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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Book Review and Giveaway - A Heart’s Gift Author: Lena Nelson Dooley On Tour with Celebrate Lit

 


About the Book

Book:  A Heart’s Gift

Author: Lena Nelson Dooley

Genre: Christian historical romance


Is a marriage of convenience the answer?

 Franklin Vine has worked hard to build the ranch he inherited into one of the most successful in the majestic Colorado mountains. If only he had an heir to one day inherit the legacy he’s building. But he was burned once in the worst way, and he doesn’t plan to open his heart to another woman. Even if that means he’ll eventually have to divide up his spread among the most loyal of his hired hands.

When Lorinda Sullivan is finally out from under the control of men who made all the decisions in her life, she promises herself she’ll never allow a man to make choices for her again. But without a home in the midst of a hard Rocky Mountain winter, she has to do something to provide for her infant son.

A marriage of convenience seems like the perfect arrangement, yet the stakes quickly become much higher than either of them ever planned. When hearts become entangled, the increasing danger may change their lives forever.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author


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 GIFT

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, from 1805 through the early 20th century.

I’ve always been fascinated by the relationship between Joseph and Mary the mother of Jesus. The Bible doesn’t give us a lot of information about their relationship. But by his actions, we can assume that Joseph believed the angel and Mary about her baby. He didn’t do the usual thing and put her away quietly. Instead, he protected her, and from the day He was born, he became the earthly father of Jesus. I’ve often thought about what that meant for Joseph and for Mary. When I wrote a story of a marriage between a man and a single mother, I used the emotions that I feel God has revealed to me about their relationship.

The first time I read a marriage of convenience novel, I loved it. And I’ve read quite a few. I’ve also written a few. A Heart’s Gift is one of them. This book was an easy and interesting book to write.

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.

During the writing of A Heart’s Gift, there’s a place where I just stopped and said, “God, what am I going to do now?” When you get there, you’ll know what scene I mean, but I don’t want to give a spoiler.

I never dreamed that the book would turn into a suspense novel in the last quarter of the book, but God knew. And it made it a better book.


My Thoughts

I absolutely love marriage of convenience stories. It's always fun to see how people end up in situations and choose it. A Heart's Gift is the first full length novel that I have read by Lena Nelson Dooley. I have read one of her novellas that was in the Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides collection. A Heart's Gift is a well written historical Christian Fiction book. The author has done wonderful research to ensure that the story was as accurate as possible. The setting is Colorado  in 1893. This is a fun time period to read about since it's post Civil War and the expansion west. Lorinda and Franklin both have hurt and baggage from their past. Franklin does NOT want to open his heart again. He knows that he needs to produce an heir. Lorinda has escaped a past that held her down and kept her from feeling freedom. She now has to find a way to provide for her infant son. Lorinda and Franklin both know that they need each other - but can they find love. This book has a bit of everything. It has some mystery, suspense, romance and is heartwarming. It contains well written characters. They are real feeling and flawed. I look forward to reading more from this author. 

I received a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program - All thoughts are my own. 

Blog Stops

Connie’s History Classroom, January 13

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, January 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14

Maureen’s Musings, January 14

Reviewingbooksplusmore, January 15

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 15

Inklings and notions, January 16

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 17

Writing from the Heart Land, January 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 18

Betti Mace, January 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 19

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 19

Artistic Nobody, January 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, January 20

Older & Smarter?, January 21

lalkesidelivingsite, January 21

For Him and My Family, January 22

Labor Not in Vain, January 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 23

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, January 23

Texas Book-aholic, January 24

To Everything There Is A Season, January 24

deb’s Book Review, January 25

Lis Loves Reading, January 25

Splashes of Joy, January 26

Pause for Tales, January 26

Mary Hake, January 26

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/105a2/a-heart-s-gift-celebration-tour-giveaway


Monday, January 11, 2021

Book Review and Giveaway -Sing Until You Die Author: Carole Brown On Tour with Celebrate Lit

 



About the Book

Book: Sing Until You Die

Author: Carole Brown

Genre: Historical romantic suspense

Release Date: October 15, 2020


From childhood up, Claire Anne Rayner has despised the man who’s like a brother and son to the rest of the Rayner House residents. But when she puts her musical training on hold and begins singing to the troops as a means of helping support and encourage them, she is pulled into a mysterious spy’s efforts to destroy a certain high-ranking man.

