalyn. She is a strong, kind person whose faith is unbreakable. The circumstances she finds herself in she handles with grace. I enjoyed her story. I found myself unable to put this book down. From start to finish I felt like I was there with Rosalyn on her journey.  I have found a new must read author in Jennifer Delamere and cannot wait to read this next book in this series. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction especially during the Victorian Era, you will not be disappointed.  I give this book 5 STARS. 

I want to apologize to Jennifer Delamere and Litfuse Publicity for the lateness of this review.  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Runaway By Claire Wong

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

Book Description: 

Shortly before her eighteenth birthday, Rhiannon Morgan runs away from the remote Welsh village of Llandymna. Camping out in Dyrys Woods, she starts to make a new life for herself. In the woods she finds space for her active imagination--weaving together the stories she loves and memories of her past, including the mother she lost thirteen years ago.

Back in the village, Rhiannon's disappearance triggers a series of events that uncover the cracks in Llandymna's quiet surface. Relationships become frayed as a young police officer is forced to investigate his neighbors, and the village's elderly storyteller hints at a secret that the older generation has kept for decades. But as painful as the village's past may be, it may hold the key for hope in the present...

Claire Wong's strong debut explores how human relationships develop, how we change as we interact with one another, and the role of folktales and mythology in small communities.
 


My Thoughts: 

 The Runaway is Claire Wong's debut novel and I enjoyed it. As my readers know I absolutely love reading new authors so that first drew me to this book, also the cover art and the back cover description really caught my attention. I enjoyed this book and this authors writing. The whole story is definitely different in a good way. Claire Wong writes with authority about Wales, small town hierarchy, teenagers, and surviving in the woods. The village where this story takes place, Llandymna, is a fictional village in the hills of mid-Wales. Small and remote, it has stood there for hundreds of years on the edge of a vast forest. Today, it consists of a church, a primary school, a pub and a local shop, all surrounded by houses and fields. I loved the village and could totally picture it in my mind. I really like Claire Wong's style of writing, she definitely puts her readers right there and her seamless transitions from past to present make for a cohesive story line.  The characters in this story are unique and well written. I can't say that there is one character that I liked more or less. These characters are set in their ways but a 17 year old running away makes them realize the changes that need to be made in their ways and how they leaned on their faith.  I found myself intrigued by this story with its fairy tale like premise. I highly recommend this book to adults and teens alike. I am excited to read more from Claire Wong, she is on my list of authors to read! I give this book 4 STARS.

Local Poet By Paul Trembling

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

Book Description:

Rob doesn't know Laney Grey. But when she steps out in front of his van and dies on impact, his life will never be the same. He has to know who she was, why she chose to die, and why he had to be part of her death.

To understand her, he must learn to read her poetry. To know her, he must unravel the mysteries of her past. As Laney's dark secret starts to come to light, and authorities get involved, Rob must learn the full truth and quickly.

But truth comes at a cost and someone must pay...will Rob be the one?


"Paul Trembling has spun a tense, haunting, beautiful tale in this literary thriller. The story of Laney Grey and the man who killed her will stay with you for a long time." -Fiona Veitch Smith, CWA shortlisted author of The Jazz Files.

"A note-worthy start to a smashing new series populated by characters you will not soon forget. Action mounts. Dark mysteries deepen...how long can you hold your breath?" -Edna Buchanan, author of the Britt Montero series.


My Thoughts: 

Local Poet is Paul Trembling's latest book and it is very good. This book is the first in a series.  Paul Trembling is a new to me author and I am so glad I had the pleasure of reading it. This book is a Christian Suspense/Mystery Fiction, which I am a huge fan of.  Paul Trembling writes with authority on: London and the areas around it, police procedures, the  RTC (Road Traffic Collision), poetry, and investigating. This book is not a long book but in the 176 pages Paul Trembling writes an intense story that really grabbed me and kept me guessing until the end. I found myself unable to put this book down. The characters in this book are well written and not always what they seem. I found myself drawn to Rob, as this story is told from his perspective. His character goes through a lot and has a tough time when things are not in his control. He definitely goes through a transformation because of this accident and what he finds out about the victim, Laney, and her poetry.  I enjoyed Paul Trembling's writing style, his ability to write so much in a shorter book and transitions between past and present seamlessly. I cannot wait to read the books in this series. At the end of this book there is a snippet from the next book in this series and WOW it definitely has piqued my interest. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys Suspense/Mystery stories, you will not be disappointed. I give this book 4.5 STARS.

