Category Archives: Book reviews

The Proposal by Tanya Eavenson

About the Book

Book:  The Proposal

Author: Tanya Eavenson

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: June 15, 2021

Oklahoma 1891

When the sheriff’s daughter goes into hiding from her father’s killer, her
life isn’t the only thing in danger.

Jessica Thomson is fleeing the man who killed her father. But her
stagecoach is robbed, and when the stranger who rescues her declares she
will be his wife, she does the only thing she knows to do—shove her revolver
in his back. Never would she have expected he wore a star on his chest. Too
bad she vowed never to love another lawman.

As sheriff, Blake McKenny prides himself on protecting his town’s people
from danger, but his efforts didn’t include a headstrong woman bent on
putting herself in harm’s way. When outlaws threaten his town and put
Jessica’s life in danger, Blake’s failure to save his late wife haunts him.

Can Jessica and Blake forgive themselves for the past and protect each
other—even if that costs them their hearts in the process?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Little did Blake McKenney know Jessica Thomson wasn’t your typical damsel in distress when he tried to rescue her from stagecoach robbers. Neither realizes the journey this will put them on nor the secrets the other holds that will waylay their plans.

Tanya Eavenson’s second book, The Proposal, from The All Roads Lead to Texas Series, is a historical romance novel located in Texas during the 1890s when stagecoach robberies were common.

The budding love story is set in motion with the two unlikely heroes at a loss as to how to overcome all their secrets.

Jessica craves love and acceptance, including safety. However, danger always seems to follow her. She can’t risk another person’s life as she did with her father’s.

The story of Jessica and Blake’s burgeoning romance had just the right amount of pathos and hope based on a deep faith.

I enjoyed reading about early Texas as I spent many of my childhood years in Texas and remember learning of how the stagecoach connected the cities and people.

The Proposal is book 2 in the series, but it works well as a stand-alone.

I received The Proposal from Celebrate Lit and am leaving a voluntary review.

About the Author

Tanya Eavenson is an award-winning Christian romance novelist. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee, eating chocolate, and reading a good book. You can find her at her website http://www.tanyaeavenson.com/

More from Tanya

Fiction to Reality

Ever had those moments when you’re reading a novel and it’s as if the author wrote the story line, the characters, or included verses just for you? When your world turns from fiction to reality with the flip of a page?

At the beginning of December in 2014, I took a novel from my bookshelf, snuggled on the couch with a blanket, and began to read. The title of the novel is called The Rancher’s Reunion by Tina Radcliffe. The hero in the story is Will, and he has a hereditary disease that caused him to fear, not only his future, but in trusting God. And that’s when God used this story to speak to me.

“I’m scared, Annie.”

“I know, Will. I know.” She blinked back the moisture pricking her eyes.

“No, Annie. I don’t think you do. I’m not just scared. I’m terrified.”

And I understood Will’s fear. Weeks prior to reading this novel, my doctor told me I have cancer. It’s a single word that can change the course of your life, emotionally, physically, but not only yours, others around you. And though I knew God’s presence would be with me no matter what the future held, my desire to write or edit anything had vanished. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I wanted to write anymore with my future so uncertain. I wasn’t just scared, but terrified my time with my family would be shortened.

But as I continued to read Will’s story, God’s whispered words, Do not be afraid of things you cannot control, pray, and continue your call to write, took hold and draped around my heart.

I knew at that moment this book was meant to be read at this appointed time. That God was leading me to give Him every single fear, open my laptop, and begin to write again.

During the time I’d stopped writing, I was in the middle of two stories, a contemporary romance, and The Rescue, the first story in the All Roads Lead to Texas series. It took some months before I returned to writing, but I had to give my fears to God the only way I could. Like Will and Annie’s story, day by day. Moment by moment.

In my new novel, The Proposal, the second story in the All Roads Lead to Texas series, Jessica Thompson understands fear and must learn how to give it to God. She has her father’s killer on her trail and the only means for escape is to run, but she never counted on the sheriff of Graham, Texas, to get in her way.

Have you ever had a time in your life where fear caught you so unexpectedly that you didn’t know what to do next? Perhaps you didn’t know where to turn? Maybe couldn’t pray?

I’m here to tell you it’s okay. God knows how you feel, good or bad, it doesn’t change His love for you. Just remember, He’s with you, by your side through it all. He will never leave you.

