‘If He Only Knew’ by Michelynn Christy & Brandi Gabriel (Giveaway & Review)

About the Book

Greeting on the railway station. Vintage car on the background.Title: If He Only Knew

Author: Michelynn Christy, Brandi Gabriel

Genre: Historical romance

Release Date: August 19, 2017

It’s 1968, and love is in the air in the small coastal town of Cambridge, California.

Donna Peterson, the preacher’s daughter, has her entire life ahead of her and the future looks promising. But things aren’t as they seem in Cambridge. A tangled web of secrets threatens to destroy the lives of each person involved – Donna, her boyfriend Bobby, and Rick, Bobby’s best friend. Will the truth make them free, or will they lose their friendship forever?

About the Authors

81tyygX8oSL._UX250_Author Michelynn Christy resides in the Midwest and enjoys creating romantic stories that point to Jesus. Her faith in God shines through the pages of her writing. Michelynn’s debut novelette A Christmas to Remember launched in late 2015. While this pen name and genre are somewhat new to her, she has penned over twenty titles under another pseudonym, has won awards for her works and has earned best-selling title status. With that said, all glory goes to God!

orphanBrandi Gabriel is a co-author of twelve Christian fiction books, including this one. Her first solo novel, The Orphan Bride, released in 2016 and she has since added a sequel in the same series. Her goal in writing is to touch readers’ hearts in some special way and to glorify Jesus Christ, her Lord and Saviour.

 

 

 

MY THOUGHTS‘Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,  nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revellers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.’                                          ~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV)

Two sisters – Pamela, the wild one … and Donna, the good girl everyone would want to claim as being their own.

It’s frightening isn’t it, how circumstances can change things around and mix them up, in such a relatively short period of time?

‘As I watch the drops of rain weave their weary paths and die. I know that I am like the rain there, but for the grace of You go I.’   ~ Simon And Garfunkel

Indeed, but for the grace of God go I!

I would like to say I loved this book, but alas, I did not. However, I did enjoy reading it. In fact, I was unable to put it down. Sounds like a major contradiction doesn’t it?

The plotline could run so close to the lives of so many of us. How easy it is to judge each other, not knowing the true circumstances. Sometimes the pressures of family expectations can be all too much to bear. We end up doing things to keep the peace, that are an outright abomination to Christ. But time will always catch up with us when there is nowhere else to hide from the truth.

‘But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.’  ~ Numbers 32:23 (NKJV)

Michelynn and Brandi have crafted a story which is sensitive to human failings, while deeply entrenched in emotions. The plot structure has been thoroughly thought out and the characters are plausible. There is also more than a hint within the book that if we throw away the good that He has given to us, sooner or later we will be punished. However, once we have been forgiven … just watch our lives blossom, as God’s forgiveness is sincere and complete.

‘Bobby wondered if this was what it was like to die of a broken heart. The numberless tears, blurred vision, shaking body. And the internal symptoms: throbbing anguish, ugly helplessness, and a pit of sorrow so deep one could fall in and never be able to climb out.’

09B4D12A-ABA0-439F-A1AF-BE6367DB6C92By the end of this book, I had mixed feelings. The book focused on truth, happiness, sadness, betrayal … and great joy. My curiosity had been satisfied, my heart had been broken, my faith was restored.

PS: I got my happy ending eventually.

If you want to read a book that is honest to the core while keeping you turning the pages, then this is the book for you.

I was provided with an Advanced Readers Copy by the author via CelebrateLit. I have never at any stage been expected to provide a positive review, and have not been financially rewarded. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Guest Post from Michelynn Christy & Brandi Gabriel

Take a step back in time…

If He Only Knew is a novel set in the late 1960s. The book deals with family relationships, loyalty, friendship, love, and loss. The main topic is somewhat controversial in nature, but we won’t mention what it is lest we spoil the story for readers. A similar book was written in a different genre under another name and the story really resonated with readers. We felt compelled to share this story with others who perhaps wouldn’t pick up that particular genre, and that is how this book came about. It may be set in the sixties, but the message is as relevant today as ever. Our prayer is that God will touch readers’ hearts and draw them closer to Him.

Click here to purchase your copy.

