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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway: Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel on Tour with Celebrate Lit

Solve by christmas FB banner copy

About the Book

Solve by Christmas Historical Mystery

Author: 
Amber SchamelName of book: 
Solve by Christmas
Genre: Historical Christmas
Release Date: September 1, 2017
When sabotage threatens the Rudin Sugar Factory, Detective Jasper Hollock believes this will be his first real case. But dear Mr. Rudin—the only father Jasper has ever known—holds a different assignment for his private investigator.
“I’ve struck a deal with God, Jasper, and you’re my angel.”
Mr. Rudin charges Jasper to build a “case” of reasons for his employer to continue his life. If he fails, Mr. Rudin will end it in suicide on Christmas night.
As the incidents at the factory become life threatening, Jasper’s attempts at dissuading Mr. Rudin prove futile, and Jasper is left staring at the stark reality of his own soul. Time is ticking. Jasper must solve both cases by Christmas before Mr. Rudin, the company, and Jasper’s faith, are dragged to perdition. Will this be the Christmas Jasper truly discovers what makes life worth living?
“Amber Schamel’s engaging prose weaves together not one, but two edge-of-your-seat threads in this historical mystery. With the hero racing against time to solve the two cases readers will be kept guessing as they attempt to crack the case. “ ~ Laura V. Hilton author of Christmas Admirer (Whitaker House)

About the Author

Author Shot - Reading

Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and has been awarded the 2017 CSPA Book of the Year Award in Historical Fiction. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites. Amber is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Pick up your copy here.

Guest Post from Amber Schamel

Thank you so much for joining us on the Celebrate Lit blog tour for Solve by Christmas!! I am so excited you’re here. For this special event, I wanted to share the inside scoop behind the story.
Solve by Christmas is a historical Mystery set in Denver during the great blizzard of 1913. It has a unique storyline, so people often wonder where the idea came from. Honestly, it was one of those ideas that just popped into my head, then took on a life of its own and evolved over several weeks.
I wanted to give my readers a new story before the year was out, but I didn’t have a specific plot in mind. I did know I wanted to write a Christmas story. So, I had that much. Then I decided I wanted something with a firm deadline.” If this doesn’t happen by this date, everyone dies” sort of thing. Then “By Christmas” popped into my head and flicked on a light. What if Christmas was the deadline?
I’ve always loved detectives and mystery stories, and they go perfectly with deadlines. So, then I thought, what if a detective must solve the case by Christmas or death wins?
Sometimes, as an author, there are ideas and thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere. Almost like God dropping a card into your mental mailbox. The next point of Solve by Christmas was that way. What if a detective was assigned a case that he had to solve by Christmas, but it wasn’t a real case –at least not the type of case he wanted—but something completely different? From there, the story began to really take shape.
The next step, of course, is to come up with a character to be the detective. I wanted the story to have a Sherlock Holmes feel, so I started by studying his character a bit. But my story also has a less serious side since it isn’t a murder mystery and takes place at a sugar factory. I wondered…what would happen if you took Sherlock Holmes and meshed him with Barney Fife?
Now THAT would be hard to pull off. But I was determined to try. So, I made a list of Sherlock Holmes traits, and one of Barney Fife’s traits. I began to see that they actually DO have several similarities. They’re both a bit socially awkward. They both have a very similar flavor of pride. And they both have this air of authority…although Sherlock can back his up while Barney struggles in that area. Then I began to pick and choose between the traits that were left, this Barney trait, this Sherlock trait, and pretty soon I had Detective Jasper Hollock forming on the page. Whether you will get a Barney Fife and Sherlock feel when you read Solve by Christmas, I can’t say. But I do believe I was successful in creating a unique, quirky character that will bring this Christmas mystery to life.
There you have it. The scoop behind Solve by Christmas. I hope you enjoy the story, and best wishes in the giveaway! I will be stopping by along with Jasper and Denny (the two main characters) to answer any questions you may have about the story or the characters, so please do leave us a comment.


MY THOUGHTS
This is a new to me author. I loved her style of writing. The characters are well developed. I loved that this book kept me guess about what was going to happen next. There are some discussions of suicide (although not carried out) which did not bother me too much, but I wanted to make sure that it is brought up in my review. Detective Jasper was odd. But I liked his character. I would love to read more from this author. 
I was provided a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program, all opinions are my own. 