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, June 18

Genesis 5020, June 18

Lighthouse Academy, June 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

deb’s Book Review, June 20

Labor Not in Vain, June 20

For Him and My Family, June 21

Inklings and notions, June 22

Cats in the Cradle Blog, June 22

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , June 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 25

Connie’s History Classroom, June 26

Kayem Reads, June 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 27

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 28

Texas Book-aholic, June 29

Mary Hake, June 29

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, June 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 1

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tanya is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and eBook 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/10db1/the-proposal-celebration-tour-giveaway

Stealing the First Mate by Tabitha Bouldin on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Stealing the First Mate

Author: Tabitha Bouldin

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: June 29, 2021

Sometimes, happily ever after is as elusive as a pirate’s treasure.

Darcy Riggins dove headfirst into the online dating pool and sank. Every time.

Her lifelong dream of becoming a wife and mother becomes more elusive every year. So, taking the lack of a Mr. Right in her life as a decided “No!” from God, Darcy gives up altogether.

Single and happy is not an oxymoron. Right?

Nigel Jones has loved Darcy for ages, but her father (his boss, of course) ordered him to keep his feelings to himself, thanks to a stupid mistake that Darcy (thankfully) doesn’t know about.  Too bad her dad does.

Being single and content turns out to be tougher than Darcy imagined, and when she begins doubting everything she’s ever known, Nigel decides it’s time to admit his mistakes, tell the truth, and trust God for the outcome.

In this “forbidden-love-meets-friends-to-more” novel, Stealing the First Mate 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!

Stealing the First Mate begs the question, can friends become more-especially after Dad has said, “NO!!!”?

I enjoyed the story as Tabitha Bouldin writes about characters in a true-to-life fashion with all their quirks and foibles laid out for everyone to see. The main characters, Darcy Riggins and Nigel Jones, have rough seas to navigate to reach their romance. Nonetheless, they prevail through personal, turbulent waters drawing on their faith to keep them afloat.

Tabitha Bouldin is a new author to me, but this won’t be the last book of hers I read!

Stealing the First Mate, by Tabitha Bouldin, is the 11th story in the Independence Island Series. However, like the others in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone.

A satisfyingly pleasant friend-to-romance story, reading Stealing the First Mate is a grand way to kick back and lounge around the beach or at home while enjoying a novel.

I received Stealing the First Mate from Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

About the Author

Tabitha Bouldin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has been writing since 2015. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, you’ll find her curled up with a book. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart.

More from Tabitha

I love the friends-to-something-more trope. There’s something invigorating about the challenges of stepping into a different kind of relationship with someone you already know and trust. The risk of losing the friendship if things go badly comes to the forefront and each character has to decide if they’ll take the risk or keep things as they are.

For Nigel and Darcy, there’s the added difficulty of Nigel’s unrequited love. They’ve been best friends forever, and he’s loved Darcy all that time. And she’s clueless! How does that happen?

I wish I could say this story came from my own experience, but that isn’t the case. While my husband and I knew each other for several years before we started dating, we were hardly friends. High school social circles are brutal things. Plus, he had a crush on my cousin, and I was dating someone else.

But it all worked out.

And we’re best friends now.

When it came time to write Stealing the First Mate, I knew Nigel and Darcy were friends. It wasn’t until I worked my way through the first chapter that the depth of their relationship started to emerge, and I realized they were best friends. Darcy runs to Nigel for advise (even dating advise, which became really awkward for Nigel).

Darcy has been looking for Mr. Right so long she can’t see the truth staring back at her in Nigel’s eyes.

Writing their story is one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in writing.

Blog Stops

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 14

Life, Love, Writing, June 14

lakesidelivingsite, June 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, June 15

The Sacred Line, June 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 16

Blossoms and Blessings, June 16

Texas Book-aholic, June 17

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, June 17 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, June 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 18

Cultivating Us, June 18

deb’s Book Review, June 19

Connect in Fiction, June 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 20

Blogging With Carol, June 20

Sodbuster Living, June 20

Remembrancy, June 21

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 21

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 22

For Him and My Family, June 22

Aryn The Libraryan 📚, June 23

Lots of Helpers, June 23

Labor Not in Vain , June 23

She Lives To Read, June 24

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 25

Joanne Markey, June 25

Splashes of Joy, June 26

Kayem Reads, June 26

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 27

Simple Harvest Reads, June 27 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tabitha is giving away the grand prize package 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/10d56/stealing-the-first-mate-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Indebted Earl by Erica Vetsch

In the third installment of the Serendipity and Secrets Series, Erica Vetsch continues her sweeping saga with The Indebted Earl. (My reviews of the other two in the series:  The Lost Lieutenant and  The Gentleman Spy.)

