Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

The Sword and the Secrets – A Review and Giveaway

Sword and Secrets

About the Book

Book:  The Sword and the Secrets

Author: Jan Davis Warren

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: April 20, 2021

TheSwordandtheSecrets

When Julianna’s final mission proves more deadly than she imagined, help comes from the most unlikely of places.

Raised in a castle on the remote border of England and Scotland, Lord John Stanton is the last male heir of his royal lineage. He has the responsibility to marry and carry on the family name, but a secret vow to God, after a near-fatal battle wound, could change his future from royal heir to humble servant of the church. His journey to the monastery to become a monk is interrupted when he meets a dangerous, but beautiful, woman who has plans and secrets of her own.

Abandoned by her father and raised in an institution as property of the Crown, Julianna Westerfield longs to be free to pursue love and have a family of her own. Trained to be a spy and assassin, she has a chance to earn her freedom by completing this last and most dangerous assignment. Her mission to uncover a murderous plot and the identities of the Black Guard has already cost several agents their lives, and now the assassins are after her. To survive she must depend on a handsome monk and his cantankerous donkey.

Was it divine intervention that caused John and Julianna’s paths to cross? Can they put aside their differences and join forces to deliver stolen papers containing vital information to the king in time to save countless lives?

Click here to get your copy!




A historical Christian work of fiction, this book grabbed my attention and would not let go. With a young woman playing the part of a blind princess along with a lord seeking his place with God and the world, the storyline forced me to keep reading until I finished the book.

Juliana, Lois, Lord John Stanton, John’s family, and servants add interest to this story. I definitely felt connected to the characters in this book. It illustrates how sometimes the path we believe God desires us to take differs from His actual plans for our lives. The ending of this book made it worth reading. As the second book in this series, I thoroughly recommend this book and the series as well. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.but it in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Jan Davis Warren photo

Jan Davis Warren is a mother, grandmother, and a young-at-heart great-grandmother. Her wonderful husband passed away the same year she won the ACFW Genesis Award for Romantic Suspense. That win and many others are encouraging reminders that God wants her to continue writing even in the tough times. Learn more at http://www.janwarrenbooks.com.

More from Jan

The Sword and the Secrets is a Historical Romantic Suspense. It is written as a Medieval Christian fiction story set in England around 1209. I chose to keep the historical details to a minimum because of the inconsistency I found in researching this particular time and place. I humbly apologize to you lovers of more in-depth historical facts. I would’ve loved to have traveled to England for more hands-on research but the pandemic made that impossible.

I live in a once-rural area in Oklahoma. Urban development is fast encroaching transforming peaceful pastures into busy neighborhoods. I know it’s called “progress”, but I miss knowing all of my neighbors by name. In the good-old-days, my husband and I loved raising our children here on the farm. As a family, we had all kinds of poultry and livestock, so I can’t resist including a variety of animals in my stories from time to time.

Rosita and her daughter, Daisy, were two of our favorite donkeys on the farm. I’ll never forget when Daisy was born. I think her ears were almost long as her legs. Speaking of donkeys, did you ever hear the story about how the donkey got its cross? I included it in the book.

Precious is the name of the donkey in The Sword and the Secrets. Her mother was killed when she was but a few days old, and she was raised by an old woman who took her into her home and treated with the care and affection of the child she never had. Needless to say, Precious is smart and creative when it comes to getting her way. When her elderly master is about to die, the woman is directed by God to entrust Precious into Lord John Stanton’s care.

For the war-weary hero of this story, Lord John Stanton’s secret battlefield vow to serve God and the Church became more complicated when he was charged with the responsibility of caring for the contrary donkey. His intent to walk to London to join a monastery was supposed to be peaceful and most of all, solitary. It wasn’t until after John accepted the animal that he found out that the donkey’s elderly master had taught Precious not to budge unless first called by name. It was to keep her from being stolen, which served her well. But the name sticks in the hero’s throat every time he must submit to calling her Precious to make her move.

John’s plans also never included protecting a beautiful spy with secrets of her own.

The heroine, Julianna Westerfield was a fun surprise to me. As the story took shape in my mind, I thought the hero would meet the heroine by coming to her aid against brigands. Perhaps she was a princess fleeing her wicked guardian, etc. That however was not the way the story unfolded. As I came to Julianna’s part, I realized she had a colorful past of her own.

I love it when the story develops into something I never expected. 

The beautiful heroine of The Sword and the Secrets, Julianna Westerfield is not the princess I first envisioned but an indentured servant. She was abandoned as a child at the Grandfork Institute for Higher Learning. It is an institution run jointly by the Crown and the Church for the sole purpose of training spies and assassins to do their bidding.

I hope you’ll join John and Julianna (and Precious) on their quests and perchance uncover their deepest secrets.

May God bless and keep you and draw you ever closer to Him.

Blessings!

