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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Only Beloved by Margo Hansen



Eight years ago Delaney Dunn was enduring the worst time of her life.Her mother had died and her father was away working in the lumber camps. At age 11 she was trying to care for her younger siblings including newborn Dylan. She is at the store one-day and meets Ben Blackmoore. Her brother Dylan and Ben's little brother are lying side by side in the store. Delaney becomes ill and Ben leaves. Only Beloved occurs when Ben Blackmoore and his family return to Grand Rapids MN. I loved the theme of this book, 'All things work together for good for those who love  God and are called according to His purpose. Margo Hansen has again written an entertaining story with characters who are among some of my favorites to read about. I am looking forward to reading book 3 in her trilogy, Brother Beloved. 

From Amazon:

"You're kind of cute. If we was stayin' in this backwoods town, I'd be your feller." Delaney Dunn never forgot the words or the face of the impudent boy who spoke to her eight years ago. Perhaps it was her memory of him and the wink he gave her that kept her from being interested in the young men who wished to call on her. Only when the wealthy Blackmores showed up in town and she was face-to-face with Ben once more did she realize why she could never forget him. Ben Blackmore worked a season with one of his father's logging camps to better understand the business and thought he was ready to fill the management role his father had lined up for him, but two events in his life changed everything. First, a sky pilot led him to the Lord, and second, he met Delaney again. Ben and Delaney barely have time to become reacquainted when the town is stunned by a kidnapping. The Blackmores' youngest son is gone, and a ransom is demanded. But Delaney and her brother are also missing. Are they together? Who did this? And why? Only Beloved is Margo Hansen's second book in her Tall Timber Trilogy. Return to northern Minnesota with the Dunn family as they seek God's help to face one of the hardest decisions in their lives.

About the Author:

Margo Hansen is a Minnesota author who enjoys writing about the north woods where she and her husband Bruce live. Margo has three children and six grandchildren and loves getting the family together. Her genre is Christian Fiction Romance and she adds to that a touch of mystery, lots of adventure, and a few twists and turns to keep her stories alive. Her joy is to share the Gospel of the Grace of God with her readers.



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Just The Way You Are by Pepper Basham review and giveaway



Pepper Basham has done an awesome job with her new contemporary novel just The Way You Are. Just The Way You Are is a modern fairytale complete with a Prince, a Tower, A castle with a private chapel and a witch! What more could you ask for? There are some very swoon-worthy kisses, treasure hunts, and at least one seemingly death-defying adventure on the London Eye! And woven through the pages as easily as a brook through Pepper's beloved Appalachians, is the theme of forgiveness. Through the events of the novel, both Eisley and Wes learn to accept G-d's forgiveness and also forgive themselves. I loved this novel and sincerely hope that Pepper will revisit the Barrett family in future novels.

From Amazon:
Single mom, Eisley Barrett, takes a vacation from her Blue Ridge Mountain "mom" life to travel to the English countryside in search of answers to an ancestral mystery. Burned by romance, she certainly isn't planning to stumble into her own fairy tale. Leading man and former rogue, Christopher Wesley Harrison is fighting to rebuild a new reputation after a tragedy introduced him to the power of redemption. His self-protective avoidance of romance crumbles at Eisley's two left feet and her authenticity send his heart into unscripted territory. When his past threatens to ruin their second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?

About the author:

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader's Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and a finalist in ACFW's Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. In December 2016, her third historical in the Penned in Time series, The Thorn Healer - released with a 4 1/2 star review from RT and a Top Picks rating.

I was given this book by the author for review purposes, All thoughts are my own.