Wills Mason is loved by everyone but Claire who cannot forgive him for his and her sister’s unmerciful, youthful teasing. But now, grown up and serving as a civilian spy, Wills must prove that Claire is not willingly relaying messages to the enemy, as his colonel believes, even when all evidence points that way. And can he prove he’s changed and can be trusted to cherish her heart as she deserves to be loved?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author


Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

 

More from Carole

A Grip on the Story by Carole Brown

Unlike books one and two of The Spies of WWII series (With Music in Their Hearts and A Flute in the Willows), I couldn’t get a handle on where to go with Claire Anne Rayner and Wills Mason’s story in Sing Until You Die. I knew their names, knew their careers, but the plot evaded me until it was time to write the novel. And then…

 

Slowly the plot opened up:

  • How Claire was using her career
  • What was being asked of Wills by his colonel
  • The conflict between the two main protagonists
  • The protagonists’ personalities
  • Who the spy was
  • Why revenge was being sought by the foreign spy

 

The more I wrote, the more I loved these two faulty, but loveable characters. Were they perfect? No. Were they determined to do what they felt was their duty, what they knew was their calling? Yes and yes.

 

Claire, as a child and teenager, faced thoughtless and sometimes cruel teasings because of over zealousness from certain family and friends. In her youthful mind, she felt loathing for those hurting her and knew she’d never forgive those involved.

 

Wills, on the otherhand, as a youth, was bound to prove he was one better than his best friend. Nothing was too dangerous or too extreme for him to try. No matter how others might feel…

 

Yet, through loving family and friends, these two grew into adulthood as caring, serious, and  individuals determined to succeed in their separate pursuits. The only thing they needed to do was ask for forgiveness and forgive. Could they lay aside their accusations for each other and do it? Would they realize that past feelings and thoughts about the other might just be wrong?

 

I worked hard at showing the slow and sometimes painful process of their achieving that. But tying in the insidious spy, thrust these two adorable, but different, characters into each others’ lives. That brings about the question:

 

Will the web of deceit the mysterious German spy is weaving destroy their one chance of happiness with each other, or can they both let go of the past and work together to bring the spy to justice?

My Thoughts


Sing Until You Die ByCarole Brown is book 3 in the Spies of World War II series. I have not read the other books in the series, and I had no problem following along. I have read other books by this author and,  one of the things that I love about this author - is her attention to detail. The way she writes you can visualize what is going on around you. The author puts a lot of description into her stories. I really felt I was standing there in the corner watching it unfold. I did my Master Thesis on the use of Women and African Americans as spies in The Civil War and the American Revolution. I have always had a fascination with espionage. This book gives an interesting look on what was going on during this time period. 

In this book we meet Claire Rayner. She is a song bird. The way that the author penned the way she sung. I felt like I could feel her voice and the magnitude of it. She sung for soldiers. They were able to listen to her voice and forget the raging war around her. Claire reminds me of innocence. She is likeable yet unaware of some of the dangers that are lurking around her. She is a pawn in a game she knows nothing about. She just wants to entertain. 

We also meet Wills Mason. He is a childhood friend of Claire. However, Claire despises him. The author recaps the history within the first few chapters of the book. You can feel the anger and despise Claire feels towards Wills. Wills is a civilian spy. His colonel wants him to keep an eye on Claire. She is suspected to be a spy. I found this comical and why understanding why Claire despises him. This mission puts you on a roller coaster. There were twists and turns. I learned a lot through the authors research. It's fun to see how spying has evolved. There are so many different techniques to pass information. I enjoyed this book a lot. 


I received a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program --- all thoughts are my own. 

Blog Stops

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 4

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, January 5 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 5

deb’s Book Review, January 6

Inklings and notions, January 7

Betti Mace, January 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9

Texas Book-aholic, January 10

For Him and My Family, January 11

Connie’s History Classroom, January 12

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 13 (Author Interview)

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 13

Artistic Nobody, January 14 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 16

Pause for Tales, January 17

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carole is giving away the grand prize package of a music-themed tote bag a 4-piece set of bird/flower coasters, a $25 Amazon gift card, and a signed copy of Sing Until You Die!!

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/1052f/sing-until-you-die-celebration-tour-giveaway


Thursday, January 7, 2021

Book Review and Giveaway - The Mulberry Leaf Whispers By: Linda Thompson Hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours

 Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for The Mulberry Leaf Whispers by Linda Thompson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK




Title: The Mulberry Leaf Whispers

The Mulberry Leaf Whispers

Series: Brands from the Burning #2

Author: Linda Thompson

Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink

Release Date: December 15, 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

A WWII Japanese naval officer. The teenage daughter of a legendary Christian samurai. Three centuries separate them, but a crucial question binds their destinies together.