Giveaway

e5f4939d-cd96-45de-b748-8fb15bc1a0af

To celebrate their tour, Michelynn and Brandi are giving away the following:

Grand Prize: ONE themed book box, (this will contain small items that relate to the story
1st Place Prize: ONE $25 Amazon gift card,
2nd Place Prize: ONE signed paperback copy of If He Only Knew
3rd Place Prize: ONE signed paperback copy of If He Only Knew!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c601

if-he-only-knew-fb-banner-copy

Blog Stops:

Bibliophile Reviews, February 17

Reading is my Super Power, February 17

A Greater Yes, February 18

proud to be an autism mom, February 18

Texas Book-aholic, February 19

Inklings and notions, February 19

Radiant Light, February 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 20

Christian Author, J.E.Grace Blog, February 21

Janices book reviews, February 21

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 22

A Baker’s Perspective, February 23

Karen Sue Hadley, February 23

Avid Reader Book Reviews, February 24

margaret kazmierczak, February 24 (Interview)

Bigreadersite, February 25

Among the Reads, February 25

Simple Harvest Reads, February 26 (Guest post from Mindy)

Pursuing Stacie, February 27

Red Headed Book Lady, February 27

Maureen’s Musings, February 28

Carpe Diem, February 28

The Fizzy Pop Collection, March 1

Josephines Thoughts, March 2

Have A Wonderful Day, March 2

‘Hope Travels Through’ by Loni Kemper Moore (Review and Giveaway)

About the Book

Hope-Travels-Through-Front-Cover-208x300Name of book: Hope Travels Through

Author: Loni Kemper Moore

Genre: Contemporary Lit

TeJae Smythe gave up on God and her hometown of Evansville, Indiana, ten years ago, but a deep personal loss requires her to return to both. Her life as a stewardess is going to be perfect. She has a plan. If only life would stick to it.

In Hope Travels Through, TeJae finds the biggest challenge comes from the conflict within herself. Will she hold it all together? Or will she fall apart and embrace the beauty in the midst of disaster?

Based on actual events of December 13, 1977, a date most people don’t remember, but one many living in the Ohio River Valley will never forget, the crash of the University of Evansville men’s basketball team plane.

About the Author

pic-hugsband-likes-169x300Loni Kemper Moore is a Denver-Broncos cheering, Diet-Pepsi sipping, Rocky Mountain adventure-seeking kind of girl. She’s passionate about God and wants to share His beautiful love through life’s ugliness with remarkable women around the globe. Her writing came alive seven years ago after she broke her ankle. The crazy time of being laid up forced her to flip through decades of diaries which inspired the story that became Hope Travels Through. When she’s not writing, she’s an entertainer, technical support analyst; mom of a teenager named Adam; traveler with Robert, her dear “Hugsband,” stepmom to University of Evansville alumna Becca and her husband, Anthony; and spender of way too much time on Facebook. With her experiences of learning to trust God through tragedy, being employed by travel agencies and Delta Air Lines, and attending University of Evansville graduate school, she’s the best person to tell this story.

mythoughts

I truly enjoyed reading this book – a snippet of moments during the year of an horrific plane crash. The plane in question was carrying the University of Evansville’s men’s basketball team. I’d only been living in Australia for six years at the time of this disaster, immigrating from New Zealand. I was only twenty years old, but now, another forty years on, I still remember this day in history vividly. imagesThe lives and dreams of so many beautiful people were snuffed out in an instant.

This book is Loni Kemper Moore’s debut novel. I love to read books written by new authors because I too am a writer, with much to learn. Loni has produced a wonderful story, based on fact, with interesting characters, and an easy to follow storyline. 636395337430095085-BURGER-CHEF-1-24-74-19B9DBFI really loved the description of the seventies era, as I did a lot of my own growing up in the 1970’s. Oh and of course, I too was drinking TAB 

 

 

 

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Evansville University Memorial with Weeping Basketball in the background.

 

I felt deep sorrow for TeJae as she faced her internal battle with, Who to trust with her life.

“Flowers in window boxes showed Mum’s meticulous care. I wished she cared as much about me.”

 

Themes of love, hope, sadness, betrayal, jealousy, and joy moved within the pages, but above all, there was an important reminder to be understanding and forgiving of others especially of family, as we never know when we will be seeing someone for the final time upon this earth. There is probably nothing more devastating than living with regrets.

“Good thoughts are no better than good dreams unless they are executed.”        ~ Mikel

“What else could I have done?” I whispered. “What else?” ~ TeJae

I loved the conclusion to this story – no matter what incidents occur in life, through Love there will be joy in the end. I look forward to reading whatever Loni writes next.

“I’m well aware the odds of my little novel being successful, without the industry connections Margaret had, are low, but it’s been a fun journey even if no one buys a copy!”  ~ Loni Kemper Moore

‘Dear Loni, I am certain many people will want to buy your wonderful book!’

I received a free copy of this book from the author via CelebrateLit. I am under no obligation to provide a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

♥ Click here to purchase your copy ♥

 

Guest Post from Loni Moore

What Made Me Write Hope Travels Through?