Vetsch introduces us to a new tale of a vivid and resplendent Regency Era, transporting us to a time of Dukes, Earls and a life, for those of the aristocracy, of relative ease, except. . . when war, duty and commitments significantly interfere.

After Lady Sophia (Sophie) Haverly receives word her fiancé, Major Richardson, died in the Napoleonic war, she decides to continue caring for his mother, Mamie.

Captain Charles Wyvern travels to visit both Sophie and Mamie to fulfill what he feels is a debt he owes to his best friend, Major Rich Richardson. Little does he realize what he is getting into.

I had an easy time caring for the main characters as they all were so relatable, compassionate and truly likable. The characters face innumerable grave and daunting challenges with courage, resilience and determination.

The story is bursting with melodrama of the comedic and tragic type. Vetsch also incorporates Biblical themes, though not in a pressuring way. The Indebted Earl provides the reader with interludes of being transported to a different time and place.

This book was provided courtesy of Kregel Publications through Interviews & Reviews.

Publisher’s Summary

Can Captain Wyvern keep his new marriage of convenience all business–or will it turn into something more?

Captain Charles Wyvern owes a great debt to the man who saved his life–especially since Major Richardson lost his own life in the process. The best way to honor that hero’s dying wish is for Wyvern to escort the man’s grieving fiancée and mother safely to a new cottage home by the sea. But along the way, he learns of another obligation that has fallen on his shoulders: his uncle has died and the captain is now the Earl of Rothwell.

When he and the ladies arrive at his new manor house in Devon, they discover an estate in need of a leader and a gaggle of girls, all wards of the former earl. War the new earl knows; young ladies and properties he does not. Still wishing to provide for the bereaved Lady Sophia Haverly, Charles proposes a marriage of convenience.

Sophie is surprised to find she isn’t opposed to the idea. It will help her care for her betrothed’s elderly mother, and she’s already fallen in love with the wayward girls on the Rothwell estate. This alliance is a chance to repay the captain who has done so much for her care, as well as divert her attention from her grief. When Wyvern returns to his sea commission, she’ll stay behind to oversee his property and wards.

It sounds so simple. Until the stalwart captain is arrested on suspicion of smuggling, and Sophie realizes how much he’s come to mean to her. Now she’ll have to learn to fight, not only for his freedom but also for his love.

No Journey Too Far by Carrie Turansky

My Review

Carrie Turansky sets us on a road of love, hope and faith in No Journey Too Far. The story gives a lot of historical background on the British Home Children. These poor children, in some cases for no reason, were removed from their families and then sent to Canada to be adopted.  Many of the children weren’t adopted but instead were treated as indentured servants. After they grew up, they kept the secret that they were British Home Children because of how society unjustly treated them.

Turansky’s skill at incorporating history with fictional characters is impressive, steeping us in the stories of WWI veterans and orphans. I cheered for each of the major characters as individual challenges arose, and I was greatly inspired by the way their trials, with God’s help through prayer, were settled.

A stirring and poignant tale of the McAllister family’s redoubtable odds and undying love, No Journey Too Far will leave you thinking long after reading the last page.

Although No Journey Too Far is a sequel, it works well as a stand-alone, also.

I received No Journey Too Far from Net Galley and Waterbrook Multnomah. However, my review is voluntary.

Link to a podcast with Carrie Turansky: Carrie Podcast

Publisher’s Summary

In 1909, Grace McAlister set sail for Canada as one of the thousands of British Home Children taken from their families and their homeland. Though she is fortunate enough to be adopted by wealthy parents, the secrets of her past are kept hidden for ten years until someone from her long-buried childhood arrives on her doorstep. With this new connection to her birth family, will she be brave enough to leave her sheltered life in Toronto and uncover the truth?
 
After enduring hardship as an indentured British Home Child, Garth McAlister left Canada to serve in World War I. His sweetheart, Emma Lafferty, promised to wait for his return, but after three long years apart, her letters suddenly stopped. When Garth arrives home from the war to unexpected news, he is determined to return to Canada once more on a daunting mission to find the two women he refuses to abandon—his long-lost sister and his mysteriously missing sweetheart.

#WaterBrook Multnomah #NetGalley #Carrie Turansky #No Journey Too Far

Friday Flashback: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor: Book One in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep

My Review

If you enjoy stories with mystery and intrigue, twists and turns keeping you guessing at who is orchestrating the events, quick short reads (only 192 pages) and best of all-tied up with a Christmas bow-then Bleakly Manor is the perfect short story for you!

