Saturday, September 16, 2017

Tea Shop Folly (Teacup Courtship Novella) by Carrie Fancett Pagels













Title: Tea Shop Folly (Teacup Courtship Novella)
Author: Carrie Fancett Pagels
Pages: 95
Year: 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Hearts Overcoming Press
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     Almost destitute, Lilly has run out of hope when she inherits her great-aunt’s home — but it’s not the Tea Shop that a handsome young gentleman thinks it is. Lilly’s inherited house is crammed full of tea cups. Theo, a Soo Locks engineer, visits frequently in the hopes he will find the perfect antique teacup for his mother and is charmed by the lovely ‘Shoppe owner.’ Lilly can’t turn the bachelor away when he persistently peruses her aunt’s collection, which she’s trying to pack up and remove from the house. Is the man only interested in the teacups, or in her? When Theo begins referring people to Lilly, and the genuine Tea Shoppe owner sets the police on Lilly for her lack of a business license, sparks fly!

My review:

     This is a wonderful, sweet historical novella!

     I love the amount of detail that is given developing both Lilly Smith and Theo Reynolds. They are both gentile, caring people. 

     The story that is presented as they begin to get to know each other starts with misconception. It adds a nice bit of confusion and future humor. They each have things about their family that they are slow to reveal. This just fits perfectly with the time period and strangers getting acquainted with each other.

     This charming little novella is getting a rating of 5 stars from me. I’m highly recommending it.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Monday, September 11, 2017

Wheresoever They May Be by Terri Vanguard + A GIVEAWAY


 
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book title: Wheresoever They May Be    

Author: Terri Wangard  

Release date: August 31, 2017

Genre: Historical – World War II

Lily Swanson longs to be a mother. Soon Frank should be home for good and they can furnish a nursery. Maybe even find a bigger house. 

Joe Gallagher grew up in a small house with plenty of siblings. He loves the solitude of flying, but the war has dragged on for so long. He’s ready to go home. 

Susan Talbot has a bad attitude. She’s estranged from her family and she doesn’t attract friends. But war can bring out the best in people and Susan’s surprised to realize she’s happy. 

They all do their part in striving for victory in World War II. Sometimes, though, the danger can be hard to identify.


My Review


Filled with wonderful details about life during WWII!

These characters are incredibly well developed. I was able to relate to them on an emotional level. Early in the story I was feeling a little overwhelmed by how many main characters there were and the different viewpoints that the story is told from. As the book progressed and I started to find out the way their lives intersected I was able to really follow what was going on.

All of the different situations that they faced were described in marvelous detail. One of my favorite things about this book is the fact that the common things in life during this period were presented with amazing clarity. 

I have never read anything that really explored life on the home front for the wives that were left behind. The chapters from Lily’s viewpoint did a remarkable job of making me see the struggles that they faced. Everything from adjusting to working in factories to dealing with things like a failing refrigerator. 

The other viewpoint that really captured my attention was Susan’s as a woman enlisted in the WAC. I joined the Air Force in the mid-1970s but I had never considered what it would have been like for these women who entered into military service at the beginning. The way the men viewed them was spelled out so clearly that I wanted to slap some of them.

I have never read anything else by this author. I will be looking for her other books now though. I am giving this delightful book a rating of 5 stars and highly recommending it.


I received a free eBook copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the Author


Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.



Guest Post from Terri Wangard


After eight years of thinking, breathing, researching B-17s, I was ready to disembark and concentrate on something else. But what? I had a vague idea of three friends who joined the WAC, the WAVES, and the WASPs, but nothing crystalized. Except for the WAC. 

I didn’t want to completely turn away from flying, and I prefer topics that aren’t commonly known. How about a grasshopper pilot? My second character was on board. 

I had toyed with the idea of a family generational series. A World War II story paired with a World War I story. But no, too unwieldy. 

The WAC could have a sister, though, who stayed on the home front and did factory work. Oh, dear. I couldn’t completely stay away from B-17s. She’s building them. 

She also needs a husband. He’ll be in the navy, and not on an aircraft carrier. A destroyer! (This was in the works before Sarah Sundin signed a contract for her just-concluded series about destroyer men. I checked with her: She was writing about the Atlantic war; my guy’s in the Pacific. No problem.) I studied the list of Pacific destroyers and, oooh, the Spence. All kinds of possibilities there. 

So there I had it: a sailor, his Rosie-the-Riveter wife, her WAC sister, and a grasshopper pilot. They’re all doing their part to help win the war, but sometimes the enemy isn’t obvious.