Just the Way You Are is my first ‘true’ Britallachian romantic comedy. Even though I’ve written comedy in some of my other novels and included elements of both Appalachia and Britain, this one embodies the tag #britallachian to the core. For those of you who’ve read some of my previous books, you know I’m a big fan of my native Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian culture. You may also know that I’m a proud Anglophile.
Those two loves met in Just the Way You Are – and I tossed lots of other things I love best into the mix. What are those ingredients, you might ask?
Well, let me just tell ya! Just the Way You Are is a blend of Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian culture, big (hilarious) family dynamics, matchmaking, Britain, a swoony English hero, a quirky, magnanimous heroine, a bunch of adorable kids, Scooby Doo and Indiana Jones references, lots of humor, a historical mystery, a devious villainess, stately manor houses, secret rooms, love letters, and matchmaking all rolled into one…oh, and did I mention brain-numbing romance?
(Did anyone else feel the need to add “fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, miracles, true love….” From the Princess Bride?) J I don’t think I included torture, giants, or monsters in Just the Way You Are…but I may have the other elements in this novel J
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating about the brain-numbing, but I do have a tendency to err on the side of overly dramatic J
Within the pages of Just the Way You Are, you’ll meet people from my own family, people from my imagination, and some people who stepped into the story without one ounce of my planning to ever meet them. This story came out of my desire to write something I love reading – spicy romance, clean humor, culture clashes, the big love of family, and redemption.
How did my heroine Eisley Barrett evolve? Out of thin air. I was washing dishes one afternoon and staring out the window into our small backyard with the Blue Ridge Mountains painting a purplish-blue frame on the horizon when I closed my eyes. Into my imagination came this ginger-headed woman walking through Heathrow International Airport pulling a hot pink bag behind her…and then, she tripped and fell. That was it. That’s how I was introduced to my insecure, hilarious, romance-loving, single-mom heroine.
And the dashing hero? Okay, this may sound ridiculous, but I was watching an interview about Richard Armitage (Thoron Oakenshield, Guy of Gisborne, etc) regarding his lovely costume drama North and South where he plays a very dashing British hero. Anyway, he was SUCH a gentleman to watch during the interview. So polite. Kind. Funny, in a sweet way, and then, out of the blue, he said the word ‘gosh’. I know, that may not be a big deal to anyone but me, but after watching celebrity interviews where every other word needed a censor, the very fact that this elegant man used the word ‘gosh’, sent my writing brain into motion. My first internal question? What if a movie star with a tender heart had been burned by the pretension and expectation of celebrity status? What kind of woman could touch a heart who’d lost his faith in love’s authenticity?
Enter my red-head single-mom toting her pink bag through Heathrow and you have the very beginning of Just the Way You Are – a story of forgiveness, second chances…and a little bit of movie magic.

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a Grand Prize consisting of:
A ‘chest’ – in JTWYA historical letters are discovered in a chest that relates to the historical storyline, so all of these lovely goodies are going to be safely inside this chest.
Chocolate – several references take place in JTWYA that compare the hero to chocolate 😉
A plaque about family – because that’s a main point of importance in JTWYA
A Spider-man zipper pull – Pete, the heroine’s son, is a major Spider-man fan.
English Breakfast Tea – The hero is English…swoony English
A dishcloth – again, something that relates to a scene in the book regarding the hero and dishes (twice)
Stirring spoon and measuring cups – food and cooking are a big part of Appalachian culture and fellowship, something celebrated in JTWYA
A notebook – Eisley (the heroine) is taking notes about a historical family mystery
A lovely container full of cloth flowers (for fun, and beauty) – the container says – Love and you will be loved. Loving others has an amazing way to find its way back to us (as is what happens in JTWYA)
A little plaque that reads “You are Loved” – a theme of this story
A beautiful lace doily from England (the English part of the story)
Some “Pixie Dust” a fun visualization of the ‘magic’ of romance in this story
and A copy of Just the Way You Are!!
Click below to enter.  https://promosimple.com/ps/b3e0

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson





Melanie Dickerson has done it again. She has taken the beloved Little Goose Girl fairy tale and turned it into a plausible story. I love the theme of nobility and sacrifice that runs through the story. Both Lady Magdalen and Steffan learn to look for what truly matters. Avery satisfying book.

From Amazon:
She lost everything to the scheme of an evil servant.


But she might just gain what she’s always wanted . . .


if she makes it in time.


The impossible was happening. She, Magdalen of Mallin, was to marry the Duke of Wolfberg. Magdalen had dreamed about receiving a proposal ever since she met the duke two years ago. Such a marriage was the only way she could save her people from starvation. But why would a handsome, wealthy duke want to marry her, a poor baron’s daughter? It seemed too good to be true.


On the journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen’s servant forces her to trade places and become her servant, threatening not only Magdalen’s life, but the lives of those she holds dear. Stripped of her identity and title in Wolfberg, where no one knows her, Magdalen is sentenced to tend geese while she watches her former handmaiden gain all Magdalen had ever dreamed of.


