June 29, 2016

The Berenstain Bears' Caring and Sharing Treasury by Jan and Mike Berenstain

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: July 5, 2016
Number of pages: 160
Genre: Children

Time after time the Living Lights, Berenstain Bears series has attracted young readers through creative and engaging stories that not only entertain but teach values and life lessons. Now, five of the series’ most loved books are available in a comprehensive bind-up. This Living Lights collection Back to School is sure to be a popular choice for Berenstain Bears readers who have enjoyed the series in the past.

What did I think of this book:
What could be better than five stories about Sister Bear and Brother Bear all in one place. This book includes Jobs Around Town, Get Involved, Love Their Neighbors, Neighbor in Need and Gossip Gang. Each of these fun stories gives our young ones entertainment along with a valueable lesson. When I read of the Berenstain books is brings me back to my childhood. I love the fun stories, the caring family and the colorful pictures. This is a must have for any child's book collection. 

About the author:
Stan and Jan Berenstain introduced the first Berenstain Bear books in 1962. Mike Berenstain grew up watching his parents work together to write about and draw these lovable bears. Eventually he started drawing and writing about them too. Though Stan died in 2005, and Jan in 2012, Mike continues to create the delightful Bear adventures from the family home and studio in Pennsylvania, in an area that looks much like the sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country.

June 28, 2016

Naapiikoan Winter by Alethea Williams - Spotlight and Giveaway

Publication Date: May 9, 2016 
Number of pages: 295 Pages 
Genre: Historical Fiction

 At the turn of a new century, changes unimagined are about to unfold. THE WOMAN: Kidnapped by the Apaches, a Mexican woman learns the healing arts. Stolen by the Utes, she is sold and traded until she ends up with the Piikáni. All she has left are her skills—and her honor. What price will she pay to ensure a lasting place among the People? THE MAN: Raised in a London charitable school, a young man at the end of the third of a seven year term of indenture to the Hudson’s Bay Company is sent to the Rocky Mountains to live among the Piikáni for the winter to learn their language and to foster trade. He dreams of his advancement in the company, but he doesn’t reckon the price for becoming entangled in the passions of the Piikáni. THE LAND: After centuries of conflict, Náápiikoan traders approach the Piikáni, powerful members of the Blackfoot Confederation. The Piikáni already have horses and weapons, but they are promised they will become rich if they agree to trap beaver for Náápiikoan. Will the People trade their beliefs for the White Man’s bargains? Partially based on the works of Canadian trader, explorer, and mapmaker David Thompson, Náápiikoan Winter spans a continent, examining the cultures in flux at the passing of an era and the painful birth of another. 

Praise for the book:
"When we read NAAPIIKOAN WINTER our hearts were swept back in time. Alethea Williams writes with the same authority and beauty that A. B Guthrie, Bernard de Voto, Wallace Stegner, and Conrad Richter imparted to the page. We marveled at the quality of her research, and the precision with which Williams recreated the world of the Blackfeet at the time of white contact. Find the first page, dear reader, and you'll fall effortlessly into a long-gone world filled with both the noblest of humans, and the dross that always follows. This is no Western romance, but the nitty-gritty reality of the Northern Plains. We call NAAPIIKOAN WINTER masterful!" -W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear, authors of PEOPLE OF THE MORNING STAR

About the Author
Alethea Williams grew up in southwest Wyoming. Willow Vale is her first novel of the immigrant experience, dealing with the Tyroleans after WWI. Willow Vale won a 2012 Wyoming State Historical Society Publications Award. Her second novel details the Irish immigrant experience and the Orphan Train movement in Walls for the Wind. Walls for the Wind is a WILLA Literary Award finalist, a gold Will Rogers Medallion winner, and placed first at the Laramie Awards in the Prairie Fiction category. Her third book, a Western American pre-history spanning the North American continent, entitled Náápiikoan Winter is now available. She also has a collection of newspaper columns in print:Boomer Blues Book: Staying Alive and Sane in the Modern American West. Twice president of Wyoming Writers, Inc. she lives in her native state with long-time friend, Amazon parrot Bob. For more information please visit Alethea Williams' blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, June 13 Passages to the Past 
Tuesday, June 14 Diana's Book Reviews 
Wednesday, June 15 Let Them Read Books 
Thursday, June 16 The Book Junkie Reads 
Friday, June 17 #redhead.with.book 
Monday, June 20 The Maiden's Court 
Tuesday, June 21 Book Nerd 
Wednesday, June 22 CelticLady's Reviews 
Friday, June 24 Oh, for the Hook of a Book! 
Tuesday, June 28 A Holland Reads 
Wednesday, June 29 It's a Mad Mad World 
Friday, July 1 The True Book Addict

To win a copy of Náápiikoan Winter please enter using the GLEAM form below. Five copies are up for grabs! Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 1st. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. Naapiikoan Winter Blast

June 27, 2016

Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan - Review and Giveaway

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: May 31, 2016
Number of pages: 464
Genre: Chick-Lit Fiction, Romance
Series: From Manhattan With Love #1

Cool, calm and competent, events planner Paige Walker loves a challenge. After a childhood spent in and out of hospitals, she’s now determined to prove herself—and where better to take the world by storm than in the exhilarating bustle of Manhattan? But when Paige is let go from the job she loves, she must face her biggest challenge of all—going it alone.

