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

 

 

 

 

None So Blind by Chautona Havig (Blog Tour, Book Review and Giveaway)

nonesoblindcover-200x300A Wee Bit About the Book

Book Title: None So Blind

Author: Chautona Havig

Release date: September 29, 2013

Genre: Contemporary

Dani and Ella Weeks–two women who share one thing in common. The same life, the same family, and the same body.

When Dani wakes with no knowledge of who or where she is–no memories of her life at all–David and Dani Weeks discover that “til death do us part” takes on an entirely unexpected meaning. Practically speaking, Dani died. But she didn’t.

What’s a gal to do?

In a desperate attempt to separate the old life from the new, Dani insists on a new name, a twist of her old one–Ella.

Ella’s doctors can’t explain what happened. Her children can’t understand why she doesn’t know them. David, her husband, finds himself torn between admiration for the “new” version of his wife and missing the woman he’s known for over fifteen years.

Will Ella ever regain her memory? Why does their pastor suspect it’s one great hoax?

mythoughts

Can you imagine waking up one morning not knowing where you are, not recognizing anyone around you (pretty scary, don’t you think?), having no memories whatsoever, and not even recognizing yourself?  You can’t can you?  Well, that’s okay because neither can I.  When I first began reading Chautona’s book, I was thinking about dementia in its various forms. Alzheimer’s came to mind because my Nanna was afflicted with this terrible condition from her forties until she eventually passed away at the age of eighty-six. It is a cruel, uncaring disease which takes away everything from an individual, and has life-long repercussions upon their family and close friends.

As I read on I realized that poor Dani was most likely too young to have such severe symptoms for her condition to be dementia. I believe that dementia creeps up on a person gradually over a period of years like a sly old snake. In Dani’s case, she was okay one day, and not okay after having what most people would consider a good night’s rest.

Okay Chautona, you got my attention. I had to keep reading. What an incredible predicament. What on earth could cause total amnesia? Did Dani have a brain bleed while sleeping? Whatever could have gone so wrong? Does this really happen? Could it happen to me?

Chautona’s style is most personable, leaving one feeling like they are in the room with each of the main characters, thinking what they are thinking. Chautona slipped into calling Dani, Ella smoothly (just as Ella would have wanted), making it easy for the reader to adjust.

“As if she’d become her own saboteur, Ella’s mind returned to David’s words again “She could walk out of our lives tomorrow and never miss us”.

Chautona’s story brings to light the complexity of people’s expectations of us when they believe they know who we are and how we should behave … our likes, dislikes, funny or not so funny quirks. It is to a large extent reasonable to expect that people will find it challenging to accept such extreme changes. It unnerves them and displaces their sense of security. I found myself feeling terribly sorry for Ella but equally sorry for her husband and children.

There was an interesting twist in the plot which involved a mysteriously large sum of money. I was hoping this would be resolved at some stage throughout the book, but I’ve been left hanging. Thank goodness there is a sequel.Will-Not-See-sm-200x300 Perhaps we will get some answers to the many questions that arise when tackling such a sensitive topic.

You will be able to purchase Ms. Havig’s second book in this series “Will Not See” very soon. I feel that Chautona handled this topic with compassion and sensitivity, while still providing us with a jolly good read.

Here’s a thought: If we are to assume that Dani and Ella are two different people or personalities, but technically David is married to both. Would it be somewhat disloyal of David to begin to have strong feelings for Ella and even have a preference for Ella’s personality, when he has been married to Dani for many years?

I was kindly provided with an ARC by the author without any obligation to give a glowing review.  All thoughts are my own. Other information was provided by Celebrate Lit. I have awarded this book with 4 Stars.

media-headshot-sm-240x300About the Author:

Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert with her husband and five of her nine children. Through her novels, she hopes to encourage Christians in their walk with Jesus.

bf3041c3-aba6-432d-bade-2a2bc46cd775-300x300Giveaway:

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes:

1 $25 Amazon Gift Card
1 Paperback Copy of None So Blind
1 Paperback Copy of Will Not See
1 Lampwork Necklace
1 Cool denim mini-backpack (to hold your stuff!)
1 Custom Travel Mug (with quote from book)
1 FREE eBook code to share with a friend!

Check out this cool video from Chautona: https://youtu.be/5K_cTjlg4S8

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/ba35

Guest post from Chautona Havig:

“Who are you, again?”

“I’m Joe’s, daughter. Vyonie.” My sister pointed to me. “This is Chautona.”

For some odd reason, the niece she spent the least amount of time with, Aunt Doris remembered—somewhat. But she didn’t remember Vyonie from what I could tell. She smiled at me, that amazing, sweet smile I’d never forget. She asked how I was. I always thought that Mrs. Sanderson—mother of John, Alicia, and Carl on the TV show, Little House on the Prairie—looked and sounded like Aunt Doris. Of course, that memory of me didn’t last. A minute or two later, she gave me a big smile and asked if she knew me.

It gave me a picture of what it must have been like for my character, Ella Weeks—to wake up every day with these children there—children who knew her, but she didn’t remember. The hurt she caused every time she had to struggle to admit she didn’t know something she probably should—again. So, I thought I’d ask her to tell us about it.

