First Street Church Romances: Love’s Mending Embrace (WWI Book 1) by Jenna Brandt (MY REVIEW)

About the Book

Love's mending embrace final finalWars don’t happen just on the battlefield. One woman will fight for her future with the man she loves.

Before America entered the Great War, Karen and Adam were set to be married but everything was put on hold when Adam was conscripted to join the military. After being forced to return to a life Adam tried to leave behind, he is taken, prisoner. Karen, along with her family, wait in Sweet Grove, Texas, hoping and praying Adam will return to the family. After his return, the couple must face new obstacles to find their happily-ever-after. But Adam and Karen are not the only ones affected by the war. Neighbors and friends in Sweet Grove have their own battles to fight, struggles to overcome and victories to achieve.

From bestselling author, Jenna Brandt comes a story about the first World War and the lives of the people in Sweet Grove, Texas during it. The era of WWI comes to life in the descriptions of volunteer rationing, victory gardens, and war committees.

Love’s Mending Embrace shows how the power of love and faith can overcome the tragedies of war and how one woman’s loving embrace can mend a soldier’s, wounded heart.

MY THOUGHTS“Loves Mending Embrace” is the first book in a brand-new series “First Street Church Romances” by Jenna Brandt.

This lovely love story is centred around the First World War during a time of extreme hardships, emotional devastation, stoic determination, and sheer grit. 

“Rich soil overwhelmed her nose while her heart ached at the thought of not finishing the squash harvest before the storm arrived.”

War was hard for everyone, those who went to fight for and protect their country, and those who were left behind to work and worry. Karen and Adam weren’t immune either. In the end, it was faith that got them through … especially Adam. Also witnessing the effects that war had on other people, had a huge impact as well.

“It’s not fair. You served your time.”
“I must do my part for our safety. Promise me, you’ll wait until I return.”
Karen did not waiver. “Always and forever.”

“Loves Mending Embrace” is a sweet, short story romance. Ms. Brandt covers the emotional journey well, with a happy ending of course, but I cannot tell you what that is for fear of spoiling the story. Being a short story, some details and points were quickly skipped over e.g. the building of Adam and Karen’s forever home, however, I didn’t find that the story lacked anything. I managed to fill any gaps with my own imagination.

I loved that the presence of God was apparent and absolute from almost the beginning of the book. Once that miracle happened, I just had to continue reading until the end. I often read more than one book at a time, but so far each of Jenna Brandt’s books I’ve read by themselves, savouring until the end. My only regret is that this heartfelt story wasn’t longer, but I guess I’ll just need to wait for the next book in this series.

“With God’s strength, he could bear what was coming as long as he remembered what he was living for. He must never let go of his faith.”

It was a nice touch and a lovely surprise to find a bonus recipe at the very end of the story. I can’t tell you much about it as you’ll be wanting to buy your own copy, and I wouldn’t dream of ruining this sweet surprise. However, I can tell you that the recipe is called “Apple Brown Betty”.  Congratulations Ms Brandt – a good 5 stars!

I was given an ARC of this book by the author, and at no stage have I been obliged to give a positive review. All thoughts are entirely my own.

About the Author

JENNA BRANDTJenna Brandt is a Christian historical fiction author and her books span from the Victorian to Western to WWI eras with elements of romance, suspense, and faith. You can find out more about her anytime at and sign up for her newsletter

She has been an avid reader since she could hold a book and started writing stories almost as early. Jenna has been published in several newspapers as well as edited for multiple papers and graduated with her BA in English from Bethany College where she was the Editor-in-Chief of her college newspaper. She’s an on-going contributor to The Mighty Website and her first Blog was published on Yahoo Parenting and The Grief Toolbox as well as featured on the ABC News and Good Morning America websites.

Writing is her passion but she also enjoys cooking, watching movies, reading, engaging in social media and spending time with her three young daughters and husband where they live in the Central Valley of California. She’s active in her local church where she volunteers on their first impressions team as well as writes for the church’s creative team.

