A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep

About the Book

Book Title: A Tale of Two Hearts

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: September 1, 2018

Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life. She saves every penny to attend a finishing school, dreaming of the day she’ll become a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn.

William is a gentleman’s son, a charming rogue but penniless. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his puritanical cousin. In an effort to secure the inheritance, William gives his uncle the impression he’s married, which works until he’s invited to bring his wife for a visit.

William asks Mina to be his pretend bride, only until his uncle names an heir on Christmas Day. Mina is flattered and frustrated by the offer, for she wants a true relationship with William. Yet, she agrees… then wishes she hadn’t as she comes to love the old man. And when the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost.

Can two hearts survive such a deception?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

If you love Dickensian stories without the heavy, ponderous themes, then you will love Michelle Griep’s newest book, A Tale of Two Hearts, the second book in her Once Upon A Dickens Christmas series. I enjoyed it as a follow-up to 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, the first book in the series. However, both of these books work very well as a stand-alone book.

Mina Scott decides to accept the offered opportunity to be the pretend bride of her dream husband, William Barlow, to secure William an inheritance and save his uncle. She hopes to capture William’s heart. However, she didn’t count on two devious, scheming cousins, nor did William.

Griep takes us on a fanciful journey through the streets of London and into the countryside, for an enchanting and charming tale of Victorian England. Her different characters vary between beguiling, charming and charismatic to deceitful, false-hearted and callous to the extreme. As you get to know the characters and their motivations, you catch yourself torn between applauding some and booing others.

I couldn’t help caring for Mina, and who can blame me, she loves books almost as much as I do! And I fell in love with Uncle Barlow; he is such a loveable person full of joie de vivre, plus he loves quoting Dickens and reading, too!

The story illustrates God’s love, forgiveness and redemption for all. A Tale of Two Hearts is an enchanting story that can be read at any time but is particularly appropriate for the Christmas season.

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

About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle

Victorian Christmas Foods

So, it’s September, and you know what that means? It’s back to school. Pumpkin spiced everything is just around the corner. And it’s nearly time for cardigans and colored leaves. But besides all these autumn staples, it’s also time to start thinking about Christmas, because it will be here before you know it. How about this year you plan ahead to serve some traditional Victorian food?

In my newest release, A Tale of Two Hearts, the heroine’s father is known for his annual oyster stew that he serves on Christmas Eve. Here’s a bit of the background on that tasty soup.

Victorian Oyster Stew

Oysters have been savored in Britain since the days of the Romans. By Victorian times, industrialization cheapened oysters to the point of them becoming a staple of the poor man’s diet and were a frequent fare served in public houses. This, however, depleted their abundance, and by the mid-1800’s, the natural oyster beds became exhausted, making it harder to find good oysters. While other foods were served as well on Christmas Eve, oyster stew was as common as goose or turkey.

Another Victorian favorite that goes great on a crisp evening is good ol’ hot chocolate, though, in Dickens’ England, it would’ve been called something else.

Drinking Chocolate

What we now call cocoa or hot chocolate was called drinking chocolate in the mid-1800s. This beverage was a favorite among Victorian ladies. You can find recipes for it even from the Regency era (early 1800s) and here is one for you to make at home.

And last, but not least, who hasn’t heard of Christmas pudding? To our American ears, that sounds like a tasty dish that you’d eat with a spoon and slap a little whipped cream on top. Actually, it’s more like a fruitcake.

Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding is quite a production, one that begins well before Christmas Day. In fact, it begins on Stir-Up Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent (which is five weeks before Christmas). This is why when Mina, the heroine in A Tale of Two Hearts, returns home from dinner at Uncle Barlow’s, and though it’s not yet Christmas, she sees the pudding moulds on the kitchen table.

If these tastes and the accompanying smells still aren’t quite enough to get you in the Christmas spirit, then snatch yourself up a copy of the second book in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series. A Tale of Two Hearts is sure to get you in the mood.

