Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

I typically read many new-to-me authors each year. Here are ten I came up with that I read in 2018. Thanks for stopping by for another Top Ten Tuesday!



Nicole Deese
Nicole Deese



Jaime Jo Wright
Jaime Jo Wright


Lindsay Harrel
Lindsay Harrel

Patti Callahan
Patti Callahan



Delia Owens
Delia Owens


Sarah    Clarkson
Sarah Clarkson



Cindy R. Wilson
Cindy R. Wilson



Erin  Bartels
Erin Bartels

Simone St. James

Simone St. James

Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman

Sunday, January 13, 2019

In the Shadow of Croft Towers Review

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 About the Book

From debut author Abigail Wilson comes a mysterious Regency tale of secrets and spies, love and treachery.

Orphaned Sybil Delafield jumps at the opportunity for a position at the mysterious Croft Towers. She believes she was hired to act as companion to a dying woman, but a highway robbery and a hostile welcome from the Chalcroft family cause her to wonder if she was actually hired to help someone spy for France.

An unsolved murder adds intrigue to this already secretive family, and Sybil recognizes Mrs. Chalcroft’s handsome grandson as one of the infamous highwaymen who robbed her. Sybil must determine if this man's charming smile and earnest eyes speak the truth or if he is simply using her like others in the house. Everyone seems to have something to hide, and Sybil must decide who to trust while also coming to terms with the truth about her own past. (Goodreads)



My Thoughts

This is an outstanding debut! I was fully engrossed by this story I couldn't put it down. I loved the characters and Sinclair is now a favorite hero of mine. The best part of the story was all of the mystery surrounding every single person in the book. I love a good mystery that you can't solve within the first few chapters. While there was a constant intrigue there was also some rather humorous parts that had me giggling. The romance was very well done and not over the top all while being swoon-worthy. This book reminded me a bit of a Julie Klassen novel. Needless to say this was a wonderful read and I am eager to get my hands on Abigail's next book!

FIVE STARS

"I received this book from BookLook Bloggers for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."











Chosen for Christ Review


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 About the Book

Do you long to know your unique purpose? Do you feel you have a calling but wonder how to fulfill it?

As we pursue a sense of purpose and scramble to be the ones chosen for internships, graduate schools, marriages, careers, or some special honor, we often tie our identity to people, places, and clear plans that leave us frustrated and unfulfilled. We feel like we’re missing the life we’re supposed to live and we somehow veered off course. We ask questions like, “Is this God’s plan for me? How do I know? What is His plan, anyway?” What if Scripture not only answered these questions but also taught us an entirely new way of living? Instead of waiting for the perfect person, place, or plan, what if we lived, above all else, as chosen for Christ?

Chosen for Christ invites you to step into the life you’ve been missing. You were chosen for a Person, not a plan. Now it’s time to live out your calling to:



worship Jesus

live as His treasured possession

belong to a new household

become like Jesus

display God’s power

complete the good works He designed for you

live differently from the rest of the world
In a world fixated on personal purpose and impact, Chosen for Christ presents a new way to think about calling. Each chapter includes discussion questions that will help women embrace their identity as chosen ones and step into a new way of living each new day.

Chosen for Christ completes Heather Holleman’s vivid verbs trilogy, which also includes Seated with Christ and Guarded by Christ. It works wonderfully as a stand-alone book or as a powerful companion to her previous works. It also provides an expansion of ideas that appear briefly in Holleman’s devotional Included in Christ. (Goodreads)




My Thoughts

This book was a tad difficult for me to get completely into. Non-fiction is tricky and while there are some nuggets of truth and good in this book, it wasn’t as I was expecting. There is some great encouragement in a few chapters but a few times I felt like the issue discussed was made more complicated and confusing. I enjoyed the fun stories that were added in those always add more depth. Perhaps some more Bible verses on each topic would have been good too.
 
Three stars.

"Thanks to Moody Publishers for offering me a free copy. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."