Except launching her own events company is nothing compared to hiding her outrageous crush on Jake Romano—her brother’s best friend, New York’s most in-demand date, and the only man to break her heart. When Jake offers Paige’s fledgling company a big chance, their still-sizzling chemistry starts giving her sleepless nights. But can she convince the man who trusts no one to take a chance on forever?

Purchase Links

What did I think of this book:
I enjoyed reading this book. It is a feel good sort of chick lit type of book. The friendship between Paige, Eva and Frankie is a very good one with close bonds between the three. A type of friendship everyone wishes for. Then you have the side story of Paige and Jake and how their relationship unfolds. This is the first book I have read by this author and I really enjoyed her style of writing. The words just seem to float off the pages. As well as she has created some great characters - they seem so real. I will be checking out the rest of the books in this series. 

About the author:
USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes lively, sexy contemporary stories for Harlequin.

Romantic Times has described her as ‘a magician with words’ and nominated her books for their Reviewer’s Choice Awards and their ‘Top Pick’ slot. In 2012 Sarah received the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America. She lives near London with her family.

Connect with Sarah

This giveaway is open to the US and Canada only and is for one paperback copy of Sleepless in Manhattan. The winner will be drawn randomly by Rafflecopter. Once the winner is drawn they will be emailed and have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn. **It is mandatory that you leave a comment to win, if you do not your name will be thrown out. Thank you and good luck

Blog Tour Stops:

Monday, June 6th: Chick Lit Central
Monday, June 6th: In Bed With Books
Wednesday, June 8th: Book Review & More by Kathy
Thursday, June 9th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Monday, June 13th: Why Girls Are Weird
Tuesday, June 14th: Romancing the Readers
Wednesday, June 15th: Stranded in Chaos
Friday, June 17th: The Sassy Bookster
Friday, June 17th: Not In Jersey
Monday, June 20th: Just Commonly
Tuesday, June 21st: Walking with Nora
Wednesday, June 22nd: Book Mama Blog
Thursday, June 23rd: From the TBR Pile
Friday, June 24th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, June 27th: A Holland Reads
Tuesday, June 28th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Wednesday, June 29th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Thursday, June 30th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, July 1st: A Splendid Messy Life – author Q&A and review

June 25, 2016

Dawn of LIberty by Amber Schamel - Review and Giveaway

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: May 28, 2016
Number of pages: 112
Genre: Historical Fiction

Liberty comes with a price. Can a fledgling nation bear the cost?

British forces advance upon a struggling colonial army. The time of decision has come. Declare independence, or give up the fight. The weight of a nation rests on Samuel Adams’ shoulders as he joins the delegates of the Second Continental Congress. Can he raise the cause of Liberty above the fear of the King’s wrath in the hearts of his countrymen?

Three riveting short stories follow Samuel Adams as he struggles through the events surrounding the Declaration of Independence and evokes the Dawn of Liberty.

Dawn of Liberty
Liberty hangs in the balance. With Pennsylvania’s vote divided, the declaration may not pass. Samuel Adams has two hours to convince the delegates to pass the document, or the lives sacrificed for freedom will be worthless.

A Shot at Freedom
“The Regulars are coming!”

Samuel Adams is awakened by Revere’s cry of alarm. A large force of British soldiers are marching on Lexington to seize him and his compatriot John Hancock. Adams and Hancock encourage the militia to make a stand against the Regulars, but should they stay and join the fight, or escape to safety?

Travail of a Nation
Samuel Adams felt the weight of the nation resting on his shoulders as he and his cousin entered the Pennsylvania State House. If the declaration did not pass today, their chances at ever truly gaining independence were all but lost. The British forces bound to arrive in New York any day would crush their revolution if it was not bolstered by a formal declaration. The “Travail Of A Nation” has begun…

What did I think of this book:
This book jumped out at me as I have been wanting to read more about Samuel Adams. I am a huge fan of the Revolutionary War time period and here lately can not get enough of it. In this book we get a set of three short stories that tell the story of Sam Adams and the Declaration of Independence. Since these are short stories the entire book reads very quickly. The only complaint that I have is the author left me wanting more. I enjoyed her writing style and felt as if the story came alive off the pages. For me I felt as if I was transported back to a different time period while reading. You can tell that the author did her research when writing this book as it showed in the details. I can not imagine what it would have to live through this time and fighting for not only your own freedom but the entire countries freedom. I will definately be watching for more books by this author. 

About the author:
Author of over half a dozen books, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Visit her online atwww.AmberSchamel.com/

Guest Post:
On July 4th, 2016, Americans across the nation will celebrate the 240th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Besides the basic overview you got in history class, how much do you really know about the document and the men that signed it?

As an American and a history nerd, I was upset when I realized how much I didn’t know the struggle these men went through, who they really were, what they felt, and what they were putting on the line when they signed their name to that document. There are SO many inspiring stories in the signers and founding fathers, so when I began looking at which signer to feature in Dawn of Liberty, it was a tough decision to pick only one. One of the signers was terminally ill and rode unthinkable miles through the rain to be there in time to sway the vote. Most were away from their homes and families for incredible amounts of time. Some sacrificed fame and fortune.

