“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

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Friday, December 8, 2017

"Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I" by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb ARC GIVEAWAY!!!

Hello dear readers!  I received two advanced paperback copies of "Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I" by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, so I decided to give one of you the chance to win it!  This is my first giveaway I'm doing personally since I've started my blog up again (I did get permission from the publisher to giveaway an ARC.  If you win, you cannot sell the ARC).  I'm so excited, I'm even throwing in a scarf and some swag.  Please be sure to read the rules before entering.  Be sure to read my review and interview with the authors here.

Details: 
  • 1 paperback advanced copy of "Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I" by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, the pictured scarf and some swag
  • US residents only please due to shipping
  • Only valid entries will be counted (I will be verifying entries)
  • Contest will be held for a week (12/8-12/15)
  • Winner will be contacted via e-mail
  • If winner does not respond after 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen
 
 Click here to enter via Rafflecopter

Thursday, December 7, 2017

"The Tides Between" by Elizabeth Jane Corbett Blog Tour & GIVEAWAY!

 

 

The Tides Between by Elizabeth Jane Corbett

Publication Date: October 20, 2017
Odyssey Books
Paperback; 300 Pages
 
Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Historical
 
 
She fancied herself part of a timeless chain without beginning or end, linked only by the silver strong words of its tellers.
 
In the year 1841, on the eve of her departure from London, Bridie’s mother demands she forget her dead father and prepare for a sensible, adult life in Port Phillip. Desperate to save her childhood, fifteen-year-old Bridie is determined to smuggle a notebook filled with her father’s fairytales to the far side of the world.
 
When Rhys Bevan, a soft-voiced young storyteller and fellow traveller realises Bridie is hiding something, a magical friendship is born. But Rhys has his own secrets and the words written in Bridie’s notebook carry a dark double meaning.
 
As they inch towards their destination, Rhys’s past returns to haunt him. Bridie grapples with the implications of her dad’s final message. The pair take refuge in fairytales, little expecting the trouble it will cause.
 

Odyssey Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

 
 
My Review
 
“The Tides Between” by Elizabeth Jane Corbett is a multi-layered coming of age novel.  I was interested in reviewing this book when I read the description and saw that fairy tales are involved.  Obviously, from my blog name, I am a lover of fairy tales.  This isn’t your typical fairy tale, but a very realistic story that incorporates fairy tales in a fascinating way. 

Ms. Corbett tells the story of Bridie, who along with her mother and step father, is on an immigrant vessel travelling from London to Australia in 1841.  “The Tides Between” does a great job of showing the reality of what life is like on the ship and the harsh conditions the passengers have to deal with.  It is so realistic; I often found some parts hard to read.  This realism is a good contrast to Bridie’s fairy tales.  There are a lot of hard topics and tough situations in this story.  Bridie and her new friend Rhys use fairy tales and imagination to help each other through the voyage.  This really goes along with the quote I have as the header on my blog by G.K. Chesterton: “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”  I also love this quote from “The Tides Between”:  “Fairy tales aren’t nonsense…they help us understand our lives.”  This is why the world needs stories, fairy tales and legends and Ms. Corbett conveys that truth so well through her own story!

There are so many great themes woven into the fabric of Ms. Corbett’s story.  Bridie learns about people–how they are complex and that everyone has their own burdens to carry and problems to face.   But we can also help one another and don’t have to face hardship alone.  Ms. Corbett does an amazing job of depicting grief and the way one processes it.  Lastly, Ms. Corbett shows that sometimes as we get older, the hardships of life crowd in and we lose ourselves, our innate sense of wonder and the magic of life.  Often stories can help us to find ourselves and the wonder of life again.  By reading about the courage of others, we can find the strength within ourselves to face the battles and hardships that life throws at us. 