Jan Davis Warren

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 20

Connect in Fiction, April 20

Texas Book-aholic, April 21

Inklings and notions, April 22

For Him and My Family, April 23

deb’s Book Review, April 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 26

Connie’s History Classroom, April 27

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 30

Romances of the Cross, April 30

CarpeDiem, May 1

Adventures Of A Travelers Wife, May 2

Mary Hake, May 2

Blogging With Carol, May 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jan is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10ad1/the-sword-and-the-secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Realms of Light – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Realms of Light

Author: Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

Genre: Christian YA Contemporary Fantasy

Release date: April 13, 2021

From the Ashes, Spring Will Rise

On the run from the brutal Sage and his army of Legions and Cormorants, seventeen-year-old Cera Marlowe knows the only place strong enough to protect her is the Alliance Council Estate.

Cera’s introduction to the Estate is far from welcoming. As a Blight, her dueling powers of light and darkness make her a half-breed threat to the Alliance’s sacred powers. Cera’s ability to decipher hidden messages in classical artwork buys her shelter temporarily, but the clock is ticking as she’s faced with a daunting choice that could cost her everything.

Click here to get your copy!

This book represents the second book in a two book series. I found this book to be intriguing and worth reading. The descriptive imagery grabbed my attention. The pace seemed slow sometimes, but eventually picked up. I found the use of real poetry and art to support this fantasy novel the perfect blend.

This Young Adult fantasy novel along with its predecessor Mortal Sight benefit from reading in order. The second books begins where the first book leaves off. I believe Young Adults and adults alike may enjoy this book. So check it out for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.but it in no way influenced my review. All opinons are my own.

About the Author

Sandra Fernandez Rhoads is the author of Mortal Sight. She is a Cuban-Colombian living in Dallas, Texas with her husband and four children. She has a deep love for the artist community, and is an active part of Art House Dallas and the Fort Worth Writer’s group. She holds an M.A. in English with a focus on John Milton and has an insatiable love for coffee, laughter, and adventure. And dinosaurs.

More from Sandra

What if there was an unseen war affecting our everyday world, but only a few could see the battle? And what if the secrets to this other realm and winning the war were embedded in classical art and literature?

These questions led me to the ideas that formed the Colliding Line duology, and final installment in the series, Realms of Light—the story about a select group of emerging artists called the Awakened that are given unique powers to help combat the forces of evil.

The protagonist, a young girl named Cera Marlowe, quickly took the lead in the first draft of the story. On a quest for her identity, she steps into her destiny by joining a community of unlikely warriors who would need to overcome great odds, learn to work together, and battle their past in order to defeat the enemy.

The story took more than five years to write and the first draft was over 180k words. The use of classical art emerged slowly over that time. But the verses from John Milton’s Paradise Lost fit seamlessly from the start, paralleling the fight for truth, identity, and war in our fallen world.

At its core, the story is about embracing the past to help shape our future. My hope is that readers see classical art and literature in a new way, and find their own creativity as a much-needed gift to the world.

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, April 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 29

Texas Book-aholic, April 30

Inklings and notions, May 1

Woven by Words, May 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 3

Genesis 5020, May 3

For the Love of Literature, May 4

For Him and My Family, May 5

Wishful Endings, May 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 7

Through the Fire Blogs, May 7

deb’s Book Review, May 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 9

Blogging With Carol, May 10

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 10

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 11

April Hayman, Author, May 11

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sandra is giving away the grand prize package of $40 Christianbook.com gift card, custom Bookmark, custom signed bookplate, custom Realms of Light notebook, and library book pattern book / tablet sleeve!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10b5d/realms-of-light-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

The Good German Girl – A Review and Giveaway

German Girl

About the Book

Book:  The Good German Girl

Author: Erica Marie Hogan

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: April 15, 2021

RGB300TheGoodGermanGirl

Omaha Beach
June 6, 1944

When battle-hardened Private Bernie Russell witnesses a fellow soldier shoot a young German boy with his hands up, he’s shaken to his very core. Then, as that same boy is dying, he presses a packet of photographs and letters into Bernie’s hand and utters three words in English.

It must end.

After having the letters translated, he discovers they were written by the soldier’s twin sister and the photographs within the packet reveal evidence of Hitler’s plan to wipe out the Jews.

Berlin, Germany

Margot Raskopf is a young art teacher, forced to conform to the education Hitler has designed. Then, when one of her sources with the underground resistance receives a letter for her from an American soldier, she’s shocked and filled with renewed hope. But Margot has been harboring a secret. In her house she hides a young Jewish woman she’s known since childhood, risking being discovered by the gestapo with each passing day.

As they begin a dangerous correspondence, both Margot and Bernie embark on treacherous journeys. One taking Bernie across Europe and right into Germany. Another taking Margot through the gates of Auschwitz … and under the scrutiny of Josef Mengele.

Click here to get your copy!

The title of this book grabbed my attention, and when I began reading the story kept my attention. Set during World War II primarily in Germany and Poland, this book explores the life a German young woman who teaches art and attempts to keep a Jewish friend safe.

Margot, a twin, demonstrates strength of character throughout this book. The author masterfully weaves together the storylines of the Jewish characters with those of an American unit of soldiers. This book contains scenes dealing with concentration camps and the experiences of individuals living under those conditions. The author skillfully addresses these circumstances while showing how faith and hope arise even under the darkest of circumstances.