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Into a Silent World by Carmina Edwards (Book REVIEW, Blog Tour, and GIVEAWAY)

into a slient world_previewAbout the Book

Title: Into a Silent World

Author: Carmina Edwards

Genre: Biography, Memoir

Release Date: August 15, 2016

Following Amy’s adventures in A Door Cracked Open, she heads into a world which will test her faith and perseverance to the limit. Instead of settling into a simple, safe and unchanging life like she imagined, Amy is strongly drawn to a vocation with even higher requirements, prompting her to plan some seemingly impossible missions in order to reach her goal.

MY THOUGHTSThis is the second book in the ‘World Cracked Open’ series.  I didn’t know there was to be a third book until, much to my horror, at the very end of this book … I was left hanging 😉 I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Amy’s adventures and antics in Book 1. You can read a brief review  HERE

Carmina has written both of these books in a biographical fashion, basing the story on her own life experiences. The first book ‘A Door Cracked Open’ was very well written for a debut novel, and she has followed it up with an equally absorbing sequel in ‘Into a Silent World’. There is a bit of waffle within this book, however, it is enjoyable to read, poignant, and extremely thought-provoking. 

‘ “And all is well in the best of worlds. Don’t forget that, Amy,” Sister Odette reminded her.’

Carmina has developed her characters very well, portraying their differences and uniqueness. It’s never easy to cope as a new Christian in a world where most people do not want to believe. Also as Amy was badly abused by those she loved as a child, she didn’t obtain the many life skills that we would take for granted, consequently having to find out everything the hard way. Even at the age of twenty-three, Amy behaved in an innocent, child-like manner, and this would have made her feel safe within the monastery.  Carmina has used age-appropriate language and thought patterns considering Amy’s difficulties.

“She longed for their approval but also knew that her determination or stubbornness, as they called it, led her further away from any approval or understanding.”

I found myself laughing and sobbing throughout this book as well. One cannot help but have empathy for both Amy and some of the people she interacts with. Her compassion for others and unspoiled sense of humor are conveyed well by the author.

‘ “Amy that’s too funny. You just climb out of the window? Who does that?”

“I know, it was stupid.”

“You’re a determined character, I’ll give you that … I think it was resourceful.” ‘

I am looking forward to reading more about Amy’s amazing life in Book 3. Let’s hope it will be published very soon.

I was provided with a free copy of this book by the author via CelebrateLit. I was not financially compensated, and at no time was I under obligation to provide a positive review.

222938_1045001648055_1316040273_30132258_9921_n[1]_previewAbout the Author

I am a mother of two wonderful grown-up children and currently living in the UK, after living in Sweden for three years where I wrote my first book, “A Door Cracked Open.” I was blessed to be able to spend six months in the USA before returning to the UK, my home country, to work with my editor in California on the edits of this book and visit friends.

I am an avid reader and linguist, having also spent some years living in France and have been fortunate enough to have taught Swedish and French over twenty-five years and translate for businesses and manuscripts in both languages. Being unemployed the past few years has led to me becoming homeless. However, I never give up hope. As I try to portray in my books, God has always had His hand on me. Once again, He has stepped in right at the last minute. I now have a new job in Sweden and will be moving back there. Because I feel passionate about helping the homeless, a large percentage of my royalties will go directly to them.

Guest Post from Carmina Edwards

“Into a Silent World” follows on from Amy’s story in “A Door Cracked Open.”

With a new beginning ahead of her, a long-standing dream about to be realized, she was unprepared for the events which were about to unfold over the next two years.

Why would God send her to this place of “absolute conviction” and allow her to remain there for that long if He never meant for her to be there? Amy struggles to understand and seeks His will, but determined that it was His plan, she persevered in order for her dream to be fulfilled.

into a slient world_previewGiveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carmina is giving away

Grand Prize:

Paperback copies of A Door Cracked Open & Into a Silent World

1st – 3rd place:

28443440Ebook copy of A Door Cracked Open!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!