I don’t usually like mystery/suspense stories. However, Michelle Griep’s first book in her series, Once Upon a Dickens Christmas, exudes just the right amount of inscrutability, that you will be reading quickly to get to the “who is doing it?” and then you’ll wish you’d savored it just a little longer.

Although there are some intense, mildly violent scenes, the story overall is one of trying to recover what each person feels they have lost. Some of the characters, like most people, are more at peace with themselves and God than others. Hence some are more pugnacious and crueler than others.

Don’t expect a happy time at Christmas in Bleakly Manor; it isn’t there in an overt or obvious way. Nonetheless, the ending (and the explanation of the traditions) provides the skinny Christmas bow.

I’m looking forward to the next edition in the series, and there is a sneak peek at the end of the book!

I received this book from Barbour Publishing. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Review

A mysterious invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home may bring danger…and love?

England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.

But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.

What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

Pour a cup of tea and settle in for Book 1 of the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series–a page-turning Victorian-era holiday tale–by Michelle Griep, a reader and critic favorite.

Wagon Train Wife: Prairie Brides by Catherine Kennedy

Publisher’s Summary

She will do anything to ensure her sister’s safety…even marry a man she barely knows.

Eliza Fairchild arrived in America from England with her sister and parents expecting to continue her sheltered, upper-class lifestyle in the new country. However, the death of her parents and the cruelty of her guardians leaves Eliza and her sister, Hannah, in a precarious situation. 

Thomas Flannagan has vowed never to love again after the death of his young wife shortly after their arrival in America. His need for a wife, and his desire to keep the Fairchild sisters safe motivate him to propose a marriage of convenience. 

Working together to create a home in the wild Kansas prairie brings Thomas and Eliza closer together, but the tender shoots of affection between them are threatened when her sister’s past catches up with them. 

Wagon Train Wife, the first book inthe Walton Valley Series, is a historical novel tracing life on the wagon trail for novice travelers.  But there is also a prequel. (The link to my review: https://captivedreamswindow.wordpress.com/2021/03/23/his-wagon-train-sweetheart-by-catherine-kennedy/)

Thomas Flannagan, livery stable operator, finds a very distraught female in a stable at his livery who refuses to leave.

When confronted with her sister Hannah’s seemingly irrational fear of leaving the stable or returning home to their cruel guardians, Eliza Fairchild takes the reins in her hands and figures out a way to protect them.

I respected how Eliza felt responsible for the care of her baby sister. Her idea to join a wagon train was a solid, valid thought for the time. Informed she couldn’t go on the wagon train as a single female, Eliza didn’t back down. Instead, she enlisted help from Thomas, who agreed to marry her.

The story is authentic and realistic. Eliza’s struggles on the wagon train are interesting, and her qualms and worries about her “in name only” marriage are convincing.

Several characters from the prequel are reintroduced, allowing for catching up with their lives.

Overall, the tale is one of love, forgiveness and new life. I felt it to be credible. Although there were several instances of proofreading errors that distracted me from the story, if you’re looking for a quick, historical fiction short story, I believe you will enjoy this one!

I received Wagon Train Wife from  BookSirens. I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Butterball’s Christmas Surprise by Julia Seaborn

Publisher’s Summary

ABOUT BOOK

What is Butterball the Poodle up to now?

She helps to prepare for Christmas and sees shiny balls on the Christmas tree, but Butterball cannot stop thinking about those shiny balls.

Will she make a mistake? Will Butterball get her surprise?

Join Butterball as she goes to the poodle groomer and …

Includes fun questions at the end of the story.

My Thoughts

Butterball’s Christmas Surprise, by Julia Seaborn, is a story of the special friendship between a pet and its owner, especially during the holiday season.

Butterball is a poodle, with fluffy yellow fur the color of butter, who enjoys Christmas shopping and decorating their home. She is slightly mischievous and creates some mishaps!

Butterball and her owner go on several adventures, including a trip to the groomers so Butterball can look nice for her upcoming surprise.

Many words may be difficult for beginning readers. However, with encouragement and just a little stretching, they should be able to read the story.

The sketches of festive holiday displays in stores and at home are attractive. The style is perfect for young readers and younger listeners to enjoy.