Blog Stops

Kat’s Corner Books, October 2

Creating Romance, October 2

Just the Write Escape, October 2

The Avid Reader, October 2

Genesis 5020, October 3

The Power of Words, October 3

Just Commonly, October 3

Baker Kella, October 3

Among the Reads, October 4

Fiction Aficionado, October 4

Godly Book Reviews, October 4

Inklings and Notions , October 4

Captive Dreams Window, October 5

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, October 5

Proud to Be an Autism Mom, October 5

Multifarious, October 6

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 6

The Christian Fiction Girl, October 6

Texas Book-aholic, October 6

Remembrancy, October 7

Splashes of Joy , October 7

Blossoms and Blessings, October 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 7

Back Porch Reads, October 8

A Reader’s Brain, October 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, October 8

Janice’s Book Reviews, October 8

Simple Harvest Reads, October 9 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, October 9

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 9

Carpe Diem, October 9

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, October 10

Britt Reads Fiction, October 10

Luv’N Lambert Life, October 10

A Baker’s Perspective, October 10

By The Book, October 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 11

Book by Book, October 11

Bigreadersite, October 11

More Of Him, October 12

Pause for Tales, October 12

With a Joyful Noise, October 12

Have A Wonderful Day , October 12

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 13

Bibliophile Reviews, October 13

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 13

Vicky Sluiter, October 14

Daysong Reflections , October 14

To Everything A Season, October 14

Henry Happens, October 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 15

Reader’s Cozy Corner, October 15

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d4ef/a-tale-of-two-hearts-celebration-tour-giveaway

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The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert

My Review

I have read other books by Irma Joubert and am always fascinated by her writing style.  I attribute a lot of her style to being from South Africa and having different authorial mentors and colleagues. She delves deeply into the lives of the people, surroundings and time frame; because of this, her stories are rich in content. The Crooked Path is the same.

**********May Contain Spoilers**********

There are four distinct stories presented.

The first story deals with Lettie, a socially inept, awkward young lady, more interested in academia than “playing games.” Her focus and determination pay off in the form of the title and career as a doctor. She is vested in her patients from day one.

The second story deals with Marco and his childhood love, Rachel.  The story of Marco and Rachel is sad and poignant, dealing with many of the atrocities endured by the Jewish during WWII. This portion of the story is at times difficult and heartbreaking to read.

The third story centers on Marco and Lettie, beginning with Lettie becoming Marco’s doctor. There are many sweet, endearing moments. However, there is much sadness, too.

The fourth story focuses on Lettie’s life after Marco. This portion of the story for me was a little off. There were parts where Lettie’s childhood daydreams seemed to be coming true, yet she put up every roadblock possible, and it just didn’t ring true to me.

************************

Overall, The Crooked Path was a unique book. Poignant and heart-tugging, it will leave a mark on you, leaving you with the question, “Is a crooked path a journey worth taking?”

(Caution-the story is targeted to the over 16 age group.)

I received this book from The Fiction Guild sponsored by Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

From the bestselling author of The Girl From the Train, comes another compelling coming of age story of delayed love, loss, and reconciliation in WWII-era South Africa.

Lettie has always felt different from and overshadowed by the women around her– this friend is richer, that friend is more beautiful, those friends are closer. Still, she doesn’t let this hold her back. She works hard to apply her mind, trying to compensate for her perceived lack of beauty with diligent academic work and a successful career as a doctor. She learns to treasure her friendships, but she still wonders if any man will ever return her interest.

Marco’s experience in the second world war has robbed him of love and health. When winters in his native Italy prove dangerous to his health even after the war has ended, he moves to South Africa to be with his brother, husband to one of Lettie’s best friends. Marco is Lettie’s first patient, and their relationship grows as she aids him on the road back to restored health.

In the company of beloved characters from The Child of the River, Marco and Lettie find a happiness that neither of them thought possible. With that joy comes pain and loss, but Lettie learns that life—while perhaps a crooked path—is always a journey worth taking.

The Weaver’s Daughter: A Regency Romance Novel by Sarah E. Ladd

My Review

A betrayal by Kate Dearborne’s best friend, Frederica Pennington, left Kate confused and angry. Twelve years later Henry Stockton seemingly appears from the dead. How can these two seemingly unrelated events be a harbinger of things to come in Yorkshire, England?

Sarah E. Ladd’s book, A Weaver’s Daughter, covers many social issues germane to the English Industrial Revolution, though many are still around nowadays.  For instance, we have child labor and sweatshops in parts of the world today. She vividly portrays the history of the era, specifically how the industrial revolution affected those who were hand weavers at the advent of new machines which could weave much faster.

I was drawn deeply into the story and could see advantages and disadvantages to both types of weaving. I felt the frustrations of the hand weavers and the excitement of the mill owners. I also felt Kate’s frustrations, pain and anger at her father’s betrayal of her and her brother.

A Weaver’s Daughter is a well written, profound book. Although it is written during the Regency era, Ladd focuses on the grittier side of the time period as opposed to the glittery opulence of the Regency balls, clothing and homes.  She realistically portrays the pull of old to new, past to future and customary to visionary. This is not your typical Regency romance, as it doesn’t follow traditional styles for the time period. It is a wholesome, uplifting story that I highly recommend.