But after looking through all of the names, I ended up with Samuel Adams. Sam is such a passionate and inspiring character, and I really related to him. He voiced his passion for freedom and independence before the idea was popular, spent countless nights writing articles and pamphlets promoting the cause, always held faith and optimism that someday the Colonies would be free from the tyranny of England. His character is so intriguing and inspiring…Yet, Sam is only known as a beer brand.

Talk about infuriating a history nerd!

Sam Adams is a patriot and a hero. The more I learned and read about him, the more I liked him. Americans should know Sam for who he really is, rather than as the icon to sell liquor. That’s why I am so excited for people to meet Sam in DAWN OF LIBERTY. These stories give folks a chance to experience the tension in Philadelphia at the time of the signing, meet some of the signers, and feel the weight of the decision placed in their hands. It is my hope that this collection of short stories will make the signers more than just portraits in a history book. By the time you finish reading it, my prayer is that you feel you know Sam and his compatriots as friends.


To celebrate her tour, Amber is giving away a signed copy of The Healer’s Touch and a $15 Amazon Gift Card! Enter to win here: https://promosimple.com/ps/9ccf

Blog Tour Stops:

June 23: Petra’s Hope
June 24: A Greater Yes
June 25: A Holland Reads
June 26: bigreadersite

June 22, 2016

Come, Bitter Poison by Monica Knightley - Guest Post and Giveaways

Published: April 8, 2016
Number of pages: 177
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Stratford Upon Avondale Mystery #2

Sexy film star. Long-held secrets. Murder by poison.

When international stage and film star Miles Elliot comes to Stratford Upon Avondale to play Macbeth, Maggie O’Flynn is thrilled. He’s been her actor crush for years. But when Miles ends up at the center of a murder investigation Maggie finds herself slipping back into the role of amateur sleuth. Before long many of her friends become suspects in not just one murder, but two. Maggie must discover who’s poisoning people associated with the Shakespeare Festival before one of her friends gets slapped with a murder charge. And she must do so while dodging paparazzi that are stalking her due to a supposed love affair she’s having with Miles Elliot.

With a bit of Shakespeare, copious amounts of tea, and a faux-English setting to rival anything the real England has to offer, COME, BITTER POISON is the second book in THE STRATFORD UPON AVONDALE mystery series. Though part of a series, COME, BITTER POISON can be read and enjoyed as a standalone. Lovers of cozy mysteries will find a cozy home in Stratford Upon Avondale.

About the author:
Monica Knightley began creating compelling characters and stories at the age of three, when she had a plethora of imaginary friends, all with complete backstories. Today any characters that come knocking on the door of her imagination find themselves in one of her mysteries, young adult novels, or paranormal romances.

When not fueling her reading addiction or writing her next book, Monica loves to travel with her husband—especially to England. A bit of England seems to make its way into most of her books. Must haves include a perfectly steeped cup of tea, and a good, bold red wine. She lives in Portland, Oregon where the frequent rainy weather is perfect for curling up with a good book and a cup of tea.

Author Links:

Purchase Link

Guest Post:

Hello, I’m Maggie O’Flynn, proprietress of the Merry Wives Tea Room, here in Stratford Upon Avondale. Though I write steamy romances when I’m not serving copious amounts of tea, I’ve never been a blogger, so I hope you’ll bear with me.

When I moved here to this über faux-English village I knew I’d see more than my share of murder. And treachery. And duplicity. But I thought it would be on the stages of the town’s world-renowned Shakespeare Festival. I certainly didn’t expect actual murders, but there have been a few in the short time I’ve lived here. Had I known, I might have reconsidered my move. And somehow I’ve managed to get caught up in a couple of the murder investigations. I have to confess that I enjoy the fact that I’m becoming quite the amateur sleuth, even if the local gendarmes don’t appreciate my deductive skills. I can just imagine Sister Mary Josephine admonishing me for putting my nose where it doesn’t belong.

That’s the other thing about me I should divulge. I used to be a nun. Well, not a full nun, just a nun-in-training. After five long years of trying to be a nun I left with the blessing of the sisters. It was agreed by all involved that Sister Margaret Rose O’Flynn was never meant to be.

When I left the convent there were a lot of things I wanted to escape in my hometown of Philadelphia, which is why I moved all the way out to a West Coast state. I also had some catching up to do, if you catch my drift. Hence the romance novel writing. There’s been a fair amount of dating to catch up on too. Currently I have my eye on the owner of the bookshop next door to my tea room. Nate Larimer. The man looks like a romance novel cowboy—all he needs is the hat and a pair of chaps. Unfortunately, something about my past as a nun-in-training and the fact that I write steamy romances seems to be scaring him off. Sigh…

The folks in this little village that looks like it was just lifted right out of Tudor England, have been very welcoming. Yes, they are a quirky bunch, but I seem to fit in with quirky just fine. My best friend and amateur-sleuthing sidekick, is a perfect example. Gina Mattucci is a loud, brash, ball of fire originally from New Jersey. She seems to be under the illusion that while living in Jersey she had some nebulous ties or associations to the mob, but I know she’s delusional. I’m sure she grew up surrounded by a big Italian family with dinners with the grandparents every Sunday night.

