Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Christmas Admirer By Laura V. Hilton

I received this book from Celebrate Lit Blogger Program and Laura V. Hilton for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own. 

Book Description: 

 Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but when his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, he was now the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters. What woman would want to put up with that? Still, against his better judgment, he can’t help leaving her a gift now and then, anonymously addressing her name in big block print, just to catch a smile. Roses one month, maple syrup candy another; and maybe this time, something special for Christmas.
Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, but now the clock is ticking. Her father is selling his glass-blowing business, remarrying in January, and moving to Iowa with his bossy wife-to-be. Angry and frustrated, Susanna realizes she’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah?

My Thoughts: 

The Christmas Admirer is the latest book from Laura V. Hilton and I really enjoyed it. As a HUGE fan of Amish Fiction, I have been lucky to read and review a few book by Laura V. Hilton. I am not usually one to read holiday books but this one seemed different than the others I have seen, and I was right. Laura V. Hilton writes with authority on all things Amish, Jamesport, Missouri, glass blowing, secret admirers, grief, and responsibility to family. I find myself immersed in any book I read from Laura V. Hilton, her style of writing is great and it draws the reader in from the start until the very end. I found myself unable to put this book down. I loved the characters in this book, good or bad, they are well written and real people with real life issues. I found myself drawn in my Susanna. Her desire to please, especially her father who makes life altering decisions for her. She faces many hurts and obstacles but still has faith and believes in love. I found her story to inspiring. This book has a little bit of everything: Romance, mystery,and Christmas magic. This book is one of my favorites that will stay with me for a long time to come. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction and/or Christmas stories you will not be disappointed.  I cannot wait to read more from Laura V Hilton, she is one of my top Amish authors. I give this book 5 STARS.

Please check out more information about this book and author. And of course a great holiday giveaway.



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About the Book

Christmas admirer

Name of book: The Christmas Admirer  
Author: Laura V Hilton  
Genre: Amish Romance  
Release Date: September 5, 2017  

Amish romance fans will love this heartwarming holiday story, perfect for gift-giving. Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but when his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, he was now the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters. What woman would want to put up with that? Still, against his better judgment, he can’t help leaving her a gift now and then, anonymously addressing her name in big block print, just to catch a smile. Roses one month, maple syrup candy another; and maybe this time, something special for Christmas. Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, but now the clock is ticking. Her father is selling his glass-blowing business, remarrying in January, and moving to Iowa with his bossy wife-to-be. Angry and frustrated, Susanna realizes she’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah?
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Laura Hilton

Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Amish of Jamesport includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. In spring 2016 she released The Amish Firefighter with the setting in Jamesport, MO, the same as for The Amish Wanderer. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

Guest Post from Laura V. Hilton

Glass Blowing and The Christmas Admirer
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Right before my youngest son joined the Coast Guard we went on a short mini-vacation to Springfield, Missouri, actually going farther north almost to Kansas City to see another Amish community near there in Osceola. There is a cheese factory there and my son wanted to try some of their cheeses – such as a ghost pepper cheese. Too spicy for me. But upon the return to Springfield, Steve read about a glass blowers shop in the downtown area. We found the address and went to visit it. It is owned by an older gentleman and his son. They had a display area set up where people could see their wares and buy them and then a work area where the son mostly worked, and talked about how the fire needed to be so hot, and showed us how he worked and made things. As we watched, he made a lovely flower, a lily, in different colors of glass, green, white, pinks. It was fascinating. And I got to thinking what if…

 glass-blowing-1

So I did some more research. Asked questions. Probably drove them nuts. But when Whitaker House indicated they’d be interested in a Christmas novel, I proposed one about a glass blower. The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and while completely stand alone, it does have some continuing characters from other books I’ve written set in Jamesport. If you are interested, the books set there are: Amish Books set in Jamesport, Missouri: The Snow Globe The Postcard The Birdhouse The Amish Firefighter The Amish Wanderer The Kissing Bridge (part of Springs of Love collection) The Christmas Admirer Gingerbread Wishes (part of A Plain Thanksgiving collection–November 2018) Love by the Numbers (February 2018)  

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 I haven’t read any books about an Amish glass blower, but that’s not to say they aren’t out there. I haven’t read all the Amish books available. Jamesport is an area that is more tourist-oriented than the books set in Seymour / Webster County Missouri. They give buggy tours, have bed and breakfasts, open their homes for visitors to eat supper with them, and have businesses. All Amish districts are different and the rules vary depending on the bishop and preachers. Some are more liberal and some more conservative. Some keep themselves distant and don’t welcome attention from non-Amish and some embrace it. While Jamesport is not as touristy as some districts in Lancaster Pennsylvania or in Ohio, it is much more so than others.