Content: I give this book a PG-13 rating and would only recommend it to adults.  This is a very realistic story.  There are a lot of minor swear words.  The Lord’s name is taken in vain.  There is alcohol and alcoholics.  There is a character with PTSD.  There is physical abuse.  There is talk about a woman’s menstrual cycle.  There is talk about magic and curses.  There is an affair.  There is mention of sex, things related to sex and one brief sex scene (without a lot of detail).  There is talk of a father forcing himself on his daughter. 

Rating: I give this book 4 stars.

Genre: Historical Fiction

I want to thank Elizabeth Jane Corbett, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and Odyssey Books 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

 
When Elizabeth Jane Corbett isn’t writing, she works as a librarian, teaches Welsh at the Melbourne Celtic Club, writes reviews and articles for the Historical Novel Society and blogs at elizabethjanecorbett.com. In 2009, her short-story, Beyond the Blackout Curtain, won the Bristol Short Story Prize. Another, Silent Night, was short listed for the Allan Marshall Short Story Award. An early draft of her debut novel, The Tides Between, was shortlisted for a HarperCollins Varuna manuscript development award.
 
Elizabeth lives with her husband, Andrew, in a renovated timber cottage in Melbourne’s inner-north. She likes red shoes, dark chocolate, commuter cycling, and reading quirky, character driven novels set once-upon-a-time in lands far, far away.
 
For more information, please visit Elizabeth Jane Corbett’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
 

Blog Tour Schedule

 
Monday, December 4
Review at Back Porchervations
Feature at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, December 5 Guest Post at Booklover Book Reviews
Wednesday, December 6 Review at 100 Pages a Day
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, December 7 Review at Faery Tales Are Real
Friday, December 8 Review & Guest Post at Locks, Hooks and Books
Monday, December 11 Review at Creating Herstory
Tuesday, December 12 Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review at Singing Librarian Books
Wednesday, December 13 Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
 

Giveaway

 
During the Cover Reveal we will be giving away a signed copy of The Tides Between and Bookplate! To enter, please enter via the link below.
 
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– 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.
 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

"The Heart of An Agent" by Tracey Lyons Blog Tour (Review) & GIVEAWAY!



Lyons-TheHeartofanAgent-24864-CV-FT (1)About the Book:


Name of book: The Heart of an Agent

Author: Tracey J. Lyons

Genre: Inspirational historical romance

Release Date: November 7, 2017

 
Tracey J. Lyons, the author of A Changed Agent, returns to the Adirondack Mountains of the 1890s in a novel of love, faith, and secrets…
 
Former Pinkerton spy Lily Handland has always dreamed of a quiet, safe life, free from chasing criminals and putting herself at risk. So when the opportunity to invest in a failing Great Camp in the Adirondacks comes to her attention, she quickly jumps at the chance.
 
Filled with grief, widower Owen Murphy wants to run away from it all. Though he’s worked hard to forge a future for himself, his guilt has kept him mired in the past. But all that changes when a headstrong, mysterious woman shows up at Owen’s door. Together, as Lily and Owen restore the beauty of the Great Camp, he begins to finally see a future. But will learning about Lily’s past destroy it all?
 
Click here to purchase your copy.


My Review:


“The Heart of an Agent” by Tracey J. Lyons is the second book in “Adirondack Pinkertons” series, but can easily be read as a standalone.  I have not read the first book, “A Changed Agent”, but I am now interested in it after reading this book.

Ms. Lyons excels in the way she describes her settings.   This book contains such vivid and beautiful descriptions of the Adirondacks.  Ms. Lyons writes the setting so well that I could picture everything in my mind.  I am not even much of a mountain or wilderness person, but the descriptions won me over so much so that I want to visit the Adirondacks and to go outside more to experience God’s creation.  Ms. Lyons also takes the reader back to a slower paced way of life consisting of small towns and Great Camps.  I enjoyed learning a lot about the Great Camps and the Adirondacks in the 1890s. 