I would also like to apologize for the lateness of this review to Paul Trembling and Kregel Publications, there is no excuse for the lateness. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race By Mike H. Mizrahi

 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:  


Chattanooga society is turned upside down as a young woman has the audacity to ride a bicycle–in bloomers!
It’s 1895. Anna Gaines, 19, struggles to conquer her insecurities after a horrible fall years ago from her beloved horse, Longstreet. On a visit with her aunt in Brooklyn, she’s drawn to the new pastime of bicycling. But back at home, cycling is a scandalous sport for a proper lady. Southern women did not engage in activities meant for men.
Anna has her eye on Peter Sawyer, president of the Cycling Club. As community outrage grows, an unexpected turn of events pits Anna against Peter in a race between the sexes.
Will Anna prove that women deserve the same right as men to ride “the wheel?” Will she choose to live a quiet, traditional life of a housewife and mother? Or will she pursue college and become one of the “new women” emerging into the twentieth century on the seat of a bicycle? What will become of the spark between Anna and Peter?
Faith, patience, and courage help Anna to become the person she was meant to be.


My Thoughts:   

The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race is the latest book by Mike H. Mizrahi and I think it is great! Mike H. Mizrahi is a new to me author and I am so glad I read it. As a HUGE fan of Christian Historical Fiction, this book really drew my interest. The cover of this book is beautiful and really drew my interest. Mike H. Mazrahi writes with authority about: the United States during 1895 especially the South and New York, life in Chattanooga, the social hierarchy in the South, cycling, women's movement in 1895, racing, and fashion during 1895. I found myself unable to put this book down, from start to finish it grabbed a hold of me and held me until the end. I like Mike H. Mizrahi's writing style, it really put me right there watching the events unfold and his transitions from Chattanooga and New York were seamless.  Even though this is a work of fiction, it had many facts in it and learned a lot about bicycling and the movement for women to be able to ride bicycles with men. I love it when I learn new things while I read. The characters in this book are well written and are real people dealing with real things. I found myself drawn to Anna. She is a kind soul who has had to overcome some big obstacles to get to where she is. As she sees more of the world, she finds something that makes her happy, but finds herself up against society hierarchy to do this. She fights for her beliefs and does her best to try and balance her love of cycling and her love of her family. I found myself laughing in parts, crying in parts, and holding my breath.I have found another must read author after reading this book.  This is a wonderful book and I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will NOT be disappointed.  I cannot wait to read more from Mike H. Mazrahi. I give this book 5 STARS.
 



 Take a ride through 1895 Chattanooga as it's turned upside down when a young woman has the audacity to ride a bicycle-in bloomers-in Mike H. Mizrahi's new book, The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race! Anna Gaines, 19, struggles to conquer her insecurities after a horrible fall years ago from her beloved horse, Longstreet. On a visit to Brooklyn, she's drawn to the new pastime of bicycling. But back at home, cycling is a scandalous sport for a proper lady. Anna has her eye on Peter Sawyer, president of the Cycling Club. As community outrage grows, an unexpected turn of events pits Anna against Peter in a race between the sexes.

Celebrate the release of Mike's new book by entering to win his $75 Amazon gift card giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race
  • A $75 Amazon gift card
Enter today by clicking the banner below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on June 14. The winner will be announced June 15 on Mike's blog.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Driver Confessional: Volume 1 of The Driver Series By David Winters

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


Book Description: 

Ride share driver Antonio cruises the streets of Washington, D.C. looking for his next fare.
He has an unusual gift for relaxing his customers and stimulating their desire to reveal more than they planned. By the completion of their ride, many feel so comfortable that they confess their sins great and small. Antonio’s faith guides his discussions and points him in new directions. Suddenly, his peaceful world is turned upside down by a mysterious business woman. As she heads to a midnight rendezvous, she confesses more than Antonio can handle. Her story sends him into a world of espionage, international terrorism and danger.