So if you want to read historical fiction set during the time of World War II, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Author Photo

From as far back as she can remember, Erica Marie Hogan loved to write. When she was a little girl she adored make believe, but gradually her imagination became too big to restrict it to playtime and so, she wrote.
Erica was born and raised for nine years on Orient Point, Long Island, New York. After that she moved with her family to Virginia and, finally, to Texas where she now lives. She was homeschooled, is an avid reader, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives to plot new stories, enjoys a good tear-jerker, and chocolate is her cure for any ailment.
Erica’s wish is to continue to write stories that not only drop her readers into the middle of historical time periods, but also to show the ability to rise up out of adversity and tragedy in hope, faith, love, and strength. When it comes to genre, she has no limits.

Along with The Winter Queen Series Erica’s World War I standalone novel, The Lost Generation, is also available now from Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.

More from Erica

There are two things I love in a good story. History and Romance. And when the two come together? Well, I’m sold.

Hi, I’m Erica Marie Hogan, the author of The Good German Girl, book one in a Historical Fiction series called A League of Extraordinary Women. When I set out to write a novel based during World War II, I never imagined The Good German Girl would be the end result. I started with an idea about a young German woman living in Berlin who wants to fight back against Hitler’s rule. This mustard seed of an idea took me on a journey through the battles at Omaha Beach, Aachen, Germany & the Battle of the Bulge. It took me through the gates of Auschwitz and right into Josef Mengele’s lab.

This little idea took me on a quest for love in the most horrible of circumstances. Where war and death divided two people who should be enemies but, through a miraculous correspondence, found each other and knew in their hearts they were meant to save each other. The Good German Girl is a Historical Fiction novel about the tragedy of World War II with the gentle beginnings of an epic love woven through the pages. I hope you enjoy the story of Margot Raskopf and Bernie Russell as much as I enjoyed writing about them!

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, April 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 19

Genesis 5020, April 19

Connie’s History Classroom, April 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 21

Where Faith and Books Meet, April 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 22

Texas Book-aholic, April 23

Christian Bookaholic , April 23

Betti Mace, April 24

For Him and My Family, April 25

Maidens for Modesty, April 25

deb’s Book Review, April 26

Inklings and notions, April 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 28

Mary Hake, April 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 30

Maureen Timerman, April 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Erica is giving away the grand prize package of $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10ad0/the-good-german-girl-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Who Put the Vinegar in the Salt – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Who Put the Vinegar in the Salt

Author: Linda Wood Rondeau

Genre: Nonfiction/Christian living/Bible study

Release date: December 31, 2020

The world offers much beneficial self-help advice. Shouldn’t the Christian seek to be the best possible version of themselves? Aren’t we supposed to be good people?

Why not look to the world to solve life’s problems?

Because God has called us to be salt.

While there is much good to be found, like vinegar, the world’s best advice falls short of God’s recipe to live a victorious Christian life.

In a down-home, friendly manner, the author provides analogies, inspirational stories, anecdotes, a wealth of Scripture, and optional study guides for both individuals and groups, inviting the believer to discover God’s desires for his salt.

Click here to get your copy!

Written in a way that draws the reader in, Linda Wood Rondeau also writes in a manner that conveys truth. She gains the reader’s interest while imparting a level of wisdom. This book deserves to be read by all Christians. Having read her book, I Prayed for Patience, God Gave Me Children, I have to say this book lived up to my expectations.

Salt represents those individuals who have been made new in Christ, while vinegar represents the world and sin. This book beautifully illustrates how we should strive for salt to be in our lives rather than vinegar. So if you are looking for a down-to-earth Biblically based book, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

By the author of I Prayed for Patience, God Gave Me Children.

A veteran social worker, Linda Wood Rondeau’s varied church experience and professional career affords a unique perspective into the Christian life. When not writing or speaking, she enjoys the occasional round of golf, visiting museums, and taking walks with her best friend in life, her husband of over forty years. The couple resides in Hagerstown, Maryland where both are active in their local church. Readers may learn more about the author, read her blog, or sign up for her newsletter by visiting www.lindarondeau.com.

More from Linda

Empty Nets

Part of my job as a point-of-sales associate at a Jacksonville department store was to solicit store credit. Right or wrong, my employee evaluation was based upon how well I convinced customers that a credit account is just what they needed. Every store had its quota, and management kept close tabs on credit totals. Most days, I met my expectations and maintained a top-ten score.

But not that day.

Due to special sales promotions, the store was hopping with customers. Associates were sounding their successes all around me. Congratulations went over the com system to everyone, it seemed, but me. I felt worthless. I’d done all I knew how to do and my nets were empty. To make matters worse, a supervisor came to my register. “Let me show you how to get credit.”

I wanted to quit … to close out my drawer and go home.

Then a little girl came by the register. She looked at me and smiled. The joy I felt through interacting with her reminded me of the many blessings my job offered … a chance to minister, to lighten a load with a smile, and a promise to pray. God reminded me that my worth in his eyes had nothing to do with quantity, but rather availability. My spirits soared with the thought. Had I not been down, I would not have known the joy of being lifted up.