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

Publisher’s Summary

Kate’s loyalties bind her to the past. Henry’s loyalties compel him to strive for a better future. In a landscape torn between tradition and vision, can two souls find the strength to overcome their preconceptions? Loyalty has been at the heart of the Dearborne family for as long as Kate can remember, but a war is brewing in their small village, one that has the power to rip families asunder –including her own. As misguided actions are brought to light, she learns how deep her father’s pride and bitterness run, and she begins to wonder if her loyalty is well-placed. Henry Stockton, heir to the Stockton fortune, returns home from three years at war hoping to find a refuge from his haunting memories. Determined to bury the past, he embraces his grandfather’s goals to modernize his family’s wool mill, regardless of the grumblings from the local weavers. When tragedy strikes shortly after his arrival, Henry must sort out the truth from suspicion if he is to protect his family’s livelihood and legacy. Henry has been warned about the Dearborne family. Kate, too, has been advised to stay far away from the Stockton’s, but chance meetings continue to bring her to Henry’s side, blurring the jagged lines between loyalty, justice, and truth. Kate ultimately finds herself with the powerful decision that will forever affect her village’s future. As unlikely adversaries, Henry and Kate must come together to find a way to create peace for their families, and their village, and their souls – even if it means risking their hearts in the process.

More Than Meets the Eye (A Patchwork Family Novel Book #1) by Karen Witemeyer

My Review

The prologue to Karen Witemeyer’s book, More Than Meets the Eye, more than makes you cry as it is so heart-wrenching!  You want to pick the three Hamilton children up, dust them off and bring them home with you to love!

We meet up with the Hamilton children again, after the prologue, 15 years later. They have managed to make a wonderful life for themselves in Pecan Gap, Texas. Zach, the eldest has managed to work hard, save money and provide well for his younger siblings. There are only a couple of problems; Evangeline is an outcast because of a condition called heterochromia, and Seth suffers from severe, sometimes life-threating, asthma. Oh, yea, they also have a stranger camping out right on their property line, too-what’s that all about?

I at once admired and was sometimes frustrated with Evangeline. Nothing seemed to get her down. She was spunky and quirky, but she also took some very foolish and fool-hardy chances.

The novel addresses many Biblical truths and lessons applicable to life. Characters struggled with their thoughts and emotions, causing you to identify with them easily.

I really have no complaints about this story. However, I feel a couple of plot elements were wrapped up a little too quickly and tidily. Overall, though, it was very good-I stayed up all night recently in order to finish it!! I couldn’t wait to see how it ended, and yet, I didn’t want it to end either!

I enjoyed this first book in A Patchwork Family Novel series very much. I was vested in the characters from the beginning. I admired their spunk and hard-working attitudes. I cried, laughed and rejoiced along with them and their friends.

I received the book from Bethany House Publishers and the author. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world’s judgments, and Eva has two–Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers.

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?

The Captured Bride: Daughters of the Mayflower – Book 3 by Michelle Griep

My Review

I so enjoy historical fiction, and Michelle Griep’s book, The Captured Bride, captured my attention and didn’t let go!

Mercy Lytton is a scout and tracker for the government when she is tasked with ensuring she gets a traitor, Elias DuBois, to a nearby fort. Against her better judgment, she agrees to pose as his wife.

As I read the story, I was so engrossed in it, I didn’t even realize I had read through the night (granted I didn’t start until a little after midnight, but still…!)!!

As Matthew, a ranger and fellow scout, and Mercy set out on the journey to deliver Elias, I became completely engrossed in the setting. The journey, fraught with peril, left me breathless at times, and calmer at other times.

Many times, as Mercy sets out on her scouting expeditions, I could feel the ground beneath her feet, the wind stirring the tree limbs and the birds calling to each other as she listened intently in order to separate normal sounds from those made by man.

Exhilarating, alacrifying and at times breath-taking, The Captured Bride, is a must-read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction!

The Captured Bride is the third book in the Daughters of the Mayflower. However, it stands-alone as I didn’t even realize it was a sequel until I was writing the review.

The story also captured my imagination because I have Native American heritage, and cousins with the last name of DuBois.

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

***********************Caution*********************

There are some scenes of violence.

Publisher’s Review

Mercy Lytton, a scout with keen eyesight raised among the Mohawks, and Elias Dubois, a condemned traitor working both sides of the conflict, must join together to get a shipment of gold safely into British hands.
A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees. 