Into a silent world FB banner copy_preview

Purchase your copy HERE

Blog Stops

Just Jo’Anne, November 7

Mary Hake, November 8

Kristin’s Book Reviews, November 9

Janices book review, November 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 11

History, Mystery & Faith, November 12

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 13 (Interview)

The Power of Words, November 14 (Interview)

margaret kazmierczak, November 15

Splashes of Joy, November 16

A Reader’s Brain, November 17

Multifarious, November 18

Artistic Nobody, November 19 (Karin Perry guest post)

Texas Book-aholic, November 20

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Pockets of Joy by Roxane Battle (BOOK SPOTLIGHT with GIVEAWAY)


pockets of joy aAbout the Book

Name of book: Pockets of Joy

Author: Roxane Battle

Genre: Non-fiction, inspirational

Release Date: September 5, 2017

“No matter your situation, you have a choice. I chose joy.”

Roxane Battle was on television for much of her adult life. As a news reporter and anchor, she traveled the world and met notable people from Jay Leno to Mariah Carey to Prince. But shortly after landing her dream job in her hometown of Minneapolis, Roxane’s marriage fell apart. Every day was a battle to keep it together on camera while piecing her life back together at home as the single mom of eleven-month-old Jarod. At one point, broke and alone, dinner was a single chicken McNugget. With wit, dignity, and gripping detail, Roxane shares her story of intentionally looking for joy during this challenging chapter of her life. Her faith was the guiding force as she searched for moments of gratitude and found a lifetime of grace. She also includes secrets to spiritual, professional, and personal wholeness for today’s woman, with chapters on authenticity, service, generosity, gratitude, self-care, yielding, forgiveness, and more.


pockets of joy bAbout the Author

Author Roxane Battle is veteran TV news journalist well known in the Minneapolis region for her work as an anchor, reporter, and former co-host of the KARE 11-NBC Today show. She currently produces award-winning videos for corporate and non-profit clients through her company, Roxane Battle, M. A., LLC. Named an “Architect of Change,” Roxane is a contributor to and has been featured in Working Mother, Ebony magazines, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press. An entertaining and inspiring speaker, she is regularly called upon to address civic, business, and philanthropic groups. She’s recently been a keynote speaker at events hosted by the Girl Scouts, TeamWomen Minnesota, and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. For more on Roxane Battle:



Guest post from Roxane Battle

What this book is about is the season in my life when I was on my own and overwhelmed with trying to put my life back together while I learned how to raise a child and navigate a demanding television career. A working, divorced single mom. That was me. For years. There were many days when I smiled in front of the camera and cried alone at night. During those years, my time in the wilderness, I learned a lot about myself.

I am now at a point when I am able, willing, and desire to share the very personal and intimate stories of how I found peace in the midst of my struggles. I discovered what I call pockets. Pockets of joy. The kind of joy that causes your eyes to mist and wash over the hurt. The kind of joy that catches you by surprise and for a moment makes you forget, if ever so briefly, that you ever felt pain. The kind of joy that, in some ways, cannot even be described.

It is my hope and prayer my story will enable others to grasp a piece of the kind of joy I’m talking about and allow it to stir the kind of hope within that can renew and transform.

pockets of joy cGiveaway

In honor of her tour, Roxanne is giving away:

Grand Prize Package: Pockets of Joy, hard cover edition, in Pockets of Joy tote bag with Abba Jerusalem Frankincense pillar candle, and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book.

1st Place Package: Pockets of Joy, hard cover edition, “You Are An Amazing Woman” (Abbey Press) mug, and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book.

2nd Place Package: Pockets of Joy, hard cover edition and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book!

Click the link to enter!


pockets of joy

Click here to purchase your own copy of this delightful book.


Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 26

Carpe Diem, October 26

autism mom, October 27

Avid Reader Book Reviews, October 28

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 29

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 30

Reflections From My Bookshelves, October 31

Moments Dipped in Ink, November 1

The Fizzy Pop Collection, November 2

A Greater Yes, November 3

A Reader’s Brain, November 4

Splashes of Joy, November 5

Mary Hake, November 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 7

Texas Book-aholic, November 8

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Colors of Christmas by Olivia Newport (Book Review & Giveaway)

colors of christmas celebration tour FB banner copy_preview

Click here to purchase a copy of this beautiful book.


About the Book

Colors of Christmas cover_previewName of book: Colors of Christmas

Author: Olivia Newport

Genre: Contemporary Christmas

Release Date: October 1, 2017

Christmas in Blue
Angela just wants Christmas to be over. Instead, she finds herself in charge of the town’s celebration, and everything goes from bad to worse. Can she rescue Christmas for the town—and herself?

Christmas in Gold
When eighty-year-old Astrid moves into an assisted living community and meets a young woman on the brink of despair, she resolves to stir up Christmas hope one more time.




What a beautiful time of year Christmas is! 

It’s a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus with family and friends, a time for reflection and hope … the most joyful of all days of any year. This sweet book contains two stories. Gold Christmas is Astrid’s story, and Blue Christmas belongs to Angela. Both stories centre around a theme of hope, which one would assume to be a fitting theme at Christmas time. However, both Astrid and Angela have difficulties in feeling that quiet peace that God’s hope brings.

Astrid has suffered enormous hardships most of her life living through World War 2 in Germany. Her life wasn’t any easier with her move to America, however, Astrid maintains a firm resolve when she couldn’t be blamed for feeling that her whole world was crashing down around her. Out of all the changes she’s had to compensate for in her 80 plus years of life, probably leaving her lovely family home to move into an aged care facility has been the most challenging. But when strong-willed Astrid crosses paths with a young woman with enormous problems that could possibly put her life in danger, she comes to the rescue and stirs up some more hope for the season, and a whole lot of gold. She’s not the doddery old woman her children seem to think she is.

In Blue Christmas dear Angela is in quite a fragile state. Her very best friend has passed away, but no one in the town seems to appreciate her grief. Angela finds herself in a predicament when the church committee volunteers her to organise the town’s “Christmas To Remember” event, an event that was always expertly organised by her dear friend Carole. Poor Angela is so depressed and stressed that she cannot see any hope for a successful celebration, and just wishes that Christmas would be over. Due to the kindness and love of a mysterious stranger, who everyone suspects is responsible for all the mishaps that continue to occur throughout the town, Angela finally realises that hope and experiences an exquisite joy that will be carried over into all the Christmases to come.

At first, I had my reservations about this book. I enjoyed reading Astrid’s story, but for some reason, I felt less enthusiastic to read about Angela. I knew I had an obligation, so I kept reading … and wasn’t I glad I did! By the third chapter I was engaged with the story, and towards the last half dozen or so chapters I was in tears … sad tears, but eventually tears of joy.  This is the first book of Ms Newport’s that I’ve read, and I’m impressed. I like her style of writing, characters are all credible, and each story flows nicely.

I would recommend buying this sweet book as a Christmas present for someone special.

I was provided with an ARC by the author via CelebrateLit, and at no stage was I compensated or obliged to give a positive review.

christmas bag_previewGiveaway

To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away a grand prize of a Christmas Bundle Bonanza which includes 7 Jumbo rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, 2 sets of stick-on gift tags,  2 packages of Christmas cards and envelopes, 2 collections of Christmas novellas—18 stories in all, and a signed copy of Colors of Christmas!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

About the Author

Olivia Newport _previewOlivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide a welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.




Guest Post from Olivia Newport

We All Have a Story

I’m younger than most of the people I exercise with. It started when I had a lot of pain in my feet and needed low-impact classes with the option of sitting down and learned I didn’t have to be a senior citizen to take their classes at my gym. Then I discovered how tough most of them are. Years later, though my feet are better, these are still my people.

