Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Blog Hop~ Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands + giveaway!

Genre: Christian, Historical
Publisher: Barbour
Publication date: June 1, 2017
Number of pages: 448
Meet seven of Turtle Springs, Kansas, finest women who are determined to revive their small town after the War Between the States took most of its men. . .and didn t return them. The ladies decide to advertise for husbands and devise a plan for weeding out the riff raff. But how can they make the best practical choices when their hearts cry out to be loved?



The Story Behind the Names -- Dime Novel Suitor by Carrie Fancet Pagels

When a British dime novel enthusiast finds himself flat broke in Kansas, he discovers what western life and true love are all about. Barden Granville IV grew up at Cheatham Hall, Kent, England, devouring cowboy stories and dreaming of the day he, with no prospects of inheriting estate nor title, could escape to the American frontier. Educated and ordained an Anglican priest, his trip to America is his “last hurrah” before accepting a vicarage in a small town far from his aristocratic family’s estate. When a series of misadventures leaves him without money and stranded, he must take up employment immediately.

After her father dies, widow Caroline Kane becomes the owner and proprietor of a restaurant and inn. She also assumes responsibility for her five teenaged siblings. Caroline’s busybody married sister insists that an Englishman who purports to answer an ad for help, is the perfect candidate for Caroline’s next husband. While she’s relieved to have help, Caroline finds Barden’s primary asset to be his silver tongue. When his efforts finally bring fruit, Barden receives word from England that could leave Caroline worse off than before, for her heart will leave with him. Will Barden answer his heart and God’s call in Kansas, or will his family responsibilities compel him to leave his dreams behind?

Caroline Kane, my heroine, had her name borrowed from Pagels’ Pals member Caryl Kane. Caryl is a sweetheart who supports and promotes many Christian fiction writers’ work. Caryl brings (virtual of course!) food and flowers to our online Facebook parties. Her last name has a nice strong-sounding quality to it, don’t you think? Her maiden name was borrowed from a business in Charleston, South Carolina, where I used to live. Tumbleston was used because I wanted the inn, that Caroline’s family owned, to be named after the Tumble Inn, a hotel near where I grew up. My mom always loved to tease that you would “Tumble Inn and roll out.”  So I had fun using that.

My hero, Barden Granville IV, is got his moniker from two of my friends. Libbie (Barden) Cornett is one of my best friends and is the one who got me interested in Christian fiction almost three decades ago. Chris Granville is one of my Pagels’ Pals group members and has been such a support, doing Beta reading and advance reading of my books. Doesn’t Chris’s married name sound posh? And no, I didn’t “borrow” from Lord Granville on Downton Abbey!

I like to use friends’ names in my story. So my readers Deanna, Lorraine, and Virginia had their names used for my heroine’s sisters. And I use family names. My husband’s uncle Alvin passed away the previous year as had my cousin Leonard. I used their names as Carolyn’s brothers, in a nod to their memories. Henry was my father’s middle name and I really like that name. He’s Caroline’s third brother.

I sometimes use the names of real life people from an era. When I came upon research showing that the soldiers at Mackinac Island, in this era, had been injured Army veterans of the Civil War, and that they’d come from out west to the fort in Michigan (no evidence they went through Kansas so I took fictional liberties), I decided to use some of their real names, documented in a book.

Giveaway: An autographed paperback copy of Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Brides. There must be ten unique comments from different readers for the giveaway. 

PictureCarrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is an ECPA bestselling and award-winning author. With a dozen Christian historical romances published, this former “Yooper” writes Christian historical romances about overcoming. She grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where many of her stories are set. Possessed with an overactive imagination, that wasn’t “cured” by twenty-five years as a psychologist, she loves bringing characters to life. Carrie and her family reside in Virginia’s Historic Triangle, which is perfect for her fascination with history. Carrie enjoys reading, traveling, baking, and beading-but not all at the same time!

Her short story, The Quilting Contest, was Historical Fiction Winner of Family Fiction’s “The Story” national contest. Her novella, The Substitute Bride was a 2016 Maggie Award published finalist for Romance Novellas. Grand Exposé was a 2014 Maggie Award honorable mention for a novel set on Mackinac Island (now entitled My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring, Barbour, July 2017). All three of her Christy Lumber Camp books were long list finalists for Family Fiction’s Book of the Year and The Fruitcake Challenge was a Selah Award finalist. Her novel, Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter (White Rose/Pelican, June, 2016) received a Starred Review by RT Book Reviews.

Grand Prize Giveaway: Kindle Fire + Postcards of Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order, bookmarks from upcoming release My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring, print copy of Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands, cowboy-themed earrings, and an ebook copy of Holt Medallion finalist “The Steeplechase.”
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Other Giveaway: If 10+ unique commenters post on this blog, one commenter will be selected to receive a print copy of Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands (US only).