Blog Stops


September 1: Bibliophile Reviews 
September 1: Red Headed Book Lady
September 3: Janices book reviews
September 4: Jeanette’s Thoughts
September 5: Carpe Diem
September 6: Neverending Stories
September 7: Christian Bookaholic
September 7: Splashes of Joy 
September 8: Bigreadersite 
September 9: Have A Wonderful Day
September 9: Novels Corner
September 10: Radiant Light 
September 10: History, Mystery & Faith
September 11: Daysong Reflections 
September 11: Pursuing Stacie 
September 12: God’s Little Bookworm
September 13: Blossoms and Blessings
September 13: Marry Hake

Giveaway


To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away:

Grand Prize of $25 Amazon Gift Card 

1st Place prize of the Wheresoever They May Be – eBook

and 

2nd Place prize of the Wheresoever They May Be – eBook!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bd12


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Out of Darkness by Erynn Newman + A GIVEAWAY


 To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

Book title: Out of Darkness  
Author: Erynn Newman  
Release date: May 18, 2017  
Genre: Romantic suspense

Elisabeth Allen gave her heart to Jesus as a little girl and to Drew Marek as a teenager. When their wedding day finally arrives, it’s the happiest day of her life–until a car bomb transforms her dream come true into a living nightmare. 

As Best Man at the wedding, Gabriel Di Salvo promises Drew–his best friend and CIA partner–he’ll look after Elisabeth, but he never dreams it will become necessary so soon. As Elisabeth struggles to put the pieces of her life back together without Drew, Gabe becomes her rock, and as they share their grief and begin to heal, their friendship gradually deepens into something more. 

Three years later, Gabe and Elisabeth are planning a future together when he receives a shocking call from the one man who can upend his happiness: Drew. Suspecting someone at the CIA is behind his abduction, Drew refuses to come home. Instead, he asks Gabe to bring Elisabeth to him. Now Gabe just has to figure out how to let her go. 

Drew and Elisabeth race across Europe, dodging international arms dealers and attempting to reclaim what was stolen from them. But years of captivity and torture have left their mark on Drew. He is no longer the same boy Elisabeth fell in love with, but he is still her husband, and she’s determined to build something new and leave her relationship with Gabe in the past, if her heart will get the memo. 

When their enemies close in and the threat of a terrorist attack escalates, Gabe may be the only person they can trust. Drew, Elisabeth, and Gabe are thrown into a fight for their lives–one that will test their loyalties to God, country . . . and each other.  


My Review

This is an incredible suspense novel!

I absolutely love the main characters in this book. They are wonderfully well written and easy to connect with. The range of emotions that they go through is fantastic. I love the deep commitment that Drew and Elizabeth have to each other and to God.

The plot is great. The danger is intense and I kept looking for the bad guys at every turn.

I am giving this fantastic book a 5 star rating and highly recommending it. I’m looking forward to seeing what this author writes next.

I received a free eBook copy of this novel through Celebrate Lit. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the Author


Erynn Newman is a pastor’s kid, raised in churches all over the Eastern Seaboard. Since earning her degree in Christian Studies, she has traveled the world and served as a missionary, a counselor, an ESL teacher, and a nanny. Though she has never worked with the CIA, her DVR contains a veritable Who’s Who of international spies. She is a Carolina girl, a wife, and Mama to a very busy little boy, two cats, and a gaggle of characters that live inside her head.