A War-Torn Countryside Is No Place for a Lady
Mercy Lytton is a lady like none other. Raised amongst the Mohawks, she straddles two cultures, yet each are united in one cause. . .to defeat the French. Born with a rare gift of unusually keen eyesight, she is chosen as a scout to accompany a team of men on a dangerous mission. Yet it is not her life that is threatened. It is her heart.  Condemned as a traitor, Elias Dubois faces the gallows. At the last minute, he is offered his freedom if he consents to accompany a stolen shipment of French gold to a nearby fort—but he is the one they stole it from in the first place. It turns out that the real thief is the beguiling woman, Mercy Lytton, for she steals his every waking thought.   Can love survive divided loyalties in a backcountry wilderness?

My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele’s Journey by Amanda Barratt

My Review

My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York is written by Amanda Barratt, a new to me author. The book is also her first full-length novel, as she’s only written novellas in the past.

I enjoyed learning about funambulism through Drew Dawson, a main character. I also liked Drew’s character and his devotion to his invalid sister, Hope, whom I also liked. I was pulling for them to be able to make a better life for themselves as I read the story.

I didn’t care much for Adele Linley, an English aristocrat looking for a wealthy husband in America to save her family’s home and land. She tended to rush into things headlong, heedless of the consequences. Her tendency to do this created a major catastrophe.

I didn’t care for most of the other characters in the novel. They were rude, snobby, self-centered and cared little for each other, even though many of them were related. I never grew to like Adele, either. Right about the time I may have started liking her, she did something so genuinely terrible, heart-breaking and life-changing for other characters that even though it worked out in the end, I still cared very little for her.

One minor character I really liked was the butler, Delany, who was from Texas. I liked how he stayed true to himself and to the Dawsons in their times of need (and I’m partial to anyone from Texas!).

One sign of a good book, I have heard said, is it brings out strong emotions within you. If this is true, then My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York, fits the bill.

One note of caution. However, there are a few scenes of semi-graphic violence.

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

Publisher’s Summary

Journey now to Niagara Falls, New York, of 1870 where…
She avoids danger at all costs. He makes his living by rushing headlong into it.

Outwardly, Adele Linley’s trip to visit her American cousins is nothing more than a summer vacation. In reality, she’s the daughter of an English aristocrat with barely a penny to her name seeking a rich American husband.

Having grown up in an overcrowded orphanage, Drew Dawson is determined to make a name for himself. He’ll take any honest job to provide for his sister—even crossing Niagara Falls by tightrope.

On a sightseeing trip to the Falls, Adele meets several eligible suitors. Incredibly wealthy and pompous, Franklin Conway takes an immediate fancy to her. But Adele would truly like to marry for love.  When she encounters the mysterious Drew in the garden, Adele is confused by her feelings for someone who is everything she is NOT looking for. Will they both stay the course they have chosen for themselves?

Minding the Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

ABOUT the BOOK

Book Title: Minding the Light

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: July 3, 2018

Six long years ago, Captain Reynolds Macy sailed away from his bride, looking forward to the day when he would return to Nantucket Island with a ship’s hold full of whale oil. But when that momentous day finally arrives, Ren soon discovers that everything has changed in his absence. Everything. “Is nothing on this island as it appears to be?” he whispers in despair.

Unlike most islanders, bold and spirited Daphne Coffin doesn’t defer to Ren as an authoritative whalemaster, but sees through his aloofness to the aching heart beneath. She encourages him to return to his Quaker roots and “mind the Light,” finding solace in God and community. As Ren becomes the man she believes him to be–honorable, wise, faithful–she finds herself falling in love with him.

But how can she, when her heart is spoken for? Tristram Macy is Ren’s business partner, cousin, and best friend–and Daphne’s fiancé. Love always comes at a cost, but when is the price too high?

Suzanne Woods Fisher welcomes readers back to the Quaker community on Nantucket Island for this riveting love story, full of unexpected moments.

Click here to purchase your copy!

MY THOUGHTS

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s novel, Minding the Light, is full of history and tidbits of folklore about Nantucket. Although it is the second book in the Nantucket Legacy series, it can easily be read as a standalone as it is about a different generation of the founding families.

I was fascinated to learn of the history of the early founders of Nantucket. Almost everyone on the island was a Quaker, so I learned a lot of the history of the Quaker religion, too.

There were many heavy, sad details in the story. Surprisingly, some of the details were quite unexpected, such as drug abuse (and possibly addiction), whereas others, such as slavery and bigotry, weren’t as surprising but were still sad.