God reminded me about the apostle Peter’s bad fishing day. I imagine Peter was a fisherman among fishermen … noted for his big hauls. Not this day.  In Luke’s account of Peter’s call, Jesus saw the two boats. Perhaps other fishermen made fun of Peter’s empty nets.

Then Jesus came and a large crowd followed him. He asked the fishermen to put the boats out a little from shore where He preached to the throng. Then he asked them to go to deeper waters and cast their nets. I suppose Peter thought the request was absurd. “We’ve been fishing all day and have caught nothing.”

But, because it was Jesus who asked, Peter reluctantly set a course as directed. Imagine his surprise when he caught so many, the boat nearly sunk from the weight of his haul. Then Jesus said something even more amazing. “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Peter realized his worth to God did not equal the number of fish in his net. God had a more important role for Peter. And he dropped his nets and followed Jesus.

The thought occurred to me, that if it had not been for empty nets, Peter would not have known how wonderfully God can fill them.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 16

Texas Book-aholic, April 17

Inklings and notions, April 18

For Him and My Family, April 19

deb’s Book Review, April 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 21

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 22

Simple Harvest Reads, April 23(Spotlight)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 23

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 24

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 26

Godly Book Reviews, April 27

Artistic Nobody, April 28 (Spotlight)

Mary Hake, April 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10ace/who-put-the-vinegar-in-the-salt-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Matchmaker’s Best Friend – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Matchmaker’s Best Friend

Author: Kari Trumbo

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: March 30, 2021

“You’re just like a brother to me. I don’t like you in that way.”

When they dated ten years ago as teens, it almost destroyed their friendship. So Pen Reese did the only logical thing.  She lied about how she felt—and still feels—about him.

She’s still paying for that lie.

A brilliant plan to set Mike and a friend up and get over him has one problem.

It’s breaking her heart.

When Pen pushed him away, Mike Gaines assumed she just didn’t understand his faith. People like her persnickety aunt even claim he’s part of a cult—ridiculous, but it’s true. Still, if she wants him to play the part of a big brother, fine. At least he can stay close this way.

At first, Pen’s attempt to set him up with one of her close friends hurts. But what if it’s the perfect opportunity to show her what she’s missing if she sees him with someone else?

In this friends-to-more-meets-second-chance romance, The Matchmaker’s Best Friend continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!




Matchmaker’s Best Friend represents the ninth book in the Independence Islands series. Written by six authors, this series examines the lives of individuals on five islands. This story primarily takes place on Elnora Island. Pen, a party planner, attempts to break into business on the island. She attempts to plan a wedding for her best friend, Mike, and one of her girlfriends.

I expect the books in this series to grab my attention and keep me reading. This book lives up to those expectations. It illustrates how sometimes friendship often morphs into something more. Sometimes it takes something extreme to make us realize we love someone. The story progresses at a pace that satisfied me and had characters that interest me.

Reading the books in this series is possible, but reading them in order provides the most benefit. So check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Where western meets happily ever after.

Kari writes swoony heroes and places that become characters with detail and heart.
Her favorite place to write about is the place her heart lives, (even if she doesn’t) South Dakota.

Kari loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing when no one’s listening, and curling up near the wood stove when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota, land of frigid toes and mosquitoes the size of compact cars, with her husband of over twenty years. They have two daughters, two sons, one cat, and one hungry wood stove.

More from Kari

Pen is Mightier than the Sword

Especially in sparkly, stacked espadrilles and pink power suit. Don’t let Pen Reese’s pink façade fool you, she’s a businesswoman to the core, with a heart of gold. She has built a party planning business from the ground up, and she’s about to create another.

Pen is one of those characters that I could just see CLEARLY as I was writing. She is about ninety percent Elle Woods from Legally Blonde and ten percent a close personal friend. I heard her voice in my head. I could hear her talking as I wrote the book. Her personality was perfect for the energetic party planner.

I’m sure if I put a character description up without context or clarity many people wouldn’t want to read the book, they would write Pen off as shallow. But she’s not. She’s heartbroken.

Do you still remember your first love? Maybe you still care for them? Pen fell hard for her first love and no matter how professional she is or how many lavish weddings she plans, she can’t forget the one wedding she’ll never get to create. Her own.

Pen things that if Mike falls for someone else, goes off and gets married, she’ll finally be able to move on. So, she sets a plan in motion. That’s when her world completely falls apart and you see the tender parts of Pen that she doesn’t show to just anybody.

She is a very complex character and I hope she touches you like she touched me.

I hope you enjoy Pen’s tale of matchmaking gone wrong.

Blog Stops

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 14

Books and Everyday Life, April 14

Labor Not in Vain, April 14

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 15

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 15

lakesidelivingsite, April 16

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 17

Rebekah Reads, April 17

Artistic Nobody, April 17 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 18

A Novel Pursuit, April 18

She Lives To Read, April 19

deb’s Book Review, April 19

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 20

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, April 20

Splashes of Joy, April 20

Aryn the Libraryan, April 21

For Him and My Family, April 21

Texas Book-aholic, April 22

Blogging With Carol, April 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 23

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 23

CarpeDiem, April 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 24

Connect in Fiction, April 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 25

Simple Harvest Reads, April 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Inklings and notions, April 26

Godly Book Reviews, April 26

Batya’s Bits , April 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 27

Blossoms and Blessings, April 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kari is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10acd/matchmaker-s-best-friend-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Deepest Roots of the Heart – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Deepest Roots of the Heart

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Fiction / Historical / Romance

Release date: January 20, 2015

The Carrillos have a history in the valley that stretches as deep as grapevine roots in the soil.