A couple of years ago, while we waited for the younger and allegedly-but-not-really-tougher crowd to clear out of the group exercise room so we could invade it, a woman I would not have guessed to be 80, because she could out-cardio and out-lift me any day of the week, mentioned she had been widowed since she was 39. And she’d been widowed the first time at 19. And she’d grown up in Germany while Hitler was intent on destroying Europe and life was not easy.

Then the changing of the guard happened and I was left with my mouth gaping. I knew I had to hear this story. The next week after class, we went across the parking lot to Culvers for lunch and I scribbled notes on the backs of a pile of brown napkins while Astrid talked. Later she let me read the account of her life that she had written herself.

Astrid faced so many tragic circumstances, but she would be the first to tell you that God was with her even before she knew how to call on him. Many people with her life story would have found plenty of reason to wallow and stagnate. But not Astrid. Truly she is one of the most hopeful people I know.

Her story was the beginning of Colors of Christmas, which includes two stories. Astrid’s is “Christmas in Gold,” and the other is “Christmas in Blue.” Astrid inspired me to write about hope for a time of year when the Christian message resounds with hope yet so many people struggle to grasp hope for themselves. I pray these stories will help many recover a sense of hope afresh.

Blog Stops

Books N Baubles, October 17

Christian Bookaholic, October 17

Bukwurmzzz, October 17

Janices book reviews, October 18

Singing Librarian Books, October 18

Moments Dipped in Ink, October 18

A Simply Enchanted Life, October 19

G.O. & D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 19

Bigreadersite, October 19

Reader’s cozy corner, October 20

Have A Wonderful Day, October 20

Reflections from my bookshelves, October 20

Blogging With Carol, October 21

Just the Write Escape, October 21

Zerina Blossom’s Books, October 21

A Greater YesOctober 22

Mary Hake, October 22

Daysong ReflectionsOctober 22

A Baker’s Perspective, October 23

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 23

Baker Kella, October 23

Smiling Book Reviews, October 23

The Fizzy Pop Collection, October 24

It’s Storytime With Van Daniker, October 24

Remembrancy, October 24

Carpe Diem, October 25

autism mom, October 25

Bibliophile ReviewsOctober 25

A Reader’s Brain, October 26

By The Book, October 26

The Power of Words, October 26

With a Joyful Noise, October 27

Pause for Tales, October 27

Splashes of JoyOctober 27

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 28

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, October 28

Karen Sue Hadley, October 28

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 28

Vicky Sluiter, October 29

To Everything a Season, October 29

Pursuing Stacie, October 29

Just Jo’Anne, October 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 30




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Author Feature with Lizzie Lamb @lizzie_lamb @newromantics4

Love Books Group

Today on Love Books Group Blog, I am delighted to have a special author feature with Lizzie Lamb. Welcome to the blog Lizzie and thank you so much for sharing your beautiful post and photographs with us today.
Kelly x

my work desk (2)Hi, Kelly and many thanks for inviting me onto your fabulous blog. For those who don’t know me, I am an indie author and published my latest Scottish-themed contemporary romance, GIRL IN THE CASTLE in May 2017, So, how did I manage to publish four novels in under five years and work collaboratively on two others? Read on –

author photo my novels.png

Here’s an extract from the end papers of Girl in the Castle which tells you a little more about me. When I was about seven years old I, along with two friends—Freda Wallace and Rosemary Smiley—went to Woolworths each bought a notebook and pen. Rushing home, we sat on my back…

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Friday Friends – Jeanette O’Hagan’s ‘Arkad’s Children’

First book in another intriguing series by Jeanette O’Hagan 🙂

Working Title Blogspot

From Arkad’s Children – which is released today!

Lutan Jakan nodded to the Tamrin guard and pushed open the makeshift door of the stables. A musty smell of old hay, manure and sweaty fear pervaded the dim interior. Patches of light filtered down through the rotted thatch roof and warped walls onto a hardened mud floor. A rag tag bunch of girls and boys ranging from ten to sixteen sat around the on sacks, piles and boxes or sprawled out on sleeping mats.