Murders aside, life in Stratford Upon Avondale suits me well. Or maybe because of the murders, life here suits me well. I spend my days making delicious tea treats and serving them with pots of fragrant tea to my customers. Nights are for writing, or taking in a play, or trying to cozy up to Nate. Everything in between seems to be for solving murder mysteries. Yes, that’s a pretty good life.

Tour Participants
June 20 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, INTERVIEW 
June 20 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
June 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
June 21 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
June 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 22 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 22 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
June 23 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 23 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
June 24 – Books Direct – GUEST POST
June 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 25 – Community Bookstop – INTERVIEW
June 26 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW
June 26 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – SPOTLIGHT

More Than She Dreamt by Sandy Faye Mauck - Review and Giveaway

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: March 17, 2016
Number of pages: 321
Genre: Historical Fiction

It was more than she dreamt. But as the romance began to bud, she felt the thorns of a heartless beauty rise to tear it apart.

Young widow, Katie Jensen, endures patiently under her oppressive uncle in desolate Arizona Territory. She tries to keep her promise to her dead aunt to be a witness and take care of her uncle but when his tirades grow worse, she gathers her two precious little ones and runs.

Making their way to an unknown land, they come to the town of White Rock, which is strangely like the place in the dreams Katie has been having. They are welcomed into the cottage of a kindly grandmother who takes in borders.

When Danny, the older woman’s grandson, comes home, he finds surprises in store: a crisis, a beautiful young woman, and her adorable children who bring laughter and life into all their weary souls.

Katie is filled with hope when an unexpected romance sparks but there is a vindictive raven-haired beauty and an old enemy conspiring to put it out—permanently.

Will God give Katie rest as she and the family pray for their enemies?

Can she stand strong in her faith when fear overwhelms her?

Purchase your copy here.

What did I think of this book:
This is a new author to me and I thought the story was enjoyable. It has romance with a touch of humor as well as inspiration. I felt as if the characters came alive off the pages. They were very personable. The way the author writes you feel as if you are a part of the story. Of course I was a fan of the time period as I really enjoy historical books. It was nice that the author made the children a big part of the story. This is a good book to read on a gloomy, rainy day as it is not a book you will want to put down once you start. A good start for this new author. 

About the author:
Sandy Faye Mauck writes Historical Romance in the light of the gospel and with the heart of her Savior.

Slip into a comfy chair with a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate and travel back to the first years after the turn of the century.

Enjoy faithful Christian characters who have come through a spiritual wilderness into a place of hope. Stories of charming romance sprinkled with humor and topped with redemption. And be sure not to put the cup too close to the edge of the table because there are enemies lurking about.

Sandy lives in her own happily-ever-after with her Bible doctrine writer husband in the west they love. They have five children and nine grandchildren. She enjoys crocheting (a different kind of yarn) and is also a professional artist.


To celebrate her tour, Sandy is giving away a charming keepsake box filled with some Rose Arbor themed prizes. Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/9c26

Blog Tour Stops

June 14: cherylbbookblog
June 18: Bigreadersite
June 19: A Greater Yes
June 20: Pause for Tales
June 22: A Holland Reads
June 23: Splashes of Joy
June 26: Bukwurmzzz

June 21, 2016

The Berenstain Bears School Time Blessings by Mike Berenstain - Review

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review from Book Look Bloggers

Published: June 21, 2016
Number of pages: 24
Genre: Childrens

It’s back-to-school time in Bear Country!

After the long and lazy summer, it’s time for school. Brother and Sister are ready to see their friends and get busy with all of the things they enjoy about school—but are nervous about the more challenging subjects like math and history. And Honey Bear will be going to nursery school for the first time—but how will she handle not being home with Mama and Papa all day?

In this new Berenstain Bear Living Lights book, Mama and Papa Bear remind their cubs that prayer and God’s love are always there to guide them and that they will support them no matter what the challenge.

What did I think of this book:
I do not think I have ever seen a Berenstain Bears book that I have not enjoyed. From the first page until the last this book is an enjoyable story as you go on another adventure with Sister and Brother Bear. The drawings are great and the colors are very vivid. This book as with each of these stories not only provides entertainment but provides our children with a valuable lesson. I am looking forward to sharing this with my little nephew. 

About the author:
Mike Berenstain grew up watching his parents, Stan and Jan, working together to write and draw these lovable bears. Eventually he started drawing and writing about them too.

I Take You by Eliza Kennedy - Review

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: May 24, 2016
Number of pages: 320
Genre: Fiction

Meet Lily Wilder: New Yorker, lawyer extraordinaire, blushing bride. And totally incapable of being faithful to one man.

Lily’s fiancé Will is a brilliant, handsome archaeologist. Lily is sassy, impulsive, fond of a good drink (or five) and has no business getting married. Lily likes Will, but does she love him? Will loves Lily, but does he know her? As the wedding approaches, Lily’s nights—and mornings, and afternoons—of booze, laughter and questionable decisions become a growing reminder that the happiest day of her life might turn out to be her worst mistake yet.