During WWII, Avelino Carrillo spent four harrowing years in the South Pacific with one thought driving his survival: to return to his beloved home in Napa Valley.

For a century, they worked the vineyard at their family home, la Casa de los Sueños, until they lost the property to a wealthy land baron. Now, Avelino is determined to reclaim the land and home he loves so much.

When he meets Amelia, a young woman who lives at the vineyard with her grandfather, he finds that regaining his birthright isn’t his only struggle—he battles the longing of his heart as well.

Follow Avelino in this split-time novel as he struggles to overcome local bigotry and personal demons to create the life he desires.

Click here to get your copy!

Whenever I pick up a book by Chautona Havig, I expect to fall in love with the characters and storyline. This book lived up to my expectations With a split-time storyline, it examines the life of Avelino Carrillio and Amelia. Chautona Havig masterfully weaves together the lives of two strangers into one cohesive book.

I love how Avelino seeks to recover the family home that was lost from their possessions. His determination and strength of character help bring this book to life. This book illustrates the American dream of owning landing and becoming prosperous. The characters come to life through the pages of this book. So check it out for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

I Fell in Love with California & History in the Same Year

When the second pastor of small churches with private Christian schools was hauled off to jail, the pastor of our little school closed the doors—just in case. Several of us went underground as homeschoolers in a time when homeschooling was something people did when they were missionaries or lived in… Alaska or something.

There I sat at our kitchen table in Ventura, doing my schoolwork at our little kitchen table.  On Wednesday and Sunday nights, I’d take tests in the school office, get my new PACEs (“Packet of Accelerated Christian Education”) and go home to work again. Sometimes, I’d sit up in my room to read the bigger chunks of information—like from my California State History PACEs.

Look, I don’t know if all states have such great history, but California’s fascinated me. I remember coloring the state map, the missions, and the flag—despite it not being required.  I looked for more books about it, and in the process, I fell in love with history.

A couple of years later, my aunt brought heaping bags of books for us to read when we lived out in the middle of nowhere with no electricity or running water.  We were bored.  But she brought books.  In those sacks?  A tiny little paperback. The Legend of Susan Dane.

Although that book had its utterly ridiculous moments, it also sparked something in me.  Between eyerolls of disgust at everyone fawning over Susan Dane’s reputed beauty and over a strapless dress in the last quarter of the 19th century, it showed a beautiful picture of the lives of the Californios.

That book fanned the flames of my love of history until I burned with curiosity over what was reasonable.  What wasn’t. And how to find out what really happened.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and a character emerged—a Californio who refused to learn ingles for the sake of the immigrants to his country. Don Ruiz Carrillo said, “If I go to their country, I learn their language, but if they come to my country, they should learn mine.”  In short, I took the words I’d heard my own father say all my life and turned it on its head.  I put an American in California before statehood and without means to learn the language.

When señor Carrillo meets the young Americano with red hair and freckles, she tells a heartbreaking story that she manages to convey through pantomime and her attempts to imitate his language. Here, I deviated from my father. While Dad would be kind and helpful in teaching someone his language in his country, señor Carrillo decides that this young woman is more important than his preferences.

That story is still being written—Crushed Dreams.  However, when I realized how I wanted to end the story, I knew I had a problem. The final book in this series will have a bittersweet ending—one with hope and promise, but not technically “happy.”  So, I decided to write a prequel/sequel to the series—a split-time novel where the reader lives the past with the characters of the present. This way, going into the entire series, you know there’s a happy ending, so you can appreciate the heartache and sacrifice that will come in that last book.

Crushed Dreams is slated to release soon, so I’m eager to share the prequel to the Legacy of the Vines series with you.

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, April 13

A Novel Pursuit, April 13

She Lives To Read, April 14

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 15

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 16

Artistic Nobody, April 16 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Rebecca Tews, April 17

Connie’s History Classroom, April 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 19

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 19

Texas Book-aholic, April 20

Inklings and notions, April 21

For Him and My Family, April 22

Mary Hake, April 22

deb’s Book Review, April 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 25

CarpeDiem, April 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift card & paperback!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10a52/deepest-roots-of-the-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

A Heart’s Forgiveness

A Heart's Forgiveness

About the Book

Book:  A Heart’s Forgiveness

Author: Lena Nelson Dooley

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: April 6, 2021

A Heart's Forgiveness (1)

Accepting an ad for a mail-order bride was supposed to solve her problems.

It’s 1890, and Golden, New Mexico, is a booming mining town where men far outnumber women. So when Jeremiah Dennison’s good friend and mentor finds himself in need of a nurse, Philip places an ad for a mail-order bride—despite Jeremiah’s protests.