Susanna’s Cranberry Salad

Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the first six ingredients until blended. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Just before serving, fold cream and walnuts into cranberry mixture.Makes 16 servings.

Susanna’s Cranberry Sauce

For on top of turkey sandwiches as Becca requested
Ingredients
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water or orange juice
Directions
In colander, rinse cranberries. In sauce pan, add water or orange juice and sugar, boil until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook about 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries had burst. Let cool.

Susanna’s “Love Portion” Gingerbread

Ingredients
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup shortening, melted slightly
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ c water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
Directions
Shift together flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside. In mixing bowl, mix shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are absorbed. Divide dough into three pieces, pat down until about 1 ½ inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut in desired shapes. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes in preheated oven. Cool on wire racks. When cool, decorate as desired.

Blog Stops

ASC Book Reviews, November 9
Books n Baubles, November 9
Janices book review, November 9
Have A Wonderful Day, November 10
A Greater Yes, November 10
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 11
A Holland Reads, November 12
Simple Harvest Reads, November 12
Beck To Basics, November 13
Carpe Diem, November 13
Christian Bookaholic, November 14
Baker Kella, November 16
Quiet Quilter, November 16
Karen Sue Hadley, November 16
Pause for Tales, November 17
Pursuing Stacie, November 17
For The Love of Books, November 18
Blogging With Carol, November 18
Bigreadersite, November 19
Vicky Sluiter, November 19
SusanLovesBooks, November 19
Moments Dipped in Ink, November 20
New Horizon Reviews, November 20
Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 22
Daysong Reflections, November 22
Splashes of Joy, November 22

Giveaway

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In honor of her tour, Laura is giving away
Grand Prize Package: The Christmas Admirer, “Unto Us a Child is Born” painting on decorative serving plate by Donna White, The Hearthside Collection, Inc., and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).
1st Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and The Very First Christmas by Juliet David with interactive illustrations by Pauline Siewert (children’s book). 2nd Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and “The Woman Who Honors The Lord Shall Be Praised” myrrh-scented candle from abba Jerusalem!
Click the link to enter!Click the link to enter!

Liar’s Winter: An Appalachian Novel By Cindy Sproles

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


Book Description: 

 The choices you make determine who you are. Not no mark."
Lochiel Ogle was born with a red-wine birthmark—and it put her life in jeopardy from the moment she entered the world. Mountain folks called it "the mark of the devil," and for all the evil that has plagued her nineteen-year existence, Lochiel is ready to believe that is true. And the evil surely took control of the mind of the boy who stole her as an infant, bringing her home for his mother to raise.
Abused and abandoned by the only people she knows as family, Lochiel is rescued by a peddler and given the first glimpse of love she has ever known. The truth of her past is gradually revealed as is the fact that she is still hunted by a brother driven to see her dead. Unsure if there's anyone she can truly trust, Lochiel is faced with a series of choices: Will she continue to run for escape or will she face her past and accept the heartbreaking secrets it reveals? Which will truly free her?
Set in the wild and beautiful Appalachian Mountains of nineteenth-century East Tennessee, Liar's Winter is an unflinching yet inspirational exploration of prejudice and choice.

My Thoughts: 

 Liar's Winter is the latest book by Cindy Sproles and it is wonderful. I had the pleasure of reading her book, Mercy's Rain, so I was thankful for the opportunity to read this book. As a fan of Christian Historical Fiction, this book was appealing. I found myself drawn in by the the cover art and when I started reading I couldn't put it down. Cindy Sproles writes with authority on the United States especially East Tennessee during 1893, The Appalachian Mountains, superstitions, Mountain Folks, the hierarchy in this society, and the choices that have to be made in life.  I was taken in from the first page and it kept me guessing until then end, wanting more. Cindy Sproles writing style is mesmerizing, she really puts her readers right there, watching the events unfold. I found the characters in this book to well written and real to life. I think my favorite character is Lochiel. From birth to she is an adult she has to fight to live a full life. She is a survivor, who endured years of abuse and abandonment. As she is faced with her realities she needs to make the choice to survive and forgive all her past hurts. I found Lochiel an inspiration to keep fighting and to have faith. I cannot say enough good about this book and author. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed.  I cannot wait to read more from Cindy Sproles, definitely on my must read author list!! I give this book 5 STARS.


