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

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My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily’s Dilemma by Andrea Boeshaar

My Review

The My Heart Belongs series is fast becoming one of my favorite  go-to series for appealing and likeable, quick to read romantic history novels, and My Heart belongs in Shenandoah Valley continues the lore!

Lillyanna “Lilly” Laughlin is the oldest sister of two brothers, all three of whom are orphans. Mr. Silas Everett, her late father’s closest friend and confidante, takes on the guardianship of the three, convincing them, and a judge, it is their father’s wish. Yet, when Captain McAlister “Mac” Albright purchases land Lilly believes to be hers from Mr. Everett, she begins to question Mr. Everett’s altruism.

I enjoyed most of the interplay and teasing between Lilly and Mac, but at times it seemed a little too dramatic. However, I may be a little less sympathetic because I prefer honest, straightforward dialogue, even with myself, and felt Mac wasn’t always honest with himself.

My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley sheds light on problems those returning from the war of 1812, the second war of independence, encountered while trying to assimilate into society.

Andrea Boeshaar has written a charming, compassionate and at times heartbreaking story of life in 1816’s Shenandoah Valley.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Journey into the Shenandoah Valley of 1816 where…
With Very Little Left of the Family Farm, Lily May be Forced into a Loveless Marriage.

Captain McAlister “Mac” Albright has purchased land in the Shenandoah Valley. However, the land belongs to Lillyanna Laughlin—or so she erroneously thinks. Mac sets her straight and despite a poor start, the two become friends. . .if only he were financially stable to offer her more.

When Lily’s life is threatened and his whole future goes up in flames, Mac truly becomes a man without means, and Lily is forced to make the impossible choice between a loveless marriage with a man twice her age or the man who has shown her what true love could be. How can she choose between love and economic security? Her family is depending on her. Is her heart destined to break?

Journey into Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley of 1816 where a woman’s dreams and future happiness are on the line.

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring by Carrie Fancett Pagels

My Review

Carrie Fancett Pagels aptly transports us back in time to 1895’s Mackinac Island, Michigan, in My Heart Belongs in Mackinac Island:  Maude’s Mooring.

Maude Welling, her father and her little brother Jack are all still grieving the loss of their mother/wife, though each in very different ways. Maude is more determined than ever to take over the reins of Winds of Mackinac Inn, her father is just as determined she won’t and Jack is determined to become the fastest runner in the United States.

Ms. Pagels descriptive language leaves you feeling the sounds and sights of Mackinac Island, from the grandeur of The Grand Hotel to the impoverishment of the maids. As you read, you feel as if you have truly stepped back in time to a very different life and era. Plus, interspersed throughout the book are tidbits and gems of mystery, love and betrayal.

I enjoyed reading another of the My Heart Belongs collection, and the fact it was written by Ms. Pagels made it even more enjoyable.

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

Publisher’s Summary

Journey now to Mackinac Island where…
A Tangled Gilded Age Love Story Unfolds.

Although the Winds of Mackinac Inn has been in her mother’s family for generations, Maude Welling’s father refuses to let her run it without the guidance of a husband. So she seeks to prove her worth and independence by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel.

Undercover journalist Ben Steffans, posing as a wealthy industrialist, pursues a story about impoverished men chasing heiresses at the famed hotel.  While undercover, he becomes attracted to an intriguing maid. By an act of heroism Ben endears himself to the closed-mouthed islanders—including Maude—and he digs deep for his story.

But when scandal threatens, will the growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed?

Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin by Pamela S. Meyers

Publisher’s Summary

Will she lose her heart to the intruder who stole her dream? Already a summer retreat for Chicago’s elite, the small town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin wants to promote their greatest asset–the crystal clear waters of Geneva Lake. A new recreational building is almost complete with plans for a grand opening set to take place in a couple months. It is the height of the big-band era and the new ballroom is exactly the final touch the town needs to draw people to their special place. Local girl Meg Alden works for the local paper and aspires to be a reporter–a job only given to men. When the reporter position opens up, she applies, only to be told that Jack Wallace, son of a Chicago newspaper magnate has already been hired. Jack is drawn to Meg and suggests they work together to uncover a local scandal. But how can she work with the man who stole her job and makes her pulse race? Formerly published as Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the content has not changed except for an epilogue at the end.