Monday, May 29, 2017

Compassionate Soldier: Remarkable True Stories of Mercy, Heroism, and Honor from the Battlefield by Jerry Borrowman

Compassionate Soldier by Jerry BorrowmanCompassionate Soldier: Remarkable True Stories of Mercy, Heroism, and Honor from the Battlefield by Jerry Borrowman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from publisher to review.
Genre: Non-Fiction

Book Description:  Compassionate Soldier illuminates some of the most fascinating and yet largely unknown stories of men and women whose humanity led them to perform courageous acts of mercy and compassion amid the chaos and carnage of war. Arranged by war from the American Revolution to the Iraq War and global in perspective, it features extraordinary stories of grace under fire from valiant soldiers and noncombatants who rose above the inhumanity of lethal conflict and chose compassion, even knowing their actions could put their lives and liberty at risk.

Included in this collection are the stories of Richard Kirkland, a Confederate soldier during the Civil War who disobeyed orders and brought blankets and water to the wounded from both North and South during the Battle of Fredericksburg; Patrick Ferguson, a British soldier during the American Revolution who had the chance to kill George Washington, but refused to shoot a man in the back; and Oswald Boelcke, a German WWI flying ace who was one of the most influential tacticians of early air combat, but was known for making sure the airmen he shot down made it to the ground alive.

These inspirational stories illustrate that even in the midst of unspeakable horrors of war, acts of kindness, mercy, compassion, and humanity can prevail and, in doing so, expand our conventional thinking of honor and battlefield glory.

My thoughts: When I think of war, I think of the lives lost. We study and learn why there was a war and hear about the heroes, look at the statistics of all who died and not learn of the everyday soldier.

During this Memorial Day season, I am thrilled to read a book about names that aren't necessarily in the history books. This book is dedicated to the humanitarian side of war, the heroes who made a difference by being compassionate.

There is a tribute to Confederate Sergeant Richard Kirkland of the Civil War. He could not sit and do nothing as soldiers were crying out for water. These soldiers were injured and dying between the warring factions. As he would climb the wall to provide aid, both sides stopped firing on each other. I always knew, but am happy to have confirmed, that soldiers are made up of good people who have a difficult job to do.

Jerry Borrowman highlights people who were involved with different wars. It is not just soldiers who made a difference, but nurses, pilots, etc. Heroes from the Revolutionary War to recent times stories are told.

This book is told in an interesting way. It doesn't read as a history book. But it does provide a brief look into the lives of extraordinary people.

Online Purchase Links:

Jerry Borrowman
About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads)  Jerry Borrowman is a best-selling author of fourteen published books, most military fiction and co-authored biography. He and Rudi Wobbe, co-authors of Three Against Hitler, are recipients of the prestigious George Washington National Medal of the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge,"for their contribution to the cause of freedom."

Jerry is known for his meticulous attention to historical detail, including the technology that is unique to each story.

Visit his WEBPAGE.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

Behind the Scenes (Apart from the Crowd, #1)Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source; Received review copy from Netgalley
Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Book Description:  Miss Permilia Griswold, the wallflower behind "The Quill" gossip column, knows everything that goes on in the ballrooms of New York. When she overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Asher Rutherford, she's determined to warn him. Away from society's spotlight, Asher and Permilia discover there's more going on behind the scenes than they anticipated.

My thoughts: For Permilia Griswold, being a wallflower is not a bad thing. She stays on the fringes of society. She shows efforts to be a lady to her stepmother and she gets the information she needs to write her society column for the newspaper. It is usually a safe position to be in, until she overhears the plotting of a murder.

I love the books of Jen Turano that I have read. I know that I will have a strong heroin who gets herself into precarious situations. The book will be well paced and fun to read. This book fit all of the descriptions above. I loved Permilia and her unconventional friends. There are aspects that remind me of the Cinderella story. I guess any story that has a mean step-mother, spoiled step-sister, and a missing slipper.... You can't forget the handsome gentleman in the equation.

The book is set in wealthy New York City. Permilia is a champion for the underprivileged woman who knows how to shoot a gun. She is not afraid to charge to the rescue when needed or find unique ways to get out of a room. There are many moments that make you laugh.