I would like to apologize to Cindy Sproles  and Kregel Publications for the extreme lateness of this review. I am sorry I didn't post this on time during the tour. No excuse for it.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey: The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey (Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace Book 3 By Carolyn Miller

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


Book Description: 

Will a damaged reputation and desire for society's approval thwart the legacy of grace?

Tainted by scandal and forced to leave London for the quieter Brighton countryside, the Honorable Miss Clara DeLancey is a shadow of her former society self. She's lost the man she loved to another and, in a culture that has no patience for self-pity, is struggling with depression. A chance encounter brings her a healing friendship with the sisters of an injured naval captain. But Clara's society mama is appalled at the new company she's keeping.

Captain Benjamin Kemsley is not looking for a wife. But his gallant spirit won't let him ignore the penniless viscount's daughter--not when she so obviously needs assistance to keep moving forward from day to day. Can he protect his heart and still keep her safe?

When they're pushed into the highest echelons of society at the Prince Regent's Brighton Pavilion, this mismatched couple must decide if family honor is more important than their hopes. Can they right the wrongs of the past and find future happiness together--without finances, family support, or royal favor?


My Thoughts: 

The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey  is the latest book in Carolyn Miller's A Legacy of Grace series and it is GREAT!! As a huge fan of Christian Historical/Regency Fiction this book and author I was excited to read it.  Carolyn Miller is an awesome writer whose books I love to read. Carolyn Miller writes with authority about England in 1815, the hierarchy, societal mores of the time, depression and the stigmas, and the Navy.  I have read the first two books in this series and each one gets better. From start to finish this book had a hold of me and left me wanting more. I find Carolyn Miller's style of writing intriguing, her ability to put the readers right there as the events unfold is unique. The characters in this book are well written and real to life. I found myself connecting with Clara. Her struggles with depression really spoke to me as I go through depression. Her ability to forgive and find love again is inspiring. Her strength and perseverance are just admirable. I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book and series. I highly recommend this book and series to anyone who enjoys Christian Regency Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read more from Carolyn Miller. She is on my must read author list. I give this book 5 STAR.

I apologize to Kregel Publications and Carolyn Miller for the lateness of this review.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Rescued Hearts: A Novel By Hope Toler Dougherty

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: 

Children’s clothing designer Mary Wade Kimball’s soft spot for animals leads to a hostage situation when she spots a briar- entangled kitten in front of an abandoned house. Beaten, bound, and gagged by the two thugs inside, Mary Wade loses hope for escape when a third villain returns with supplies.
Discovering the kidnapped woman ratchets the complications for undercover agent Brett Davis. Weighing the difference of ruining his three months’ investigation against the woman’s safety, Brett forsakes his mission and helps her escape, the bent-on-revenge brutes following behind.
When Mary Wade’s safety is threatened once more, Brett rescues her again. This time, her personal safety isn’t the only thing in jeopardy. Her heart is endangered as well.

 My Thoughts: 

Rescued Hearts is the latest book by Hope Toler Dougherty and it is wonderful! This is the first book by Hope Toler Dougherty that I have had the pleasure of reading. As a big fan of Christian romance and suspense fiction this book really grabbed a hold of me. As I found out more about this author, I found it interesting that the other books she has written are all different Christian Fiction books. Hope Toler Dougherty writes with authority about different types of crafts including sewing and crocheting, teaching others to do these things including children, designing children's clothes, undercover procedure, and hostage situations. From the start, this book starts with a bang and keeps you guessing until the end. I found myself unable to put this book down. I enjoyed Mary Wade Kimball's style of writing, her writing is fast paced and definitely keeps you on your toes. This book has many characters, good and bad, are well written and definitely interesting. I found myself drawn to Brett's Grandma, Gigi. She is a wise woman, who adds some laughs and does what she can to help everyone. I really found this book enjoyable. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this book and I love those kinds of stories! I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys Christian Suspense/Romance fiction, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read more from Hope Toler Dougherty. I give this 5 STARS. 