My Review

 

Meg Walden works as an ad taker for the Lake Geneva News-Tribune, the weekly paper for Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. However, her aspirations were far greater than handling want ads for the News-Tribune. She wants to be a reporter for a large city’s daily paper. So, when a job as reporter opens at the News-Tribune, she quickly applies, knowing she is qualified and sure it will be a great stepping stone to her dreams.

Jack Wallace is the son of Chicago newspaper magnate John Wallace of the Chicago Beacon. Oscar Zimmer, owner of the News-Tribune and John’s friend, hires Jack as the new reporter, thereby dashing Meg’s dream of getting the job as reporter.

I enjoyed Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Pamela Meyers love for her hometown shines through the entire book. The history of The Riviera and the descriptions of the lakeside homes, along with other tidbits of historical significance, lead you into a fascinating story, not only of romance but also a little bit of intrigue, too.

There were so many details within the story that I enjoyed-sibling rivalry, a young person learning to stretch their wings, along with Biblical insights and guidance. I also learned a new word. I love to learn new words and especially love finding them in stories I enjoy. (In case you were wondering the word was clerestory, which led me to another new word fenestrated.)

Pamela Meyers heartfelt story of life in the early 1930’s in Lake Geneva puts you front and center in the history of that era. Historical fiction lovers will appreciate and delight in the tale of Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

I received an e-book from the author through The Book Club Network. However, I was not required to write a review.

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

Publisher’s Summary

Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

My review

Grace Mallory has spent the last year hiding in the all-female town of Harper’s Station. She had learned the art of telegraphy and uses her experience to work in the town’s telegraph office. However, a sinister man tracking her finds her hideout. Now her life and the lives of her friends are in danger.

Amos Bledsoe, bicycle rider extraordinaire and telegraph operator in Dennison, Texas, overhears a startling message for Grace and sets out to help defend her.

Heart on the Line is written In Miss Witemeyer’s traditional style with lots of humor, intrigue, suspense and tales of the wild west! She also infuses all of her heroines with an ability to fend for themselves, along with a strong, unwavering faith in God.

I savored Heart on the Line. Grace’s courage and spunkiness were integral to the story and held me riveted, wanting to know how she could extricate herself from her dire circumstances.  I am sure if you enjoy historical fiction mixed with a little romance, you will enjoy this newest story in the Harper’s Station Series.

Karen Witemeyer has written another superb book about life in the late 1800’s. Heart on the Line is book two of the Ladies of Harper Station Series. However, it is great as a standalone. I didn’t even realize it was part of a series. (I had read the first book last year and vaguely recognized a few of the town’s inhabitants in the newest book.)

I received this book from Bethany House. However, I was not required to write a review.

The Matchmaker Brides Collection by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Amanda Cabot, Lisa Carter, Ramona K. Cecil, Lynn A. Coleman, Susanne Dietze, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Connie Stevens, Liz Tolsma

My Review

Imagine being a matchmaker and not being able to find your own match, well, that’s exactly what happens in The Matchmaker Brides Collection, a compilation of nine novellas.

Every one of the ladies and a couple of the men have been somewhat successful at finding matches for others. However, they aren’t very good at finding their own match, even when those matches are right under their noses.

The stories cover different cities in America from 1876 to 1895. The settings are in real places, and it was fun to get to know more about the history of the small towns chosen, along with the time period, too.

The tales are short, so they are quick to read and make for a wonderful opportunity to curl up and absorb them individually or all at one time.

The Matchmaker Brides Collection also resonates with inspirational themes in the narratives, highlighting the need for faith, hope and sometimes forgiveness.

If you enjoy historical fiction, with an element of romance, you are sure to love these nine novellas written by nine Christian authors.

I received a copy of The Matchmaker Brides Collection from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Nine Meddling Matchmakers Find Love When They Least Expect It

Meet nine women of the late 1800s who have found themselves in the role of matchmaker. They think they have mastered the art of recognizing romantic potential in others, but when it comes to their own lives they have been unlucky in love. In small communities from Tennessee to Colorado, Wyoming to Indiana, love unexpectedly enters the women’s lives with men they never imagined marrying. But what will it take to get these ladies to say “I do”?

