Book Spotlight-The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck-Celebrate Lit Tour

About the Book

Title: The Love Letter

Author: Rachel Hauck

Release Date: June 12, 2018

Genre: Contemporary

Tour Dates: June 21 – July 4

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a story of long-lost love and its redemption in future generations.

Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte—in life or on screen. But everyone knows who to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.

When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.

Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted—something straight from the heart.

Set in stunning upcountry South Carolina, The Love Letter is a beautifully-crafted story of the courage it takes to face down fear and chase after love, even in the darkest of times. And just maybe, all these generations later, love can come home in a way not even Hollywood could imagine.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times. She is a double RITA finalist, a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Rachel sits on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, and is the comical sidekick to Susan May Warren at the amazing My Book Therapy. She is a worship leader and speaker.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel is a devoted Ohio State football fan. She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

Guest Post from Rachel Hauck

I’m always looking for story ideas. My husband does a standard disclaimer when I start drilling into a conversation with questions like:

”Really? So why did you do that?”

”Have you sought help?”

”Was it love at first sight?”

Hubster says, “Warning, anything you say can end up in a book.”

Of course, stories abound! Interesting people abound!

Then again, sometimes ideas just hit out of the blue. A few years ago I had the idea of a young, contemporary couple meeting by “accident” only to learn that their great grandparents were in love but time, life, family, war, or society made their love impossible.

I suppose there are a hundred ways to tell such a story but when it came time to write The Love Letter, I was slightly infatuated with the Poldark series on PBS.

Set in 18th century Cornwall, the story and the characters were so dynamic I had to write my own version of Poldark.

But could I write a split time with a 240 year difference? I mean, they didn’t have electricity or phones in 1780! They didn’t even have a postal system. Letters were carried by traveling friends or family.

What possible conflicts could my historical characters face? What event could be so dark and tragic to keep them apart?

The Revolutionary War created a perfect backdrop for my young lovers.

I set the story in upcountry South Carolina not realizing the battle I chose for the back drop, the Battle of Cowpens, was the inspiration for the movie The Patriot. (A fav movie of mine!)

For the contemporary story, I started with shoes. I mean, doesn’t every thing start with shoes?

”Nice outfit but what shoes are you wearing?”

”You’re going on a date? You need new shoes.”

What we “walk in” can either empower or defeat us. There’s a spiritual metaphor I’ll mediate on for awhile.

However, the shoe angle didn’t quite work so the contemporary story ended up in Hollywood with an actor/screenwriter and an actress.

Both worlds—1780 upcountry South Carolina and contemporary Hollywood—were a bit out of my southern bailiwick.

I did a lot of research on the war and the colonial south. Where I couldn’t find details, I filled in with my imagination.

As for Hollywood, I talked with a screenwriter friend, read books, watched interviews, and then, you know, made the rest up. Don’t you know I eventually ended up on a movie set—Once Upon A Prince—four days after I finished reading the galley proofs for The Love Letter!

One of the hardest parts of the story was the actual love letter. What did it say? Who wrote it and why? Was there more than one? No, only one. But why only one?

I must have written and rewritten the letter five different ways to Sunday before I settled on the magical one.

During the course of the book, I realized I’d never written a love letter. Have you?

I’ve written sentiments to my husband on an anniversary or birthday card. I speak my love and affection out loud all the time. But a bonafide love letter?

A love letter is it’s own art form. They range from sickly sweet with a lot of “darlings” and “sweethearts” to Shakespearean sonnets.

There’s a vulnerability that comes with writing a love letter. Putting one’s heart on the page creates a new level of commitment with your affections.

Will the reader receive your words? Will the reader respond in kind?

It’s fascinating to consider the purpose of a love letter. Have we lost something intrinsic to the human heart with our instant texting and email society.

Can you imagine Romeo texting to Juliet in 2018?

Saw you at your window. You looked hot.

Doesn’t quite have the same ring as: “But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun.”

Scripture is a continuous love letter. “For God so loved the world—”

Whether you write love letters or poems, or quick texts, or put XO’s on cards to loved ones, write a love letter this month.