Blog Stops

BigreadersiteDecember 13
Genesis5020, December 14
Baker Kella, December 15
Daysong ReflectionsDecember 15
Karen Sue HadleyDecember 16
Aryn The LibraryanDecember 18
A Reader’s BrainDecember 18
Bibliophile Reviews, December 19
Mary Hake, December 19
Texas Book-aholic, December 20
Simple Harvest Reads, December 20
Babs Book Bistro, December 21
Reading Is My SuperPower, December 21 (Interview)
Just the Write EscapeDecember 23
The Power of Words, December 23
Live.Love.Read., December 24
Carpe Diem, December 24
Blogging With CarolDecember 25

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Amber is giving away a grand prize of a Christmas themed basket which will include a paperback copy of Solve by Christmas and The Swaddling Clothes (my two Christmas books) as well as a Christmas terrarium jar, and a Solve by Christmas notepad!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5bb

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

BOOK REVIEW!!! Christy: By Catherine Marshall

ABOUT THE BOOK
Christy
Christy (50th Anniversary Edition)(Evergreen Farm, October 2017)
New edition of Catherine Marshall’s inspirational classic!
The train taking nineteen-year-old teacher Christy Huddleston from her home in Asheville, North Carolina, might as well be transporting her to another world. The Smoky Mountain community of Cutter Gap feels suspended in time, trapped by poverty, superstitions, and century-old traditions.
But as Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home, some see her — and her one-room school — as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove.
Yearning to make a difference, will Christy’s determination and devotion be enough?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: THERINE MARSHALL
Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), "The New York Times" best-selling author of 30 books, is best known for her novel "Christy." Based on the life of her mother, "Christy" captured the hearts of millions and became a popular CBS television series. Around the kitchen table at Evergreen Farm, as her mother reminisced, Catherine probed for details and insights into the rugged lives of these Appalachian highlanders. Catherine shared the story of her husband, Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the United States Senate, in "A Man Called Peter." A decade after Dr. Marshall’s untimely death, Catherine married Leonard LeSourd, Executive Editor of "Guideposts," forging a dynamic writer-editor partnership. A beloved inspirational writer and speaker, Catherine’s enduring career spanned four decades and reached over 30 million readers.

My Thoughts:
How exciting to read this book at the 50th anniversary! So well written, so powerful, I could NOT put it down. Travel to Cutter Gap - located in the Smokey Mountains - in this tribute to Catherine's mother - Lenora Woods. Follow the journey as they struggle to educate right after the turn of the century. I hope that my great great grandchildren will still be reading this at the 100th anniversary. 
I received a copy of this book through the Litfuse Blogging Program. All opinions are my own. 




Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah by: Angie Dicken

My heart belongs in castle utah FB banner copy

About the Book

CastleGate
Name of book: My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah
Author: Angie Dicken
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: November 1, 2017
Schoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life.
Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart…and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble.
Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him. When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Gate. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.

Click here to purchase Angie's amazing book!

About the Author

Angie Dicken Bio
Angie Dicken is a third generation Greek American, the granddaughter of strong men and women who endured hardship to grow American roots. My Heart Belongs In Castle Gate, Utah is set near the birthplace of her grandfather, a Greek coal miner’s son, and published 100 years after his birth. Angie is a contributor to The Writer’s Alley blog and an ACFW member since 2010. She lives with her husband and four children in the Midwest where she enjoys exploring eclectic new restaurants and chatting with friends over coffee. You can connect with Angie at www.angiedicken.com.