The weathered orthopedic surgeon shook his head and stared at the x-rays. Without making eye-contact, he said, “I usually work on Olympians and professional athletes. This doesn’t look good. She’s going to have arthritis and limp for the rest of her life.”

I hadn’t had anything stronger than Tylenol since the entire weight of my 128 (at the time) pounds crunched my left ankle, 24 hours earlier.

Robert, aka Dear Hugsband, had told me, so very graciously, when we arrived at Skate City, “Once you’re over 50, you shouldn’t roller skate.” But our son, Adam was 10 and I wondered how many more years he’d want me to hang out with him, so I’d strapped on the skates and joined the crowd of skaters. I avoided landing on the body of the five-year-old who cut me off. Didn’t that count for something?

However, none of that mattered at that moment. I needed drugs, and Robert agreed to whatever that surgeon said to get my prescriptions.

One afternoon, my stomach growled on a gurney as I waited in the surgery center with IVs in my hands until a perky nurse announced, “The doctor will need to reschedule because something came up.”

REALLY? After waiting 10 days, he no-shows?

I’ve never loved Robert’s New York attitude more than the next day when by 7 pm that evening I was at Red Robin, post-surgery, eating a celebratory French Onion soup. Thanks to a nerve blocker the new, cute surgeon had provided after rebreaking bones and inserting pins.

Adam was able to complete his homeschool work with little interference from my drug-infested brain and I occupied my time by flipping through decades of accumulated diaries. The story of a woman surviving tough times percolated in my brain and I remembered my mother saying, “Everyone has a Great American Novel in her. You just need to take time to write it.”

As my leg healed leaving no arthritis nor limp, I returned to the million things life demands, including a visit to our Becca at the University of Evansville, where I’d done my graduate work. As she showed us the Weeping Basketball, my protagonist informed me the story began in 1976, not 2011. The story climaxed when the university’s men’s basketball team plane crashed, but I was too busy to spend much time on it.

Three days before Christmas that year, my younger sister passed away from Lyme complications, I could barely breathe. I’ve seen it a dozen times someone’s busy life prevents her from taking care of herself until something stops them in their tracks and they cannot move on. That happened to me.

At the time, Dear Hugsband programmed Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machine (you’re welcome), so Adam and I joined him in Atlanta for several months. During that time without the cooking-cleaning-requirements and Adam insisting he preferred the independence of his homeschool curriculum with minimal input from me, I processed my grief by putting the story that became Hope Travels Through on my computer.

“In a weak moment, I have written a book.” Margaret Mitchell – Gone With The Wind

Dear Hugsband loved his project with Coca-Cola and enjoyed everything about working in Atlanta except the humidity, the traffic, and the commute. Typically, he worked in Georgia every other week and was home every weekend.

But occasionally, he’d be forced to stay in Atlanta over the weekend and tried to find something to entertain himself. One weekend, after seeing every movie running, he decided to go to the Margaret Mitchell House Museum where one of my favorite books, Gone With The Wind, was written.

He bought me a mug with the above quote on it which he said was to encourage me in my writing, along with several commonalities between myself and the famous author.

  1. She was short—I am 5 feet tall if I stretch;
  2. Her husband was over 6 feet tall—mine is 6’3 1/2”;
  3. She started writing her novel, after an ankle injury– I started writing after I a similar injury;
  4. She used a typewriter—I use a computer;
  5. Her mother gave her the quotes she used about how to survive in an upside-down world – my mom had a Bible verse for every occasion. I think her favorite was Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind, Loni to whomever…”;
  6. It took Margaret ten years to complete her novel – I’m not far behind, at nearly eight years.

Obviously, I don’t have one commonality with Margaret, in that she died at the age of 48 in a traffic accident, but his conclusions are precious.

 

Giveaway

e5f4939d-cd96-45de-b748-8fb15bc1a0afTo celebrate her tour, Loni is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon Card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5be

Hope-Travels-Through-FB-banner-copy

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 16

Karen Sue Hadley, December 16

Jami’s Words, December 17

Quiet Quilter, December 18

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 18

Inspiration clothesline, December 19

Texas Book-aholic, December 19

Radiant Light, December 20

Carpe Diem, December 21

Avid Reader Book Reviews, December 21

A Reader’s Brain, December 22

A Greater Yes, December 23

Blogging With Carol, December 23

Books, Books, and More Books, December 24

SusanLovesBooks, December 25

Remembrancy, December 26

Mary Hake, December 26

Janices book review, December 27

The Power of Words, December 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 29

Just Jo’Anne, December 29

 

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan (Blog Tour, REVIEW, and Giveaway

Deadly proof FB banner copy

Click here to purchase your copy

 