I really love the characters in this story.  I somewhat felt a Beauty and the Beast vibe throughout (I’m not sure if the author intended that or not).  Ms. Lyons shows a very realistic portrayal of grief through her main character, Owen Murphy.  I love our other main character too, Lily Handland, who is a former Pinkerton spy.  Both characters have a faith that grows throughout the story.  I like how the characters pray and quote Scripture.  This book also has a slow building romance, as opposed to insta-love which can feel unnatural.  Because there is so much descriptive language and a love story that builds up over time, it is a slower paced read overall.  When I saw it was about a former Pinkerton agent, I expected there to be more action and more about the Pinkerton Detective Agency in general, but it sounds like that was more in the first book of the series.

“The Heart of an Agent” by Tracey J. Lyons is a book with a sweet romance and a breathtaking setting! 
Content: This is a clean read.  Lily was a salon girl as a part of her job in the past, but she didn’t do anything more than serve drinks.  There is mention of a low neckline on a gown.  There is a brief scene with a drunken man who tries to accost Lily.

Rating:  I give this book 3 ½ stars. 

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction; Romance
I want to thank Tracey J. Lyons, Waterfall Press and Celebrate Lit Publishing 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.





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About the Author:


An Amazon Top Ten bestselling historical romance author of the Adirondack Pinkertons and the Women of Surprise series, Tracey was a 2017 National Excellence Romance Fiction Award finalist. She sold her first book on 9/9/99! Her books have been translated into several languages and are available in print, digital and audio formats. A true upstate New Yorker, Tracey believes you should write what you know. Her historical romances are all set in the New York State area. Tracey considers herself a small town gal who writes small town romances. You can learn more about Tracey and her books by visiting her website at www.traceylyons.com.


Guest Post from Tracey Lyons


My family and I spent a lot of time in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. When I came up with the idea for the Pinkerton series, I knew the books had to be set in a place that I loved. The Heart of An Agent, book 2 in The Adirondack Pinkertons series takes place at an Adirondack great camp. Imagine a time when people would travel from faraway places to hike the many trails or lounge on a porch in one of the famed Adirondack chairs. These intricate, grand structures, built during the latter part of the nineteenth century are part of the unique landscape and history that makes up the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. I enjoyed creating the fictional Murphy camp, the setting for Lily Handland and Owen Murphy’s story.

Blog Stops

 
Just the Write Escape, November 30
Texas Book-aholic, December 1
A Greater Yes, December 2
Multifarious, December 3
Carpe Diem, December 6
Bibliophile Reviews, December 7
Pause for Tales, December 8
With a Joyful Noise, December 9
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 10
Daysong Reflections, December 10
Mary Hake, December 11
My Writer’s Life, December 12
Books n Baubles, December 12
Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 13
 

Giveaway

 

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To celebrate her tour, Tracey is giving away a Grand Prize Package of a tea-time themed gift box (Valued at over $75) and a $25 Visa Gift Card!!

 
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c1f6
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Get in the Mood for Christmas with "Christmas at Carnton" by Tamera Alexander (Review)



"Christmas at Carnton" by Tamera Alexander is a sweet Christmas novella that will get you in the Christmas spirit.  “Christmas at Carnton” is the second book I’ve read by this author.  It’s a novella to start off a new "Carnton" series.  It is a longer novella at a little over 200 pages.  It's the perfect read for a cozy winter's night.

"Christmas at Carnton" reminds me of a great Hallmark movie.  Its characters are real, flawed people who you grow to care about.  I especially like our heroine, Aletta, who is recently widowed with a young son and another child on the way.  On top of that she loses her job and home.  She has a strong faith that shines despite her hardships.  She prays for others, helps people even when she is barely making it herself, and shows a great deal of courage.  She is a wonderful picture of strength amidst great hardship.

"Christmas at Carnton" is an excellent story.  I appreciate how Ms. Alexander puts a lot of history in, so you really feel like you've learned something while reading a great book.  This tale shows the hardships women faced during the Civil War as well as Southerners.  Being from the North, I don't know as much about the South and their side of the story.  They are real people with hopes and dreams, some good and some bad.  Most of the people Aletta knows don't even own slaves and they see the War as being more than just about the issue of slavery.  Bravo, Ms. Alexander, for shining light on the lesser known stories of the War and making history come alive!

