Friday, February 24, 2017

Shine Like the Dawn Review


 Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Carrie TuranskyBook:
 Shine Like the Dawn
Genre: Historical
In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible tragedy reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. But Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart and she begins to wonder if what happened that day on the lake…might not have been an accident.
When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son Nathaniel, who is Maggie’s estranged childhood friend, returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.
Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate—and reconciling with God? Will their search for the truth about her parents’ death draw them closer or will it leave them both with broken hearts?

About the Author

CARRIE TURANSKY is an award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and novellas. She has been the winner of the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award, and a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award and the Maggie Award of Excellence. A prolific writer of contemporary and historical romance, women’s fiction, short stories, articles, and devotionals, Carrie lives in central New Jersey with her husband Scott. They have five adult children and four grandchildren.

Guest Post from Carrie Turansky

Hats, Glorious Hats!

By Carrie Turansky

One fun part of my research for Shine Like the Dawn was learning about hat making in the early 1900s. My heroine, Maggie Lounsbury is a milliner who designs women’s hats. She learned this skill from her grandmother who owns a small shop in the village of Heatherton. Maggie has an artistic eye and she enjoys making stylish hats, but she doesn’t like the overdone designs some of their customers request, so that creates some humorous conflict in the story.

Hats in the Edwa
rdian era were large and often covered with feathers, flowers, lace, netting, berries and bows. The “bird nests,” as Coco Chanel called them, were held on with large hat pins stuck through piles of hair on the crown. These hats were called Gainsborough or Picture hats because of the way they framed a lady’s face. They often featured huge dried flower arrangements and sometimes included real leaves and twigs! No doubt the Garden hat was a fitting name.
1907 The Merry Window hat became very popular after the leading lady in the play by that same name wore a hat that was even taller and wider than usual. Some people complained these hats were too big and obtrusive in public places like the theater or picture shows. But English women loved them and wore them to all kinds of events.

The popularity of using large feathers and stuffed birds on hats caused concern for the welfare of birds. Many protective laws took effect and milliners had to use more ribbon and tulle and only large ostrich feathers to decorate hats. Those ostrich feathers came from birds that were raised on farms and their feathers were collected as they fell out naturally.
The movement toward smaller hats began around 1913 when hats still had high crowns but smaller brims. Straw boaters, small top hats, and mini versions of picture hats were very common.

Motion pictures had the greatest influence on Edwardian hat fashion. After the release of The Three Musketeers many ladies wanted to wear tricorne and bicorne shaped hats. They were still very large but now had shapes other than just round. Hat brims were folded up on the side, at an angle, or all around to create drama. Veils disappeared in the early 1900s only to come back again as a long scarf that wrapped over the hat and under the chin for the new sport called motoring.

I’ve had fun dressing Edwardian style for book launch tea parties and other book events. It made me feel very special to wear these lovely hats. What do you think of Edwardian Hats? Would you like to wear one?

Thanks to friends at the Vintage Dancer website for some of this information.

Stop by Carrie’s Facebook author page and view her live videos February 21 – 25, 3:00 pm Eastern. She’ll be talking about the story behind Shine Like the Dawn and giving away a fun prize each day to one person who leaves a comment. Even if you can’t catch the live video you can still enter for 24 hours after it’s posted. She is also hosting a book launch celebration and giveaway on her blog February 25 – March 6.
Like to my Facebook Author page:
Link to my Book Launch Blog Post:

Blog Stops

February 21: New Horizon Reviews
February 21: Bookworm Mama
February 22: Tell Tale Book Reviews
February 22: Book by Book
February 23: Bibliophile Reviews
February 23: Smiling Book Reviews
February 23: A Readers Brain
February 23: Faithfully Bookish
February 23: Lane Hill House
February 24: Back Porch Reads
February 24: The Scribbler
February 24: I Hope You Dance
February 25: Stuff & Nonsense
February 25: The Power of Words
February 25: A Greater Yes
February 26: cherylbbookblog
February 26: Moments Dipped in Ink
February 26: Splashes of Joy
February 27: Genesis 5020
February 27: inklings and notions
February 27: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
February 28: Karen Sue Hadley
February 28: Neverending Stories
March 3: Pause for Tales
March 3: Mary Hake
March 4: Radiant Light
March 6: Baker Kella