Which lives have value?

In the highly anticipated sequel to her award-winning debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter, Linda Thompson provides a riveting story inspired by true events.

"Splendid story!... Rivals Shogun with its sweeping story of passion and faith, of survival and hope.... Be prepared to be enriched, moved and deeply satisfied." - Jane Kirkpatrick, award-winning author of Something Worth Doing

"Gorgeous... not-to-be-missed..." - Sarah Sundin, bestselling and Carol Award-winning author of When Twilight Breaks and the Sunrise at Normandy series

1587. Bartered off in a peace agreement to the ancient enemies of her illustrious house, is Sono a war prize, a hostage, or a bride? One hope sustains her. If she can provide an heir to the dashing husband she just met, she'll ensure decades of peace for the beloved family she was forced to leave behind. But when a dark secret threatens her desperate bid to purchase their security, she must rise to a battle she never dreamed she'd fight.

1942. Akira Matsuura’s naval vessel explodes under enemy fire. Everything he has lived for disappears in flames with it. His command, his crew, his future—all lost. Worse, his honor is eternally decimated. A prisoner’s life is of value to no one. Least of all to himself. But a stunning twist reveals his family’s secret shame. Can a long-buried truth provide the vital spark that reignites his will to live?

Thrill to two poignant journeys of courage, duty, and sacrifice, deftly woven through the centuries to inspire with dynamic faith that conquers despair.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | BookBub


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda Thompson

Linda Thompson stepped back from a corporate career that spanned continents to write what she loves—stories of unstoppable faith. Her debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter, was a Cascade Award winner and a Christy- and Carol-Award finalist. Linda writes from the sun-drenched Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, a third-generation airline pilot who is also her Chief Military Research Officer, one mostly-grown-up kid, and a small platoon of housecats. When Linda isn’t writing you’ll find her rollerblading—yes, that makes her a throwback—taking in a dramatic desert moonrise, or enjoying their first grandbaby.

CONNECT WITH LINDA:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


MY THOUGHTS

The Mulberry Leaf Whispers, the second book in Linda Thompson’s Brands from The Burning series. This is the first book that I have read by Linda Thompson. I really enjoyed her writing style. She had me drawn in within the first few pages. This novel is a time split novel. This is not the usual type the I read but the author did a wonderful job with  it. I really appreciated the research that the author put into this story. I was not very familiar with Japanese culture. I feel with this book I was able to get a deeper understanding and respect for the Japanese culture. The time periods that are created in this book are: 1587 and 1942. 
We meet Sono. She is a Christian. She is married to a Samurai Warrior. However she is facing a  struggle to maintain her Christianity within a Buddhist household. I cannot imagine having to live in a country where Christianity wasn't the primary religion. We then move forward to 1942 and meet Matsuura Akira. He is rescued  from his ship. He is the only survivor. While he is plucked from the waters he is taken as a prisoner of war. Since he is Japanese he tries to stay true to his culture. While in a camp, he meets a Christian woman. She offers forgiveness of the enemy that has killed her family. This helps to soften Matsuura's heart. You will have to read the whole story to find out how the stories are connected, but the author weaves the stories together seamlessly. 

I hope to read more by this author. She has a gift and her research taught me so much. 

I received a copy of this book through the JustRead Publicity Tours blogging program -- all thoughts are my own. 


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a copy of the soon-to-be-released audiobook for Linda’s award-winning debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter, her latest release, The Mulberry Leaf Whispers, in winner's choice of Kindle or paperback format, plus a $10 Amazon gift card!

The Mulberry Leaf Whispers JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight January 4, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on January 11, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway - Bride by Blackmail Author: Debbie Lynne Costello On Tour with Celebrate Lit

 


About the Book

Book: Bride by Blackmail

Author: Debbie Lynne Costello

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: September 15, 2020


A broken heart, a controlling father, and an intrusive Scot leave Charlotte Jackson reeling. Accused of stealing an heirloom pin, she must choose between an unwanted marriage and the ruin of her family name. With the futures of her three younger sisters at stake, as well as her own reputation, Charlotte must navigate through injustice to find forgiveness and true happiness.