A captivating and enthralling novel of life in a whaling community, fraught with danger and excitement… Minding the Light is a gripping, authentic representation of life in the 19th Century, further enhanced by the glossary of terms, resources and discussion questions included in the book.

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

ABOUT the AUTHOR

Carol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring  people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing.

GUEST POST from SUZANNE

8 Curious Facts You Probably Didn’t Know about Nantucket Island

This beautiful island, thirty miles off Cape Cod, is steeped in history. Here are just a few interesting reasons to add a visit to Nantucket to your bucket list.

1) During the first half of the nineteenth century, Nantucket was considered to be the wealthiest port in the world…all because of whale oil.

2) Petticoat Row is a 19th-century nickname for a portion of Centre Street between Main Street and Broad Street. Many shops on Nantucket were run by women while the men were off to sea in whaling ships for years at a time. Quakerism, with its emphasis on equality, provided working women with community respect, value and esteem. The next time you’re visiting Nantucket, be sure to stop by the Petticoat Row Bakery for a morning glory muffin.

3) The use of laudanum (opium) was described by a visiting French as prevalent among the women of Nantucket. Loyal Nantucketers vehemently denied his claim. However, in the 1980s, construction workers digging to Nantucket’s sewer lines found heaps of opium bottles buried in the ground.

For centuries, laudanum was considered to be not only harmless but beneficial. Its very name in Latin is landare, which means to praise. Other names for it: Mother’s Helper (to sedate children), Sea Calm (for seasickness). It was used for all kinds of ailments, from sleeplessness to menstrual cramps to treatment of chronic pain, and available without prescription up until the twentieth century, when it was found to be highly addictive.

4) Nantucket Cent Schools were a carryover from England and the cost was exactly what the name implied. In New England, they were kept by refined, thrifty women who often taught their own or their neighbors’ children until they were old enough to enter schools of a higher grade. I came across a story of a boy whose mother stuck a penny in his mouth each day so that he would remember to pay the teacher.

5) Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville in 1851, was based on a true-life event that occurred in 1820 to the Nantucket whaleship Essex and her crew. You can find out more about this ill-fated voyage if you visit Nantucket’s awesome whaling museum.

6) Speaking of…the whaling museum on Nantucket Island is called the Peter Foulger Whaling Museum. Peter Foulger was one of the early settlers to the island and could be considered a Renaissance Man: inventor, surveyor, teacher, missionary to the Wampanoag Indians. And his grandson was none other than Benjamin Franklin.

7) Nantucketers were, for the most part, related to each other in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The prosperous island was settled by a small group of families, with less than a dozen surnames: Coffin, Macy, Starbuck, Bunker, Hussey, Gardner, Mayhew, Swain, Barnard, Coleman, Worth, Mitchell. Those names are still common on the island.

8) There’s a good reason those surnames sound familiar to you—many of those early settlers had descendants who started business empires. Recognize these? Macy (retailer) and Folger (coffee).

BLOG STOPS

Carpe Diem, July 3

Livin Lit, July 3

midnightbookaholic, July 3

The Avid Reader, July 4

Margaret Kazmierczak, July 4

The Power of Words, July 4

A Baker’s Perspective, July 5

Blossoms and Blessings, July 5

A Reader’s Brain, July 5

Just the Write Escape, July 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 6

Bibliophile Reviews, July 7

Mary Hake, July 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 7

Texas Book-aholic, July 8

Simple Harvest Reads, July 8 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Janices book reviews, July 9

Captive Dreams Window, July 9

Book by Book, July 9

Back Porch Reads, July 10

Reading Is My SuperPower, July 10

Splashes of Joy, July 10

The Morning Chapter, July 11

Vicky Sluiter, July 11

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 11

Among the Reads, July 12

proud to be an autism mom, July 12

Two Points of Interest, July 12

Abbas Prayer Warrior Princess, July 13

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 13

Blogging With Carol, July 13

Truth and Grace Writing and Life Coaching, July 14

Maureen’s Musings, July 14

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 14

Godly Book Reviews, July 15

Inklings and notions, July 15

Bigreadersite, July 15

Connie’s History Classroom , July 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 16

Pause for Tales, July 16

Have A Wonderful Day, July 16

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card to five winners!!

Be sure to leave a comment on one of the blog stops for 9 extra entries into the giveaway. Click link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d1c4/minding-the-light-celebration-tour-giveaway

Seasons Series by Robin E. Mason-Blog Tour and Giveaway

Seasons series blog tour 4

Welcome to the Seasons series (by Robin E. Mason) Blog Tour and giveaway, hosted y JustRead Publicity Tours!