Write one to yourself, to Jesus, a spouse, child, parent, friend, foe—

See how it will bless your heart! Off to write my love letter…

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, June 21

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 21

The Avid Reader, June 21

Genesis 5020, June 21

ansel book blog, June 22

Blogging With Carol, June 22

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, June 22

Cover to Cover and Everything in Between, June 23

The Power of Words, June 23

Luv’N Lambert Life, June 23

Janices book reviews, June 23

C Jane Read, June 24

Kristin’s Book Reviews, June 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 25

Faithfully Bookish, June 25

By The Book, June 25

Reading Is My SuperPower, June 25

Kat’s Corner Books, June 26

Maureen’s Musings, June 26

Ladybug Chronicles, June 26

Carpe Diem, June 26

Moments Dipped in Ink, June 27

Mommynificent , June 27

Godly Book Reviews, June 27

God’s Little Bookworm, June 28

Radiant Light, June 28

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 28

Have A Wonderful Day, June 28

Novels corner, June 29

Blossoms and Blessings, June 29

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 29

Bigreadersite, June 29

Pause for Tales, June 30

Bibliophile Reviews, June 30

Splashes of Joy, June 30

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 1

Simple Harvest Reads, July 1

The Christian Fiction Girl, July 1

A Baker’s Perspective, July 1

Remembrancy, July 2

amandainpa, July 2

To Everything A Season, July 2

proud to be an autism mom, July 3

Texas Book-aholic, July 3

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, July 3

Fiction, Faith, and Fun, July 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away

Grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7
Semi-Grand prize of a book basket
2nd – 4th place prize of a copy of The Love Letter!!

Click below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d071/the-love-letter-celebration-tour-giveaway

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My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado: Millie’s Resolve by Rebecca Jepson

Quote

My Review

Millie Cooper is a stronger, more admirable person than I am. There is no way, especially after six years, that I would become the nurse for the mother and brother who broke up my engagement with their son and brother. I wouldn’t have the willingness or grace, particularly after learning their reason was-I was beneath them socially as the child of a fisherman’s family! Then, add that to the fact that her beloved needs her to care for his pregnant wife…NO WAY, NO HOW! However, if we indeed accept God’s grace, we can do anything. In this way, Millie is truly a strong, admirable person.

Rebecca Jepson is a new author to me, but she won’t stay that way long. Her story resonates with Biblical truths, insights and wisdom. She crafts a unique story that leaves you guessing until the end. The last few pages toward the end produce a desire to be able to read even faster! Inevitably, it can’t end the way you fear, or can it? The suspense is exciting, causing you to hold your breath hoping for, and receiving, a satisfying conclusion.

I am so enjoying the My Heart Belongs Series! I especially like that I am discovering new authors like Rebecca Jepson and that each book is a stand-alone story.

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

Publisher’s Summary

Journey now to healing spa town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado in 1888

Where the past and present collide, and a woman is on the precipice of unexpected love.

Millie Cooper, fisherman’s-daughter-turned-nurse, flees a painful entanglement with the wealthy Drexel family who summered near her childhood home in Nantucket, only to encounter them again six years later in Glenwood Springs. The serenity of her mountain hideaway in a town with healing springs is disrupted when she faces caring for the elderly mother and the expectant wife of Stephen Drexel, the man she’d once loved—at the request of his brother John, the man who’d kept them apart. Will Millie forgive the wrongs she feels were done to her, or will she come to see them as a blessing in disguise that leads her to greater joys?

More Books in The Series

My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss: Priscilla’s Reveille by Erica Vetsch (January 2017)
My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: Carmella’s Quandary by Susan Page Davis (March 2017)
My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight by Susanne Dietze (May 2017)
My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily’s Dilemma by Andrea Boeshaar (September 2017)
My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna’s Choice by Angie Dicken(November 2017)
My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele’s Journey by Amanda Barratt (January 2018)

Return to Bella Terra (The Italian Chronicles Book 3) by MaryAnn Diorio

My Review

Return to Bella Terra opens in America, specifically Brooklyn, New York, in the early 1900s. MaryAnn Diorio depicts the plight of the Italian immigrants to the United States in vivid detail. My heart ached for the Tonetta family, indeed all the families struggling to eke out a living while facing extreme racism and poverty. Couple their dire straits with the harsh winter, and I was moved to tears.