I enjoyed the story, both for its theme and its colorful illustrations. A bonus, at the end, includes questions, a story of Santa and a website for downloading Christmas crafts. In addition, there are twelve candy canes to look for as you read the story.

Butterball’s Christmas Surprise is sure to be appreciated by all ages who believe(d) in Santa, but especially those from Newborn to 8.

I received Butterball’s Christmas Surprise from Book Sirens. However, I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Review and Special Offer of No Pain, No Gaines: The Good Stuff Doesn’t Come Easy by Chip Gaines

This sale is e-book only. Scroll down link page to find your favorite book retailer.

Link to Sale:  http://magnolia.com/no-pain-no-gaines/

Publisher’s Summary

In a world that feels increasingly more disconnected, it’s time to reclaim a life of rich, authentic connection—because we are all made better when we trust one another and work together.

There are a lot of books out there that promise you the path of least resistance or teach you how to hustle harder. This isn’t one of those.  

In his most vulnerable book to date, Chip Gaines shows us how to build relationships that pull us into a life of meaning, joy, and connection. It happens by being intentional about choosing the company we keep. Chip explains the value of seeking out people who are electrified by living according to their purpose, who will stand beside you as you tackle new challenges, who bet on each other instead of the status quo. The key is being true to yourself, figuring out what you want to do with your life, and finding people who will lift you up along the way.

No Pain, No Gaines will open your eyes to valuable lessons, including how to:  

  • be awake to life, not asleep at the wheel
  • find the risks worth taking
  • value what you bring to the table
  • resist the status quo
  • look outside yourself and your circle and foster connections with others
  • get comfortable with being uncomfortably kind

A good life doesn’t always come easy, but that’s because the good stuff never does. It requires faith in people. It requires faith in yourself. It requires hope. And it requires a willingness to grow even when it hurts. In No Pain, No Gaines, through hard-won lessons and personal stories all told with his trademark blend of wit and wisdom, Chip Gaines will coach you on how to make your life rich and your relationships run deep.

My Review

When I first became aware of No Pain, No Gaines I was curious as to what type of book it was. After reading it, I know, it’s a GREAT book!

I am a little familiar with the Gaines from having watched a couple of their Fixer Upper shows but didn’t really know much about them. Reading No Pain, No Gaines, I got a small peek into their hectic, slightly frenetic lives.

Chip Gaines writes his book in a style that makes you feel as if you’re sitting at the dinner table sharing dessert and coffee while exchanging stories of what shaped your life. Just when you think there must be more, or want to ask a question, he fills in the blanks.

The book doesn’t have a Christian focus, though there are several references to his faith. However, the type of “network” he creates and the lessons he espouses are ones we could all do well to emulate.

Chip is a gregarious, charismatic person whose learning style might not be the same as yours, but you are sure to learn a lot through reading his book. I would suggest it for anyone of any age, whether they are looking for a change in their life or they are just starting out.

Disclaimer: There are several uses of mild slang words instead of stronger curse words, and a couple of uses of the word hell.

I received No Pain, No Gaines: The Good Stuff Doesn’t Come Easy through FrontGate Media. All opinions are my own.

(I love the play on words in the title!)

http://magnolia.com/no-pain-no-gaines/

#NoPainNoGaines

Miranda, Queen of Broken Toys Written and Illustrated by Andrea Tripke

About Book

Publisher’s Summary

Miranda is unlike all of her friends. While her friends love getting new and shiny Miranda Queen of Broken Toystoys, she sees beauty in the broken and unwanted ones.

Becoming the Queen of Broken Toys, Miranda often feels lonely until one day a boy shows up at her gates.

An extensive toy search and some unexpected raspberry-tea- and-tomato-and-cheese-sandwich-disaster change her life forever.

Miranda, Queen of Broken Toys is a humorous yet heartwarming story dealing with lacking values in today’s throwaway society, accompanied by quirky illustrations.

Andrea Tripke typically illustrates children’s books, but with Miranda, Queen of Broken Toys, readers are introduced to her debut as an author.

I love the subtle lessons sprinkled along the way. Children can learn from this enchanting children’s story.

The illustrations are winsome and full of deep, cheerful colors. Attention to detail in each drawing highlights a flawless tale of renewal and purpose.

Andrea Tripke takes a lonesome little girl and gives her and her broken toys a reason for existence while helping a little boy along the way.

Prepare for a wonderfully sweet and insightful adventure as you follow Queen Miranda in her Kingdom of Broken Toys.

I received this book from LibraryThing . However, I was under no obligation to write a review.