About the Book

Deadly-Proof-194x300Book title: Deadly Proof

Author: Rachel Dylan

Release date: September 5, 2017

Genre: Legal Romantic Suspense

Tapped as lead counsel in a corporate cover-up lawsuit against Mason Pharmaceutical, Kate Sullivan knows this case could make her career. What really drives her, though, is getting justice for the victims whose lives were ruined by the company’s dangerous new drug. But when a whistleblower turns up dead, it paints a target on the back of everyone involved.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James steps in to handle security for Kate. He’s still haunted by mistakes in his past and is determined never to let something like that happen again. But it soon appears someone is willing to do anything–even commit murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

As danger closes in, Landon can’t help but admire Kate’s courage and resolve–but will her determination not to back down become too great of a risk?

MY THOUGHTS

 

What a fabulous book! Even though I’ve been time poor lately, once I began to read, it was almost impossible to put down. I couldn’t sleep last night, so around 2.30am I hopped up, put the kettle on to boil, then climbed into my comfy armchair, and finished off the second half of the book while sipping on my tea. However, I found it annoyingly necessary to keep getting up to make another cuppa.

“Deadly Proof is a legal thriller that will keep you turning pages late into the night because you will have to know what happens next!” – Lynette Eason, award-winning, bestselling author of the Elite Guardian series

DEADLY PROOF, the first book in the Atlanta Justice series is the first book of Rachel Dylan’s that I have read, and I must say I am more than adequately impressed. If all of Rachel’s books are written as brilliantly as this one, then I shall have to hunt them all down.

I have been reading different genres for a while now, but I haven’t read a good mystery/suspense/thriller for absolute ages. I’ve mostly been reading historical romance, contemporary romance, and a fair bit of creative non-fiction. I didn’t even realize that there were any mystery/suspense novels out there, written by Christian authors. I’m afraid I now have a serious addiction.

“It’s all part of me, and those experiences shaped who I am today.”

Ms Dylan’s personal experience within the legal environment is probably the best research a writer could get. Rachel is an excellent communicator of story … a superior storyteller.  She draws on her own expertise to shape the scenes throughout, explaining most of the legal jargon for greenies like me. Rachel also uses her own personal experience with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression to shed some light upon the difficulties which sufferers may battle within their everyday lives, and this really struck a chord with me.

“My faith is what has gotten me through difficult times in my own life.”

“Faith can only get you so far. It can get pretty dark when God turns His back on you.”

Her heart broke. “You don’t really believe that God abandoned you, do you?”

Both main and sub-characters are well developed and credible. I just adore Kate. She is such a softie and feels genuine empathy for the pain and suffering of others. I fell in love with Landon James … what a dreamy hunk, but what tinkles my bells the most about this gorgeous man is his open show of vulnerability in front of Kate. Once he showed his gentle, empathetic side, I melted. His humility, loyalty, and trustworthiness are endearing.

“Just when Landon thought he couldn’t be any more surprised by Kate, she’d taken in a three-legged cat. Talk about having a big heart. He wasn’t used to dealing with people like her. After all the heinous things he’d seen, she was a breath of fresh air.”

The ebb and flow of suspense throughout the book is clever. For me it was quite a rollercoaster ride … and then when I was certain I had everything figured out, Ms Dylan expertly threw in a red herring or two. I also appreciated the splattering of subtle humor throughout the story … and just enough romance to warm my toes. I cannot wait to be able to read book two in this series.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, via CelebrateLit. I did not receive any monetary compensation, and all thoughts are my own.

Giveaway

To celebrate the tour, Bethany House is giving away four Suspense Novels and a $25 Starbucks Gift Card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04912/

 

About the Author

Dylan_Rachel1-200x300Rachel Dylan was a litigator in one of the nation’s most elite law firms for over eight years and now works as an attorney at one of the Big Three automobile manufacturers. She is the author of four Love Inspired Suspense novels and lives in Michigan with her husband. She is active on social media, and you can visit her website at www.racheldylan.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Q & A with Rachel Dylan

The Atlanta Justice series is centered around strong, female lawyers who take on high-stakes cases. What made you want to write their stories?  I’d have to say it’s personal! Having been an attorney for eleven years now, I love being able to pour parts of myself into the books. My everyday life as a lawyer isn’t that exciting and is definitely not as dangerous! But I’m able to draw on what I’ve lived through to bring life and authenticity to these characters.

What type of research did you do for Deadly Proof?  One of the great things about writing books related to my career is that I know lawyers who practice all different types of law. Deadly Proof focuses on Kate Sullivan, who is a plaintiff’s attorney taking on a big pharmaceutical company. I don’t do this specific type of plaintiff’s work, but I know lawyers who do, and I was able to talk with them. Also, I was able to relate to my characters on the defense side because I’ve done that work for years. It was really fun to write the perspectives of characters on both sides of the case.