Hoping to escape a perilous situation back East, Madeleine Mercer answers the ad and arrives in town under a cloud of suspicion. What she finds in Golden is nothing like what she expected, especially not Philip, her expected husband-to-be.

But just as she begins to win over Philip—and Jeremiah himself—the secrets she left behind threaten to follow her to Golden…and tarnish her character beyond redemption.

Click here to get your copy!

This book represents the second book in the Love’s Road Home series. This book explores what happens to a daughter after her father, her only living parent, dies and his “so-called” business partner tries to force her to marry him. Fortunately, Madeline Mercer knows and loves God and her servants seek to protect her. Jeremiah wants only to protect his best friend Philip who he loves like a father.

The story includes incredible compassion, love, and strength of character. The story explores the idea of forgiveness, redemption, and demonstrating God’s love to those around us. I appreciate how Jeremiah eventually recognizes his need to take God as his Savior. So if you like historical works of Christian fiction, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

IMG_1837

Lena Nelson Dooley has been an author for 36 years. Her 51st book released in June 2020. Raised in Arkansas, she married a Texan 56 years ago. They have lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex for decades. She is an active member of ACFW and one of the founding members the DFW local chapter. She’s often been a speaker for other writers’ groups and conferences, both as a keynote speaker and a workshop teacher. Her fans love reading her books filled with characters who grip your heart.

More from Lena

The Story Behind A Heart’s Forgiveness

I’ve been a lover of history for decades. In college and graduate school, all my elective courses were history. Of course, I chose the countries and eras I wanted to learn about. When I began writing novels, my first one was a contemporary story. After that, at least 75% or more of my novels have been historical, all the way from 1805 through the early 20th century.

One of the hallmarks of my historical novels is the authenticity I write into the stories. Because of the amount of research I’ve done over the years, I’m kind of an expert in 19th century history. My characters and their stories are completely fictional, but the other things in the book are mostly true. I search until I find what I need to know or until I reach a complete dead end.

A Heart’s Forgiveness is set in two places—Boston, Massachusetts, and Golden, New Mexico. It’s a Mail-Order Bride story. This is another type of story I like to read and I like to write. Finding a different reason for both the man trying to get a wife that way and a woman who needs an answer to her serious problems is a fun way to start the story. In this book, the bride and groom don’t meet until several chapters, even though he knows about her. And then I added another twist I think you’ll like.

There is also a very bad villain. One who doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. I didn’t plan that from the start of the book, but I realized much later in the book that God wanted her to forgive him. That one act of obedience, undeserved forgiveness, affected the lives of others in the novel. And isn’t that just like God. None of us really deserve forgiveness, but He freely gives it to each of us who will accept the gift.

I’m what’s called in the industry a seat-of-the-pants author, more or less. I do have the complete outline of the story in my head. When I sit down to write, I know where I’m going, but I don’t have every single scene plotted out as some authors do. And I pray a lot. During the time I’m writing a book, God drops ideas into my mind. Not just while I’m writing, but other times, too. That’s the exciting thing about writing. This keeps it fresh for me.

When you’ve finished reading this story, I hope you’ll let me know what you think of it. I really like getting reader feedback.

Blog Stops

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 10

A Novel Pursuit, April 10

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations April 12

Reviewingbooksplusmore, April 12

lakesidelivingsite, April 13

Texas Book-aholic, April 14

Inspiration Clothesline, April 14

Inklings and notions, April 15

Betti Mace, April 16

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 16

For Him and My Family, April 17

deb’s Book Review, April 18

Simple Harvest Reads, April 18 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, April 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 20

Jeanette’s Thoughts, April 20

Connie’s History Classroom, April 21

Vicky Sluiter, April 22

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 23

Maureen’s Musings, April 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lena is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10a50/a-heart-s-forgiveness-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Cooking Up a Mystery – A Review and Giveaway

Cooking Mystery

About the Book

Book:  Cooking Up A Mystery

Author: Gail Pallotta

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release date: April 24, 2020

CookingUpAMystery website large size

Laney Eskridge worked to put her husband through dental school. Then he left with another woman. She’s on edge from the emotional scars and her parents’ deaths. Then she hears unexplained noises in her new tea house, and her anxiety is tripled. Add a budding romance with Eric—a guy with a fear of commitment—and it’s all too much to handle. She cuts ties with Eric and plunges into making her business pay off.

When Eric discovers that Laney’s in danger, he vows to protect her. But can he make a lasting promise? Will she trust him? . . .and when they overhear a threat that could cause national turmoil, will anyone believe them? There’s more brewing than herbal tea in Cooking up a Mystery.

Click here to get your copy!

I always enjoy a good mystery, and when it involves incredible sounding food, that just adds the “icing on the cake” if you will. At the very beginning of the book, when Laney hears noises coming from her kitchen, it reminded me of when I a girl. My parents went out for the night and left my sister and I home alone. We heard noises coming from outside the house and it made us nervous. So I could appreciate what Laney experienced.