Home Grown Bride by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer
1876–Lebanon, Illinois
Emmie Mueller thinks the only way to leave Illinois and join her family in Kansas is to play matchmaker to the boarders who stand in the way of her grandmother selling her house. But tables are turned when the boarders attempt to match her with the newest man in town, Landon Knipp.

The Unmatched Bride by Amanda Cabot
1886–Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory
When a confirmed spinster matchmaker accepts an unusual assignment and helps a wealthy widower choose the right mate for his daughter, more than one couple finds true love.

Playing Possum by Lisa Carter
1895–Possum Trot, WY
Hoping to outplay, outwit, and outlast the Possum Trot matchmakers during the harvest festival, Cage Cooper proposes a pretend engagement to suffragette Theodosia Holland. Trouble is—in playing possum, they both may have gotten far more than they bargained for.

Hog Trough Bride by Ramona K. Cecil
1882–Honeytown, Indiana
Hoping to save her older sister from the humiliation of having to dance in the hog trough—a local custom when a younger sister beats her older sister to the altar—an aspiring bride engages in multiple matchmaking attempts with chaotic and surprising results.

The Tinman’s Match by Lynn A. Coleman
1880–On the road from Virginia to Tennessee
Josephine Woodley is surprised to find Xander Russell, a matchmaker, is an honorable man. Can she soften his tin heart enough for him to consider a match of his own?

Miss Matched by Susanne Dietze
1879–Emerald, Colorado
Brainy Grace Perkins applies scientific principles to play matchmaker for the singles in her small town. However, her hypothesis leaves out God’s role and matters of the heart, creating tangled results.

The Backfired Bride by Kim Vogel Sawyer
1889–Friendly, Kansas
Can a pair of single, inexperienced but well-meaning young people convince an older man and woman that marriage is better than remaining alone?

Sing of the Mercy by Connie Stevens
1876–Black Hills of Dakota Territory
A newly-elected mayor teams up with a hash house cook to turn a mining camp into a brand new town. Will they be able to transform the rough-edged miners into gentlemen, persuading prospective brides to consider matrimony?

A Match Made in Heaven by Liz Tolsma
1885–Detwiler, Iowa
Pastor Len Montgomery receives an unusual letter that turns him into the matchmaker he never wanted to be. But the match he most wants to make, the one with the town’s sweet and charming postmistress, may be out of his reach.

A Ruby Glows (Cutter’s Creek Book 15) by Kari Trumbo

A Ruby Glows Banner

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

A Ruby Glows

Book: A Ruby Glows

Author: Kari Trumbo

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Release Date: Jan 3, 2017
Ruby’s heart froze as she threw her dead husband over the cliff.When Beau walks into her life, one glance has her running from her past. He couldn’t want someone like her. It should be easy to avoid his quiet charm.If he can convince her she’s a prize, not prey, he might have a chance. Beau’s captivated when Ruby scrambles from him whenever he gets too close. Her sweetness is an allure he can’t fight.
Can Beau convince Ruby she is beloved?

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

Kari Trumbo’s story, A Ruby Glows, deals with a very tough issue. Ruby is the oldest daughter of eight girls, and her father wants nothing to do with any of them. He feels girls can’t, or won’t, do as much as a boy. Ruby is unfairly exchanged to pay a debt owed to her father, and therein begin her struggles.

Beau knows Ruby is hiding something, the question is what, and does he really want to know? The deeper he digs, the more confusing things become.

A Ruby Glows shows how a person can come from impossible situations and still remain kind. The ruthlessness of Ruby’s father is staggering, and yet Ruby faces life’s challenges and overcomes daunting obstacles.

I enjoy historical fiction, especially those with unusual twists and messages of faith, hope and forgiveness. A Ruby Glows by Kari Trumbo fulfills those requirements and more.

I received a copy of A Ruby Glows from Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.