Is there a reason you chose Atlanta for this series?  Yes! I’m from Georgia and lived in Atlanta, practicing law at a large law firm, for eight years. I wanted to pick a setting I was intimately familiar with to give readers an authentic Atlanta experience—sweet tea and all.

Where do you think Kate’s passion for her work comes from?  Kate truly believes that her life’s work is to help those who have been wronged. I believe a lot of her passion stems from her strong faith that has developed over the years. She’s not a lawyer to make big bucks but to change people’s lives for the better.

What is the next book in the Atlanta Justice series about?  Book two is about Kate’s friend Sophie Dawson, who we meet in Deadly Proof. Sophie is an Atlanta prosecutor. This story is exciting because it involves a completely different type of legal case than Deadly Proof. But I promise things get just as dangerous!

Blog Stops

September 26: A Baker’s Perspective

September 26: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

September 26: Faithfully Bookish

September 27: Reading Is My SuperPower

September 27: Fizzy Pop Collection

September 27: Blogging With Carol

September 28: Fiction Aficionado

September 28: Moments Dipped in Ink

September 28: Genesis 5020

September 29: Just Commonly

September 29: Bukwurmzzz

September 29: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

September 30: 100 Pages per Hour

September 30: Smiling Book Reviews

October 1: A Reader’s Brain

October 1: Bigreadersite

October 1: Carpe Diem

October 1: Christian Bookaholic

October 2: Karen Sue Hadley

October 2: History, Mystery & Faith

October 2: Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot

October 3: A Simply Enchanted Life

October 3: Avid Reader Book Reviews

October 3: Just the Write Escape

October 4: Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting

October 4: Mary Hake

October 4: Through the Open Window

October 5: The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate

October 5: Inklings and notions

October 5: Ashley’s Bookshelf

October 6: Pause for Tales

October 6: Have A Wonderful Day

October 6: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

October 7: Just Jo’Anne

October 7: Redeemed Hope Dweller

October 7: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

October 8: Neverending Stories

October 8: Rockin’ My Mom Jeans

October 8: Cafinated Reads

October 9: Blossoms and Blessings

October 9: His Grace is Sufficient

October 9: Raining Butterfly Kisses

Kerfuffle by Kristin N. Spencer (Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway)

 

Kerfuffle Front Cover v3About the Book:

Book title: Kerfuffle

Author: Kristin N. Spencer

Release date: June 1, 2017

Genre: Young Adult

 

Olive’s best friend needs her now more than ever, but can she piece together everything in time to help him?

When an anonymous email circulates through Normandie High, everything Olive knows about her family, church, and friends will change. In the midst of controversy, Olive finds she has been entrusted to protect her best friend and his secrets, though revealing them would make her life much easier. Meanwhile, she struggles to figure out what the Bible teaches about homosexuality while the members of Revive church lobby accusations back and forth, threatening to cause a church split.

In a twist that even Olive couldn’t anticipate, family relationships waiver as Olive tries to decode her mother’s mysterious behavior. When the past stirs up new accusations against Olive’s family, she learns that some secrets are more painful to reveal than others.

Though a helpful guy in Spanish class has her attention, Olive realizes that boy problems are the least of her worries. Can she balance drama, schoolwork, and still be the supportive friend and daughter God wants her to be?

Kristin Author Photo 2017About the Author:

Kristin N. Spencer is an American expat living in a 68 square meter flat with her husband and three kids near the Aegean Sea. When she isn’t wifing, mothering, counseling, discipling, or writing, she enjoys sewing cosplay costumes for her family, baking, and hanging out with other geeks. She writes whatever she wants, including Non-Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy.

MY THOUGHTSKerfuffle! Wow, what a book!

You can tell from the title that there will be conflict and difficulties, but not to the extent that surfaces within this story. It’s not a light read, but Kirstin has addressed many issues that touch the lives of young people and families in general.

The story is told mostly through Olive’s eyes, but her interaction with the other characters plumps the story out for an interesting and informative read.

The main issue is regarding same sex attraction (SSA), but also and more importantly the issue of the church’s reactions.

“We all go through things, Adam. Having a hard season doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you’re human.”

The question remaining for many … “Is temptation just as much a sin as the sin itself?”

I would recommend this book to both young adults and mature adults, even younger people with supervision.

There are a lot of misinterpretations as to the true meaning of God’s love and forgiveness, and I feel that Kirstin has covered this with gentleness, understanding, and wisdom.

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”                   ~ James 1:12

I have given this book 4 Stars.