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Small Book About a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace By Edward T. Welch

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: 

Look closely at any day and we can usually find anger in both our actions and attitudes. Things spill or go missing, we get stuck in traffic, and the people we live and work with often make life even harder. We want to stay calm, but what do you do when you feel your blood pressure rise yet again? Anger is so common yet it also destroys. It leaves its mark on us it s not healthy which is one reason we hear so much about finding peace. And it leaves its mark on others. The wounds we inflict on others when we are angry the loss of intimacy, trust, security, and enjoyment in our closest relationships give us compelling reasons to look closely at our anger and think carefully about how to grow in patience and peace. If you have just gotten irritated for the umpteenth time today, you might wonder if change is possible. Can anyone grow in patience and peace? Yes. But you need a plan. Biblical counselor and psychologist Ed Welch invites readers to take a 50-day journey that unpacks anger and encourages readers to become more skillful at responding with patience to life s difficulties. Along the way, readers will be introduced to Jesus, the Prince of Peace the only one who can empower his people to grow in patience, peace, and wholeness.

My Thoughts: 

A Small Book About a Big Problem is the first book by Edward T. Welch and it is fantastic. This book deals with Anger and how instead of anger, finding patience and peace. I personally know that I was never taught how to deal with anger  and am excited to have this new perspective, a way to turn it around. Edward T. Welch is a Biblical Counselor who writes with authority on dealing with about anger, the Bible, how to deal with everyday issues that impact all of us, and how to use the scriptures to find peace. I found that with it being broken up into 50 days, taking it day by day really made it easier to implement into my life. This book may be small but in 192 pages it really packs a punch. I enjoyed the fact that this book size is a little bigger than my cell phone so it was light and compact enough to fit into my purse or bag. I have been rereading this book, finding more insight that I missed in my original reading of this book. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to read this book, it has really opened my eyes to how anger has controlled so many parts of my life. I am excited to read read more books by Edward T. Welch, his books are on my must read list. I highly recommend this book to everyone, it is something that anyone can pick up and relate to. I give this book 5 STARS.

I apologize for the lateness of my review to Edward T. Welch and Litfuse Publicity.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bringing Maggie Home: A Novel By Kim Vogel Sawyer

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:  

Decades of Loss, an Unsolved Mystery,
and a Rift Spanning Three Generations

Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a blackberry thicket in 1943, ten-year old Hazel momentarily turns her back on her three-year old sister Maggie and the young girl disappears.

Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter Diane, who can’t understand her mother’s overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother’s inexplicable eccentricities, her daughter Meghan—a cold case agent—cherishes her grandmother’s lavish attention and affection.

When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-week leave-of-absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel’s painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative prowess to solve the family mystery. 



My Thoughts: 

Bringing Maggie Home is the latest book by Kim Vogel Sawyer and it is one of her best! I have read quite a few of Kim Vogel Sawyer's books so I was very excited to have the opportunity to read and review this one. This book has one of my favorite genres, Christian Suspense/Crime Fiction. Kim Vogel Sawyer writes with authority about investigating crime, mystery, life during 1943 and on, missing children, and how one mistake can affect generations in a family. I thoroughly enjoy Kim Vogel Sawyer's style of of writing, she really puts her readers right there in the story with her vivid descriptions. Kim Vogel Sawyer is one of the few authors who can transition from past and present, from different perspectives and voices. From the first page until the last this story grabbed a hold and left me wanting more. Could not put it down!! The characters in this book are real people with struggles. The characters are well written and definitely interesting. I found myself drawn to Meghan. Her desire to help the people she loves and the ability to find the truth. She has a good heart and her faith helps her make her way in the world. She is also very patient especially when it comes to her mother.  As I read this book, the themes I read were faith, forgiveness for yourself and others, and love of family. This book brought out many emotions, I found myself smiling in some parts, frustrated in others, and crying in many others. This is a fantastic story by a very talented writer. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Suspense/Crime Fiction and/or Kim Vogel Sawyer, you will NOT be disappointed. I cannot wait to read more from Kim Vogel Sawyer, she is definitely one of my top must read authors.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Rule of Law By Randy Singer

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

Book Description:  

What did the president know? And when did she know it?
For the members of SEAL Team Six, it was a rare mission ordered by the president, monitored in real time from the Situation Room. The Houthi rebels in Yemen had captured an American journalist and a member of the Saudi royal family. Their executions were scheduled for Easter Sunday. The SEAL team would break them out.
But when the mission results in spectacular failure, the finger-pointing goes all the way to the top.
Did the president play political games with the lives of U.S. service members?
Paige Chambers, a determined young lawyer, has a very personal reason for wanting to know the answer. The case she files will polarize the nation and test the resiliency of the Constitution. The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and she will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.
Equal justice under law.
It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?