When a handsome shepherd befriends her, Magdalen begins to suspect he carries secrets of his own. Together, Magdalen and the shepherd uncover a sinister plot against Wolfberg and the duke. But with no resources, will they be able to find the answers, the hiding places, and the forces they need in time to save both Mallin and Wolfberg?


New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson beautifully re-imagines The Goose Girl by the Brothers Grimm into a medieval tale of adventure, loss, and love.

About the author:

Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author whose two favorite time periods are Medieval, which she has combined with her love of fairy tales, and Regency England, which stems from her love of Jane Austen. She is a 2-time Christy Award finalist, a 2-time Maggie Award winner, winner of The National Reader's Choice Award for 2010's Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor's degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing, hanging out on facebook, and being with her husband, two daughters, and two guinea pigs near Huntsville, Alabama.

I was given this book by NetGalley.com for review purposes. All thoughts are my own.

Larry Norman - The Outlaw - [Lyrics]

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Chamberlain Key by Timothy Smith



I usually do not review non-fiction, but I am making an exception or The Chamberlain Key. It is an interesting book similar in nature to The Bible Codes. Mr. Smith has discovered his name and his wife's name side by side in the Torah. He claims that there is much information hidden in the original Hebrew scrolls. I am not able to read Hebrew, so I am not able to confirm or deny his findings. I enjoyed reading this book and can see that if people doubt the veracity of the Bible finding hidden messages could convince them. More proof that the Bible is a living document.

From Amazon:

Imagine you are a young, ambitious, successful appraiser of artifacts and antiquities—your services in demand by many of the most powerful individuals and branches of government in Washington, D. C.  Your future could not seem brighter—except for a troubling dream...with the same mysterious message...on the same exact date...three years in a row...

A True Story...Better Than Fiction

Timothy P. Smith, heir to a renowned family business responsible for construction or renovation of some of America’s most cherished landmarks, struggled to understand the significance of his recurring dream...until he had another dream--one that identified a specific location where it seemed he might find answers to his questions. So Timothy drove to a remote spot in British Columbia. There the adventure--which later led to a startling discovery in the oldest Hebrew text of the Bible--began.

It took the convergence of the sacred text, one man’s life, and modern computer technology to reveal messages that may explain dramatic world events, as well as influence every person alive today.

Welcome to The Chamberlain Key.

“However one wishes to interpret the meaning and significance of the text, they may rest assured that the text on which Timothy Smith bases his interpretation has almost certainly been there for a very long time, since before the birth of Christ.”
—Eugene Ulrich, Ph.D.
Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame
Chief Editor, The Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls

“For more than fifteen years I managed to keep the lid on a discovery that will dramatically redirect biblical scholarship, Christian theology, and perhaps even the trajectory of history itself.” –Timothy P. Smith

What You Will Discover in The Chamberlain Key

   • An encrypted code in Genesis, in the oldest known Hebrew text of the Old Testament, centuries before predicted the birth and resurrection of Jesus.
   •  Scientific evidence that this encrypted code was authored by the divine hand of God.
   • Signs that there are more encrypted codes in this same Hebrew text that will lead to additional messages from God to humanity
   • Hidden clues that may lead to the location of long-missing sacred artifacts, such as the Ark of the Covenant
   • Insights on why Timothy P. Smith was chosen to uncover this encrypted code.
   • A dire warning that God wants us to hear—and heed.

About the author:

TIMOTHY P. SMITH is a noted appraiser and conservator of artifacts and antiquities. He has discovered and recovered many priceless historical items, none of which has amazed and excited him as much as “the chamberlain key.” Timothy and his wife reside in Virginia.

BOB HOSTETLER is the award-winning author of more than thirty books, including American Idols and the historical novel Northkill. His books have sold over three million copies.

I was given this book by the author for review purposes. All thoughts are my own.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Just The Way You Are by Pepper Basham



epper Basham has done an awesome job with her new contemporary novel just The Way You Are. Just The Way You Are is a modern fairytale complete with a Prince, a Tower, A castle with a private chapel and a witch! What more could you ask for? There are some very swoon-worthy kisses, treasure hunts, and at least one seemingly death-defying adventure on the London Eye! And woven through the pages as easily as a brook through Pepper's beloved Appalachians, is the theme of forgiveness. Through the events of the novel, both Eisley and Wes learn to accept G-d's forgiveness and also forgive themselves. I loved this novel and sincerely hope that Pepper will revisit the Barrett family in future novels.