Unapologetically sexy with the ribald humor of Bridesmaids, this joyously provocative debut introduces a self-assured protagonist you won’t soon forget.

What did I think of this book:
It has been awhile since I have read a book that I consider chick-lit, so I thought it would be a nice change of pace for me. Lily is what I consider a typical younger lawyer who can be a little wild at times and her life is an open book as she is not afraid to talk about anything. Just enjoying life. Part of this book takes place in Key West and I found myself remembering my own trip there and seeing many people enjoying themselves as Lily and her friends did. This was a very quick book to read. I must tell you that this book is not for everyone. Some people may not like it for all the sexual trists that are in this book. Things like this happen in everyday life and this was Lily's way of life. Now if you are a fan of chick-lit books then you will enjoy this book as I did. 

About the author:
ELIZA KENNEDY attended the University of Iowa and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. After graduation she served as a law clerk for a federal judge, then practiced litigation for several years at a prestigious Manhattan law firm. She lives in New York with her husband and son.

The Amish Firefighter by Laura V. Hilton - Review

I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: May 3, 2016
Number of pages: 244
Genre: Fiction

Purchase your copy of The Amish Firefighter here

A Beautiful Young Woman Banished from Home
Abigail Stutzman thought it was bad enough being dropped at the nearest bus station and sent to live several states away with some relatives she’d never even heard of, much less met. But now, just a week after her arrival in Jamesport, Missouri, she finds herself at the scene of a barn fire. An intentional barn fire. And all fingers are pointed at her. She’s desperate to prove her innocence and protect her reputation, but nobody’s making that easy to do. And God certainly doesn’t seem willing to help.

A Brave Firefighter with an Agenda of His Own
Sam Miller is in the process of turning over a new leaf. Determined to atone for the follies of his past, he is a volunteer firefighter, an EMT, and a doctor-in-training. With suspicious barn fires escalating, and the Miller family being among the victims, no one is more determined to see the perpetrators brought to justice than Sam.

A Kindled Flame Neither One Could Have Anticipated
When their paths first cross at the site of a barn burning, the emotional intensity rivals the warmth of the flames. Soon, they must decide whether this fire is one they should feed or fight. And they’ll discover that the truth can prove more dangerous than a blazing inferno.

What did I think of this book:
For me I felt this was a little different than the normal Amish fiction books I have read. Now I do not mean this in a bad way. I thought it was a very good book and I enjoyed the romance that was part of the story. I felt bad for Abby with not being banished from her family and not knowing why. Then to top is all off she is being blamed as the person starting the fire. The shunning and banishing of family members is something that always amazes me that the Amish do. I know it is part of their culture but strange to me. I also liked the location of this story as it is close to where I grew up. This story is a story that tells you what can happen if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. Sometimes you have to be really careful. It was nice that there are some people that believed in Abigail. The way the whole story comes together was very nice. I felt as if this was a real to life story.

About the author:
Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love,and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Birdhouse concluded Laura’s 2015 series, The Amish of Jamesport, includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Arkansas.

For more about Laura, her latest book, the books she’s written and those she’s reviewed:

Laura Hilton’s Website: www.lauravhilton.blogspot.com.

Guest Post from Laura V. Hilton
Unlike some authors, I am not a planner. I have a very vague idea of the story, of the series, and as soon as the characters step forward and introduce themselves I dive in and start writing. When I first began writing this series – New Beginnings in Jamesport – I knew Sammy Miller was going to be the hero. Readers started asking for Sammy’s story as soon as they read The Postcard where Sammy was the villain. Ouch. I’d never considered writing a story about a former villain. But just as David in The Postcardwas reader requested, Sammy would be.

Sammy is a very strong character and I knew he had to have a strong female lead character, one that wasn’t afraid to stand up to him and keep him under control. He is a leader, an EMT studying to be a paramedic, and a volunteer firefighter. The female lead, Abigail, is thrown into Jamesport without warning. Her step-father takes her to the bus station and sends her away and she doesn’t even know why! When she is met at the bus station by an aunt and uncle she didn’t even know existed, she is thrown into the middle of several mysteries, including barn fires set by arsonists. And she is the main suspect.

The whole New Beginnings in Jamesport series, while considered a continuation of The Amish of Jamesportseries due to Sammy being the hero, is set around Amish starting over in Jamesport. The second bookThe Amish Wanderer is about a former resident of Jamesport hitchhiking across the country to get to his Mennonite uncle’s house in Pennsylvania. Silas is desperate to escape from his dysfunctional family for several reasons. But he cannot stay in Jamesport because someone is out to kill him. When he stumbles upon another mystery within hours of his arrival, what choice does he have but to stick around for awhile?