You may purchase a copy of this amazing book right here

I was provided with an ARC from the author via CelebrateLit. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own, and I was not under any obligation to give a positive review.

Giveaway:

kerfuffle giveawayTo celebrate her tour, Kristin is giving away a grand prize of all three of her books: Newfangled, Flummoxed, and Kerfuffle and a T-shirt of your choice from the WritersLife Artist Shop ( https://writerslife.threadless.com)!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bb66

Guest Post from Kristin N. Spencer:

Retrospective thoughts are so powerful, aren’t they? Now that I’m an adult I often look back on my adolescence and think, “Why didn’t anyone tell me?” As a YA author, I read a lot of books in my own genre, and I’ve noticed a pattern. Though many of the secular YA authors are brave enough to talk about the tough stuff, not many Christian authors go after the real world difficulties that face our young people. The passage of time constantly rips through generations creating new problems and situations. The world that my children are growing up in is very different from what I experienced, and the challenges that they face as Christians are also different. The Desires & Decisions series was born out of the need for me to able to address these controversial topics with my own children. Olive, a teenage girl growing up in Southern California, serves as the lens of perspective as we see almost everything from her point of view. Her world provides a safe, fictional place for Christians to flesh out these thoughts and think through what the Bible teaches about topics like racism, bullying, loving one’s neighbor, what real love is and addiction.

Kerfuffle specifically explores the complex emotions associated with the Church and the temptation of same sex attraction. We get to experience the conflict Olive feels and also witness the varied reactions from different generations through Olive’s parents and other members of Revive Church. This issue isn’t going away, and as a Church, we must be able to talk about it without alienating ourselves from those that struggle with this temptation. There is hope for every person through the blood of Jesus Christ, whether you struggle to love those who experience same sex attraction or you struggle with that temptation yourself. I hope Kerfuffle encourages you as you seek to walk closer to Christ.

Blog Stops

August 15: Bukwurmzzz

August 16: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

August 17: Ashley’s Bookshelf

August 18: Blogging With Carol

August 19: Just the Write Escape

August 20: Carpe Diem

August 21: A Reader’s Brain

August 22: Remembrancy

August 23: Margaret Kazmierczak

August 24: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

August 25: Baker Kella

August 26: Avid Reader Book Reviews

August 27: The Power of Words (Spotlight)

August 28: Just Jo’Anne

The American Conquest ~ Window to the Heart Saga by Jenna Brandt (A Book Review)

THE AMERICAN CONQUESTAbout the Book

After enduring immense hardships, will Lady Margaret finally be free from her past, allowing her to embrace her soul mate? Extremely tender and magnificently exhilarating, The American Conquest examines the journey between healing a broken heart and making room for rebirth.

The American Conquest (Book 3) Running from a past scandal, Lady Margaret must leave Europe forever and escape across the ocean to America. The plan: to brave the Oregon Trail to reach the Colorado territory where her family’s future awaits. While facing adversities in the new frontier, Margaret must trust God to keep their family safe. Attacked by Indians, the group is saved by Cortland Westcott, a rancher and devoted Christian. Margaret and Cort have an instant connection through their faith, but devastating secrets threaten to cripple the budding relationship. Both Margaret and Cort must confront the past that haunts them to finally be able to make a new life together. Will Margaret finally come to terms with what happened to her, or will she let her past destroy her future?

Window to the Heart Saga: a recount of the epic journey of Lady Margaret, a young English noblewoman, who through many trials, obstacles, and tragedies, discovers her own inner strength, the sustaining force of faith in God, and the power of family and friends. In this three-part series, experience new places and cultures as the heroine travels from England to France and completes her adventures in America. The series has compelling themes of love, loss, faith and hope with an exceptionally gratifying conclusion.

MY THOUGHTSBeing the third book in The Window to the Heart Series, I was so contented to finally get my happy ending. But is it the end? Maybe there is more of Margaret’s story to be told. If I had to choose a favourite book so far, in this series, I would be hard pressed. Beginning Margaret’s journey in England, continuing with adventures, trials, and tribulations in France, to finally settle in the harsh Americas was truly intriguing. Nothing could have prepared Margaret or the reader for the macabre atrocities that awaited her gentle spirit in America. After all the pain, humiliation, and hardships Margaret had already suffered in her short life, one would think things just couldn’t get any worse. It is little wonder that her faith was pushed to breaking point. After all, as is Margaret, we are mere humans, whose powers of reasoning are based upon human emotions and reactions. Why would God put us through all these horrific trials … we may ask. But quite simply, I would reply “Why not?”

 It is often said that God would never give us more than we can handle. However, this is not true. He does indeed give us much more than we can handle alone. Why would He do this if He truly loves us?