From Amazon:
Single mom, Eisley Barrett, takes a vacation from her Blue Ridge Mountain "mom" life to travel to the English countryside in search of answers to an ancestral mystery. Burned by romance, she certainly isn't planning to stumble into her own fairy tale. Leading man and former rogue, Christopher Wesley Harrison is fighting to rebuild a new reputation after a tragedy introduced him to the power of redemption. His self-protective avoidance of romance crumbles at Eisley's two left feet and her authenticity send his heart into unscripted territory. When his past threatens to ruin their second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?

About the author:

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader's Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and a finalist in ACFW's Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. In December 2016, her third historical in the Penned in Time series, The Thorn Healer - released with a 4 1/2 star review from RT and a Top Picks rating.

I was given this book by the author for review purposes, All thoughts are my own.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Lady In Disguise by Sandra Byrd


Gillian Young's father has recently passed away under mysterious circumstances, leaving her a townhouse and a country manor. She has a home and can provide for her needs by designing and sewing gowns for a Lady and costumes for the theater. Thomas Lockwood, a viscount, is her country neighbor. Is he interested in her or her land? Francis Collingsworth, a constable, and son of her father's partner is also interested, but in what? Sandra Byrd has created a delightful mixture of gothic romance and Victorian morals with a touch of the Gospel added to the story. I loved the mystery of never knowing who was truly on Gillian's side. the plot was engrossing and I had trouble putting the book down to sleep at night. A truly enjoyable read.

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

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

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

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

From the author:

From the Author
An interview with Sandra by Jenny Quinlan of Let Them Read Books.

What inspired you to take on the Gothic genre? I loved reading old-school Gothic romances, ones filled with atmosphere and suspense, such as those written by Victoria Holt, but I found it difficult to find many new ones still written with the "traditional ingredients."

As an author, I also wanted to update the concept a little for modern readers, and put my own spin on it, as authors will. I like more of the hero on the page than was present in many of the Gothic romance novels of years past, and I like my heroines to be a little bit less waifish and a little stronger minded than was popular then. I wanted to include just a wee bit more hard history, and I like weaving in an element of faith. But I tried my best to stick to the elements many readers expect from a Gothic romance, which might include:
A large country house in need of attention and affection, already in disrepair. In some ways, the house represents the heroine.

A Byronic hero, who might be questionable and always conflicted. The heroine falls in love, but she has to know before she commits - will he prove true?

Characters--especially servants, but others, too--that may be untrustworthy; our heroine does not know and must puzzle it out.

Psychological underpinnings, perhaps including madness or a suspicion of it.

A supernatural element, whether naturally explained or not.

Parents who are not present or who are dead, so the heroine must rely on her own wit and resources.
Women in the Victorian Era were defined and constrained by strict social mores and expectations. Can you talk a bit about creating a heroine from that era that today's readers can still identify with? They had major constraints, and the heroines in my books cannot just solve their problems like you or I might - but I love them the more for that; they are forced to cleverly use the tools at hand. Truthfully, all of us, then and now, are constrained in some way from the full self-determination we would prefer, and perhaps that is one way we identify with them. And yet ... the human spirit, a strong woman's spirit, faces those challenges head on, tries to think through what she wants, and then plots a way toward it. When roadblocks occur, she finds a way over, around, or through. That was true a thousand years ago and is still true, now.

The very freedom of our age has wrought a new set of challenges. But we still find a way to triumph. Seeing women do that, then, encourages me as a woman to do that, now. If they can be contenders, so can I!

Also - we must all be risk-takers to gain what we want: love, respect, a meaningful life, and personal fulfillment. Today's readers certainly have that in common with yesterday's women, my historical heroines.

How does your faith shape the inspirational aspects of your fiction? My faith is central to my worldview and interests, so it informs the subjects I pursue in my books. Honestly, I felt it would be anachronistic to write about 19th Century England and not have any mention of or interaction with faith; it was completely integrated into daily and weekly life. It interests me how a strong Christian woman approaches challenges in her era and setting. I don't set out, in fiction, to teach, only to show and reveal and understand through the heroine's eyes. Hopefully, that makes a good story whether the reader is a Christian or not!

I was given this book by NetGalley.com for review purposes. All thoughts are my own.