My Thoughts: 

Rule of Law is Randy Singer's latest book and it is outstanding. I am a huge fan of Randy Singer and Suspense/Legal Fiction, I absolutely loved this book. Randy Singer writes with authority about our Military especially Navy Seals, the job of the President, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, hierarchy of the world, our legal system, and the laws that protect us. This book truly grabbed my attention and left me wanting more. Randy Singer's style of writing is one of my favorite, he really draws in his readers with details, immersing the reader into this world he has created. I really felt like I was there experiencing the world. The characters are unique and very realistic. Including the President being a woman. I found myself drawn in by Paige Chambers. She is driven by her personal connection to her case. She believes in the justice system and the motto Equal justice under law. She has a heart for the law and helping people find justice regardless of who is involved. This book had me holding my breath from the suspense and action. I was drawn in from the first page and could NOT put it down. I love Randy Singer's books, they do not disappoint! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Suspense/Legal Fiction, you will NOT be disappointed. I give this book 5 STARS.
I would like to apologize to Randy Singer and Litfuse Publicity for the lateness of this review.

The Pretender: A Black Guard in Disguise: Caselli Family Series By Ta'mara Hanscom

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

Book Description: 

Set in South Dakota in 1975, where eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beer in a bar, and loaded guns were kept under the counter.
Frankie Valli sang “My Eyes Adored You,” and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.
It’s within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again. Their lives were mysteriously intertwined—and had been for many years—yet they had no idea.

From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart—and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride’s deception.



My Thoughts: 

The Pretender: A Black Guard in Disguise is the first book in Ta'mara Hanscom's series, The Caselli Family and it is fantastic. This is the first book in a series of 5 books. As a fan of Christian Historical Fiction I was excited to read this. Ta'mara Hanscom writes with authority on South Dakota and the United States in 1975, the Vietnam War and the affects it had on the soldiers, Italian families and their traditions, photography, drawing, and practicing of Christianity.  I fell in love with this story from the start, I could not put this book down and it left me wanting more.  I love Ta'mara Hanscom's style of writing especially the pace of the story and the way the words come alive in my mind so that I felt like I was there with Tillie throughout this journey. The characters in this book are well written and very realistic. I really loved Tillie Caselli's character. She is a talented artist and has the  ability to see the good in people. She tries hard to follow the Italian traditions her family holds dear. Her faith is strong and she helps others to believe in God. This story really touched me. I felt so many emotions with reading this book. I chuckled in parts, held my breath in parts, and cried in the other parts. This book and author are fantastic and I cannot wait to read the other books in this series. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will NOT be disappointed. I give this book 5 STARS. 
I would like to apologize to the author and Litfuse Publicity for the lateness of this review.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Lydia, Woman of Philipi By Diana Wallis Taylor

I received this book from the author and Celebrate Lit Blogger Program for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own. 

Book Description:

Smart, strong, and a follower of the Jewish God, Lydia has nonetheless always quietly conformed to the expectations of the wealthy Roman society surrounding her. Even though married off at fifteen to a man she dislikes, she is determined to be a faithful wife. But when her husband is killed some years later, Lydia vows never to remarry and returns to her father's house in Thyatira with her twelve-year-old daughter. There, a new life begins to emerge.      //    

As she is trained in the family dye business, Lydia’s shrewd management quickly creates profit, prestige—and envy. At odds with her jealous brother, who is a staunch Roman and can't understand her obsession with the Jewish religion, Lydia finds herself yet again at the mercy of a patriarchal society. Will fleeing to Philippi be enough to protect herself and those under her care? Will she keep her vow to widowhood when a handsome Greek God-fearer turns out to be more than just an employee? ​And when she meets a strange man named Paul the apostle by the river one Sabbath day, will Lydia have the courage to once more let her life be dramatically changed—this time forever?