Welcome Colonel and Ms. Mason

BRUCE:  Good afternoon, Birdie Girl.

rem:  Good afternoon, Mr. Rochester. So nice to see you again.

BRUCE:   Why don’t you call me Bruce. Leastways for now.

rem:  Well, all right then, Bruce. Welcome. I do enjoy chatting with you.

BRUCE: I know so little about you, and you sit here so mélancolique, mon amie. Please, tell me a little about yourself!

rem:  I’m an oddball in a bunch of oddballs. LOL, I’m 59 and act 12 (no really). I’ve three grown kids and three beautiful granddaughters, and four kitty babies. Besides my writing, I sing and play the piano, I danced and directed the dance team at church for a few years, I paint and draw, and I’m an actress. I love, love, love being on stage, and do a smashingly brilliant British accent!

I also love baking and cooking, and big family gatherings, and I enjoy working in the yard and going for walks.

BRUCE:  Thank you kindly, Birdie Girl.

rem:  Now that Simone is home, can you tell us—

BRUCE:  Now, now, Birdie Girl. I do believe I’ll be asking the questions today. Hmm?

rem:  Yes, quite right…

BRUCE:  Could you explain what you mean when you say you can’t market as Christian Fiction, but you can as Faith Fiction?

rem:  When I first started writing, I would just write. I had no clue of genre, or what specs to follow. And some of my characters, well, not being believers, they, er, um, say things they shouldn’t. The less offensive of “street language,” and on occasion, “Oh my God.” I use that, too, but as a prayer and a plea to Him. And from what I understand of CF, that isn’t allowed.

But my faith is evident in my stories, in subtle ways. A character in my first book surprised me later in the story when they turned out to be a praying force behind my main character’s struggle.

BRUCE:  NODS  Go on, go on.

rem:  Allow me to share the words of my sweet friend, Carrie Schmidt, when she reviewed The Silent Song of Winter recently:

In her novels, Mason wrestles with some of the darkest parts of human nature. But she also wraps each story in the loving arms of Grace… A realization that the words of Scripture are God’s heart written just for her. A new awareness that she is a child of the King who is dearly loved. As this transformation takes place in Pearl’s heart, it touches every area of her life – with some very moving results.”
http://readingismysuperpower.org/2018/03/09/book-review-and-a-giveaway-the-silent-song-of-winter-by-robin-e-mason/

BRUCE:  Where did the idea of using seasons for your books come from, was it your plan to give each season its own book? What is your favorite season, and is it your favorite of the four books?

rem:  Yes and no. There’s another series out there, TOTALLY different to this one, waiting for me to write it. That’s what I thought I was going to be writing with this series! LOL, I’m a panster, and sometimes I get a title or character name, and the story evolves from that “seed.” I knew the titles of each of the four books, but when I started writing—it was so not the story I thought it was going to be! But yes, I knew that each book was its season.

And my favorite season is spring—it’s a robin thing-wink, wink—and yes, perhaps The Whispering Winds of Spring is my favorite. For one thing, it wraps up the series. But Simone’s battle was so characteristic of all of us sometimes; she made great strides in some ways, but still struggled in others.

BRUCE:  Speaking of seasons, it is a little humid out here, perhaps we could go to your lovely library!

rem:  But, of course!

BRUCE:  Here, mon amie, let me assist you!

rem:  Why, thank you, monsieur!

BRUCE:  I thank you kindly, Birdie Girl. TAKES OUT CIGAR  May I?
rem:  You have to ask?

BRUCE:  LAUGHS  Touché, Birdie Girl. Touché. I thank you kindly.

HOLDS CIGAR SUSPENDED TAKES A PUFF  Now, where were we?

Ah, yes… Are any of your characters modeled after you or someone you know?

rem:  Yes. Me. Mostly. All of my main characters have some of me in them. And most of my characters are either my imagination or a composite of people I know, or a combination.

BRUCE:  How did you come to know of our lovely town?

rem:  Oh, well, I suppose Mercedes told me. PAUSES  No, on second thought, I think it was Simone.

BRUCE:  PUFFS SMOKE  Interesting, you didn’t mention Pearl or Scarlett.

rem:  Hmmm… If I know Scarlett, and I think I do, she would have been rather too intimidated to speak out.

BRUCE:  NODS

 rem:  And Pearl, well, you know Pearl. She is a dear, but she can… shall we say, be wrapped up in herself betimes.

BRUCE:  Yes indeed. Now how did Simone tell you?

rem: TILTS HEAD, CONSIDERS  I remember knowing she needed help.