Maria Tonetta returns to Sicily with her oldest child, Nico, after receiving a telegram letting her know her mother is in her final days on earth. Diorio painted such a contrast between the weather in New York and Maria’s home in Italy that you not only felt you were there in the lush fields and countryside, but you also wanted to be there. However, Sicily’s economic crisis, the reason the Tonetta’s left for America, was still evident.

I enjoyed being able to catch up with the people of The Italian Chronicles. I especially appreciated the perspicuous and plentiful references to the characters’ faith, forgiveness and redemption even amidst their failings and frailties. There were some aspects of the story where I felt one or two of the people were more judgmental than was necessary for the circumstances, but overall the narrative felt true to life and representative of human nature.

Return to Bella Terra is book three, and the last, of The Italian Chronicles series. Because the story is a continuation, it would be better to read all three in order.

I received this book from BookCrash. However, I was under no obligation to post a review, nor was a positive review required.

You may purchase this book on Amazon or from a local retailer. (Not an affiliate link.)

Publisher’s Summary

A mother, her son, and the man who threatens to come between them . . .

When Maria Landro Tonetta receives word that Mama is terminally ill, Maria travels to her Sicilian homeland with her son Nico. She finds herself yearning for the life she once knew as a child on Bella Terra, the family farm, now on the verge of bankruptcy.

Caught between two worlds, Maria dreams of moving back to Sicily with her husband and children to save the farm.
When, however, Nico’s biological father unexpectedly appears at Mama’s funeral, Maria faces a new enemy to her dream.

But is there an even greater enemy within her own soul?

Hope Reborn (Texas Romance Series Book 3) by Caryl McAdoo

About the Book

Historical Christian ‘Western Adventure’ Romance Novel Hope Reborn is Book 3 in Caryl McAdoo’s Texas Romance series and debuted December 20, 2014.

Set in 1850, it tells the story of May Meriwether, a successful New York dime novelist thinking life is slipping away unfulfilled. She’s bored with the same old heroes and heroines and stories and Uptown social circles. Then she spots an interesting article in the Tribune. Texas Ranger Levi Baylor and his Captain Wallace Rusk have captured the Comanche War Chief Bold Eagle.

The wheels start turning. Throwing caution to the wind, she charges her companion, Chester, to arrange passage to Texas for the both of them. The Rangers will be wonderful hero models for some fresh stories wrought with adventure and intrigue. May couldn’t know the troubles she’d find in Texas and what she could lose there in the new wild west state.

Hope Reborn follows Book 1 Vow Unbroken set in 1832 and released by Simon and Schuster’s Howard Books March 4th, 2014 wherein Levi is the orphaned nephew of Susannah Baylor, a gritty young widow scratching out a living from the untamed Tejas prairie.

And Book 2 Hearts Stolen that debuted September 5th, 2014 indie published by Ron and Caryl McAdoo. Twelve years have passed, and young Levi Baylor is now twenty-six and making quite a name for himself as the Ranger who always gets his man.

Dispatched to the peace camp of Comanche Chief Bold Eagle to pick up the stolen white woman bargained for in Sam Houston’s treaty, But the beautiful redhead he spots Sassy Fogelsong, a girl from back home he happens to notice, but her name isn’t on his list.

My Review

I must confess I have a weakness for stories about Texas. I lived in the D/FW area for many years, and it still holds a huge piece of my heart.

Caryl McAdoo writes a delightful story about Patrick “Henry” Buckmeyer, Texas Ranger extraordinaire and his family, and about an author of dime novels, May Meriwether. However, May has many secrets. Secrets she’d rather stay that way, but a certain Texas Ranger may “tickle” the truth out of her.

One of my favorite characters was May’s friend Chester. Chester acts as chaperone, helper and friend to May.  He also helps guide her through life, something she needs as a single woman in the 18800s. But the thing I enjoy most about Chester…he knows May better than she knows herself and can get in those little zingers that only someone who really knows and cares about you could or would be allowed to do.

Hope Reborn has a very distinct and constant theme of Christianity and makes no apologies for it, either. Part of the storyline deals with the strong faith of many of the characters and the lack of faith on the part of an individual essential to the narrative. I appreciate McAdoo’s handling of the situation and its resolution.

I enjoyed reading Hope Reborn and getting reacquainted with the Buckmeyers, Baylors and Wheelers. I have always relished reading stories that follow a family, or in this case families, and continue throughout several books.