Content: I would give this book a PG rating.  There is talk of a man banishing his wife's doubts that he desires her and then lying in bed and talking with her after the fact.  There are hints that a woman who is behind on her mortgages is giving a man at the bank favors of a sordid nature.  The word Negro is used, but not in a derogatory way.

Rating: I give this book 4 stars.

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction; Romance

I want to thank Tamera Alexander, Thomas Nelson and the Fiction Guild 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:


Tamera Alexander is the USA Today bestselling author of numerous books, including A Lasting Impression, A Note Yet Unsung, To Whisper Her Name, and To Wager Her Heart

Her richly drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide, as well as multiple industry awards.

These awards include the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Bookseller’s Best Award, and being listed among Publishers Weekly and Library Journal’s Top Inspirational Fiction, among others.

Tamera's books have been translated into numerous languages. She's toured Germany and The Netherlands meeting readers, and cherishes those connections.

She hopes readers who pick up one of her novels will be swept away into another time and place, that they'll fall in love with the characters and gain insights into the history of the setting and people of yesteryear. But most of all, when a reader turns that final page in one of her novels, she prays they will have taken a step closer to Christ. Because He's what it's all about.

After living in Colorado for nearly two decades, Tamera and her husband now make their home in Nashville where they enjoy life with their two adult children who live nearby, and Murphy—a rambunctious but oh-so-lovable Australian Terrier.

To visit the author's website click here

To purchase this book click here

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"The Baker's Daughter" by D.P. Cornelius Blog Tour and GIVEAWAY!


 

 
Genre:  Christian, Fiction, Historical, Young Adult
Publisher: LPC
Publication date: February 1, 2017

After her carelessness lands her boyfriend in the hands of a Nazi officer, seventeen-year-old Liddy questions her worthiness for God’s love. But, inspired by Bonhoeffer and Kolbe, she confronts evil, putting her own faith on the line in hopes of redeeming the officer and saving the family bakery.

 



In his debut Christian novel, Doug Cornelius hopes to inspire young adults to reflect on God’s unconditional love while re-living history’s experiences confronting evil. A Twin Cities, Minnesota native, retired from careers at Target, Amex, and 3M, he enjoys spending time with his wife, two children, three amazing grandchildren, complacent old dog, and frolicsome new cat, Selah.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE

 
 
Enter the giveaway HERE.
 
 
 

 
 
 

 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

An Epic Adventure!--"Where We Belong" by Lynn Austin Review



What an epic adventure!  Lynn Austin is a new author to me, but I will be looking up her other books after reading "Where We Belong".  If you like adventure, travel, strong female characters, and deep spiritual content, you will like "Where We Belong"!

This book is broken up into sections.  Each section is told from a different character's perspective.  Ms. Austin has great characters.  It truly is an epic story, following the character's lives from when they are young to middle-aged.  I especially liked reading from the middle-aged perspectives, as that is not often an age that is covered in this genre.  Because the book is broken into sections, it took me awhile to mentally change to the next character's perspective.  This also felt a bit abrupt at times.  But once I was able to make the change, I really enjoyed reading from so many different viewpoints.


One of our main characters, Rebecca, is a special favorite, as she doesn't care what others think, and has a strong faith.  She doesn't worry about her life or safety, but trusts God with her future.  She also loves reading, adventure and traveling.  Rebecca (Becky) and her sister, Flora, do unconventional things in the Victorian era, like traveling across a desert with only a young butler as an escort.  They have so many escapades–such as haggling in Arabic at a market, skipping school to have an adventure, and exercising in bloomers.  Travel and adventure lovers will find kindred spirits in Flora and Becky with their free spirits, wanderlust and adventures around the world. 