To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away all 4 books: Shine Like the Dawn, The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, and A Refuge at Highland Hall.! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

My Thoughts

I have read all of Carrie's printed books and this one is absolutely her best yet. I loved this book, and I had a really hard time putting it down! The characters are well developed and have depth. I like the setting and I like the hidden mystery that flows through the entire book, the ending took me by surprise. While I feel though I have read somewhat similar books in the past the thing that sticks out in this book is Margaret's character. She shines in each chapter in my opinion.This is a wonderful book. 
Five stars. 

"I received this book from the publisher for free. All opinions are my own."

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Note Yet Unsung-One of the Best Books I Have Read!


About the Book

Despite her training as a master violinist, Rebekah Carrington was denied entry into the Nashville Philharmonic by young conductor Nathaniel Whitcomb, who bowed to public opinion. Now, with a reluctant muse and a recurring pain in his head, he needs her help to finish his symphony. But how can he win back her trust when he's robbed her of her dream? (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I read this book in one sitting, which might have led me to staying up until one in the morning. Needless to say this book grabbed my attention from page one. Honestly, I was completely in awe with this entire story line. I have read Tamera’s other books but this one is by far her best in my opinion. This book is so good that it actually is on my list of all-time favorite books ever. This is a big deal folks! Finding a book this splendid is like finding gold and I simply must tell you all about it!
This story ties in with the previous books about the Belmont Mansion in Nashville. I wouldn’t say it’s required of you to read the previous ones to enjoy this story. What really makes this book so fabulous are the characters: Tate (One of the best male characters I have read, simply dreamy), Rebekah (whom has so much wit), and Mrs. Adelicia Acklen Cheatham (hilarious and yet so firm in opinion).  I also adored all of the other characters, especially Tate’s family. I loved reading about this time period and how women weren’t allowed to perform in the orchestra or play the violin for big crowds. It blows me away how anyone ever found a women playing the violin offensive. I also loved reading about how Tate conducted and how a symphony is written.
Now, I’ll be honest in saying, I was surprised at how the story in this book changed. As an avid reader of Christian fiction I was delighted at how Tamera Alexander made this book unique. I LOVED going from grand society to the complete opposite. I won’t say what that means because it involves spoilers.
Tate and Rebekah’s banters mixed with true life struggles made this book so worth the read.  I loved the romance (as Pepper Basham would say you can’t have too many kissing scenes ;), I loved the setting, and this story simply spoke to my heart.

Five stars!

“I received this book from Bethany House for free. All opinions are my own.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

With Love, Wherever You Are Review


About the Book

Everyone knows that war romances never last. . . .
Helen Eberhart always had to fight for what she wanted. Survival in a family of thirteen gave her the grit to push through nurse’s training and support herself. But after the attack on Pearl Harbor, she can’t stand catering to the pampered patients on Chicago’s North Shore. Enlisting as an Army nurse, Helen is transferred to a military hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan. There she comes face-to-face with the waves of broken bodies of the wounded soldiers, many no older than her beloved brothers.

Frank Daley wasn’t trying to be a hero. He’d only enlisted to finish medical school, confident that the war would be over before his deferment ran out. Life just worked out for him that way. But Lieutenant Frank R. Daley, MD, is sent straight from his graduation to boot camp in Battle Creek as his last stop before a battlefield hospital in Europe. And none of his training prepares him for the chance encounter with the spirited nurse who steals his heart.