About the Author

Kari Trumbo

Kari Trumbo is an inspirational romance author, blogger and proud home schooling mother to four great kids. She interacts often on reader groups on Facebook and volunteers at the local library when needed. When she isn’t writing, she is obsessively reading and expanding her skills as a wordsmith. Kari lives in her great-grandfather’s remodeled 1890-built home in central Minnesota with her husband, children, cats, and one hungry wood stove.

Guest post from Kari Trumbo

Greetings! I hope this isn’t your first introduction to Cutter’s Creek, but if it is, let me explain a bit about it. Cutter’s Creek is a series written by myself and three other Christian authors. Though there are numbers on each book, you don’t have to read them in order to get into the series, in fact, since each author writes in their own time period it might be somewhat confusing. Especially if you like a consecutive story. However, they are all stand-alone books and can be read in any order. If you like to read them in date order, you’ll want to read Kit Morgan’s books first, then Vivi Holt, Annie Boone, and finally mine, that will put them roughly in time order.

The Cutter’s Creek series has been a huge blessing to me. I’ve gotten to write with some wonderful authors and learned so much about writing a series together. So, out of my Cutter’s Creek books, why did I choose Ruby over Lily, Ivy, or Carol…well, I hate to play favorites, but Ruby is my favorite. She’s quiet, and her strength is surprising. She has a big trial, and some hurt to work through, but when you find the right person to help you through it, that’s a gift more precious than anything.

I hope you love Ruby as much as I do. Blessings, Kari

Blog Stops

May 18: Blogging With Carol

May 19: Back Porch Reads

May 20: Reading Is My SuperPower

May 21: Just the Write Escape

May 22: A Reader’s Brain

May 23: A Bakers Perspective

May 24: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

May 25: Moments Dipped in Ink

May 26: Connie’s History Classroom

May 26: A Greater Yes

May 27: Carpe Diem

May 27: Karen Sue Hadley

May 28: Daysong Reflections

May 29: Bibliophile Reviews

May 29: Bigreadersite

May 30: Captive Dreams Window

May 31: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

May 31: Mary Hake

Giveaway

Giveaway A Ruby Glows

To celebrate her tour, Kari is giving away signed print copies of A Lily Blooms, A Penny Shines, and A Ruby Glows!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b3de

My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: Carmela’s Quandary by Susan Page Davis

Publisher’s Summary

Journey now to Tuscon, Arizona, and into the Superstition Mountains of 1866, where… 
 A Chance for Escape Takes Two Unlikely Allies on a Romantic Adventure Along a Desert Trail

Since orphaned at age twelve, Carmela Wade has lived a lie orchestrated by her uncle, pretending to be a survivor of an Indian kidnapping and profiting from telling her made-up story on the speaker circuit. But as she matures into adulthood, Carmela hates the lies and longs to be free. On a stagecoach in Arizona Territory, Carmela and her uncle are fellow passengers with US Marshal Freeland McKay and his handcuffed prisoner.

The stage is attacked. Now a chance to make a new life may suddenly be within Carmela’s reach. . .if she can survive the harsh terrain and being handcuffed to an unconscious man.

Will Carmela’s wish come true, or will she forever be branded by her past?

My Review

Carmela Wade has prayed for the day she could stop the lies she was forced to perpetrate by her Uncle Silas. Not only did he force her to tell lies, but he also forced her to give him all the money the two of them accrued because he said her father owed him money. Carmela’s opportunity arrives when their stagecoach is robbed, and the robbers take it with her uncle inside.

US Marshal Freeland McKay never dreamed he’d be the victim of a stagecoach robbery, and to add insult to injury, he’s handcuffed to a woman. They have no water, horse or any way to survive except through tenacity and lots of walking.

Susan Page Davis does a well-thought out job of showing the dilemma Carmela faces. She pulls you into the story and makes you feel the torment and agony Carmela faces after reaching adulthood.

Carmela’s story is one of courage in the face of extreme adversity, forgiving yourself and others and learning to trust the Lord.

Susan Page Davis has written a unique and different type of historical novel. It is a story that readers of historical romance are sure to enjoy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and was under no obligation to post a review.