BRUCE:  That she did. That she did, indeed. PUFFS CIGAR  And you surely gave it.

rem:  Well, I’m not sure I did that much, really.

BRUCE:  Oh, Birdie Girl. You told her story. Without you she never would have, well, we can’t tell our secrets now, can we?

rem:  LAUGHS  No, we surely cannot.

BRUCE:  I know there is one person we will all love to hate! Were they a surprise, or did you know how they would be from the beginning?

rem:  Fontaine first comes to mind. Until you get to know his story. Same for Lissette. She was so troubled and tormented. Both of them were vile in their actions, and while interesting to write, and sometimes challenging, I can’t say either of them was fun. I knew both of them were despicable from the beginning; Fontaine, however, I did not discover his past until well into the first book.

BRUCE:  Do you let anyone dictate their story?

rem:  Dictate? I am but the humble scribe whose pleasure and privilege it is to put to pen—or digital form—the stories of my characters. Honestly, I know the general direction the story/series needs to go, but the fabric of it “comes” to me as I write. There are some minor bits that I construct, but mostly I am at their beck and call.

BRUCE:  Now then, you’ve told of the stories, Simone’s story, our story. What of your story?

rem:  My story?

BRUCE:  EXHALES AND CHUCKLES  My dear girl, we all have a story to tell.

rem:  SPUTTERS  I’m not sure…

BRUCE:  Stuff and nonsense! To quote our dear Pearl. PUFFS CIGAR Of course, you have a story. You were married once, were you not?

rem:  SIGHS  I was, yes.

BRUCE:  SHAKES HEAD  My word, Birdie Girl. You are making me work for it, aren’t you?

rem:  MUMBLES  Sorry.

BRUCE:  Tell me, what do you do when your characters behave this way?

rem:  NERVOUS LAUGH

BRUCE:  As I suspected.  PUFFS CIGAR Now. Tell us about your love.  CUTS A GLANCE And, I don’t mean the man you married.

rem:  SIGHS The one that got away.

BRUCE:  Got away? Was that the way of it?

rem:  LOOKS DOWN  No, it wasn’t.

BRUCE:  REACHES HAND OUT TO MY SHOULDER  Can you tell us what happened?

rem:  I sabotaged it.

SILENCE

rem:  He was too good to me, it was too good to be true. At least, that’s what I believed at the time. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing—I certainly didn’t consciously destroy the relationship.  SNIFFS

 BRUCE:  There, there, dear girl. That’s a hard thing to discover.

rem:   NODS

BRUCE:  I know you know the Almighty has your best interest at heart.

rem:  NODS

BRUCE:  WINKS And, He’ll bring you a love when you least expect it.  PUFFS CIGAR Why, look at me and my Trudy.

 rem:  SMILES, SWIPES AT STRAY TEAR  Yes, Col—Bruce, you’re right.

BRUCE:  Of course, I’m right. I’m always right.

BOTH LAUGH

BRUCE:  And what was this dear gentleman’s name?

rem:  BLUSHES  Terry.

BRUCE:  Well I dare say, Terry has suffered a great loss.

rem:  BLUSHES REDDER

 BRUCE:  No, no, it’s true. PUFFS CIGAR  You are a lovely and charming lady. Oh, mon amie, I haven’t upset you, have I?

rem:  No, I just decided to sit at the window. They truly are a remarkable set of books!

BRUCE:  Well, of course, they are!!  Now then, I believe the custom is to ask what’s called Fast Five.

rem:  SMILES

 BRUCE:  Coffee or tea?

rem:  That depends—

BRUCE:  STERN LOOK, THEN SMILES  No, Birdie Girl, Fast Five. SNAPS FINGERS

 rem:  Tea

BRUCE:  That’s more like it. Mountains or shore?

rem:  Easy, mountains.

BRUCE:  Horse or motorcycle?

rem:  Horses—OH!

BRUCE:  WINKS  Cats or dogs?

rem:  Cats, of course.

BRUCE:  Fiction or non?

rem:  Fiction, a thousand times fiction.

BRUCE:  What is the most important thing that you want your readers to take away from your books?

rem:  That God is always with us, and for us. I do not for a minute believe He causes us harm or danger or heartache to “teach us” a lesson. Rather, things happen (fallen world and all) and He is there in the thick of it, whether we see Him—or acknowledge Him—or not.

BRUCE:  Well done, dear girl.  PUFFS CIGAR  And now, dear Birdie Girl, I believe our time is done.

rem:  This has been… interesting.

BRUCE:  Indeed. Reversing roles is always a challenge—and no easy task.

rem:  Bruce, Colonel, I do so enjoy my time with you. I shall miss you.