Guest Post from Angie Dicken

My Publishing Story: A Journey of Perfect Timing

“Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14
I wrote a story five years ago. My footing was finally solid on how to write, after a couple ACFW conferences and connecting with my bestie writing sister, Ashley. So in 2012, I poured my heart out within the parameters of what I’d learned.
The story I wrote stemmed from my heritage. From a very young age, I’ve been inspired by my grandfather. He was the son of a Greek coal miner who came over from Greece in the 1910’s. My grandfather always had wonderful stories to tell–he stirred up my intrigue for WWII era as he was a Purple Heart recipient (twice), and spoke of freeing concentration camps and invading Hitler’s homes; my grandfather lived a rags to riches legacy, having been born in a tent in a coal town, and then becoming a successful home and commercial builder–I declared I’d be an architect at age eleven…even majoring in Landscape Architecture in college.
My great grandfather, born in 1884 and immigrated to Utah in 1910's.
My great grandfather, born in 1884 and immigrated to Utah in 1910’s.
Papou was one of my greatest heroes. And my novel was a tribute to him, to my Greek roots, to an American legacy.
So, at ACFW 2012, I took my novel to conference with more confidence than I had before. This story caught the attention of an agent– and I signed a contract with the Steve Laube Agency in November of that year. That was amazing…I chuckle now because the name of the room that I interviewed with Tamela was the “McKee” room–the last name of my heroine. A sign? Maybe. When she sent my story out for all publishers to see that next month, I thought my time for that book was just around the corner.
And…
Now it’s 2017, and that story is under contract with a publisher as of Fall 2016.
What timing, right?
Why the heck did it take so long? Not for lack of trying. My agent and I took every possible measure.
Why did I get rejection after rejection, and write two other books in the wait?
What happened between then?
Only in looking back, do I see why I had to wait for this book. And when I look back, I realize just how much Timing is His and there’s nothing I can do to speed it up or make it mine. All I can do is take courage, and wait.
I’ll give you a quick recap of what happened between 2013–when the book was put in the proverbial drawer of unwanted manuscripts–and now, 2017, the year it will get published (um, after a few rewrites and edits–always learning…).
In looking back, this is what I see:
My Community was Built. I fell in love with my writer friendships. A bit dramatic? Maybe, but it’s the truth. I connected with ladies who knew my heart as a writer, and allowed me into their lives in an authentic, Christ-loving way. I found hope in the writing journey because my friends held my hands and rubbed my back when all seemed lost. And in this, I grew not as a writer, but as a heart. My heart became soft for the needs of others and the value of authenticity in this short, precious life. There was a Pride Monster, and He needed to kill it. Oh, Lord, if ever there was a pride monster, it was me. My gut reaction in every rejection, every criticism, every other person’s success was a measurement against them according to me. Yuck. Do you know what the best way to kill a Pride Monster? Starve it. Even though I had my sweet friends and my agent encouraging me along the way, my heart was set on publication and I was not getting that. I wanted it so badly that I turned ugly when it seemed to slip through my fingers with every rejection. And I spiraled and I came up for air to those authentic friendships speaking Truth in love. God knew what He was doing when He built my community, and He knew He would use it to lift me up and tear down my ugly.
The Darkest Valley Was Ahead. Everything stood still in 2014. My personal crisis gave me little room for any true focus on my writing success. If anything, it made the effort seem petty. When you go through your days wondering if you’ll make it to the next morning without a complete mental breakdown, you can’t really dream. My dream in those moments was to crawl out of my skin and run away. This was not about my writing, this was about God’s faithfulness to someone who was losing faith–in the person she loved, in the life she constructed, in the heart that was broken. Looking back (I did climb up and out of this valley), I needed this valley walk (or crawl) to happen when it did–without a book on the shelf, without confidence in something that I had accomplished. I needed brokenness to become stronger and know that my strength has nothing to do with me.
There are several other moments and signs that I see as I look back, but I’m not going for the longest blog post of 2017, but I do want to share two sweet confirmations that the timing really is His.
First, I got a book contract! You know this, but, the contract came at a time when I had grown peaceful in the journey–the pride monster lay slain, and I picked up a pen and took an opportunity. My Oklahoma Land Run book with Love Inspired Historical won the Manuscript Matchmakers contest…and WAS coming out in Spring 2018.
I had secretly told those closest to me, that it would’ve been nice for it to come out in September instead…just because that’s when the book opens–September, 1893–the historical date of the Land Run.
So, what happens after I turn in my complete book a few days before its deadline? My editor tells me they bumped up my date to September of 2017. And I am sure, for them, it had nothing to do with the history, but for me, it was everything to do with the history–and His timing. Look for my debut novel, The Outlaw’s Second Chance this September!
There’s more…
My second contract came in! And this was a wonderful surprise. My agent and I had found out last spring that a new series was being launched based on geographical places around the U.S. I immediately thought of my Coal country story. So, I put together a proposal for a book I’d written long ago…and got a contract with Barbour this Fall for my novel, My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah.
But, the timing? November 2017 is my release.
God’s Timing in its finest…The book comes out during the centennial year of my grandfather’s birth. He was born in Dec. 1917 in Carbon County, Utah. My hero and my inspiration for this very book.
I just can’t stop smiling at the chance to honor my late grandfather with a story written by his third generation Greek American granddaughter who was inspired by his roots grown a century ago.
If only he could be here now. But I know he’s smiling, too.
A century.
It took a CENTURY.
Only by God’s grace, and His perfect timing.
MY THOUGHTS
First and foremost I am loving the "My heart belongs in" Series. I think I have read all the ones that are out already. I am loving the journey through different historical places. Like the others, I loved this story. You forget some of the struggles that immigrants went through when they were trying to earn a better life for their family. 
The characters were so well written. I just loved Leanna and Alex. I was drawn into the story right from the start. Journey into Castle Gate, UT where coal miners are trying to provide for their family. This is not a time that I have read a lot about. Heartwarming, well crafted and a great read. 
I was provided a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit Blogging program, all opinions are my own. 