This story takes readers all over the world.  The descriptions of the settings are amazing!  I felt the sand blowing against the tent as I was transported to the Sinai desert.  This is one of those books where you settle down and really immerse yourself in the story.  It's not a quick read, but it is so rich and fulfilling.  "Where We Belong" has themes of trusting God, finding one’s purpose and God's plan for our life.  This book is just so well written.  I would put this author up there with Liz Curtis Higgs and Francine Rivers.

Content:  This is a clean read.  I would give it a PG rating due to a bit of content.  It is a little graphic when describing the tenements in a poor area.  There is talk of a man's harem.  One man almost says the word for an illegitimate child.  There is talk of a man getting drunk and beating a character.  A man tries to grab a girl.  There is a scene where a girl gets forced into a brothel. There is a lot of content which alludes to the activities in a brothel.

Rating: I give this book 5 stars.

Genre:  Christian Historical Fiction; Victorian; Adventure

I want to thank Lynn Austin and Bethany House Publishers 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:
Lynn and her husband have three children and make their home in Illinois. 
Winner of 8 Christy Awards for Excellance in Christian Fiction.  Author of 19 books, over 1 million copies sold!  In addition to writing Lynn is a popular speaker at conferences, retreats and various church, school and library events.

To visit the author's website click here

To purchase the book click here

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A New Favorite Non-Fiction Book--"Daring to Hope" by Katie Davis Majors Review




Wow!  That is the only word I could think as I slowly closed the last page of this book, sitting in a reverent silence.  This book touched me in such a profound way.  I don't feel a review will do it justice--you need to read it for yourself.  I see why it has become a bestseller on so many lists!

"Daring to Hope: Finding God's Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful" by Katie Davis Majors is at first glance just another biography.  But it is so much more.  The words are so beautiful, the messages and spiritual truths so profound and the stories Katie shares so moving.  Katie wrote her first bestseller, "Kisses from Katie", in 2011.  I did not read that book, but had heard so much about Katie and her story; how when she was eighteen years old she moved to Uganda, adopted 13 girls and founded a ministry.  "Daring to Hope" is the continuation of that story. 

Katie herself is an amazing writer.  Her style is poetic and lyrical.  She is very honest and shares deep truths.  In “Daring to Hope”, she tells her story of finding God in brokenness and suffering.  She goes through some really hard times where she questions God.  God doesn't always give her the answers or what she asks for, but He gives her Himself, which is the best and most satisfying gift. 

This is a message that we as Americans especially need to hear.  We often believe that the "American Dream" is a sign of God's blessing, but Katie points out so many instances of faithful believers in Uganda who are starving, dying or can't afford basic medical care.  This does not mean they aren't blessed or aren't faithful. 

I highlighted huge portions of this book.  I came away with so many truths to help me, especially as I have been coming out of a hard season of my own life.  I have had many of the same questions Katie has had, and the answers she provides and how she points one to God have been such a comfort to my heart.  My faith has grown thanks to reading this book.  I recommend this book to anyone who has been through suffering and wondered where God was, to anyone who is wrestling with God or even wondering if that is okay.  If you want to be inspired or encouraged in your walk with God, this book is for you. 

Content:  I would give this book a PG rating, due to some content related to Katie's ministry.  Katie's ministry is to people who go through some very hard things.  As she describes her ministry, there is some more "graphic" content, like birth and treating wounds.  There are alcoholics, addicts, murder and poisoning. 

Rating:  I give this book a solid 5 stars!  It's a new favorite!

Genre:  Christian non-fiction; Biography

I want to thank Katie Davis Majors, Multnomah Publishing and Blogging for Books 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:

Katie Davis Majors moved to Uganda over a decade ago with no idea that this would be the place that God chose to build her home and her family. Today, she is a wife to Benji and mama to her fourteen favorite people. Katie and her family invest their lives in empowering the people of Uganda with education, medical care, and spiritual discipleship. She is also the founder of Amazima Ministries, an organization that cares for vulnerable children and families in Uganda and the author of the New York Times bestseller Kisses from Katie.

To visit the authors website click here and learn more about Katie click here

To purchase the book, find out more information and read an excerpt click here