Thursday, January 10, 2019

Flights of Fancy Review and Tour with Celebrate Lit


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About the Book

Flights of Fancy
Title: Flights of Fancy
Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Gilded Age
Release date: January 1, 2019
Publisher: Bethany House
Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she’s always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.
Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.
Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.

Click here to order your copy!

About the Author

Jen Turano
Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.

Guest post from Jen

Q & A With Jen Turano

“Flights of Fancy” is the first book in the American Heiress Series. What inspired you to write this series?
The inspiration for this entire series started off with a What If? All of my proposals for new series start off that way, and this time it was – What if Consuelo Vanderbilt had balked when her mother insisted she marry the Duke of Marlborough – and then that led to – What if she’d run away until her mother came to her senses? Just like that, an entire series was born – a bit of a different take on American heiresses because in all three books, my heiresses might decide to go a tad…rogue. We start off with Miss Isadora Delafield – who does run off to avoid marriage to a duke, then we get to meet Miss Poppy Garrison, who is an unexpected heiress but who can’t quite seem to get a handle on the expected social decorum of the day, and then the final book revolves around Miss Beatrix Waterbury – who gets banished to Chicago after she annoys her mother one too many times, and once there, well, gets up to a bit of mischief.

How do you come up with the names of your characters?
I find most of my names as I research the New York Four-Hundred, although I normally take a first name here, a last name there so I’m not stepping on any toes by writing about an actual historical figure – except for some of the main figures in New York society back then, such as Mr. Ward McAllister – who was the social arbiter of the day, or Mrs. William Astor, who was the queen of that society. What I don’t do is simply make up names, no matter how outrageous they may appear. And, no matter how I may love a certain name, if the character decides it doesn’t suit them, that’s it, it’s out and I’m back to the drawing board.

How do you picture your character? Do you use Pinterest, magazines, movies?
Odd as this may seem, I don’t use pictures for my characters. They start off in my mind as a blurry figure, and then, they develop from there – I like to keep my descriptions of them somewhat vague on the pages so that the reader can imagine them exactly the way they’d like them to be.

What are some of your favorite resources for historical research?
I’ve been building up a research library over the past few years and now have over 200 books dedicated to the Gilded Age. My favorites are – “A Season of Splendor” by Greg King, “Society as I Have Found It” by Ward McAllister, “The Gilded Age in New York – 1870-1910” by Esther Crain, and “ ‘King Lehr’ and the Gilded Age” by Elizabeth Drexel Lehr.

The setting for “Flights of Fancy” is a bit of a departure for you since it’s set in and outside of Pittsburgh. Any reason for that?
My mom was born in Pittsburgh, and unfortunately, her father, a prominent attorney back in the day, died when she was only four. I thought it would be cool to set a story in Pittsburgh, which would then allow me to really dive into some research. And get this – while I was doing that research, I found this obscure journal called “Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In that journal was a bit about my great-grandfather, Fred, his wife, Susie, my grandfather, and his brother and sister, but I’d never heard about this brother, who apparently died quite young. One of the most fabulous research tidbits I’ve uncovered to date.

What are you working on now?
I’ve just recently turned in the content edits for the second book in this series, “Diamond in the Rough,” and I’ve also turned in a novella about the Harvey Girls that will be coming out in a novella collection in Fall, 2019. With those out of the way, I’m now starting the third and final book in the American Heiress series, Miss Beatrix Waterbury’s story, but I’m having a bit of a struggle with the hero at the moment – he was supposed to be Edward, but he doesn’t want to be an Edward – I think he wants to be Norman – but, time will tell on that one – don’t hold me to the name – it’ll depend on if he changes his mind or not – pesky characters.

You seem to enjoy adding animals in many of your stories. Will we find any animals in “Flights of Fancy?”
Since Miss Isadora Delafield ends up on a farm, I do believe you will find a few animals, such as an adorable cow by the name of Buttercup, a few goats that seem to have a great liking for laundry, and…there might be some chickens.