An Uncommon Protector (A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story Book 2) by Shelley Shepard Gray

An Uncommon Protector

Publisher’s Summary

Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one year post.

The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her mother passed away shortly after receiving word of their demise. Laurel has been trying to run her two hundred acre ranch as best she can.

When she discovers that squatters have settled in her north pasture and have no intention of leaving, Laurel decides to use the last of her money to free a prisoner from the local jail. If she agrees to offer him room and board for one year, he will have to work for her to pay off his debt.

Former soldier Thomas Baker knows he’s in trouble when he finds himself jailed because he couldn’t pay a few fines. Laurel’s offer might be his only ticket out. Though she’s everything he ever dreamed of in a woman—sweet and tender-hearted, yet strong—he’s determined to remain detached, work hard on her behalf, and count the days until he’s free again.

But when cattle start dying and Laurel’s life is threatened, Thomas realizes more than just his freedom is on the line. Laurel needs someone to believe in her and protect her property. And it isn’t long before Laurel realizes that Thomas Baker is far more than just a former soldier. He’s a trustworthy hero, and he needs more than just his freedom—he needs her love and care too.

My Review

Laurel Tracey is fighting a seemingly losing battle a few years after the Civil War. Her step-father had left his ranch to her, but having no one but her lazy step-siblings who don’t help her, she rapidly realizes she may lose everything.

Thomas Baker is a former Confederate soldier, and just a little bit hot headed, creating more problems than results for himself. One problem he creates lands him in jail. Hoping to be freed under a labor purchase program at the local jail, he submits to being caged in the hot sun and scrutinized by the citizens of the area, never dreaming a beautiful woman would free him.

Told from the perspective of both Thomas, by employing flashbacks, and Lauren, we learn a lot about both characters.

I enjoyed this story very much. Laurel and Thomas are hurt, lost souls that are having a hard time seeing their own worth. Both have some deep-seated issues to work through, and being forced to work together every day helps to compel them towards facing and resolving their difficulties. However, they both come across as likable and hardworking, with fun and engaging personalities.

An Uncommon Protector, by Shelley Shepard Gray, is the second novel in A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story, but it works well as a standalone tale.

I received this book free through the Fiction Guild program in exchange for an honest review.

My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas: Priscilla’s Reveille by Erica Vetsch

My Heart Belongs in Ft bliss Texas

Publisher’s Summary

Journey now to Fort Bliss in West Texas of 1874, where…
A Battle Is About to be Waged Between Two Hearts.

Fashion artist Priscilla Hutchens has a grudge against the army that has ruined her family and taken the people she holds most dear. When her twin niece and nephew are left orphaned at Fort Bliss, Texas, she swoops down on Fort Bliss to gain custody of them immediately.

There is just one thing standing in the way—Post surgeon Major Elliot Ryder, who is also the twins uncle, also claims the children and thinks he knows what is best for them.

Priscilla and Elliot will cross swords, but each will have to lay down arms if they are to find a lasting peace on which to form the family both are longing for.  Who will win the battle? Or will a truce be called for the sake of love and family?

My Review

Priscilla Hutchens travels to Ft Bliss, Texas, to rescue her niece, Tessa, and nephew, Timothy, after the untimely death of their parents. She is determined they not be subjected to the type of life she was as an army child being dragged from pillar to post.  They are already too much like her, in that the Army has made them orphans. Major Elliott Ryder is their uncle, and he definitely has something to say about Priscilla’s attitude and where the twins will live.

I especially enjoyed getting to know Priscilla. She is a very spunky, spirited and feisty young woman who is not afraid to speak her mind, but neither is she afraid to get her hands dirty and help when needed.

The twins are fun to meet, too. Tessa is a lot like her Aunt Priscilla in spunkiness and spirit, and she is never still, running full tilt night and day. Timothy, on the other hand, is more circumspect and reserved.

Erica Vetsch has written a captivating story of late 1800s military life. I found myself fascinated by the remarkable detail to the story. Just a few of the topics Miss Vetsch described in interesting and realistic imagery include the primitive conditions, herbal and natural medicinal techniques, military protocol and Army regulations.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.