My Thoughts: 

 Lydia, Woman of Philipi is the latest book by Diana Wallis Taylor and it is FANTASTIC. Having read, Mary Chosen of God, I was excited to read another book by Diana Wallis Taylor.  I have to say that both of these books will stay with me for a long time. Diana Wallis Taylor writes with authority on Biblical times, Women of the Bible, different faiths during this time and their God(s), hierarchy, the dye business, and walls Lydia broke through by taking over the family business. From the start, this book grabbed a hold of my and never let go until the end, well it actually left me wanting more. I really love Diana Wallis Taylor's style of writing, the book is just the right pace and as I read I felt like I was there with Lydia throughout her journey.  The characters throughout this book are well written and very interesting. I was definitely drawn in by Lydia's strength and perseverance and I also found her father's character to be inspiring. He may have worshiped the Roman gods but he also didn't deny Lydia the opportunity to know the dye business and ultimately gave it to her and ensured that her and her mother were taken care of once he was gone. His true heart is seen through his actions. This book invoked many emotions, I found myself laughing is a few parts and definitely crying out in others. The faith, strength, and perseverance demonstrated in this book inspiring. I love the fact that Diana Wallis Taylor writes about women in the bible, reading their stories really makes them so much more real.  I highly recommend this book and this author to anyone who enjoys Biblical Fiction, you will NOT be disappointed. I have to add that I had to buy other books from this author as I am hooked!! I cannot wait to read them!! I give this book 5 STARS. 






Lydia FB cover copy

About the Book:

Lydia Cover 

Name of book: Lydia  
Author: Diana Wallis Taylor  
Genre: Biblical Fiction  
Release Date: October 3, 2017

Smart, strong, and a follower of the Jewish God, Lydia has nonetheless quietly conformed to the expectations of the wealthy Roman society into which she was born. Her father marries her off at age fifteen to a much older man whom she dislikes. Despite an unpleasant wedding and a marriage that doesn’t improve with age, Lydia remains a dutiful and faithful wife. When her husband is killed, years later, Lydia vows to remain single and returns to her father’s house in Thyatira with her twelve-year-old daughter. There, a new life begins to emerge as she is trained in the family dye business. Lydia displays an aptitude for trade in the male-dominated world of first century commerce. Her brother, who had chosen service in the Roman army rather than work in his father’s business, is at odds with his sister. Jealous of her quiet success as she learns the dye business, he’s especially befuddled by what he considers to be Lydia’s obsession with the Jewish religion. When their father dies, Cassius inherits the family’s home; Lydia inherits the business, and unbeknownst to her brother, a small villa in the city of Philippi. Lydia flees with her mother and daughter to Philippi where she sets up shop. At the mercy of a patriarchal society, Lydia needs a man to serve as the public face for her business. She discovers the right person in the handsome face of Greek man she’d hired — an employee with whom she develops a close friendship. The plot thickens as Lydia meets a strange man named Paul the apostle who is stirring up crowds in town. When Lydia’s brother shows up in Philippi, determined to force her to sell the business, he discovers plenty of fuel to accomplish his goals.
Click here to purchase

About the Author:

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Diana Wallis Taylor is best known for her creative stories based on women in the Bible. Thousands have read and enjoyed her books including Mary Chosen of God, Ruth, Mother of Kings, Martha, Journey to the Well, Mary Magdalene, and Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors with the San Diego Library naming her one of 12 “Writers to Watch” in 2017 for Mary, Chosen of God. Her books have received Gold and Silver Medallion Awards for Christian Fiction and she is a San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild “Writer of the Year.” Mary, Chosen of God is a 2017 Christy Award nominee. An inspirational speaker, Diana also leads creative writing and poetry workshops. She lives in San Diego with her husband, Frank. They have six grown children and ten grandchildren

Blog Stops

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, October 3
By The Book, October 5
A Reader’s Brain, October 7
A Greater Yes, October 7
Simple Harvest Reads, October 8 (Spotlight)
Aryn the Libraryan, October 9
Cordially Barbara, October 9
Pursuing Stacie, October 9
Mary Hake, October 11
Radiant Light, October 12
margaretkazmierczak, October 13
Pause for Tales, October 13
Cafinated Reads, October 14
Bigreadersite, October 15
Henry Happens, October 16

Giveaway

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In honor of her tour, Diana is giving away
Grand Prize Package: Lydia, Woman of Philippi, “Give Thanks” painting on plate by Donna White for The Hearthside Collection, Inc., commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).
1st Place Package: Lydia, Woman of Philippi, abba Jerusalem pillar candle, cassia scented, commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo). 2nd Place Package: Lydia, Woman of Philippi, abba Jerusalem Spikenard candle tin with lid!
Click the link to enter! https://promosimple.com/ps/c173

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.

Blog Stops

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


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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.  

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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)