‘Listen up, youngsters. This is Dinnis, another lost waif. Hasuk lad, show him the facilities and a place to doss down for the night.’

Even in the filtered light, it was obvious all present had the bronzed colouring of the Tamrin. No blue-skinned Nolmec here. The palest was the colour of pig ivory, others like dark wood. His sister was not among them.

Dinnis caught the Lutan’s…

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The Oregon Pursuit: Christian Western Historical (Window to the Heart Saga Book 4) – BOOK REVIEW

About the Book

Jenna BrandtSurrender to destiny: a window to the heart opens, when one door closes.

The Oregon Pursuit (Book 4) After Amelie Leclaire’s parents pass away in a tragic accident, she must return home to West Linn, Oregon to take over the family bakery. Amelie was training to be a midwife but must give up her plans in an attempt to provide a stable life for her younger sister. Pierre Girald, the Vidame of Demoulin, is traveling to West Linn on business. A chance meeting at the bakery and Pierre is instantly intrigued by the alluring Miss Leclaire, she on the other hand, is less impressed until she gets to know him. Through many trials and setbacks, will the couple be able to form a lasting relationship or will his past and her financial problems put an end to their potential?

Window to the Heart Saga: a recountal of the trials, adventures and relationships of the family and friends of Lady Margaret. The first three books detail her journey and book four focuses on the cousin of her best friend. The series has compelling themes of love, loss, faith and hope with a supremely gratifying conclusion in book 3 and 4.

Exceptionally sincere and wondrously engaging, The Oregon Pursuit shows the journey between letting go of a troubled past and finding new hope.

This sweet, clean book can be read on its own as a stand-alone book or as part of the series. 


… and I thought the story had reached its conclusion.

What a gorgeous book, the best in this series so far!

I have enjoyed reading this entire series, but just as I’m thinking ‘Aha! I’ve found my favourite; Ms Brandt does her magic and creates something even more amazing. I thought that we would be hearing more about Margaret’s journey, and in a way, we did when she appeared towards the end carrying a sweet surprise; but the new characters that have been introduced within book 4 are just as interesting and credible. I absolutely adore the determination and resilience of Amelie and love the way Ms Brandt has intertwined new and old characters together. Even the minor characters are so well developed, I can visualise them clearly within the story. Jenna’s depiction of how vastly different attitudes were towards women, and the male expectations of the day, were expertly captured throughout the entire book.

I loved the transformation of certain people’s attitudes and consequently their life journeys. The biblical aspect was handled well, portraying and delivering the message without being too preachy. I could not wait to finish this fabulous story, but I didn’t want to reach the end either. I’m so glad that there will be more chapters in this intriguing saga. Although the plot runs sideways with previous books, there is a distant but distinct connection between the characters, the story flows delightfully. I find myself thirsting to read more.

Yes, you may read ‘The Oregon Pursuit’ as a stand-alone novel, but frankly, I’d read the whole darned lot if I were you.

The author kindly provided me with a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Window to the Heart Saga

The English ProposalBook 1: The English Proposal purchase here

The French Encounter by Jenna BrandtBook 2: The French Encounter purchase here

The American ConquestBook 3: The American Conquest purchase here

Jenna BrandtBook 4: The Oregon Pursuit
Click here to purchase your own copy

Book 5: The Oxford Challenge (coming early 2018)

About the Author

Jenna BrandtJenna Brandt is an ongoing contributor for The Mighty website and had her blog published on YahooParenting as well as being featured on the ABC News, The Grief Toolbox and Good Morning America websites. Jenna started writing stories as a little girl and has been published in several newspapers and magazines as well as edited for multiple papers. She graduated with her BA in English from Bethany College and was Editor-in-Chief of her college paper. Writing is her passion but she also enjoys reading, cooking, social media, being active in her local church including leading a grief support group and spending time with her three young daughters and husband. Discover more about Jenna and her lovely books right here

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