After a whirlwind romance and courthouse wedding, Helen and Frank are sent to the front lines of Europe with only letters to connect them for months at a time. Surrounded by danger and desperately wounded patients, they soon find that only the war seems real—and their marriage more and more like a distant dream. If they make it through the war, will their marriage survive? (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I always love stories about real life happenings. This book was created from a trunk of letters that Dandi Daley Mackall read through after her parents passed. How neat to create the lives of your parents from old stories and letters! This book is fiction but there are letters included and it really wraps the whole story up nicely. You are taken to the middle of war after Pearl Harbor and you get to see two different sides on what all goes on. I thought this was a well written book. At times it was a bit slow for me, but I still enjoyed it!

Four stars. 

"I received this book from Tyndale Publishers for free. All opinions are my own." 


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Nothing to Prove Review


 About the Book

All too often, we struggle under the weight of life, convinced we need to work harder to prove to ourselves, to others, and to God that we are good enough, smart enough, spiritual enough to do the things we believe we should. In"Nothing to Prove"author and Bible teacher Jennie Allen helps us find the freedom to accept that fact that we are not enough, but God is. We can stop striving to be seen, to be known, to matter and instead find our strength and rest in Jesus, who offers more than enough for our every circumstance. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Have you heard about the IF: Gathering? This gal, Jennie Allen, is the one who started it and that is why I decided to read this book. I haven't been a part of the gatherings but I have heard a lot about them and I was curious to see what this lady's story was all about. This was a good book. I wouldn't say anything life changing for myself or really anything I didn't know. It is simply a reminder that we don't have to be enough because God is enough. Our lives are a constant trying to do this or that and when things don't turn out or people judge us or it is felt that we aren't good enough-we spiral downward. Everyone is different and even if you shrug off something many times it can all add up to where we feel like we are carrying a heavy backpack as Allen describes. She has some great insight and really adds a lot of what God says about all of this craziness. This is a good book for when you feel overwhelmed. 
Five stars. 

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for free. All opinions are my own."

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Precious Moments: Precious Prayers Bible Review


 About the Book

Young children will delight in the pages of NKJV Precious Prayers, a Precious Moments® Bible. Full of the beloved Precious Moments® artwork and dozens of pages of full-color bonus material, this classic Bible will be a family treasure for years to come.

Written in the trustworthy New King James Version, this full-text Bible includes a special eight-page personalization area to record each child’s very own precious moments and events. Sixty-four color pages of classic children’s prayers are spread throughout NKJV Precious Moments® Precious Prayers, including themes of thanks, prayers of praise, prayers for school, for mealtime, for bedtime, for family, and so much more.

Young children will learn and embrace these prayers that will become lifetime favorites. Write down your little one’s prayers on full-color pages, creating a beautiful way to forever capture the innocence of their early faith journey! Featuring adorable Precious Moments® characters, this beautiful plush padded Bible with soft, eye-catching embellishments will be a treasured keepsake in any child’s library.

Children will be drawn to the soft, inviting illustrations, and parents will enjoy teaching the heartfelt prayers and the scriptures from the trustworthy New King James Version®.

Since 1978, Precious Moments has grown into an evergreen brand recognized worldwide, with more than 13 million books and Bibles sold. It is one of the most recognized and beloved licenses on the market today. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

This reminds me a lot of the little Bible I had when I was growing up. Wonderful illustrations for those that love Precious Moments. NKJV Bible which is my favorite and there are even maps in the back. There are some pretty illustrated pages that have prayers for kids within the regular pages of the Bible. 
This would make a great Bible for a little one! 
Five stars!