20 Facts About Out of Darkness

  1. I write novels while the rest of the house sleeps. That’s also when I do most of my editing work and social media stalking. During the day, I get to hang out with an awesome 4-year-old who is the reason I get up in the morning (both because he’s my heart and because he’s staring into my soul asking me to make pancakes).
  2. I don’t like wine or coffee. My writer fuel is partially frozen Cherry Pepsi.
  3. It took me a long time to realize I was a writer. I thought that everyone made up imaginary people and back stories for them and imagined the lives they lived and sometimes talked to them in traffic. Turns out no. Fortunately other writers found me and helped me figure it out.
  4. My greatest nemeses are also my greatest inspirations. Facebook and Netflix. Finding the balance of hanging out with other writers and readers and being inspired by great story telling and actually doing the work is the hardest thing for me.
  5. I am obsessed with casting characters. Finding the perfect actor/actress or model who embodies my characters is one of my favorite parts of the process. I also do this for every single book I read.
  6. So, of course now you want to know who I chose for Drew, Elisabeth, and Gabe. I’m glad you asked.
    • Drew is based on Matt Bomer’s portrayal of Bryce Larkin in the show Chuck (there are quite a few nods to this show hidden throughout Out of Darkness).
    • Elisabeth is partially based on a character from a show I watched when I was in college (also a waitress and artist), but she looks like this model.
    • Gabe is based not that loosely on (young) Anthony DiNozzo from NCIS.
  7. Our house has a really great office with a nice desk and comfortable chair that looks out on our wooded back yard. But I work almost exclusively while sitting on the couch with my laptop propped up on the back of it. My uniform is yoga pants and an old t-shirt. The author life is G.L.A.M.O.R.O.U.S.
  8. I got my start writing fan fiction. Most of it has been obliterated from the interwebs, but there may still be a few Star Wars stories floating around out there (I owe this to my love for Ewan MacGregor and my hatred of Annakin Skywalker). Fan fiction is also the way I found my very first critique group. And our leader, Susan Kaye Quinn, best-selling author and real life rocket scientist, helped me realize I could be a real author. And later she taught me how to publish. I want to be her when I grow up.
  9. Speaking of fan fiction, the original idea for Out of Darkness was a fan fiction based on that character from that show I talked about above. The waitress/artist who lost her first love and then fell for someone else. And then when her love returned, he was… recast. And terrible. And she forgot who she was and made every wrong decision. And everyone was miserable ever after. And I was like, what even IS this show?!?! So I started writing my version of how it should have gone. But then a surprising thing happened. My characters took on lives of their own, and I fell in love with ALL of them, and I knew I had to tell their story. So I started creating a different back story for them (and I introduced them to Jesus), and then they became their own characters and started telling me what to do. And I’m a little insane now, but I’m not even mad because I love what this story has turned into (and turned ME into).
  10. I started writing Out of Darkness in its earliest form in 2006. I stopped and restarted several times. I wrote other things that may or may not ever see the light of day. I learned that I was writing all wrong, and I ripped it apart, started over and stitched it back together piece by piece. In fact, my original chapter one is now chapter FOURTEEN. And all of that is after the first fifty pages that now comprise First Light, the prequel novelette that tells the story of how Drew and Elisabeth met and fell in love.
  11. Of all the exotic locations mentioned in Out of Darkness: Venice, Italy; Paris, France; Cordoba, Spain; Trim, Ireland; and even Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, I have been to two—Baltimore and Paris. Google Maps Street View and Wikipedia are an author’s best friends.
  12. Music inspires me to write, but I can’t write to music. I often hear a song that makes me think of a scene or helps me get the emotion right. And I add those to my play list, but when I write, I prefer quiet (or instrumental music).
  13. I want the Gospel to be front and center in every story I write (including my own), but there were two scenes in particular that I really felt like the Holy Spirit guided me in writing. One is when Drew finds his Bible in the backpack Gabe packed for them, and the other is Gabe’s argument with God when he decides to let Elisabeth go. In both instances, I feel like God really led me to the right Scriptures and gave me the words in a way I didn’t experience with any other scenes.
  14. The hardest scenes were all of the ones with Drew and the gas. Both because I don’t like to torture my characters (contrary to what you may believe) and because the science behind the weapon is way above my head. I worked with a couple of microbiologists to get it at least to plausible/possible, but I’m sure there are still some issues with my science there.
  15. I cried several times while writing this book. Elisabeth and I grieve much the same way, so I saw a lot of myself in her moments crying out to God—especially in the ones where she just wanted to feel Him and couldn’t. I cried when Drew fell apart reading his Bible, and I cried at the end when I wasn’t sure who would live or die.
  16. Gabe was the biggest surprise of the writing process. He was supposed to be out of the picture after chapter sixteen. He was just supposed to be a supporting character in the first half of the book, but at every turn he was tapping me on the shoulder and telling me, “there’s so much more to my story.”
  17. A few scenes didn’t make it into the final book. Two of them are in the outtakes section of my website, but don’t read those until after you’ve read the book. Seriously.
  18. After being told by one agent that Out of Darkness would never sell because it didn’t fit neatly into a genre category, I signed with my current agent in 2012, and we submitted it to several publishers. I received lots of compliments on my writing, but ultimately, people didn’t seem to like the fact that both of my leading men were good guys, and there was no one to root against. One even suggested that I make Gabe complicit in Drew’s abduction. And one suggested I kill Drew (again!) so Elisabeth and Gabe could end up together. Both interesting ideas, but neither were the story I wanted to tell. In the end, I decided to indie publish, which has been really challenging, but I’m so happy with the way everything turned out. We all got the ending we were supposed to have.
  19. Speaking of endings, the one in the final version is very different from the original. I’ll try not to be too spoilery, but let’s just say that the original ending was far less happy, but I felt like it was the only way out. One of my characters made a choice that I couldn’t see any way around. And I thought that a happy ending would be too fake. I didn’t want to tie everything up with a pretty pink bow and say “they all lived happily ever after,” because after everything they’d been through, that wouldn’t be real life. But a very good friend of mine convinced me that I could instead tie everything up with a frayed knot. It’s still messy and difficult and a little raw, but I think it’s real… and full of hope and possibility.
  20. So what’s next, you ask? There’s more to explore here perhaps, but I honestly don’t know what comes next for these characters. That’s something I’m still thinking about. The story I’m working on right now also begins in D.C. but takes place mostly in the Pacific Northwest. It’s the story of an ex Army Ranger who has to protect his three little brothers when the youngest witnesses their parents’ murder. And there may also be a girl involved.