God gave me the verses for all three books in the Amish of Jamesport series The Amish Firefighter, The Amish Wanderer and the yet untitled third book (My books all stand alone) before I started writing them, which is unusual. He usually reveals these things slowly to me, as I need to know. The verse for The Amish Firefighter is Isaiah 43:2-4 and the verse for The Amish Wanderer is Romans 8:38-39. The third book’s verse is 2 Corinthians 4:8. It is tentatively titled The Amish Accountant, but most people think accountants are boring, and his real profession is a clockmaker. But The Amish Clockmaker has already been taken by another author. So we shall see what the wonderful Whitaker House team will come up with. It is about another young Amish woman, Lydia, who needs a “safe haven.” So her parents send her to live with her Mennonite aunt and uncle in Jamesport. It doesn’t exactly work out as planned, as the aunt and uncle leave for a foreign mission trip immediately, leaving Lydia acting manager of a gift shop and living in an all electric apartment. Before her aunt leaves, she tells Lydia’s secrets to her best friend. But did she tell all of them or some of them? And the best friend’s son, Caleb (the clockmaker) is acting as accountant for the gift shop. And what about Caleb’s carefully kept secret? When Lydia’s past catches up with her, will it destroy all she’d begun to imagine as she dreamed of starting over in Jamesport?

Next after that is The Christmas Challenge which is also set in Jamesport.

I don’t have official release dates for The Amish Wanderer or the other books yet. But as soon as I know, I’ll share.

Coming next? Who knows? I have two ideas warring for attention—but which one gets told first, I don’t know! I lean toward one, then the other. They both want to be told.

And now, I must get back to work. Thank you for visiting today and thank you so much for supporting my books. I do hope you’ll enjoy The Amish Firefighter!

Happy Reading!
Because of Him,
~ Laura ~

To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away a basket that includes a Kindle Fire and a complete set of her books! Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/9bed

Blog Tour Stops:

June 9: Quiet Quilter
June 12: Splashes of Joy
June 13: bigreadersite
June 17: A Greater Yes
June 19: Petra’s Hope
June 21: A Holland Reads
June 22: Pause for Tales
June 22: KarensKrayons

June 20, 2016

Murder at Hatfield House by Amanda Carmack - Review

I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: October 1, 2013
Number of pages: 288
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: An Elizabethan Mystery #1

1558. Kate Haywood, a simple musician in the employ of a princess, will find herself involved in games of crowns as she sets out to solve the murder of the queen’s envoy....

England is in tumult under the rule of Queen Mary and her Spanish husband. Confined to house arrest at Hatfield House, young Princess Elizabeth is the country’s greatest hope. Far from court intrigues, Elizabeth finds solace in simple things: the quiet countryside and peaceful recreation, including the melodies of her chief musician and his daughter, Kate Haywood.

But Kate will prove herself most valuable when an envoy of the queen—sent to flush out heretics in the princess’s household—is found dead on the grounds of Hatfield. Acting as Elizabeth’s eyes and ears, Kate is sent out on the trail of a killer whose mission could destroy her family, friends—and the future of England.

What did I think of this book:
I really enjoyed this first book in this new to me series. It was kind of fun to see Elizabeth in a different setting than the normal historical fiction I have read about her. Of course my favorite character of this story is Kate. She is so trusting, friendly and wants to help everyone. Her dad seems like such a sweet old man and you can not help but feel bad for him with his health. There are two men who both like Kate - Anthony and Rob - I am cheering for a relationship between Kate and Anthony in later books but will have ot wait and see what the author has in store for us. There were some evil characters in this story as well like Lord Braceton - who was dead set on destroying lives no matter what. When Kate was searching for the killer it had to be hard to figure things out while trying to stay safe in a time when it was hard to stay safe. I also liked the little addition of the ghostly characters I thought they added to the story. I had no clue that the killer would have ended being who it was - which was good writing on the author's part. I will be reading the rest of this series in the next month so watch for the reviews. 

About the author:
Amanda has been in love with the Tudors ever since an accidental viewing of "Anne of the Thousand Days" on TV as a kid! Now she just wishes she could live with them all the time--but there has to be time for writing about them too.

She also writes as Amanda McCabe and Laurel McKee, and her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers' Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion. She lives in Oklahoma with a menagerie of two cats, a Pug, and a very bossy miniature Poodle, along with far too many books.When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, yoga, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network--even though she doesn't cook.You can also visit Amanda's website here

June 18, 2016

The Irish Inheritance by MJ Lee - Spotlight

Published: June 15, 2016
Number of pages: 285
Genre: Historical Mystery 
Series: Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery #1

June 8, 1921. Ireland.

A British Officer is shot dead on a remote hillside south of Dublin.

November 22, 2015. United Kingdom.

Former police detective, Jayne Sinclair, now working as a genealogical investigator, receives a phone call from an adopted American billionaire asking her to discover the identity of his real father.

How are the two events linked?

Jayne Sinclair has only three clues to help her: a photocopied birth certificate, a stolen book and an old photograph. And it soon becomes apparent somebody else is on the trail of the mystery. A killer who will stop at nothing to prevent Jayne discovering the secret hidden in the past.

The Irish Inheritance takes us through the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence, combining a search for the truth of the past with all the tension of a modern-day thriller.

It is the first in a series of novels featuring Jayne Sinclair, genealogical detective.

About the author:
Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.

He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.

When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, researching his family history, practicing downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.

You can find more information on M.J. Lee and his novels on Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.

June 17, 2016

Murder on the Menu by Zanna Mackenzie - Guest Post

Published: September 24, 2015
Number of pages: 266
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Celebrity Mystery #1

After Lizzie’s new boss, celebrity chef Armand, is stabbed in his own kitchen, Lizzie finds herself at the top of the suspect list.