"I received this Bible for free from BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own" 


Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Sisters of Sugarcreek Review


 About the Book

Many lives were changed the day a fire burned down Faith Community Church, devastating the small town of Sugarcreek, Ohio.Now a young Amish widow, Lydia Gruber faces an uncertain future. Her husband, a craftsman and volunteer firefighter, always took care of everything, keeping her isolated from others in their community. Without anyone or any skills, how will she survive?With the death of her beloved aunt Rose in the fire, single mom Jessica Holtz inherits Rose's Knit One Quilt Too cottage. Though determined to keep the shop open in her aunt's memory, she doesn't know the first thing about knitting and quilting and begins to see her aunt's dream slip through her fingers.When Liz Cannon lost her dear friend Rose, she also lost her partner in the Secret Stitches Society--the name they gave themselves while delivering gifts of hope to troubled folks in the dark of night. Liz convinces Jessica to keep the anonymous society going, despite the younger women's inadequacy with knitting and sewing needles. But soon Liz has problems of her own as the life she has rebuilt for herself begins to crumble again.When Liz and Jessica choose Lydia for their first mission, the three women cross paths and form an unlikely friendship in the aftermath of tragedy. As they walk together through triumph and heartbreak--through grief and new chances at love--they begin to discover that with friends by your side, a stitch of hope can be found anywhere. (Goodreads)

Bonus Links to Fun Things

  Random Acts of Kindness Cards:

My favorite is the Random Acts of Kindness. Something small can mean so much to someone!

My Thoughts

Stories about women bonding and friendships are fun to read. This book takes women with all different backgrounds and forms something that seems rare these days. I enjoyed this aspect of the story as it seems sometimes true friendships like this aren't as common as they once were. People seem busier and self focused it is refreshing to see how others can care for each other. 
Parts of this book were slower for me to read but I still enjoyed the overall story line. 
Four stars. 

"I received this book from Tyndale for free. All opinions are my own."

Grace and the Preacher Review


 About the Book
The Kansas community of Fairland anticipates the arrival of their new minister and in recent months, late in 1882, postmistress Grace Cristler has communicated with Reverend Dille via letters, answering his questions about the little town, and developing affection for the man who pens thoughtful missives.

Theophil Garrison grew up under the loving influence of his saintly grandmother, but was roped into his cousins’ train-robbing plan. When they fail and are apprehended, Theo fled the scene, evading jail time. Now an angry cousin is out to avenge Theo's duplicity, and he’s on the run. He encounters a fatally ill traveler--a minister. Seeing a way to keep hidden, Theo trades identities with the man, dons his fine black suit, carries a Bible, and prays that he'll be accepted as Rufus Dille.

Once in Fairland, if Theo's true identity is uncovered, what will be left of the world he has built for himself, Grace, and those in the town who have come to love and accept him? (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I really like the idea that goes with this story because it is all about grace. I liked the setting and the normal troubles that Grace seems to have. I enjoyed her character. At times the story felt a little slow and all too predictable. But that being said it is a sweet story that proves how lives can change. 
If you have enjoyed Sawyer's books you will enjoy this new story!
Four stars. 

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for free. All opinions are my own"

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Still Life Book Review


 About the Book

Work hits too close to home for crime scene photographer Avery Tate when her best friend disappears. The only lead is a chilling photo of her--apparently dead. As Avery, her boss Parker, and his friends dig into the case, she's forced to confront her feelings for Parker when they come face-to-face with a dangerous criminal. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

 Still Life is a dark mystery that I found captivating.This is book two in the Chesapeake Valor series. I highly recommend reading book one first! I liked the story line and how Dani did a twist at the end which was fun to try and figure out. ; ) The characters from the previous books are included often as are the ones for the next book so that made it interesting reading all different small story lines. Now I'll be honest, I enjoyed Cold Shot more so simply because of the main characters. Avery and Parker didn't totally grab me. I think this book is written well I just couldn't click with the characters as much as the previous book. All that being said this is still a fabulous read! With a hint of Ted Dekker it makes for a bit creepy (all while showing the light from a a relationship with God). Those who like suspense/mystery will enjoy!
Five stars.
Also, if you haven't read any of Dani's books I recommend that you do. They are all fantastic! 

"Thanks to Bethany House for providing me with a copy. All opinions are my own."