My Thoughts: 

Driver Confessional is the first book in  David Winters new series, The Driver Series, and it is great! This is the first book of David Winters that I have had the pleasure of reading. This book really caught my attention from the images on the cover to the description on the back. As a fan of Christian Mystery/Suspense books I was eager to read this great book. David Winters writes with authority about the streets of Washington D.C., sharing faith with others, international issues, and giving advice to help others. I found myself unable to put this book down. This book is a fast paced, keeping you guessing until the end. The characters in this book are definitely interesting and not always who they seem. I really enjoyed Antonio. He does what he can for others, sharing his faith. I find that so admirable and something to be admired He put himself in harms way to help. I loved this character. I truly enjoyed David Winters writing. His writing made me feel like I was there. Heart pounding suspense, I found myself also laughing in some parts and holding my breath in others. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Suspense books, you will NOT be disappointed. I give this book 4 STARS.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

True to You: A Bradford Sisters Romance Book 1 By Becky Wade

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

Book Description: 


Exciting Start of a Brand-New Series by a Contemporary Romance Fan Favorite

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John's already dating someone and Nora's not sure she's ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another. 


My Thoughts: 

True to You is the first book in Becky Wade's newest series, The Bradford Sisters Romance and it is a fantastic start to this series.  I am a big fan of Becky Wade's. I enjoy her Christian Contemporary Romance books.  Becky Wade writes with authority about Genealogy, running businesses, libraries, baking and cooking, running a bed and breakfast, rare diseases, and having faith even in the face of disappointment and mortality. I love Becky Wade's style of writing, her books are well researched and really makes me feel like I am right there experiencing everything. I could not put this book down, from start to finish I hated having to stop reading for the day. The characters are well written and are real people with messy lives. My favorite characters had to be Nora and her sisters. They have a connection that makes them sisters and friends. They love doing for each other and others and are brave to put themselves out there to try different things and support one another, cheerleaders.  They give each other hope and encourages each others faith in God.  I found myself definitely wanting this kind of sibling relationship. This book brings out many emotions like laughing, crying, despair, and hope. I truly enjoyed this book! I cannot wait to read the other 2 books in this series!! I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Contemporary Fiction, this book and this author. I give this 5+STARS.  Please check out below. Wonderful contest.


Do opposites really attract? John and Nora might just be the perfect match. Find out in True to You, book one in Becky Wade's new series! Genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now. Former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

Celebrate the launch of Becky Wade's new series by entering to win a fabulous prize pack and $100 cash card!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of True to You
  • A $100 Visa cash card
  • A prize pack hand-picked by Becky

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 30. The winner will be announced May 31 on the Litfuse blog.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Lady in Disguise: The Daughters of Hampshire Book 3 By Sandra Byrd

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

Book Description: 

In this intriguing novel of romance, mystery, and clever disguise set in Victorian England, a young woman investigates the murder of her own father.

After the mysterious death of her father, Miss Gillian Young takes a new job as the principal costume designer at the renowned Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. But while she remembers her father as a kind, well-respected man of the Police Force, clues she uncovers indicate he’d been living a double life: a haunting photograph of a young woman; train stubs for secret trips just before his death; and a receipt for a large sum of money. Are these items evidence of her father’s guilty secrets? His longtime police partner thinks so.

Then Gillian meets the dashing Viscount Thomas Lockwood. Their attraction is instant and inescapable. As their romantic involvement grows, Gillian begins to suspect even Lockwood’s motives. Does Lord Lockwood truly love her? Or is his interest a front for the desire to own her newly inherited property? And what should she make of her friend’s suggestion that Lockwood or men like him were involved in the murder of her father?

Soon Gillian is convinced that her father has left evidence somewhere that can prove his innocence and reveal the guilty party. But someone wants to stop her from discovering it. The closer she comes to uncovering it, the more menacing her opposition grows. With her life on the line, Gillian takes on an ingenious disguise and takes on the role of a lifetime to reveal the true killer—before it’s too late both for her and for those that she loves.


