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.

 

A Review of Imogen’s Chance by Paula Vince

My Review

download“A regretful past, a hopeful future.”

Imogen Browne desperately wants things to be okay in her world, but also that of others. An unfortunate accident of fifteen years ago has left in its wake, far too many consequences for friends and loved ones.

All of the characters in this beautiful story are believable and sincere. They pretty much react the way I would expect myself to react under similar circumstances.

‘People who are told they are going to die, always tell the truth.’

Paula tackles more than one important and sensitive issue within this book, and she does it flawlessly. She includes lots of different emotions, conflict, romance, and more than adequate suspense to keep you intrigued until the end. Paula’s characters are skilfully developed and rounded. She uses the technique of ‘showing rather than telling’ very well.

Paula’s talent addresses the topic of Christian healing, both spiritual and physical in such a way that it is easy to comprehend. The themes of repentance, forgiveness, and healing flowed superbly throughout. The story of Imogen and Asher is not over the top, or too preachy. All Biblical references are accurate and appropriately used. Also, our human inability to recognise some of the most important gifts that God has bestowed upon us, and misinterpret them as flaws, was approached with wisdom.

I fell in love with Imogen from the beginning. Every time I thought I had it all sorted in my mind, there was another surprise, another revelation. Imogen’s secret is so enormous that it holds the keys to many sub-plots within the book.

‘With every step they took, she was stomping over the painful, regretful memories, and replacing them with something new and wonderfully special.’

These elements of suspense and surprise are what was required to keep me turning the pages, and bring this book to a delightful finish.

This was the second time that I read ‘Imogen’s Chance’. I enjoyed this read even more than the first. I didn’t think that would be possible.

‘A rock solid base of truth gripped onto by unwavering faith, made the building blocks for an unshakeable reality.’  ~ Paula Vince

Imogen’s Chance is a delightful book, which would be enjoyed by everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike. Another of Paula’s books that I would highly recommend is Best Forgotten  My review will follow soon.

Originally posted at

https://josephineannegriffiths.blogspot.com.au/

October 2016