“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

"Hidden Rebel" by Michelle Janene Blog Tour (Review) & GIVEAWAY!

About the Book

Book: Hidden Rebel
Author: Michelle Janene
Genre:  Christian medieval fantasy
Release Date: August 17, 2017
A disguised warrior on a mission to save a dying kingdom,
but God has more planned.
Aria has left home with one goal. Find the weapon used to defeat the horde of the Black Knight and save what remains of her kingdom.
But things are not going as planned.
Disguised as a male knight, she saves the young prince of the neighboring kingdom, and tales of her fighting prowess spread like a raging fire. Now, within the castle walls of a foreign kingdom, a young girl masquerading as her page serves as her only confidant. But the widower king and his enemies are taking notice of her. The legendary weapon, however, is nowhere to be found.
What is God doing?
Aria needs to save her home without losing her heart.

Click here to get your copy!
 My Review
“Hidden Rebel” by Michelle Janene is the third book in the “Changed Hearts” series, but it can easily be read as a standalone.  
“Hidden Rebel” has a kick-butt, strong female heroine named Aria.  Aria disguises herself as a male in order to fight for her kingdom and find the weapon used to defeat the evil encroaching upon her kingdom.  I love the way she fights.  She fights better than most of the men.  Her fighting seems like a combination of martial arts and the normal fighting of the medieval time period.  
Aria learns a lot of lessons along her jouney.  At one point, Aria longs to fight, but she must remember that the battle is the Lord’s and she must trust Him.  He calls her to train and prepare.  I love the lesson that God fights for us and we just need to trust in Him.
There is a lot of spiritual content in “Hidden Rebel.”  I would caution those who are wary of reading about spiritual warfare.  It does talk about that a lot and about evil and its presence.  The story also felt slow to me at times, although I did enjoy it.  Ms. Janene has obviously done her research, which shows in her writing. 
Overall, the book has a great main character and a lot of great lessons and spiritual content, although the pacing seemed slow to me at times.  I would recommend it to those who love the medieval time period and a book packed with spiritual content.
Content:  I would give this book a PG-13 rating.  Some examples of the content are: men drink alcohol; there are some descriptions of battle scenes with blood; a man curses but the words aren’t actually written; it is implied that a man intends to rape a girl, but it doesn’t end up happening.
Rating:  I give this book 3 stars.
I want to thank Michelle Janene and Celebrate Lit for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

About the Author

Michelle Janene lives and works in Northern California, though most days she blissfully exists in the medieval creations of her mind. She is a devoted teacher, a dysfunctional housekeeper, and a dedicated writer. She released her first novella Mission: Mistaken Identity in the fall of 2015, God’s Rebel in 2016, Rebel’s Son in 2017, and has been published in several anthologies. She leads two critique groups and is the founder of Strong Tower Press—Indie solutions for indie authors.

More from Michelle

The main character of Hidden Rebel is a princess who is also a warrior. She needed to move between court and the battlefield with minimal issues. Aria also took the verse that women should not dress as men seriously. I wrote about a fighting skirt for her.

It appeared to be a pleated skirt with several long panels. Those panels weren’t sewn together other than at her hips. When Aria moved it was clear the skirt panels where over tight trousers and tall boots.

I thought about the skirt so much I created my own. I have worn it to local Renaissance Faires.

Blog Stops

Emily Yager, November 22
Avid Reader Nurse, November 23
Texas Book-aholic, November 25
janicesbookreviews, November 26
Inside the Wong Mind, November 27
A Reader’s Brain, November 28
Pause for Tales, November 29
CarpeDiem, December 1


To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card and the entire trilogy on eBook!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

I Can Finally Share the News!

There are many ways to build a family. We are excited to announce that we are officially licensed as foster parents and are looking forward to expanding our family through foster care and adoption.

The process has allowed us to spend many hours in training and to organize our home to meet licensing standards. As with any child, we are not guaranteed a specific amount of time together.

We may, or may not, have the opportunity to adopt the children we foster. It is likely we will have several placements and with each child, we will love them unconditionally and provide them with a healthy, nurturing, and healing environment. Foster care is complicated; each child’s situation and story is unique. Each foster child’s story is theirs to share on their own terms. What we want to share with you is that we are not special people because we have chosen to be foster parents. Rather, we feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to parent these children, for however long we have them. We are so thankful for the excitement of family and friends, for the encouragement
we have and will receive, and for the opportunity to meet all the angels who cross our path.

Update: We were licensed on the 14th and received our first placement on the 18th and are already in love!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A Delight for the Senses--"Meet Me In Monaco" by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb--Review

My Review

Lay back, kick your feet up and imagine the sun of the French Riviera on your face.  Perfumes delight your senses and the warm sea breeze plays with your hair.  This book will transport you to a time of Royal Weddings and exotic locales.  Before the wedding of Meghan and Harry was the wedding of the famous movie star Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier of Monaco.