Add in heartbreak and the effects of an ex-husband along with the deaths of her parents, and the tensions just rise in this book. This book captured my attention and would not let me put it down. I continue reading to find how things would turn out. Adding in someone like Eric to the recipe of this book brought even more to this story. So if you want to find out how this recipe for mystery turns out, check it out for yourself. I

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Cooking Up A Mystery Annc. 2

Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A 2013 Grace Awards finalist, she’s a Reader’s Favorite 2017 Book Award winner and a TopShelf 2020 Book Awards Finalist. She’s published six books, poems, short stories and several hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.

More from Gail

In Cooking up a Mystery running a business with no background or formal training in accounting or management overwhelms Laney, the heroine. George, her assistant, tells her she has him and God, who knows her needs. Then he adds, “You … have your mom’s wonderful recipes and you whip them up like a pro.”

I chose the food industry for Laney, a woman entrepreneur succeeding against the odds, because I have lots of cooking experience. I learned the skill at age ten. The reason, according to my father—I’d know how when I got married. I didn’t marry until I was thirty. By then, I’d received lots of instruction, so I knew how to prepare some pretty good dinners. My husband said, “You could start a restaurant.” I wanted to do other things instead, such as write, but I started one in this book.

Mt first woman entrepreneur appears in Hair Calamities and Hot Cash, a romantic comedy about a hairstylist. It’s set in Eve’s Clips, a salon in Triville, a fictitious town in the North Carolina Mountains where Laney opens Laney’s Delectable Delights.

A section in the back of Cooking up a Mystery, Laney’s Chefs in the Making, features over two dozen recipes. Only Laney’s Pineapple Rice is mine. The rest are from a book, Heavenly Delights, authored by my friend, Pam Nichols Griffin, as a fundraiser for Mission Love Seeds, a charity that helps children throughout the world and responds locally after disasters to demonstrate God’s love.

Laney’s Pineapple Rice

Ingredients:

Rice (can be instant, but not boil-in-the-bag)

Cooking oil or spray

One small onion (chopped thin)

Five cloves garlic (or minced gloves equaling five cloves)

One tablespoon fresh grated ginger

One cup fresh pineapple

Small amount of pineapple juice

One teaspoon sugar

One lime

Cook rice according to directions on the box, but substitute a couple of tablespoons to 1/4 cup pineapple juice (depending on taste) for part of the water.

Chill rice

Coat a heavy bottom skillet with oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, pineapple and sugar and stir. Add cold rice, break up, squirt with the juice of one lime and stir until heated and blended.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 9

Blogging With Carol, April 9

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 10

She Lives To Read, April 11

Texas Book-aholic, April 11

Inklings and notions, April 12

Genesis 5020, April 12

For Him and My Family, April 13

deb’s Book Review, April 14

Worthy2Read, April 14

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 16

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 17

Godly Book Reviews, April 17

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 19

CarpeDiem, April 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 20

April Hayman, Author, April 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 21

Simple Harvest Reads, April 21 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 22

Labor Not in Vain, April 22

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Gail is giving away  the grand prize of a $40 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10a4e/cooking-up-a-mystery-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Texas Trails – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Texas Trails

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: March 6, 2021

The steps of a righteous man are guided by the Lord.

Rife with adventure, this rights-of-passage story comes to life as Enoch Lowell and his best friend Gus strike out to Kansas with their herd of beeves, hoping to earn a profit and cut the apron strings. What they find on the prairie changes their lives forever. Promises made, promises kept, but nowhere is it written there can’t be a happy ending for all. A true Texas trail tale to warm your heart!   

Click here to get your copy!

Every time I read a book by Caryl McAdoo, I know interesting characters, and plotlines abound. This book lives up to those expectations. Enoch and his friend Gus set out on cattle run as young men but prove their maturity through the journey. But Enoch’s father provides unseen guidance in their journey.

In the meantime, Callie, her daughter, and Callie’s sister Viola experience untold heartbreak on the prairie. I love how Caryl McAdoo weaves the idea of coming to truly know God into this story. The bonds of family and friendship create a dynamic and rich collection of stories that bring together the separate books into one fantastic collection. I recommend reading these books to appreciate them.

The initiative, drive, and determination these four individuals show captured my imagination. So if you enjoy historical fiction with a Christian focus, check out this book and the rest of the series for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling stories—over fifty-five published—delight Christian readers around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her; you may listen at YouTube. Sharing four children and nineteen grandsugars (three greats), Caryl and Ron (her high-school-sweetheart-husband of over fifty years) live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas. The McAdoos wait expectantly for God to open the next door.

More from Caryl

Get along little doggie!

TEXAS TRAILS is the sixth novel in the Cross Timbers Family Saga series. I’d never written much about being on a cattle drive and thought it would be great fun. Back in the Texas Romance Family Saga series, Charley Nightingale made several trips to Kansas with a herd and took his son Nathaniel, but I skipped over the actual drive part.

Readers first met co-hero Enoch Lowell in QUINCY & PRISCILLA then got to know him better in DUPLICITY At The Lowell House when his best friend Gus Hale (TEXAS TRAIL’s other co-hero) is introduced. Both those stories are set in 1866. For TEXAS TRAILS, it’s three years later, and Enoch is ready to declare himself a man and start earning his own way. Driving a bunch of cows up to Kansas sounds like the ticket to cut his mother’s apron strings and earn some dollars in the process.