Ella: People often assume that the worst part of losing my memory is the memories that disappeared, too. But it’s not. A much as I’d love to remember my wedding day, my daughter’s first steps, my son’s first words, or that moment I realized I was pregnant with my third, those are blessings that I don’t think about often. No, what hurts most is seeing the pain in my children’s eyes when they need me to remember something and I can’t. For me, not remembering their first day of kindergarten is an inconvenience. For them, it’s a further reminder that if they didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t know them. That without them pushing themselves into my life, I wouldn’t care about them any more than any other human in my path. I do now, of course, but not at first. I hate that they heard David say once, “…she doesn’t know me. She doesn’t trust me. She doesn’t know our children. She tries, but she could walk out of our lives tomorrow and never miss us.”

Living so close to it every day, I missed those little bits of pain that I inflicted without meaning to, but when I went with our Bible study to a nursing home and visited with the residents, then I saw it. Women with tears running down their cheeks as loved ones patted their hands and tried to comfort. I heard one man offer to find a woman’s father. She squeezed him close and whispered, “It’s okay, Daddy. I love you. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The man promised to try to find her father in the meantime.

Those people there—most of them didn’t realize they didn’t remember someone important. They didn’t struggle to remember this or that. Their dementia had gotten bad enough that their lives had gone from constant frustration to, by comparison, blissful oblivion.

And their families withered with each forgotten face, name, moment.

That’s what my “episode” did for my family. It caused them pain that just resurfaced every time something new happened. Pain that I didn’t know I inflicted. And since that visit, I have a greater compassion and awareness of just how amazing and powerful memories are.

I also have a greater appreciation for those beautiful words in Isaiah when the Lord promised… “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”

You see, there’s a lifetime of the sins that Jesus died for buried somewhere in my brain—or, at least at one time there was. I know that those sins were in there because the ones I committed yesterday are there today. The ones I’ve already confessed and been forgiven for—I beat myself up for the next morning. A week later. A month. But the Lord has wiped them clean. I just keep smearing them back out there again as if to say, “But You don’t get how BAD I was.” Yeah. The arrogance, right? Because an almighty, holy God can’t possibly understand how sinful a sinner that He had to DIE to save from those sins… is. The arrogance? That’s an understatement.

But all those years before that horrible morning… gone. Maybe I stole something. I don’t know. It was forgiven, wiped clean, and then wiped from my memory. I can’t rehash it with the Lord over and over. I can’t drag it back up like a wife who won’t let her husband forget the one time he forgot her birthday. I can’t use it as a whip to beat myself up with. And I think there’s something beautiful in that.

Do I wish I could stop hurting my family with my blank past? Of course. But am I also grateful for a living picture of the fresh start the Lord gives His people at salvation? Definitely. I hope I never take it for granted again.

None-so-blind-FB-Banner-copy

You can purchase your copy of “None So Blind’ here

Previous Blog Stops for Your Enjoyment

June 15: Blogging With Carol

June 15: Genesis 5020

June 15: Lane Hill House

June 16: Red Headed Book Lady

June 16: The Scribbler

June 16: Moments Dipped in Ink

June 17: Back Porch Reads

June 17: The Power of Words

June 17: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 18: Carpe Diem

June 18: A Baker’s Perspective

June 19: Christian Bookaholic

June 19: Quiet Quilter

June 20: The Fizzy Pop Collection

June 20: Mommynificent

June 21: Seasons of Opportunities

June 21: Truth and Grace Writing and Life Coaching

June 22: Pursuing Stacie

June 22: Remembrancy

June 23: Pause for Tales

June 23: Avid Reader Book Reviews

June 23: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

June 24: Bigreadersite

June 24: CAFINATED READS

June 25: Lots of Helpers

June 25: Ashley’s Bookshelf

June 26: Blossoms and Blessings

June 26: A Reader’s Brain

June 27: Margaret Kazmierczak

June 27: His Grace is Sufficient

June 28: Just Jo’Anne

June 28: Henry Happens

June 28: Reader’s Cozy Corner

The French Encounter ~ Window to the Heart Saga by Jenna Brandt (A Book Review)

About the Book:

While fleeing from danger and searching for her long-lost brother, Lady Margaret encounters new love. Despite her past, can Lady Margaret discover hope for the future? Deeply passionate and intensely gripping, The French Encounter weighs the struggle between giving in to temptation and sacrificing for refuge.

The French Encounter (Book 2).

Ruined by a night she will never forget, Lady Margaret, Countess of Renwick must flee from England with her infant son to hide from the man who destroyed her life and from the sister-in-law who hates her. Relentlessly, the Duke and Viscountess hunt for them, planning to take the child to whom they both feel entitled. Margaret turns to God, believing he will protect her family and help her find her long-lost twin brother, Randall. While searching for Randall in France, Margaret is pursued by two enticing men: Pierre, the alluring Vidame of Demoulin, and Michel, the powerful Marquis de Badour. One man promises passion while the other offers security. Will Margaret surrender the chance for love to secure her safety?