"Meet Me in Monaco" by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb is a story based on real events.  Its main characters are Sophie Duval, a perfumer, and James Henderson, a press photographer.  Through the eyes of these two we witness the royal wedding and the events leading up to it.  I loved seeing Grace Kelly and learning more about her through Sophie and James’s eyes.  There was truly wedding fever. 

The stories of Sophie and James (fictional characters) are very beautiful as well.  I especially love Sophie, learning about perfumes and how she creates them.  It is fascinating how perfumers try to learn a person’s personality, favorite memories, etc., and match that to a scent or combination of scents.  I appreciate Sophie’s love of beauty and her perfume work that she is very passionate about.  However, I don’t like how Sophie cheats on her fiancĂ© and I feel like the main character was condoning affairs at one point.  Later Sophie does face the consequences for keeping secrets from James and realizes she was wrong in doing so, which I appreciate.  James and Sophie learn that you must grasp life while you can.  And the end, well, you have to see for yourself if they will get their own happy ending.

Lovers of history, Grace Kelly and Royal Weddings will love this book!

Content: reference to an alcoholic; alcohol is consumed; the word “hell” is used; a man smokes; the word “bloody” is used; the Lord’s name is taken in vain; the word “da**” is used; the word “a**” is used; there are a few fade-to-black sex scenes; there are some sexual innuendos.

Rating: I give this book 4 stars.

I want to thank Hazel Gaynor, Heather Webb, Harper Collins, William Morrow and LibraryThing Early Reviewers for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

About the Authors

HEATHER WEBB is the author of historical novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover, and the anthology Fall of Poppies, which have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Elle, France Magazine, and more, as well as received national starred reviews.  RODIN’S LOVER was a Goodreads Top Pick in 2015. Up and coming, Last Christmas in Paris, an epistolary love story set during WWI will release October 3, 2017, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, a re-imagining of the Gothic classic Phantom of the Opera from Christine Daae’s point of view releases February 6, 2018. To date, her novels have sold in ten countries. Heather is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend.

HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris will be published in 2017.

Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland.

To purchase the book click here
To visit the Ms. Gaynor's website click here
To visit Ms. Webb's website click here

Monday, October 7, 2019

A Quirky and Fun Read!--"Diamond in the Rough" by Jen Turano--Review & GIVEAWAY!

About Diamond in the Rough

Hardcover: 352 Pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (September 3, 2019)
To save her family from financial ruin, Miss Poppy Garrison accepts an unusual proposition to participate in the New York social season in exchange for her grandmother settling a family loan that has unexpectedly come due. Ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of mingling within the New York Four Hundred, Poppy becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, doomed to suffer a grand societal failure instead of being deemed the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs for her to become.
Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, has been forced to travel to America to help his cousin, Charles Wynn, Earl of Lonsdale, find an American heiress to wed in order to shore up his family estate that is in desperate need of funds. Reginald himself has no interest in finding an heiress to marry, but when Poppy’s grandmother asks him to give etiquette lessons to Poppy, he swiftly discovers he may be in for much more than he bargained for.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

My Review

You don’t find many historical fiction novels that also can be humorous and light hearted.  But "Diamond in the Rough" by Jen Turano is certainly just that among the many historical fiction novels published today.  I might even go so far as to say it’s a “Diamond of the First Water,” just as our main character Poppy strives to be!

Poppy Garrison is a unique, klutzy, and completely genuine and loveable character (and what a name).  I loved watching her as she tries to navigate the rules and etiquette of the New York Four Hundred social season (think of Poppy adjusting a broken bustle in public–the horror).  But this book isn’t just light and fluffy; there is also a lot of character growth and development and themes of family and identity. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my romp through the social season, but I am very glad Poppy was the one to do it and not myself, thank you very much! 

Content: This is a clean read.

Rating: I give this book 4 stars.

I want to thank TLC Book Tours, Jen Turano and Bethany House for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

About Jen Turano

Jen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

Connect with Jen

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Instagram tour:

Monday, September 9th: @girlandherbooks
Tuesday, September 10th: @theshybooks
Wednesday, September 11th: @southernbellereading
Thursday, September 12th: @all.the.lovely.pages
Friday, September 13th: @thereadingchemist
Saturday, September 14th: @thecaffeinated_bibliophile
Sunday, September 15th: @LisaBReads

Review tour:

Monday, September 16th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, September 17th: What is That Book About – excerpt
Thursday, September 19th: Broken Teepee
Thursday, September 19th: Lori’s Reading Corner – excerpt
Friday, September 20th: The Lit Bitch
Monday, September 23rd: Write Read Life
Wednesday, September 25th: Laura’s Reviews
Friday, September 27th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, September 30th: Christian Chick’s Thoughts
Wednesday, October 2nd: Empowermoms
Friday, October 4th: Blooming with Books
Monday, October 7th: Faery Tales are Real
Wednesday, October 9th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Open to US only.  One lucky winner will get a copy of the book!
1.  Leave a comment below and tell me what you would find hard in the High Society of the time?  The clothes, etiquette, etc.  
2.  Follow me on any of my social media accounts and comment where you followed and under what username.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

A Fascinating Novel of the Todd Sisters!--"The First Lady and the Rebel" by Susan Higginbotham--Review & GIVEAWAY!


Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Sourcebooks Landmark
eBook & Paperback; 400 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

From the celebrated author Susan Higginbotham comes the incredible story of Lincoln’s First Lady
A Union’s First Lady
As the Civil War cracks the country in two, Mary Lincoln stands beside her husband praying for a swift Northern victory. But as the body count rises, Mary can’t help but fear each bloody gain. Because her beloved sister Emily is across party lines, fighting for the South, and Mary is at risk of losing both her country and her family in the tides of a brutal war.
A Confederate Rebel’s Wife
Emily Todd Helm has married the love of her life. But when her husband’s southern ties pull them into a war neither want to join, she must make a choice. Abandon the family she has built in the South or fight against the sister she has always loved best.
With a country’s legacy at stake, how will two sisters shape history?


My Review

This is a story of two sisters living during the Civil War.  Each happens to be on a different side—one a Rebel and one in the Union.  The sisters are none other than the wife of Abraham Lincoln (Mary Todd Lincoln) and her half-sister Emily.

"The First Lady and the Rebel" by Susan Higginbotham is a dual perspective novel, told from Emily and Mary’s points of view.  I loved learning about these women and this time period.  It was fun to read about their love stories and I especially enjoyed Mary’s personality and seeing Abraham Lincoln through her eyes.

This is not just another Civil War story.  It is a deeply personal tale of loss, love and family.  There are both good and bad people on either side of the War.  The issues surrounding the War aren’t as cut and dry as we like to think.  The lives of these two sisters show that love and loss are universal.  If you love the Civil War Era or reading about real life characters, you will love this book!

Content: I give this book a PG-13 rating.  Some examples of the content are: mention of a woman’s bosom; mention of alcohol and drunkenness; a character refers to the “marital act;” the word “Negro” is used in context; the word “da**” is used; mention of alcohol and men getting drunk; the word “b**ch” is used; some gore related to descriptions of war; some talk of making love, but not super descriptive; a man talks of visits from spirits and mediums.

Rating: I give this book 4 stars.

I want to thank Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Sourcebooks and Susan Higginbotham for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.


“Historical fiction at it best: A unique, intimate view of a character we thought we knew. The Civil War comes to life through two sisters on opposite sides, one the first lady of the not-so United States. And through it all, a fascinating family saga. I learned a lot and loved this book.” – Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of American Duchess
“Susan Higginbotham’s The First Lady and the Rebel is a meticulously researched and powerfully written account of the complicated and compelling relationship between the Todd sisters. Higginbotham’s two female protagonists are bonded by blood and love, but pulled apart by war. Set against the sweeping backdrop of our nation’s Civil War, this is the tragic and true story of human hearts both fierce and fallible, of deeply mixed loyalties, and of the imperfect but inspiring individuals who were asked to do the unimaginable. Moving and enlightening.” – Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Empress
“Susan Higginbotham has done it again-crafted a richly detailed novel that immerses readers in America’s Civil War. The First Lady and the Rebel explores the tragic story of a family and a nation torn apart, while shedding light on rarely reported events in the personal life of Abraham Lincoln. Mary Todd Lincoln, the President’s wife, and her sister, Emily Todd Helm, are devoted to their husbands and to each other, yet find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict as they face overwhelming grief and loss. The novel presents a devastating time and place rendered so vividly you’ll feel as if you’d lived through the war yourself. Higginbotham’s painstaking and extensive research is evident from the engaging first chapter to the novel’s moving conclusion. For those who like their historical novels based on real people, this book is a must-read.” – Amy Belding Brown, author of Flight of the Sparrow

About the Author

Susan Higginbotham is the author of seven historical novels, including Hanging Mary, The Stolen Crown, and The Queen of Last Hopes. The Traitor’s Wife, her first novel, was the winner of ForeWord Magazine’s 2005 Silver Award for historical fiction and was a Gold Medalist, Historical/Military Fiction, 2008 Independent Publisher Book wards. She writes her own historical fiction blog, History Refreshed. Higginbotham has worked as an editor and an attorney, and lives in Maryland with her family.


Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, October 1
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Wednesday, October 2
Review at Faery Tales Are Real
Review & Guest Post at Clarissa Reads it All
Thursday, October 3
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction
Friday, October 4
Review at Donna’s Book Blog
Saturday, October 5
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, October 7
Review at Hooked on Books
Interview at Reading the Past
Tuesday, October 8
Review at The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, October 9
Review at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, October 10
Review at Unabridged Chick
Friday, October 11
Interview at Unabridged Chick
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Saturday, October 12
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, October 14
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Tuesday, October 15
Review at Passages to the Past


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of The First Lady and the Rebel! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.