Yes, He loves us unconditionally, just as He loved Margaret. But He needs us to realise that fact, and in doing so, learn to lean on Him completely. If we have complete faith, we know that He is in control of everything, past, present, and future. However, it is not until we are pushed to the brink, that we are prepared to relinquish our perceived control over our lives.

Right throughout this series, so far, Ms. Brandt has portrayed this human failing exceedingly well, but it is most evident in this third book. It is so difficult to remain in faith when everything is going so terribly wrong.

All three of Jenna’s books in this series contain a good balance of love and betrayal, action and adventure, hope and despair, but the need for blind faith, love and forgiveness was truly cemented in this third book.

We have a satisfying conclusion, but what lies ahead for Margaret? Will Jenna Brandt give us some more? I hope so.

I do hope you enjoy reading the stories Jenna writes as much as I enjoy reading and reviewing them.

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

You may purchase this lovely book here

Jenna BrandtAbout the Author:

Jenna 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

 

 

 

 

Love Among the Lilacs (Book Review, Blog Tour and Giveaway)

Love-Among-the-Lilacs-216x300About the Book

Book title: Love Among the Lilacs

Author: Jenna Victoria

Release date: April 4, 2017

Genre: Sweet Romance

Bookkeeper Mollie Wright knows about living on the streets, and her purchase of sweet Lilac Cottage is a dream come true. She is determined to stay and fight when a legal error puts her ownership at risk. Attorney Sean Grady never wanted his great-aunts to sell their cottage in Westchester County, New York, so when a paperwork snafu puts the deal on hold, he moves swiftly to evict the pretty, feisty squatter. Mollie finds unexpected allies in Grady Cove neighbors and a member of Sean’s own family but knows the clock is ticking. Will a theft and her past secrets force a showdown to heartache, or will Mollie and Sean discover home is truly where your heart is?

Purchase ‘Love Among the Lilacs’

 

 profile-photo-jpg-50My Thoughts:

“Mollie’s merry-go-round had chipped wooden horses that inflicted splinters and a calliope organ that played only unhappy tunes.”

 I love happily-ever-afters. I really do!

Both Molly and Sean have good reason to be mistrusting of other people and relationships. To expect that those they get close to will eventually betray them. Jenna Victoria writes beautifully, adding just the right amount of conflict and suspense, with a healthy dose of humor. I love the lilac theme, which wafts its way throughout the entire book. In fact, I found myself ‘googling’ and researching the various types of lilacs. Wasn’t I pleasantly surprised – so gorgeous. I am hoping they will grow where I live.

All of the characters are well developed and rounded, even Alma who isn’t physically around for long. I love Emily Rogers and Maria but absolutely adore Aunt Genevieve. She is full of wisdom but at the same time such a hoot. As I read Jenna’s lovely story I was frequently in stitches of laughter. It is sad that we weren’t able to know Aunt Alma better, however, Ms. Victoria gives us many hints and clues, from which we can only deduce, she was a beautiful soul. Quite often the true heart of a person isn’t fully revealed until after they have passed away. Jenna Victoria portrays this well. The analogies throughout were perfectly done.

“Life did not often go in Mollie’s favor, yet the entire real estate closing process had unfolded as seamlessly as a bolt of well-made silk”.

“Never look back”.  “For the first time, her mantra represented a flower unfolding in the sunlight, rather than one cut off at the root.”

I found myself just about unable to put this sweet book down, reading it over two sessions. I’d have read it in one go if chores and other commitments hadn’t taken priority. Yes, the ending was perfectly beautiful (not apologizing for ‘unnecessary’ use of adverbs). Mollie and Sean’s relationship came to a satisfying conclusion after so many bumps in the road. All of the loose ends, for all characters, were neatly and fragrantly tied together by the end of the book.

My only misgiving about this book is that it had to end. A sequel would be nice *hint hint*.  Would I read ‘Love Among the Lilacs’ again sometime? That’s a resounding ‘yes!’.

This is the first book penned by Jenna Victoria that I have read, but I guarantee I will be looking out for more. What a gem!

For its portrayal of human weaknesses, the assumptions we often make about others, and the importance of anticipation and forgiveness, all married together by fragrant love, I have given this book 5 stars.

I received this book as an ARC from the author via CelebrateLit at no cost. I was under no obligation to give a positive review, just an honest one. All thoughts are entirely my own.

Please feel free to jump on board and read the other blog stops along the way. It is always a wonderful opportunity to discover the sites of other writers and bloggers, and of course, offer invaluable support to the author.

Past Blog Stops

May 25: Pause for Tales

May 25: Avid Reader Book Review

May 26: Carpe Diem

May 27: Ashley’s Bookshelf

May 28: Live.Love.Read.