My Thoughts: 

A Lady in Disguise is the latest book in Sandra Byrd's series, The Daughters of Hampshire and it is just awesome. I am a huge fan of Sandra Byrd's and have read all three books in this series.  As a huge fan of Christian Victorian Era books these books drew my interest. I LOVE the cover of this book, really fits what is inside. Sandra Byrd writes with authority about Victorian Era, the world at this time, police procedure, the theatre, costume designing, and hierarchy.  This book had a little bit of everything in it: mystery, romance, action, suspense, and history. Each book in this series has gotten better and this third one I believe is the best yet! From cover to cover this is a good read. I couldn't put it down from page 1 until the end and this book kept me at the edge of my seat. The characters in this book are very complex and some are not what they seem. I really enjoyed Gillian and her girls. Four in total they took care of each other and support each other. Gillian thought she was saving them and she did but they also saved her. Gillian lost both her parents and as she tries to make sense of her fathers death and her mothers death years before. Gillian is a good Christian woman who does everything she can to honor her parents wishes and do right by them. I loved that she was a costume designer. I learned so much about costume designing and about the pantomime children of the theatre, what happens as they get older. I love history, even in fiction books there are a lot of of historical facts to learn about. I found myself laughing in parts of this book and in other parts crying not only because of sadness but also tears of joy. This book can be read as a stand alone but really recommend reading them all, you will NOT be disappointed.  I give this book 5+ STARS.
I also need to apologize to Sandra Byrd for the lateness of this review. I finished it a while ago but didn't post it right away. I am sorry.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Joy of Letting Go: Releasing Your Teen into Real Life in the Big World By Vicki Caruana

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


Book Description: 

Parents let go of their children every day, even in ways they don’t realize. The 52 devotional readings within shine a light on all the times readers have loosened their grip on their children and encourages them to continue to let go in life-giving ways. Written by a parenting and education expert, The Joy of Letting Go will comfort and inspire parents in all seasons of parenting.

My Thoughts: 

The Joy of Letting Go:Releasing Your Teen into Real Life in the Big World is Vicki Caruana's latest devotional and it is a good one. This is the first book by Vicki Caruana I have had the pleasure of reading. I was drawn to the beautiful cover and the title. I am a mom of 3 children and we are beginning to empty our nest, which is something that has been a rough to wrap my head around. Our oldest is almost 21 years old and has gotten her first apartment, something that is part of the process of growing up but just never thought about it being real. We have a 19 yr old getting ready to graduate high school and 15 year old who in a few short years will be making his way in the world. Vicki Caruana opened my eyes that from the first steps, our children are becoming independent, bit by bit less dependent. I found this book to be almost a balm for me as I process my babies are not babies anymore and that little by little we have given them the independence for this day to come and how to feel happiness for them as they continue to grow.  I enjoyed each week of devotionals and plan to reread this book especially when I am down. I definitely learned much from this book and author. I highly recommend this book to any parent, this speaks to any stage of development and really gives encouragement. I cannot wait to read more from Vicki Caruana. I give this book 4 STARS. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Behind The Scenes:Apart From the Crowd book one By Jen Turano

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

Book Description: 

Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn't guaranteed to "take." After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she's finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym "Miss Quill."

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it's simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.
When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she's determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she'll end up at risk as well.

As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there's more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .


My Thoughts: 

Behind the Scenes is the first book in Jen Turano's latest series, Apart From the Crowd, and it is great. As a huge fan of Christian Historical Fiction I have read a few of Jen Turano's books and this one did NOT disappoint. I love the cover and definitely an eye catcher. From cover to cover I couldn't put this book down. So much history and I love that because I learn about things I didn't know before. Jen Turano is one of the Top Ten Christian Historical writer.  I love her style of writing, it puts the reader right there in the middle of the events going on.  The characters in this book truly made me laugh very hard. Permilia and Asher's interactions reminded me of couples in old movies. Their fun was a much needed comic relief. I highly recommend this book and author to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed by any of Jen Turano's books. I felt this one was one of her best. The next book in this series is Out of the Ordinary, and I can't wait to read it! I give this book 4.5 STARS.  Please check out the information below to find out about the author, the book, and an interview with Jen Turano.



  
behind-the-scenes
 Click to order your copy

About the Book

BehindtheScenes_mck.indd


Book: Behind the Scenes  

Author: Jen Turano  

Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance  

Release Date: April, 2017

Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn’t guaranteed to “take.” After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she’s finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill.”

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it’s simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country. When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she’s determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she’ll end up at risk as well.

As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there’s more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .

About the Author

  jen-turano


Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

Interview With Jen Turano

  1. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you personally?