Caryl McAdoo wrote this story several years ago. I read it at the time, then read the others in the series. I had the chance to reread it and review it, so I jumped at the opportunity.

I received a free copy of this book/eBook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Publisher’s Summary

New York dime novelist May Meriwether decides a heroic Texas Ranger will make a great love interest for her new heroine. Bored to tears and loving adventure, she sets out to the Lone Star State with her constant companion and confidant Chester in tow.

Dreams for a husband and children are relegated to the recesses of her heart, the self-confessed old maid deems it too late. But the near-perfect widower resurrects a smidgen of hope. Only his impenetrable, superstitious religious beliefs stand in the path to her falling head over heels, those and his love for his dead wife. Would there ever be room for her in his heart? And would he give up his fanaticism for God?

An unexpected romance surprises both. Hope is reborn in God’s unfailing love and grace. Can a life built on lies find the Way to confession, forgiveness, and true joy? In a day when the church offers the only stability on the 1850 Texas prairie, these unlikely players find one another and fall in love. But will it be enough?

Author Bio

In April 2012, Caryl met Mary Sue Seymour at NETWO’s Spring Conference and wrote her first historical Christian romance set in the 1800s especially for the agent. (Whose maiden name was remarkably ‘McAdoo’!) Mary Sue offered representation in August, and VOW UNBROKEN sold in October to Howard Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. It debuts on March 4, 2014.

Six months later, book two in the Texas Romance series debuted, HEARTS STOLEN set in 1839-1844, Then two months later a new Biblical fiction series The Generations was born with volume one A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS, the story of Adam and Eve, Cain and Sheriah, and Abel in Paradise with a kindly old cherub named Namrel!

Caryl, also known as Grami, has fourteen grandsugars (one more than she has books now) and enjoys painting and gardening. A proclaimed psalmist, she’s dedicated to serving God, loving praise and worship and that He frequently gives her new songs. Caryl believes all good things are from Him and prays her new books will minister His love, mercy, and grace to her readers.

Contact Information

Website: http://carylmcadoo.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caryl.mcadoo/author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarylMcAdoo
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/pub/caryl-mcadoo/23/623/5
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+CarylMcAdoo/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/181587.Caryl_McAdoo?from_search=true
Amazon link:http://www.amazon.com/Hope-Reborn-Caryl-McAdoo/dp/1502817047/ref=la_B00E963CFG_1_6_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1420728398&sr=1-6

#cwareviewcrew

Red Sky Over America (Ladies of Oberlin Book 1) by Tamera Lynn Kraft

My Review

Tamera Lynn Kraft’s book Red Sky Over America (a great play on words, btw!) has many characters integral to the story. However, the main characters are America (Merry) Leighton and William Woods, both students, though from very different parts of the country, at Oberlin College.

Merry grew up in Kentucky, the daughter of a slave owner, but she begins to realize just how wrong it is to be a part of slave ownership.

William is a student at Oberlin and an abolitionist preacher who spends his winter break in Kentucky preaching against slavery.

Kraft doesn’t shy away from writing about some very harrowing situations that were challenging for me to read. The book deals with the treatment of slaves in a very gritty way. The imagery is grim and incomprehensible in some cases; the life portrayed of some slaves was grueling. However, I believe, as inconceivable, unfathomable and beyond understanding that the cruelty some circumstances were, they only touched on the tip of the iceberg.

I appreciated the attention to details and to the reality of life in 1850’s South, even as I cringed and felt sick to my stomach reading about it. Kraft’s extensive research resonates throughout the story, and her words stir up graphic and powerful mental imagery of the time.

I was surprised, but fascinated, by how the novel, tagged as a romance, addresses the interaction between the two love interests almost as an afterthought. Instead, we become acquainted with them as individuals. Each separately carries out the plans they feel God has called them to do. At the same time, they are learning the lessons necessary to trust Him in their walk with Him and to bring them together if it is His will.

Red Sky Over America is a profoundly moving book that features a large cast of characters in a myriad of situations, but it flows smoothly and effortlessly.  I am looking forward to reading the other novels in the series as soon as they become available.

I received an advance copy of the book from the author. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

William and America confront evil, but will it cost them everything?