Determined to clear her name she’s forced to enlist the services of her new neighbour, Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency (CCIA) special agent Jack Mathis, who’s been suspended from his duties for reasons unknown.

Can Lizzie save herself from getting arrested and manage to resist her special agent sidekick’s considerable charms and gorgeous smile? Will they solve the culinary murder mystery or will she end up in a prison cell?

About the author:
I write romantic comedy mysteries and when I’m not writing I can be found gardening (trying to grow tomatoes in the British climate is a major challenge!) walking the dogs or reading.

I’m a former therapist, a fan of the great outdoors – especially Scotland, the Lake District and Derbyshire’s Peak district – and also something of a dreamer!

Home is a village on the Derbyshire / Leicestershire border in the UK with my husband, our 4 Labrador dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read.

At every opportunity I can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel I’m working on and I love it when the characters in my work in progress novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!

My website: www.zannamackenzie.co.uk

Find Zanna on social media

Purchase Link 

Guest Post:
What Makes A Good Heroine In A Novel?

Have you ever started to read a book and found you couldn’t finish it because you disliked the heroine so much? What was it about her that you disliked? Did she complain endlessly and not take any actions to solve her problems? Was she too materialistic or simply too wishy-washy? Maybe she was loud and annoying or too shy and mousy? Now, what about the flip side? What was it about heroines in books that you’ve liked? Maybe she was a little flirty? Perhaps she had a wicked sense of humour? Was it her determination in the face of adversity that drew you to liking her?

Our taste in book heroines is as varied as our taste in friends so what one person finds utterly irritating, another might love, and vice versa.

I think the key is whether or not you can relate to the lead female character in a book you are reading. Can you identify with her problems, whatever they are – a job she hates, a fraught relationship with her mum, a lack of romance in her life, or maybe all three! Of course, with a mystery, there’s the added complication of tracking down a murderer, stolen items or a stalker. Which means a heroine in a mystery novel usually has a lot to get to grips with!

One thing is for sure, wherever she lives, whatever job she does, whatever her current dilemma, she HAS to be likeable. Most of us, I think, probably prefer to read about a heroine who is feisty, capable, a modern, independent woman looking to get sleuthing and help put the villain behind bars. Personally speaking, I like an element of romance in a mystery novel too (the books I write are romantic comedy cozy mysteries) and I want to follow the heroine in her search for the right man for her, as well as her search for justice.

Critically, she also has to be flawed in some way, have some element of vulnerability, so she endears herself to us. She could have been emotionally hurt in the past and is scared to get involved again. Maybe she simply hasn’t got a clue what she wants in life and is trying to sort herself out –we’ve all been there!

Our amateur sleuth could be a perfectly coiffed city girl in designer shoes with a penchant for expensive handbags. She could be a country girl who lives in jeans and boots and wouldn’t know a designer dress from a high street one. It doesn’t matter, we just need to like her and want to hear her story.

In Murder On The Menu (Book 1 in my Celebrity mystery series) Lizzie ends up doing a complete about turn. She was a city girl with a great career and a steady boyfriend but then it all fell apart and she found herself living in the middle of nowhere and waitressing to make ends meet. Despite all the issues in her life, Lizzie is feisty and determined to get things back on track. Unfortunately, fate has other ideas and when her creepy celebrity chef boss is stabbed one night in the restaurant kitchen, the police have Lizzie at the top of the list of suspects. Yikes! Looks like Lizzie still has plenty more challenges to tackle. Enlisting the help of her gorgeous new neighbour Jack, who claims he’s some kind of special agent on enforced leave, might not be her best idea yet, but Lizzie’s prepared to do whatever it takes to save herself from landing in jail when she’s perfectly innocent.

At the end of the day, I think we just want to read about a heroine we can identify with, that we can imagine ourselves being friends with, can understand her motives and are rooting for to ‘get her man’.

What do you think? I’d love to know!

Tour Participants

June 13 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
June 13 – The Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT
June 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
June 15 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
June 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 16 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
June 17 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST
June 17 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW 
June 18 – Book Babble – REVIEW
June 19 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
June 20 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW
June 21 – Books Direct – GUEST POST
June 21 – Jane Reads – REVIEW
June 22 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW
June 23 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
June 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW
June 25 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
June 25 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

June 15, 2016

A Moment Forever by Cat Gardiner - Spotlight, Excerpt and Giveaway

Published: My 28, 2016
Number of pages: 600
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Liberty Victory #1

In every footlocker, hope chest, and heart full of secrets there is a story waiting to be discovered and told.

In the summer of 1992, a young writer is bequeathed the abandoned home of a great-uncle she never knew. The house has a romantic history and is unlike any home she has ever seen. Juliana Martel felt as though she stepped into a time capsule—a snapshot of 1942. The epic romance—and heartache—of the former occupant unfold through reading his wartime letters found in the attic, compelling her on a quest to construct the man. His life, as well as his sweetheart’s, during the Second World War were as mysterious as his disappearance in 1950.