May 29: Lane Hill House

May 29: Christian Bookaholic

May 30: Moments Dipped in Ink

May 30: Karen Sue Hadley

You are here May 31: Josephine-AnneWrites

Blog Stops Still to Come

June 1: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 2: Have A Wonderful Day

June 3: Inklings and Notions

June 4: A Baker’s Perspective

June 5: Caffeinated Reads

June 6: His Grace is Sufficient

June 7: my site/autism mom

beth-head-shot-smaller-300x300About the Author

Ever since her grandfather co-created Twinkies, Snowballs & Hostess cupcakes for Intercontinental Baking Company, circa 1955, Jenna has yet to taste a cake she hasn’t liked.
Jenna writes books for readers who enjoy sweet & compelling romances, and also for those who look for her “fiction that feeds your faith” titles – happily-ever-after romance & romantic suspense stories with a Christian worldview. Her stories emulate those she enjoys reading…with a heroine who is in grave danger & a hero who is smart enough to get out of her way as she kicks butt and takes down names… and those that feature satisfying fairy-tale-endings.
Her clean romances won’t put you into a diabetic coma, and her faith-based romances aren’t preachy or unrealistic. It is her glad purpose to glorify God and His sacrificial love through His Son, Jesus Christ through books that illustrate hope & peace in unbearable situations. Her first triple negative breast cancer diagnosis in 2012 has led to surgeries, radiation, reoccurrences and incurable metastasis. Still, Jenna continues to praise God and trust His oversight in her life; and continues to write more books.

ebdbd602-34f2-4074-bfbf-e106d8206271-300x157Don’t forget to enter the giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jenna is giving away a grand prize of an authentic, new in unopened gift box Coach zipper accordion leather wallet – from their Disney X Collection (Value $140.00)!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! enter Jenna’s Giveaway here

Guest Post from Jenna Victoria

I am thrilled you will be introducing my newest novel, Love Among the Lilacs, to your readers and visitors through CelebrateLit. I am excited to share this sweet love story with quirky characters who hijacked the plot mid-stream, and took me places I did not anticipate!
So – Why Love Among the Lilacs? I chose the title and a subplot regarding lilacs for one reason – I absolutely adore the scent! The fact that a lilac’s bloom is so fleeting, makes their fragrance that much more memorable and anticipated.

jenna pic 1Mollie Wright anticipates something too – finally buying her own home, Lilac Cottage, after a childhood of homelessness. Genevieve Carter, one of the two elderly sellers, leaves her a note of welcome next to a small bouquet of lilacs in Mollie’s new bedroom, after the closing. This helps readers experience Genevieve’s spirit of generosity. Isn’t the bedroom phone antique? The sisters lived in the cottage for more than 50 years and changed little of its amenities.
How did I choose to write about Mollie? What if a character dreamed and saved and finally bought a house after a childhood of homelessness? Then, due to a real estate closing error and interference by the seller’s great-nephew, her sweet cottage ownership is in real peril. Dare she hope for a positive outcome?

 

Jenna pic 2Attorney Sean Grady didn’t want his maternal great-aunts, who lovingly raised him and his younger brother Mark, to sell Lilac Cottage. After a rookie mistake led to a tragedy when he was an associate at his family law firm, Sean decided to concentrate on elder law. He’s seen plenty of abuse of the elderly in his ten-year career, and something about Mollie Write doesn’t sit well with him.

Mollie finds support from her neighbors – including long retired Emily Rogers (Genevieve’s BFF) who often visits Lilac Cottage’s back garden through this connecting gate. It’s so beautiful! She reveals her profession which is perfectly suited to Mollie’s needs. We see selfless giving and stalwart friendship in Emily’s character.

 

Jenna pic 3Mollie has secrets to hide, and a far away half-brother and Mother who aren’t exactly upstanding members of society.

When her half-brother unexpectedly surfaces, bringing a mountain of trouble with him, the budding love between Sean and Mollie takes a hard tumble.

 

The theft of an antique necklace, Sean’s renewed lack of trust and Mollie’s shame at her past – not to mention the final outcome of legal decisions – pull them further apart.

 

Jenna pic 4The intervention of others gives Mollie and Sean a chance at reconciliation – but is it too late? Can they finally unpack and empty baggage from their past?

 

I hope you enjoy Love Among the Lilacs as much as I did writing it!

 

Happy Reading!

 

p.s. my selected giveaway, an authentic Coach Disney X Mickey Mouse accordion zip wallet in glove-tanned leather was chosen to represent the transformation of Mollie’s negative childhood experiences into memories of acceptance and joy among the trials.