In 1857, America, the daughter of a slave owner, is an abolitionist and a student at Oberlin College, a school known for its radical ideas. America goes home to Kentucky during school break to confront her father about freeing his slaves.

America’s classmate, William, goes to Kentucky to preach abolition to churches that condone slavery. America and William find themselves in the center of the approaching storm sweeping the nation and may not make it home to Ohio or live through the struggle.

The Innkeeper’s Daughter by Michelle Griep

About the Book

Title: The Innkeeper’s Daughter

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Release Date: March 1, 2018

A London officer goes undercover to expose a plot against the Crown
Dover, England, 1808: Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the king—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue. . .until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.

All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.

Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

MichelleGriep

Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit www.michellegriep.com.

My Review

Michelle Griep’s book, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, is filled with mystery, intrigue, (swoon-worthy) romance plus a man that dresses very strangely and lets his puppet talk for him more than he does himself.

I started reading The Innkeeper’s Daughter  late one evening. I should have known from having read Griep’s novella, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, Book 1 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep (my review), that I wouldn’t be able to put the book down! I was right; I couldn’t!

The writing is incredibly descriptive. For example, you can feel every pothole the wagons go over, see the neglect of the inn due to lack of funds and smell the stench from the wharves. In addition, you feel the emotions of the characters’, be it love, loathing, fear or the gluttonous, insatiable need for control and to harm.

The story is well researched with interesting tidbits of history during the Regency Era, to include some historical notes at the end of the book. There are some scenes of violence, threats of violence and other insinuations of harm that may be intense for some readers.

I received this book (in print or e-book form) from Celebrate Lit, Barbour Publishing and NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Guest Post from Michelle Griep

Celebrating Oak Apple Day

Spring is just around the corner, or maybe it’s in full bloom in your neck of the woods. Regardless, by this time of year, everyone is ready to celebrate. . .and nothing new is under the sun. For centuries people have been eager to welcome budding greenery and warmth.

In my recent release, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, I incorporated a spring holiday that’s been around for over 500 years in England, one you may never heard of.

Oak Apple Day.

This ancient celebration dates back to the year 1651. At the time, Charles II escaped the Roundhead army by taking cover in an oak tree. Everyone loved ol’ Charlie and was glad he lived, so in his honor, a new national holiday was born—one that in some parts of England is still celebrated today.

Another name for this annual event is Royal Oak Day and the festivities occur every May 29th. Celebration traditions vary from parades to the ringing of bells, but one thing that is standard is that it’s a day to pin an oak leaf on your lapel. If you fail to wear one, you could end up getting pinched.

The hero in my latest release is kind enough to remind the heroine that she forgot to pin on her leaf, thus saving her from untoward pinches. Interested in hearing more about this gallant fellow and the forgetful miss? Here’s a blurb about The Innkeeper’s Daughter

Tension is high with the threat of a Napoleonic attack in Regency England, but risk from abroad means nothing when there’s danger at home.

Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the crown—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue . . . until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.

All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.

Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.

It’s a race against time for them both.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, March 15

Fiction Aficionado, March 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 15

The Morning Chapter, March 15

Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 16

Reading Is My SuperPower, March 16

Mommynificent, March 16

Blogging With Carol, March 16

Among the Reads, March 17

Connie’s History Classroom, March 17

Mary Hake, March 17

Blossoms and Blessings, March 17

Karen Sue Hadley, March 18

The Power of Words, March 18

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 18

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 18

Kathleen Denly, March 19

Faithfully Bookish, March 19

Captive Dreams Window, March 19

Red Headed Book Lady, March 19

The Fizzy Pop Collection, March 20

Remembrancy, March 20

Inklings and notions, March 20

Book by Book, March 20

Moments Dipped in Ink, March 21

Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot, March 21

Singing Librarian Books, March 21

To Everything a Season, March 21

Bookworm Mama, March 22

Two Points of Interest, March 22

Vicky Sluiter, March 22

Carpe Diem, March 22

Pause for Tales, March 23

Have A Wonderful Day, March 23

A Baker’s Perspective, March 23

margaret kazmierczak, March 23 (Interview)

proud to be an autism mom, March 24

Bibliophile Reviews, March 24

A Greater Yes, March 24

Texas Book-aholic, March 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 25