BRUCE:  Stuff and nonsense.  WINKS  You never know when I might show up.

rem:  Quite true.

BRUCE:  I do thank you for the time. KISSES MY HAND  It has been a delight.

rem:  BLUSHES  And, I do believe the pleasure is all mine, dear Colonel.  WINKS BACK AT HIM


“Mercedes?” I could barely breathe. I didn’t remember this woman. The name only tumbled in my mind, tugging at memories I couldn’t see. I don’t know how but I knew I could trust her. Still…”

“NO!” My throat raw already, my scream was jagged and panicked and desperate. “No!” I didn’t want to see it, I didn’t want to remember… Not this. I didn’t want to remember this.”


About the Seasons series
Goodreads | Amazon

The southern town of Saisons lies at the crossroads between North and South, progressive and genteel antebellum life. Between East and West, between history and heritage, and new frontiers. Downton Abbey meets Gone With the Wind.

It’s 1912, in a world where slavery is dying and women’s rights are rising, and four young women who once shared a bond—and experienced a tragedy—question their own truths.


the long shadows of summerTitle: The Long Shadows of Summer
Author: Robin E. Mason
Publisher: Bird’s Nest Books
Release Date: August 31, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction/Southern Fiction

Mercedes has always been an avid reader and devours each new Sherlock Holmes mystery as soon as she gets her hands on them. When one of her friends comes to her, Mercedes vows to keep Simone’s secrets and uncover the truth.

But as Mercedes plays detective to her friends’ questions, she discovers something far more shocking—she herself is not who she thought she was.

Purchase Links: Goodreads | Amazon


the tilting leaves of autumnTitle: The Tilting Leaves of Autumn
Author: Robin E. Mason
Publisher: Bird’s Nest Books
Release Date: November 22, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction/Southern Fiction

Scarlett was the shrinking violet in the group. Faithful to her friends, and hiding secrets of her own. When Mercedes steps in to rescue her, she unknowingly plucks the thread that unravels Scarlett’s whole world.

But as Scarlett strives to hold fast to what is familiar the fabric of her life continues to come undone and secrets that are best kept hidden are exposed.

Purchase Links: Goodreads | Amazon


The Silent Song of WinterTitle: The Silent Song of Winter
Author: Robin E. Mason
Publisher: Bird’s Nest Books
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction/Southern Fiction

When all the noise has gone silent, all that is left is her song.

Pearl had lived under the impossible taskmaster of perfection. Nothing she does or ever did pleased her mother. And nothing she ever did could disappoint her father.

Caught up in the mystery of her friend’s curious—and secretive—return, Pearl wrestles with her own decisions and flees lest her own secrets are exposed.

Purchase Links: Goodreads | Amazon


The Whispering Winds of SpringTitle: The Whispering Winds of Spring
Author: Robin E. Mason
Publisher: Bird’s Nest Books
Release Date: May 17, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction/Southern Fiction

Amidst the clamor of confusion, can she hear the whisper of her memories?

Simone Dubois’ life was unraveling. All she had known and held dear was gone from her. At ten, all she wanted was to escape beneath the black waters of the Edisto River. She couldn’t know her whole life would be stolen from her.

When she returns to Saisons sixteen years later, she has no memory of ever having been there. Not even that it was her birthplace. Enlisting the help of her childhood friend, Mercedes—whose name stayed with her, if in shadowy dreams only—Simone encounters misty memories, and stirs up more mystery than she started with.

Purchase Links: Goodreads | Amazon


About the Author

robin elizabeth mason

I’ve always had voices—er, stories in my head. I once said I should write them all down so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, made countless notes for story ideas, and earned my BFA in Interior Design. I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years. My characters face many of these same demons.

I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.

CONNECT WITH ROBIN: website | blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | GoodReadsInstagram | Amazon

seasons series giveaway

Robin E. Mason is offering a Seasons series prize pack for her tour! ONE winner (US only) will receive:

  • a packet of Saisons Plantation tea
  • a Seasons series mug
  • a Seasons bookmark (handmade by the author)
  • Seasons notecards (also handmade by the author)
  • 4 pairs of earrings (one pair to represent each book)
  • AND winner’s choice of (1) signed print copy of Seasons book of choice OR kindle copies of all 4 books!

Giveaway will run from midnight June 11, 2018, through 11:59pm June 18, 2018. It is subject to the policies found here.

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2b09c62e288/?

Click on the banner below for a full tour schedule & more chances to win!

tour schedule

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?