Blog Stops

August17: Genesis 5020
August 19: Fiction Aficionado
August 22: Faithfully Bookish
August 22: Mommynificent
August 24: 100 pages per hour
August 25: Carpe Diem
August 26: J.E. Grace Bog
August 26: Karen Sue Hadley
August 27: Back Porch Reads 
August 28: Daysong Reflections
August 29: Remembrancy
August 30: Henry Happens

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Erynn is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of Out of Darkness, a signed copy of First Light, The Joy Eternal~A Sweet and Bitter Providence CD, a $10 Starbucks gift card, and Italian Chocolate Hazelnut Creme Cookies.!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/beac 


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Monday, August 21, 2017

With You Always (Orphan Train #1) by Jody Hedlund













Title: With You Always (Orphan Train #1)
Author: Jody Hedlund
Pages: 356
Year: 2017
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Bethany House
Format: Paperback
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     Could following the opportunity of a lifetime cost them the love of their lives?

     One of the many immigrants struggling to survive in 1850s New York, Elise Neumann knows she must take action to care for her younger sisters. She finds a glimmer of hope when the New York Children’s Aid Society starts sending skilled workers to burgeoning towns out west. But the promise of the society’s orphan trains is not all that it seems.

     Born into elite New York society, Thornton Quincy possesses everything except the ability to step out from his brother’s shadow. When their ailing father puts forth a unique challenge to determine who will inherit his railroad-building empire, Thornton finally sees his chance. The conditions to win? The the first to build a sustainable community along the Illinois Central Railroad and find a suitable wife.

     Thrown together against all odds, Elise and Thornton couldn’t be from more different worlds. The spark that ignites between them is undeniable, but how can they let it grow when that means forfeiting everything they’ve been working toward?

My review:

     WOW! An amazing historical romance!

     The characters are incredibly well developed and I was able to really connect with them on an emotional level. The heartache and anguish that Elise and her sisters experienced was palpable. Many times throughout this book I wanted to just gather them into my arms and take care of them.

     The historical setting and details were clearly presented and I was able to visualize the scenes as they were happening. This book taught me about an aspect of the orphan train period that I had never known about. I absolutely love it when I can learn about history in the pages of a fictional story. This period has now come alive for me.

     The maturing process that Thornton traveled was fantastic. From the beginning of the book to the end he truly grew up and became a man. I thoroughly enjoyed the emotional journey to trusting God that both Elise and Thornton went on.

     I was enthralled by this story. I have to give it a rating of 5-stars. I am definitely highly recommending it!


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Friday, August 18, 2017

First Light by Erynn Newman













Title: First Light
Author: Erynn Newman
Pages: 45
Year: 2017
Genre: Sweet Romance
Publisher: Amazon Digital
Format: eBook
Note: I received a free copy of this novelette from the author. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     Drew and Elisabeth meet as teenagers, and they fall in love. Sounds like a perfect recipe for happily ever after. But when Drew’s father is killed at the Pentagon on September 11th, he finds himself spiraling into an abyss of rage. To avoid dragging the woman he loves down with him, he has to walk away, even if it means losing her forever. He joins the CIA and eventually makes things right with God, but is it too late to make things right with Elisabeth?

     First Light is a series of vignettes set over the course of fifteen years, leading up to the culmination of their story in the full-length romantic suspense novel Out of Darkness. 

My review:

     This sweet romance is a short novelette!

     I love this charming story. Both Drew and Elizabeth are presented in clear detail. It made it extremely easy to connect with them and quickly become involved with their lives. When each of them faced heart breaking circumstances my heart broke for them. I also rejoiced when good things happened.

     One of the things that I really enjoyed in this story is the faith in God that is very clearly shown by a number of the characters. 

     There is a lot of life packed into this very short story. It leads up to Out of the Darkness. It is a wonderful introduction to the characters for that full-length book. I’m really looking forward to reading this longer book.

     This delightful story is getting a 5-star rating from me. I am highly recommending it.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*