Janices book reviews, March 25

A Reader’s Brain, March 26

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 26

Simple Harvest Reads, March 26 (Mindy Houng Guest Post)

Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, March 27

My Writer’s Life, March 27

Pursuing Stacie, March 27

Bigreadersite, March 27

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 28

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, March 28

Pink Granny’s Journey, March 28

The PhD Mamma, March 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of The Innkeeper’s Daughter and a $25 gift card from Barnes & Noble!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cb72

Bygone Christmas Brides by Ginny Aiken, Carla Gade,‎ Pamela Griffin, Tamela Hancock Murray,‎ Jill Stengl and Gina Welborn

My Review

Take a trip back not only to the 1800’s but also to the countries of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England and America in Bygone Christmas Brides.

Each of the stories features messages of faith, with different morals such as trust, forgiveness, honesty and grace, to name a few. Some are touching in various ways, heart-warming, sometimes magical and also informative. Naturally, each one includes generous doses of romance!  Of course, each story is about Christmas, too!

I enjoyed learning more about traditions of the times and of the different countries’ traditions, some of which continue through today. Plus, there are recipes at the end of several of the stories, something I really enjoy and invariably look forward to trying out.

The Bygone Christmas Brides only had two new to me authors. I always enjoy reading stories by new authors, and I wasn’t disappointed.

At one time I did not care for novellas. However, I have begun to enjoy them more and more as time goes on. I fall in love with the characters, enjoy the different styles of each author and especially like that that I can read as few or as many as I want at one sitting.

Bygone Christmas Brides is a perfect book to curl up with a blanket in your favorite chair, on the couch or in your bed and let the stories transport you back in time. At the same time, they will help you slow down during this frenetic season, and you are sure to enjoy them.

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

Publisher’s Summary

Light a candle in the window and sit down to a slice of fruitcake as you delight in six 19th Century romances that welcome love at Christmastide. Many traditions held dear today have their roots in the British Isles and have been practiced for over a hundred years. In these six delightful historical stories, romance is nurtured amidst baking Scottish shortbread and English mince pies, burning the yule log, and hanging kissing boughs. But each couple is also plagued by worries of the day. As Christmastide draws to a close, will faith and love endure for future celebrations?

The Captive Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Lucy Thompson and Gina Welborn

My Review

The Captive Brides is a compilation of nine novellas in one book and is a mix of both favorite and new to me authors. I liked the play on words in the title, too.

In the first story, Love’s Labor Found, by Jennifer AlLee, I was shocked by the gruesomeness (for lack of a better word) of the story. I was also shocked at the callousness portrayed by the victim, though I will say the villain got what he deserved. In fairness to the author and the story, when a book elicits a strong reaction, it usually means it was well-written and developed. I perceived a cavalier attitude toward barbaric cruelty and found it disconcerting.

If I had been steeped in the seventeenth-century moral insensitivity, I might have found the plot less repugnant, but Love’s Labor Found is a novella with word constraints. I never felt fully in the seventeenth century, and I felt twenty-first-century revulsion for a setting in which torture, beatings and murder were the norm.

The cavalier attitude toward evil reminded me of a story (required school reading) I LOATHED, The Great Gatsby. Even Love’s Labor Found doesn’t deal with characters as horrific as The Great Gatsby’s but leaves the same sour taste in my mouth.

Several of the stories deal with abhorrent issues; others aren’t quite so repugnant. Some deal with horrendous acts of enslavement, while others deal with false accusations and arrest, a marriage of convenience, runaway slaves and other tales where women are “captive” to their situations.

Each narrative is well written and thought-provoking. Some elicit more emotion than others, but they overall show how faith and belief in God can draw you out of horrible situations into lives of hope and potential.

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

Publisher’s Summary

Love Brings Freedom in 9 Historical Romances

Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love?

Love’s Labours Found by Jennifer AlLee – Montserrat, West Indies, 1655
Temperance Simms only wanted a better life. Instead, she finds herself labeled a criminal and sold as an indentured servant. After a kind man saves her life, can Temperance trust that God will turn her sorrow into something beautiful?

His Indentured Bride by Angela Breidenbach – Pennsylvania, 1773-1776
Leaving Scotland for a short indenture with her betrothed, Maire Greer’s contract is sold when disaster strikes her kindly owner, and then extended through cruel circumstances. Can Kirk Lachlan’s service in the American Revolution save her or will she lose love and freedom forever?