This book is clean, with mild violence and mild kissing.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

J. Golden Kimball: The Remarkable Man Behind the Colorful Stories (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

J. Golden Kimball: The Remarkable Man Behind the Colorful Stories

J Golden Kimball: The Remarkable Man Behind the Colorful Stories by Kathryn Jenkins Gordon
Source: Received from Publisher To Review
Genre: Inspirational/Religion

Book Description:  He is J. Golden Kimball, and when he is gone, there will never be another. He was the original product, and when Providence had finished him, the pattern was lost and never found again.
LDS Church history is comprised of the accounts of multitudes of men and women who set the groundwork for the Church. And while there are plenty of ordinary individuals woven into that patchwork of history, there are also a handful of unique individuals who enliven the past and provide inspiration for the future. Known as the “swearing Apostle,” J. Golden Kimball is just such a character, one whose legacy of colorful language is surpassed only by his fierce loyalty to the gospel.
In J. Golden Kimball: The Remarkable Man Behind the Colorful Stories, readers are invited to come to better know this legendary man made famous by his unique humor and powerful testimony. From a chronicle of Kimball’s youthful adventures to the legacy he forged in his more than forty years as a General Authority, gear up for a rollicking ride through the life of one of the liveliest servants of the Lord.

My Thoughts: J Golden Kimball was a well known and beloved Apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He lived when the church was new and facing persecution.  Growing up I head the stories of his colorful language.  To me, that is what he was, a man who was a little rough around the (language) edges.

I was impressed with the sources and notations in this book.  That may seem a strange thing to say, but to me it shows that the author researched the life of J Golden Kimball.   I often look at the names and faces of people from history and don't wonder about them.  I don't think that they too had problems, hopes, dreams, and fears.  I would say that I get caught up in my own life and don't seek inspiration from the people from the past.

I hate to admit, that I have not finished this book (again).  Probably because I am caught up in the stress of life. (Three more days until I have the summer off,  I am counting down.)  This is a great book to finish. (Yes, a full review will appear in the near future.)  There is much to learn about and from this great man.

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Enter the Tour Giveaway:
(Prize and notification of winner will be coming from Covenant Communications.)

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*That way you can see the rating and reviews of those who have finished the book!*

Lake Town by Jane Redd

Lake Town by Jane ReddLake Town by Jane Redd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from eBooks for Review
Genre: Dystopian

Book Description:  Jezebel James is on the run after her true abilities are discovered by the Legislature, and the only one who can protect her is Sol. In order to survive, Sol sends her into an underground hideout where she quickly discovers all that she thought was true in her dying world is false. Jez reunites with Rueben and his band of insurgents, and together they escape to Lake Town, only to find that the entire island is preparing to invade the City.

But Sol has been left behind and forced to join the ranks of the Faction, who are working against the Legislature from within. As Jez works with the insurgents and their plan to destroy the City, she learns that attacking the City might save thousands of lives, but it will destroy Sol, the man she knows she can’t live without.

My thoughts: This picked up right where Solstice left off. It took a bit for me to remember the details from the book and pick up on this one. (One of the hazards of reading a series right when it comes out.)

It didn't take me long to get right back into the dystopian world that Jane Redd has created. I remembered how much I liked the characters and the story. In this series, it has rained for 40 years and most of Earth is covered in water. There are a few places where there is land for the people to live. The government has control and represses the emotions of the people in order to remain in control.

The book is full of action, a little bit of romance, and a lot of strategizing. I love books where a few people rise up and make a difference. If you love dystopian, you should give this series a try. I would strongly suggest that you start with "Solstice" first.

The book contains violence.

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(It's 99 cents on B&N Nook, check price to see if price still applies before purchase.)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Shatter" blog Tour ~ by Nikki Trionfo


Shatter by Nikki Tionfo

Source: Received ebook from publisher to review
Genre: YA Mystery

Book Description:  When a mysterious explosion kills her sister, Salem Jefferson becomes convinced the death was no accident—it was a conspiracy. But no one else at her high school believes her, and all she has so far is one clue. She knows Carrie hired a gang member to protect orchard workers. Problem is, Salem doesn't know who.

To find out, Salem pursues the gang-bangers who rule her town, especially classmate Cordero. As her distrust of Cordero heats up, so do the number of suspects in Carrie's death. Teachers and school officers are orchard owners. They have every reason to stop farm workers from demanding higher wages. With Carrie's killers still out there, Salem's not sure who she can trust. Meanwhile, the people who live on orchards and the people who pick them are drawing lines in the sand.

The only way for Salem to learn the truth is to slip behind those enemy lines.

The only way to survive is to find a way back out.

Shatter is the grand prize winner of the LDStorymakers First Chapter Contest that author Jolene Perry calls "a stunning debut that’ll keep you turning pages ’til the end."

My thoughts:  I hate it when I have to admit that I have not finished a book when I have a blog tour review scheduled.  At this time I am about 50% finished.

This is a fascinating book.  Salem wants to find out what happened to her sister.  She knows that her death was not an accident.  She gets out of her comfort zone and puts herself in situations to uncover the truth.  In the process she comes in contact with many dangerous people.  I think when I was her age, 16, I would have hid myself under my covers and tried to pretend that bad people were a figment of my imagination!