Blog Stops

Faithfully Bookish, October 31
Caffeinated Reads, October 31
A Greater Yes, November 2
Daysong ReflectionsNovember 2
Carpe Diem, November 4
Radiant LightNovember 5
Texas Book-aholic, November 6
Babs Book Bistro, November 7
Neverending Stories, November 9
Have A Wonderful Day, November 10
Pause for Tales, November 10
Mary Hake, November 11
Splashes of JoyNovember 11
BigreadersiteNovember 12
Vicky Sluiter, November 13
Bibliophile ReviewsNovember 13
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To celebrate her tour, Angie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of her book The Outlaw’s Second Chance!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c1ff

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway! The Tarkington Treasure (The Charlotte Ross Mysteries) by Evelyn Cullet On tour with Great Escapes






The Tarkington Treasure (The Charlotte Ross Mysteries)
by Evelyn Cullet




The Tarkington Treasure (The Charlotte Ross Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Self Published
Paperback: 338 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1540852106
E-Book ASIN: B01NBOIU9Q
“In the world of logic, it’s always our assumptions that lead us astray.”
A spooky old house, rumors of a hidden Civil War treasure, a neighbor’s murder, and an ex-fianc√© falling unconscious at her feet—Charlotte Ross has her hands full when she’s invited to stay at her friend, Jane Marshall’s home while her apartment is being renovated.
Jane and her new fianc√© have sold everything to move to the large estate she’d just inherited near the small town in Illinois, where she grew up. She’s always loved the house, but the cost of living in, and fixing up, a deteriorating old mansion is more than both their incomes combined. If she can’t come up with the money for the next property tax payment, she’ll be forced to give it up.
Charlotte is intent on winning back her ex, but her efforts are stymied when he’s suspected of murder.
The two couples soon discover the rambling old house holds more than one secret when they join forces to find the real killer—and the elusive, Tarkington treasure.


About the Author
Evelyn Cullet has been an author since high school when she wrote short stories. She began her first novel while attending college later in life and while working in the offices of a major soft drink company. Now, with early retirement, she can finally write full time. As a life-long mystery buff, she was a former member of the Agatha Christie Society, and is a current member of the National Chapter of Sisters In Crime. She writes cozy mysteries with warm romance and a little humor. When she’s not writing mysteries, reading them or reviewing them, she hosts other authors and their work on her writer’s blog. www.evelyncullet.com/blog. She also plays the piano, is an amateur lapidary, and an organic gardener.

Author Links
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ecullet/
Google + : https://plus.google.com/117043118551450778691
Purchase Link

MY THOUGHTS 
This is a new author to me. The description and cover drew me to wanting to read it. 
I did not have any problems following the story, despite not reading the other Charlotte Ross Mysteries. I loved how the story started out with a bang and kept me turning page after page. I love the descriptions that went into the story. I love anything related to the Civil War, so I was intriguged to follow the clues and attempt to connect the puzzle. Jane and Charlotte are likeable characters. The writing flowed nicely. 

I received a copy of this book through the Great Escapes blog tour program. All Opinions are my own




Enter to win: (1) E-Book (Kindle) of The Tarkington Treasure (The Charlotte Ross Mysteries) by Evelyn Cullet.
Enter: Here