The Suspect Bride by Susan Page Davis – Oregon, 1890s
Verity Ames cooks at the restaurant where shy lawyer Jack Whitwell eats lunch daily. As Jack works up courage to ask her for a date, the sheriff walks into the restaurant and arrests Verity for murder.

His Golden Treasure by Darlene Franklin – San Francisco, 1873
Goldie Hatfield grows up on the Barbary Coast until her guardian demands she pay the cost of her upbringing—or work at her brothel. How far will Pastor Joshua Kerr go to set Goldie free?

Through Stormy Waters by Patty Smith Hall – Atlantic Ocean, 1745
Deported to the British colonies for her father’s crimes, Charlotte Singleton helps Captain John Randall when an epidemic breaks out on his ship. Can two battered hearts find love in the midst of a storm?

Moira’s Quest by Cynthia Hickey – New York, 1869
A quest for revenge ends in a marriage of convenience and a feisty Irish lass discovers that not everything is as it seems as family secrets are revealed. An Irish cop, bent on saving the fallen women of Five Points, New York, finds himself thrust into the role of husband with a woman determined to break down a notorious crime boss. Can these two pull together and find a love bigger than they are?

Love’s Escape by Carrie Fancett Pagels – Virginia, 1850
With her life in peril, Lettie seeks escape from slavery. When Nathan offers to “conduct” her North via an unusual segment on the Underground Railroad, will his efforts help or do them both harm?

Waltzing Matilda by Lucy Thompson – Sydney, Australia, 1821
Henry didn’t plan on a runaway convict masquerading as a shepherd. Or on the woman’s baby. Keeping them safe will cost him his freedom—or will it?

A Score to Settle by Gina Welborn – On the Missouri River, 1870
For JoJo the kiss was a means to an end—she wanted his wallet. For Cyrus her kiss changed everything. He vows to help her escape the snake oil salesman she works for, but exposing the man’s lies may mean settling a score at a cost neither JoJo nor Cyrus can pay.

My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah by Angie Dicken

About the Book

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!

My Review

Angie Dicken realistically depicts the hardships of overcoming adversity, deep-seated prejudices and anger in My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna’s Choice, the newest edition of the My Heart Belongs series. Hardships they faced included flooding of the mines, being underground for 12 or more hours and breathing coal dust. Instead of creating bitterness, these adversities instilled hope and determination.

The plight of coal miners in Castle Gate, Utah, in the early 1900s, is harrowing, especially for those from Greece. Not only did they have to work in horribly shocking and appalling circumstances, but they had to contend with cruelty because of unspeakable prejudices. Their rudimentary English skills make things ripe for a disaster. Throughout the story, though, the Greek families carry on with admirable fortitude.

Dicken does an impressive job of detailing the lives of the Greek miners and what they faced, contrasted by their optimism and belief in the fresh start at life afforded them by immigrating to America. Her attention to detail and research is evident from start to finish in the book. She is a new author to me, and I’m looking forward to reading more books by her.

I received this book free through the Celebrate Lit Blog Tour and NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

About the Author

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.

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.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, October 31

Faithfully Bookish, October 31

Caffeinated Reads, October 31

Captive Dreams Window, November 1

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 1

A Greater Yes, November 2

Janices book reviews, November 2

Daysong Reflections, November 2

Red Headed Book Lady, November 3

Books, Books, and More Books., November 3

Just the Write Escape, November 3

Carpe Diem, November 4

Christian Bookaholic, November 4

Radiant Light, November 5

History, Mystery & Faith, November 5

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, November 6

Texas Book-aholic, November 6

Babs Book Bistro, November 7

Kristin’s Book Reviews, November 7

Singing Librarian Books, November 8

Connie’s History Classroom, November 8

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 9

J.E. Grace Christian Author Blog, November 9

Neverending Stories, November 9

Have A Wonderful Day, November 10

Pause for Tales, November 10

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 11

Mary Hake, November 11

Splashes of Joy, November 11

Bigreadersite, November 12

Blossoms and Blessings, November 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 12

Vicky Sluiter, November 13

Bibliophile Reviews, November 13

Giveaway

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