Carrying her own pain inflicted by the abandonment of her mother and unexpected death of her father, Juliana embarks on a journalist’s dream to find her great-uncle and the woman he once loved. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a man whose family is closely related to the secrets, she uncovers the carefully hidden events of her great-uncle’s and others’ lives – and will ultimately change her own with their discovery.

This story of undying love, born amidst the darkest era in modern history, unfolded on the breathtaking Gold Coast of Long Island in 1942. A Jewish, Army Air Forces pilot and an enchanting society debutante—young lovers—deception—and a moment in time that lasted forever.

A Moment Forever is an evocative journey that will resonate with you long after you close the book. Romance, heartache, and the power of love, atonement, and forgiveness transform lives long after the horrors and scars of the Second World War have ended.

About the Author
Born and bred in New York City, Cat Gardiner is a girl in love with the romance of an era once known as the Silent Generation, now referred to as the Greatest Generation. A member of the National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and Tampa Area Romance Authors, she and her husband adore exploring the 1940s Home Front experience as living historians, wishing for a time machine to transport them back seventy years.

She loves to pull out her vintage frocks and attend U.S.O dances, swing clubs, and re-enactment camps as part of her research, believing that everyone should have an understanding of The 1940s Experience™.

Inspired by those everyday young adults who changed the fate of the world, she writes about them, taking the reader on a romantic journey. Cat’s WWII-era novels always begin in her beloved Big Apple and surround you with the sights and sounds of a generation.

She is also the author of four Jane Austen-inspired contemporary novels, however, her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever is her debut novel in that genre.

For more information please visit Cat Gardiner’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

The closed door to the attic appeared innocuous, but like the pleasant personas and expressions many people conveyed, Juliana felt it was a dead giveaway that something terrible hid behind it. She was, after all, an example of that. Her deepest wounds, she believed, were cleverly masked behind her jovial expressions and happy demeanor, but she didn’t realize that the signs were evident in her near anorexic figure.

However, on this late afternoon, she felt open and liberated after surviving the luncheon with her mother. She had bared her inner feelings and animosity then came home to clean the vintage kitchen. Feeling renewed, she went to the grocer around the corner because her white Frigidaire looked as hollow as she had felt these last eleven years. Strangely, she was in the mood to cook a cheeseburger.

From the top of the staircase, Juliana could still hear the record player from the parlor. Melancholy tunes by the Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald filled the entire house. She hoped it would carry up into the attic, thinking the soulful music would transport her back to the era and mindset of William when he had last locked the garret.

Yes, it was locked and after an hour of searching the house high and low, she finally found the key inside a small box in one of the dresser drawers. Beside the brass skeleton key sat a gold signet ring with engraving upon the face: propellers and wings surrounded a small diamond at its center. The inscription along the inside of the band read, “With Love, Mom and Dad.”

“Here it goes,” Juliana said before holding her breath and nervously turning the key. She felt on the verge of a full-blown panic attack.

The door creaked like all the others in the house and her heart rate sped up as it had time and again in the course of this home’s unveiling.

Once the door was fully open, she pulled the slender cord hanging against the wall, illuminating the narrow passage by the bare light bulb fixture.

Each step up the steep staircase issued a groan from the hardened planks beneath every footfall of her black Converse sneakers until she stood at the top, fiercely gripping onto the simple banister. She looked around the large, dark room before taking the final step into the unknown, mysterious, and yet-to-be-discovered past of her great-uncle. After working herself up to it for the last two days, Juliana had been expecting something ominous and frightening in the attic, yet instead she felt a sense of peace coupled with sadness. Her thoughts traveled to her father, and her emotions became even more pronounced. Her eyes welled with tears at the morose tranquility the attic emanated.

Essentially, but for a couple of trunks and a few boxes neatly placed upon a shelf, the attic was empty, having lain undisturbed and unfilled since its purchase in December of 1942.

If these walls could talk, they would tell her how William had slid his footlocker under the eave after placing the last of its contents within and how he had waited one full year before doing so. They would tell his grand-niece how he waited until the very last minute to place the newspaper over the windows. Once beige strips of masking tape were now an aged, burnished orange. The empty space staring back at the modern-day interloper represented the very reason for William’s departure.

Although expecting the worst in the attic, she wasn’t prepared for the emptiness. She had imagined cobwebs extending from box to box and odd pieces of furniture and tools that had long outgrown their usefulness. She thought the attic would surely be filled with scary dolls and broken strollers, perhaps a rocking chair or an eerie mirror, maybe even some Dorian Gray-type painting and faded photographs. Expecting an antique cemetery of sorts filled with memories, stories, and voices of the past residents who had once lived at 300 Bradford Road, she was surprised by the vacant space before her.

The startling emptiness of the room confirmed to her that no happy memories had ever been created in this house. The house never became a home, had never filled with children’s laughter or generations of family dating back to its initial construction. No household item ever had the luxury of being used enough to justify its disregard, saving and eventual storing on the third floor. It was clear to Juliana that Primrose Cottage was only a place where William laid his head, not his heart. True life had never infused these walls. The attic led her to believe he had been a bachelor—never married, never had children, never sharing his life, let alone this house, with anyone. The starkness of the attic revealed the loneliness of the man at the time of his departure.


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