Eager to find the traitor that caused the death of his brother, Duncan Mackenzie comes to America and attempts to fit in with Charleston society. But when the headstrong Charlotte catches his eye, Duncan takes on a second mission—acquiring the lass’s hand. After being spurned several times, he uses unconventional ways of winning her heart.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author


Debbie Lynne Costello has been writing since the young age of eight. She went to college for journalism. She enjoys medieval settings and settings set in nineteenth century Charleston, South Carolina. She loves the Lord and hopes to touch people’s lives through her stories. Debbie Lynne lives in the beautiful state of South Carolina with her husband of 40 years, their 4 children, 2 Tennessee Walking horses, 2 Arabians, miniature donkey, 6 ducks, and 3 dogs.

 

More from Debbie

It is fun to build characters in books and one of the best ways is to show some sort of a hobby or skill that the particular character enjoys. In Bride by Blackmail, Charlotte and her sister, Nellie, are doing needlework on a tablecloth that they hope to have done by the holiday season. My grandmother who would be over a hundred today loved to do needlework. I have pieces from when she was young up until her later years when she did needlework on pillowcases to decorate them up as a Christmas present. But I also have pieces done by my great-great grandmother and her sisters. They are cherished pieces I hope to hand down for generations. As part of my giveaway I’ve purchased antique needlework and embroidered pieces to giveaway with the prizes.

Another fun way to build characters is show something they love to eat. Nellie, who is a minor character, is visiting the hero’s home with her family. Duncan being from Scotland has scones on the breakfast menu. Nellie can’t get enough of the yummy biscuits and finds the servant enjoys helping her continue her indulgence even after she leaves.

 

SCONES

 

Preheat oven to 400

 

2 cups of flour

1/3 cup sugar

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

½ cup sour cream

½ cup butter (hard)

½ cup cranberries

1 large egg

2 tsp. sugar (do not put this in with the dry ingredients. This is for topping.)

 

Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl. Once mixed well, cut hard butter into pats and drop into the bowl. Now cut the butter into the floured mixture until it is more like a crumble. Set aside.

 

In a small bowl, whisk together your egg and your sour cream until well mixed.

 

With a fork (no mixer!) blend the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, keep stirring until the mixture becomes one large ball. If you need to you can use your hands toward the end to make sure all the flour is in the ball.

 

On a lightly floured surface pat the dough out to about 3/4” thick. I try to make mine a rectangle for the next step. Once you have the thickness right, sprinkle with the remaining 2 tsps. sugar. Cut the dough into triangles and place on cookie sheet (you can use parchment paper on the cookie sheet). Be sure to place adequately apart on the sheet to prevent them touching when rising.

Bake approximately 15 minutes or until they are a beautiful golden color.

Allow to cool slightly. These are wonderful warm or cold!

My Thoughts

I am a huge fan of this author - and everything she writes always is beautiful and entertaining. We are transported to 1880.  In this book we meet Charlotte Jackson. Charlotte wants to be able to think for herself in a time period where women are to be seen and not heard. Her father who  is a banker is more concerned with money and status then his daughters. Charlotte has her eye on a gentleman - but when she is accused of stealing an heirloom pin - her whole life is turned upside down. Her father does not seem to care that she is innocent - just that he needs to save their family status and reputation. 
We also meet Duncan Mackenzie . He comes to America to find out who betrayed his brother and caused his death. While integrating in the South Carolina society - he is determined to win Charlotte's hand. 
I was not a fan of Duncan at first - but throughout the story he will grow on you. Nellie is Charlotte's friend and she is a great support character. I would love to see the author write Nellie's story at some time. There are a lot of twists and turns and I enjoyed the ride that this book took me on. 
I received a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program - all thoughts are my own, 

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 14

Hallie Reads, December 14

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 15

Novels Corner, December 15

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 16

Connect in Fiction, December 16

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 17

Artistic Nobody, December 18 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Britt Reads Fiction, December 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 19

Simple Harvest Reads, December 19 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Rebecca Tews, December 20

deb’s Book Review, December 20

Inklings and notions, December 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 21

Texas Book-aholic, December 22

Splashes of Joy, December 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 23

Vicky Sluiter, December 23

Labor Not in Vain, December 24

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 25

Connie’s History Classroom, December 26

Bizwings Blog, December 26

For Him and My Family, December 27

Maureen’s Musings, December 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Debbie is giving away the grand prize of a smart watch!!

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/104ae/bride-by-blackmail-celebration-tour-giveaway