🌼💕

Between turning the pages as quickly as possible to keep up with the intense pace of the story, drinking copious cups of tea to keep warm, and depleting an entire box of tissues … I have read and thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful book.

Once again, the plot structure and character development are superb. Again, I felt every moment and each emotion, often guessing what may happen, and pleading with the book that it would turn out differently. That’s a problem with us writers, we almost always try to guess what happens next.

I found myself asking the age-old question, ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’  Sometimes the words ‘It is all part of His plan to strengthen us’ are rather difficult to swallow. However, throughout this book we learn both the importance of love and trust, and the fact that once lost, they can both be restored through time, at great cost, but with patience, understanding, perseverance, and faith, anything is possible.

The timeline of the story slots in neatly at the end of book one (The English Proposal). This second book in the saga could be read as a standalone as there is sufficient back story, however, I wouldn’t recommend it. After all, who wants to read just part of a story?

Ms. Brandt did it again. Jenna captivated my senses, got my undivided attention until the final sentence. But alas, I did not get my happily-ever-after ending. I am assuming this is because there is still one more book to be read to complete this intriguing saga.

The theme throughout this book while distressing and just so damn heartbreaking, is a good one. It makes you think. It makes us realize that we are not perfect in our human form. We make mistakes which mostly we regret over time. Even when we have what one would consider a strong faith, there will always be moments of doubt. We are after all, only human … don’t you think?

Throughout The French Encounter, happiness was constantly overshadowed by tragedy and immense sadness, with a glimmer of hope, shining towards the end.

The third and final book in this saga is entitled The American Conquest. You may and should pre-order it here

I am looking forward to reading the final installment in this saga of unrequited love, betrayal, trust, grief, happiness, and healing, and I am hoping with all my heart that there will be a happy ending, or at least a satisfying one.

Lord knows, Margaret deserves to be content, just as we the readers do, and I have faith that Ms. Brandt won’t let us be disappointed. “No pressure, Jenna.”

So, if you have purchased one or both gorgeous books, you should consider owning all three. And if you haven’t read any of them yet, why not go for broke and buy all three now?

The English Proposal

 

 

 

 

 

The French Encounter

 

 

 

 

 

The American Conquest

 

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.

About the Author:

Jenna Brandt is an on-going 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

 

The English Proposal ~ Window to the Heart Saga by Jenna Brandt (A Book Review)

 

The English ProposalAbout the Book:

The English Proposal (Book 1). Sheltered on her family’s country estate, Lady Margaret, the daughter of an English Earl, is betrothed due to a family promise. Although Henry, the Viscount Rolantry, has been her best friend since childhood and she is expected to marry him, she never felt butterflies until she meets the Duke of Witherton. Against her father’s wishes, Margaret finds herself captivated by the forbidden duke. Caught between family loyalty and her own wishes, Margaret searches for a way to satisfy both her responsibilities and her longings. When tragedy strikes, Margaret finds herself seeking answers at church. But when she finally makes her choice, through her newfound faith, will she be able to live with the repercussions of her decision?

My Thoughts:

“Inspiring Stories: Feel Every Moment”

Only in recent times have I immersed my senses so deeply into historical fiction, especially historical, suspenseful, romance. I loved reading Jenna’s debut novel which is the first of three books in the Window to the Heart Saga series.

I just, could not … put this book down!  You may purchase your own copy right here

The all-consuming theme of love and trust flows beautifully throughout this book, as does the curse of hatred and betrayal.  Fortunately, the love that wins over is not our typical and often superficial human love, but a love most divine.

💕🌼💕🌼💕🌼💕🌼💕🌼💕🌼💕🌼💕🌼💕🌼💕🌼💕

Margaret and Henry’s story also brought to mind the fact that even when we do our very best in life, or what we sincerely consider to be the best, God still has His own agenda. We are often left lonely and confused as to why our circumstances have turned out the way they have. We question our faith, but hopefully, eventually, we do learn to trust His purpose.

The plot for The English Proposal has been well thought out, allowing for the adventures and surprises which are yet to come.  Jenna’s scenes are expertly crafted throughout, and the characterisation is splendid. You can visualise each character, and it is as though you are there, inside the story. You will be able to feel each moment and emotion as it passes.

“Margaret found herself sitting at the windowsill again. It was the only thing that brought her comfort. She would stare out, searching for something – anything that would ease the pain.”

“The tears came down quickly and harshly, one on top of the other, leaving streaks and trails behind.”

The English Proposal Teaser 2 

I cried a bit while reading this book … actually, I cried a lot. Why?  Well, I think everyone knows by now that I love happy endings. This sweet book didn’t have that usual happily-ever-after, however, it does instil hope and a promise of a more joyful future.

 

The French Encounter by Jenna BrandtIf you’d like to join me in following Margaret’s journey, you’ll need to read the other two books in the series. Book Two: The French Encounter will be released at Amazon on Monday, 12 June 2017 as well as Amazon Australia, and other eBook sellers.

And there’s no need to wait, you can preorder your copy  here

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

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

 

Jenna BrandtAbout the Author:

Jenna Brandt is an on-going 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.