The son of Morgan and Charity O’Neal Lowell (LEAVING TEXAS, book four) and grandson of Liberty O’Neal Harrell (GONE TO TEXAS, book one) talks Gus into going with him, and as partners, they start building a herd. All the while, Charity is pitching a fit as her plan for her firstborn includes Harvard University.

One thing I loved about this story is that Morgan sets it up—behind the scenes of course—for trusted men to take in his son and Gus on their trail drive. Enters the infamous Texas Ranger Levi Baylor (Texas Romance Family Saga book two HEARTS STOLEN) and the boy he reared as his own (grown now), Charley Nightingale!

I already love those two men from my earlier Texas Romance Family Saga series—just as my readers do—and totally relished their appearance in this story! Revisiting old beloved friends brings great joy to this author, in real life and my fictitious world!! I adore crossing these characters over the two series!

So many things are apt to happen out on the prairie that cowboys never expect. There are rivers to cross and the natives to deal with, some who pose real danger to life and limbs! Cows birth calves, storms descend, and herds stampede, but that’s not all that can make a cowboy’s days rough. Enoch’s and Gus’s lives are definitely changed forever on the out there on the trail.

I’m thinking if I were a younger woman, I would totally enjoy going along on their cattle drive! How about you?

Blog Stops

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 7

Simple Harvest Reads, April 7 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Lakesidelivingsite, April 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 9

Connie’s History Classroom, April 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 11

deb’s Book Review, April 12

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 14

For Him and My Family, April 15

Texas Book-aholic, April 16

Inklings and notions, April 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 18

Splashes of Joy, April 19

Pause for Tales, April 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10a4b/texas-trails-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Blessed and Transfromed – A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Blessed and Transformed

Author: Dr. Jeannine Bennett

Genre: Christian Nonfiction (Women’s Bible Study)

Release date: October 2020

What do you do when God answers your prayers, renews your mind, and transforms you?

Life does not always turn out the way we hope. It is often filled with tragedy, heartbreak, and loss, but make no mistake, God doesn’t abandon us during those times. Instead, God uses every experience we encounter to transform us so we can live the life He intended when He created us.

As Christians, we understand that we live in a fallen world. A world where dwelling on past failures or falling prey to the same sins seems normal. But what happens when God opens our spiritual eyes and shows us a different way to live? Do you run to Him and embrace the change? Do you find your calling and live out your purpose?

In Blessed and Transformed, Jeannine Bennett shares how much sweeter life is when you recognize God’s blessings and fully embrace His transformation of your life. She shows you there is no limit to what you can endure or accomplish by keeping God front and center.

Click here to get your copy!

Let’s face it, life doesn’t always go according to plan. But even during times of pain, heartbreak, and more God remains with us. This book illustrates that fact and shows how we may live the way God intended for us. At the end of each chapter, the author posted questions to be answered. It confirms how we have unique journeys and God plans for each of our lives.

The author guides the reader on a journey of transformation and encouragement. Following in the footsteps of her other book Broken to Beautiful, this book deserves to read, study, and savored. So check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Jeannine Bennett is a wife to Hayden, mom to four children, and grandmother to seven grandchildren. Her children are named Sandra, Brittany, Camryn, and Zachary. Her grandchildren are Colin, Lilyana, Willow, Savannah, Winter, and Hope. She is the founder and CEO of Vision to Purpose, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, an adjunct faculty member in the School of Business for Liberty University Online, and an executive coach for The Honor Foundation.

To those who know Jeannine, she is simply a woman who loves Jesus, is devoted to her family, and struggles with life’s challenges like the rest of us. She is not immune to bad hair days, shrinking clothes (weight gain), or sleepless nights. She loves learning and sharing the knowledge acquired to help others learn too. Her favorite ice cream is a toss-up between butter pecan and mint chocolate chip. And, although she has lived in Virginia for more than 30 years, she still calls a water fountain a bubbler. A term she grew up saying in her hometown of Racine, Wisconsin.

More from Jeannine

In my previous book, Broken to Beautiful, I shared my testimony. The first half of my story was filled with hopelessness, disappointment, heartache, and loss. The second half described accounts of undeniable blessings. I have chosen to continue my story in Blessed and  Transformed because I want to further the conversation about what happens when we

receive all of those blessings.

Friends, we cannot have blessings without being transformed. Just as each trial, each struggle, each challenge changes us, each blessing is a gift that God uses to change us too.

I believe blessings are God’s way of showing that He loves us. I also think He uses those blessings to nudge us forward in pursuit of what He has called us to do.

I pray this book is a blessing to you!

In Christ,

Jeannine

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 8

Splashes of Joy, April 8

Library Lady’s Kit Lit, April 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 12

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 14

Lights in a Dark World, April 14

Texas Book-aholic, April 15

Inklings and notions, April 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 17

For Him and My Family, April 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 20

deb’s Book Review, April 21

Mary Hake, April 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jeannine is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10a4d/blessed-and-transformed-celebration-tour-giveaway