I am intrigued by a process she is undergoing for a class and how it correlates to her investigation.  She is studying the assassination of John Kennedy.  They are debating the probability of it being a conspiracy.  She is learning the different techniques that gangs, mobs, and foreign countries use to take out an enemy.  I am anxious to find out how it relates to the murder of her sister.

So far I don't have any concerns on content, other than the violence.  There are a few murders and she is present during a gang related shooting.  I  will leave a full review on Goodreads and Amazon when I have completed the book.

So far I am leaning to a 4 star rating.

Online purchase links:

Nikki TrionfoAbout the Author:  Nikki is a published short-story author and serve as the social coordinator of the LDStorymakers conference and chair of Storymakers Tribe. Shatter won the grand prize for all categories in the LDStorymakers’ First Chapter Contest and first place in the League of Utah Writers’ YA manuscript category. Nikki works in online marketing and, as a start to building a readership-platform, hosts a writing webinar channel with over a thousand views on YouTube under the name Fifty First Chapters.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wrong For You by Jenny Proctor (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

Wrong For You by Jenny Proctor Wrong For You by Jenny Proctor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received from the Publisher to Review
Genre: LDS Contemporary Romance

Book Description:  Lane Bishop is a hardworking, intelligent, young woman. With her recent move to Chapel Hill, she is determined to leave behind the drama and effort of keeping up with the dating scene. Even so, Lane somehow manages to get dragged out by a gaggle of girls to go watch boys play soccer. Just watching is not Lane’s forte, so she joins in the fun and leads her team to victory.

Rather than feeling intimidated by the vivacious beauty on the opposing team, Jamie Hamilton is intrigued. Risking his “untouchable” dating status, he decides to pursue Lane—with a little help from his older brother Simon. With Simon’s behind-the- scenes assistance, Jamie proves irresistible, even to a disillusioned dater like Lane. But as she gets to know both brothers, Lane can’t help but wonder—beneath the grand gestures and romantic words, is she falling for the wrong guy?

My thoughts: This is a refreshing addition to the LDS Romance Genre. Lane is a vivacious young woman who has a lot to look forward to professionally. She is smart, athletic, with a great personality. She is a whole package for a lucky young man. In this case, it becomes a choice between two brothers.

From the beginning you learn through playing soccer and text between the brothers just how much they mean to each other. Relationships are tough enough, but when you have brothers interested in the same girl, it adds a layer of hurt feelings and knowing that a good guy is not going to be the winner.

There are some aspects of the book that I could really relate to, and they are at the beginning. I wasn't a fan of YSA Wards, I hate sushi, and I am allergic to walnuts. Now you have to read it to find out what the heck I am referring to. :) One thing that struck me in the book was the mention of prejudice in our society. Lane is bi-racial. She is Puerto Rican and African American. It is painful to be reminded that not everyone is looks at the person instead of just the color.

This is a cute romance that has LDS characters. It is a story that I feel can be appreciated by anyone who enjoys a book with different perspectives.

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Jenny ProctorAbout the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads)   Jenny Proctor was born in the mountains of Western North Carolina, a place she still resides and considers the loveliest on earth. She hikes to spend time with her family, runs because her love for food requires it, and writes because it keeps her calm in an otherwise crazy world. She believes that life in the south has a certain flair to it--and works to capture that flair in her novels.
Visit her WEBSITE!

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(Prize and notification will be coming from  Covenant Communications)

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Monday, May 15, 2017

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

The Silent Songbird by Melanie DickersonThe Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source:  Netgalley (For Review)
Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Book Description:  Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost.

Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.

To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.

Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn't even a servant.

Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England's monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?

My thoughts: This book is full of excellent reading material! Romance, political intrigue, nobility posing as peasants, evil villain, a damsel who is not in distress, and men of honor and integrity.

The Silent Songbird is set during medieval times. That is a plus for me, that time period has always been fascinating to me. Maybe because I grew up with a mother who loved the Arthurian Legend. Put in a castle, feuding land holders, knights, and chivalry - I am hooked.

This book's MC is Eva. She is an illegitimate cousin to King Richard. She is to be used as a political pawn when she is betrothed to a cruel man. She is the damsel not in distress because she takes charge of her future. She leaves the castle, she becomes a servant. The book follows her life as a servant and the consequences to her running away from a betrothal.

I enjoyed the characters. The villains were not over the top, but believable. The book has some violence and kissing.

Online Purchase Links:

Melanie Dickerson
About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads)  Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author, a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing's Best award, and her book, The Healer's Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.

Visit her WEBPAGE!