Amusing things happen to me all the time, but I think my favorite was back in college when I was a lifeguard. You see, there’s a lifeguard code – You will be cool at all times, especially when you’re sitting in a lifeguard chair, twirling your whistle exactly so, and, you know…looking cool. So, there I was, in my black lifeguard bathing suit – swinging my whistle. It was an unusually hot day, so I’d angled my umbrella exactly right as I watched the diving-board section. Now, I know this might come as a surprise, but being a lifeguard at the neighborhood pool isn’t exactly thrilling. It’s rare that anything exciting happens, and that particular day was no exception…until a large gust of wind came out of nowhere and the umbrella took it upon itself to close – right over me. And because it was now really gusty, the umbrella then lifted up, taking me with it right off the chair and into the depths of the deep end of the pool. From all accounts, it was quite the sight. First, there I was, swinging my whistle and looking groovy. Then all you could see were my legs flailing about as the umbrella covered the rest of me, and then…I was plummeting toward the pool, hit the water with the umbrella over me, and promptly sank. Obviously I managed to get out of the umbrella, but in the process, part of my bathing suit came off, and…well, that’s a story for another day.

  1. What is your favorite book from your childhood?

“Andrew Henry’s Meadow.” It was actually my little brother’s book, gotten from one of those book of the month clubs, but I loved it. I recently found a copy on an e-site and ordered it, and it’s just as delightful today as it was back in my childhood.

  1. Who does the cooking and cleaning in your house when you are on a deadline?

I don’t actually cook much even when I’m not on deadline, so that’s not really an issue. Al and I do a lot of salads or throw some chicken on the grill. We also have a lot of grocery stores that have wonderful deli and gourmet foods, so we get a lot of things there. As for cleaning, I’m one of those neurotic people who can’t work without everything being in place, so I do a lot of tidying up before I go to bed. And, because I do some of my best thinking when I clean, I’ve been known to abandon my writing when I get stuck and pick up a mop or cleaning rag, which means my house is rarely a disaster since I need to get unstuck a lot.

  1. Where is your favorite place to write?

I do the majority of my writing in my office, although I will occasionally take a pad of paper and a pen outside to handwrite when I get bored of my office or it’s a really nice day and I don’t feel like being trapped inside. It’s not that my office is my favorite place to write, it’s more that my writing is my job and I’m more focused on that writing when I approach it as such.

  1. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I really like when characters and new story ideas begin to fester. That normally happens when I’m in the midst of another series. By the time I’m done with whatever series I’m working on, the next series is pretty firmly set in my mind, which means I can jump right in as I wait for edits on recently completed work. My absolute favorite part of writing, though, is when I turn in the very final edit on a book and don’t see it again until it comes out in print. Although, I must admit, I’ve never, not once, read one of my books after it has gone to print. Seems rather pointless since I do always know how the book is going to end.

  1. Why did you choose the timeframe or setting this book is written in?

I’ve been wanting to set a book during Alva Vanderbilt’s famous costume ball of March, 1883, for years. Since I decided to slowly travel through the Gilded Age, I just reached 1883 on my plot timeline, so knew I was finally going to get to throw some characters into the very midst of Alva’s ball. It was a blast to write, loved going back to all my books on this particular ball and seeing the pictures, and only wish the Vanderbilt house at 660 Fifth Avenue was still standing so I could visit it in person to visualize the splendors located inside a little more clearly.

  1. What inspires you?

I think like most writers, I simply get inspired by the world around me. I love to people watch, and I love to imagine all sorts of outlandish scenarios as I do that watching. I also get inspired by reading the headlines of the daily papers, and by the research books I read. I also love to look through old photographs of the Gilded Age, and became intrigued with Alva Vanderbilt’s ball when I saw a picture of a young lady, Miss Kate Strong, with a stuffed cat on her head and wearing a choker necklace with the name Puss engraved on it. That was all it took for me to investigate the Vanderbilt ball further, delighted to discover it truly was a ball that only comes along every blue moon.

Blog Stops

April 27: The Scribbler
April 27: Genesis 5020
April 28: Back Porch Reads
April 29: Bookworm Mama
April 30: Radiant Light
April 30: Bigreadersite
April 30: Lane Hill House
May 3: Book by Book
May 5: Baker Kella

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card and the four books: After a Fashion, In Good Company, Playing the Part, Behind the Scenes!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04910/