Thanks for stopping by today, everyone! Always enjoy visiting with all of you – in fact, that’s the best part of my job!
All the best,
~ Jen ~

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, January 10
Among the Reads, January 10
Through the Fire, January 10
To Everything A Season, January 10
Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 11
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 11
Blogging With Carol, January 11
Southern Gal loves to Read, January 11
Back Porch Reads, January 12
KarenSueHadley, January 12
Godly Book Reviews, January 12
Daysong Refections, January 12
Livin Lit, January 13
The Christian Fiction Girl, January 13
The Becca Files, January 13
Texas Book-aholic, January 13
Rebekah’s Quill, January 14
Blossoms and Blessings, January 14
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 14
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14
All-of-a-kind Mom, January 15
Just the Write Escape, January 15
Stories By Gina, January 15
God’s Little Bookworm, January 16
The Meanderings of a Bookworm, January 16
Splashes of Joy, January 16
Janices book reviews, January 16
Happily Managing A Household of Boys, January 17
Mary Hake, January 17
Maureen’s Musings, January 17
Bibliophile Reviews, January 17
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 18
Baker Kella, January 18
Simple Harvest Reads, January 18 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 19
Captive Dreams Window, January 19
Robin is Bookish, January 19
Carpe Diem, January 19
Have A Wonderful Day, January 20
Life with the Tribe, January 20
Inklings and Notions, January 20
Rachel’s Back Talk, January 21
Inspiration Clothesline, January 21
amandainpa, January 21
A Baker’s Perspective, January 21
Locks, Hooks and Books, January 22
Pause for Tales, January 22
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 22
Raining Butterfly Kisses, January 23
Live Love Read, January 23
A Rup Life, January 23
Bigreadersite, January 23

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a grand prize of a trunk filled with all of Jen’s full-length novels released to date!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
GIVEAWAY

My Thoughts

I have been a long time reader of Jen Turano. Her books are full of humor and awkward moments that make you laugh out loud. This book is the first in a new series and it is fun to see how she takes a character from privilege to a housekeeper. I enjoyed the setting and the overall idea but I had a hard time loving the characters. This book was okay due to the humor and simply being a lighter read. I don’t think it was Turano’s best but still entertaining. Three stars.

“Thanks to the publisher for offering me a free copy. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.”

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

TTT: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

There are so many great books coming out in 2019! I believe all of these come out between January and March! Some of my all time favorite authors are listed so I am pretty eager to get my hands on these. I am so thankful for such talented authors who continue to write stories for us readers!


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Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Bound Heart Review





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 About the Book

Though Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is but the keeper of his bees and the woman he is hoping will provide a tincture that might help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Yet even when all hope seems dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony, it may be that in this New World the two of them could make a new beginning--together.

Laura Frantz's prose sparkles with authenticity and deep feeling as she digs into her own family history to share this breathless tale of love, exile, and courage in Colonial America. (Goodreads)



 My Thoughts

When I discovered this beauty in my mailbox I might have done a happy dance. I LOVE Laura Frantz! I was even more excited about reading this book because it is somewhat Frantz family history. Once I started I couldn’t put it down, I truly wanted this story to last forever. The book starts in the most beautiful setting of Scotland. The characters are very well developed and the story line is simply wonderful. There is a lot that takes place from page one until the end, most of which I wasn’t really expecting. I liked that this book wasn’t so typical. The romance, as always with Frantz, was perfection. It wasn’t overdone and the fact that the main characters knew each other since childhood is my favorite. I really loved the history part of this book since it was based in an area I don’t know much about. Needless to say, this was a fantastic book and if you haven’t read books by Laura you need to.
FIVE STARS!

Thanks to Revell for offering me a free copy. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

TTT: Top Ten Books of 2018


As always, this list is very difficult to put together. I think I have gotten more particular on what books I choose to read during the year so that makes it more difficult to complete my goal. In any case here are some of my top favorites for 2018 for Top Ten Tuesday!

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright


The Seamstress by Allison Pittman


Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman


Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof


The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Falling for You by Becky Wade


The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright