“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, September 26, 2017

"The Long Shadows of Summer" by Robin E. Mason Blog Tour and GIVEAWAY!

 
 
 


Series: Seasons
Genre:  
Historical
Publisher: Bird's Nest Books
Publication date:
 August 31, 2017
​The southern town of Saisons lies at the crossroads between North and South, progressive and genteel antebellum life. Between East and West, between history and heritage, and new frontiers. Downton Abbey meets Gone With the Wind.

It’s 1912, in a world where slavery is dying and women’s rights are rising, and four young women who once shared a bond—and experienced a tragedy—question their own truths.
Mercedes has always been an avid reader and devours each new Sherlock Holmes mystery as soon as she gets her hands on them. When one of her friends comes to her, Mercedes vows to keep Simone’s secrets and uncover the truth.
 
But as Mercedes plays detective to her friends’ questions, she discovers something far more shocking—she herself is not who she thought she was.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
​“I’ve always had voices—er, stories in my head. I once said I should write them all down so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”

Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa, in 2013.  Meanwhile, she cranked out a few dozen poems, made countless notes for story ideas, and earned her BFA in Interior Design.  Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years.  Her characters face many of these same demons.

Ms. Mason writes stories of identity conflict. Her characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, her stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. “I know, I write from experience.”

Ms. Mason has three novels previously published in the unsavory heritage series. Tessa, Clara Bess, and Cissy are available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. She also has several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. She is currently working on The Tilting Leaves of Autumn, Book Two in her new series, Seasons. It releases in November, following The Long Shadows of Summer which releases in August. Books 3 and 4 in the series will be out in 2018.
 
 


Enter the giveaway HERE.


 


 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

"Stars in Their Eyes" by Pema Donyo Blog Tour & Giveaway!


Stars in Their Eyes by Pema Donyo

Publication Date: September 18, 2017
Crimson Romance
eBook; 120 Pages
 
Genre: Historical Romance
 
 
This beautifully sweeping story of dueling ambitions and restless hearts in the roaring twenties will captivate fans who loved the romance of the Oscar-winning film La La Land and Paula McLain’s bestselling novel The Paris Wife.
 
The bohemian salons and wild cabarets of 1920s Paris are just the place for Owen Matthews to pursue his writing and make the right connections in the literary scene. But six years after leaving Los Angeles and the love of his life, he still strives for success. Penning a new screenplay for his friend’s film might just help keep the lights on a bit longer in the City of Lights.
 
Iris Wong is used to sacrifice and rejection as an Asian-American actress. She’s determined to take full advantage of her new leading role in a Parisian silent film—and the director’s romantic interest in her. Playing the game almost guarantees she’ll be able to break through the industry’s racism and become the silver screen star she’s dreamed of being since she earned her first nickel as a Hollywood extra.
 
When these two star-crossed lovers unexpectedly reunite, they get a second chance to reconcile their hearts’ desires with their dreams of fame and fortune.
 
Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors
 

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

 

About the Author

 
Pema Donyo is a full-time finance professional, part-time author, and at-all-times coffee lover. She believes creativity can be infused into all endeavors, whether building a brand new story world or solving a quantitative problem. She currently lives in San Francisco.
 
Pema’s novels include The Innocent Assassins, One Last Letter, and Revolutionary Hearts.
 
For more information, please visit Pema’s website. You can also find her on Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. Sign up to receive news & updates from Pema Donyo.
 

Blog Tour Schedule

 
Monday, September 18
Spotlight at Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!
 
Tuesday, September 19
Review at Pursuing Stacie
 
Wednesday, September 20 Review & Interview at The Book Junkie Reads
 
Thursday, September 21 Spotlight at Faery Tales Are Real
 
Friday, September 22 Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
 
Monday, September 25 Review at Creating Herstory
 
Tuesday, September 26 Spotlight at A Holland Reads

Wednesday, September 27 Spotlight at Passages to the Past
 

Giveaway

 
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 2 eBooks of STARS IN THEIR EYES! To enter, please click on the link below.
 
Giveaway Rules
 
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 27th. 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.
 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Poignant Story of Love in the Post-Civil War South--"To Wager Her Heart" by Tamera Alexander Review




If you like the "When Calls the Heart" TV series, I think you'll really enjoy "To Wager Her Heart".
"To Wager Her Heart" by Tamera Alexander is the third book in the "Belle Meade Plantation" series.  It can also be easily read as a stand-alone.  I don't normally like to read a lot of books set in the U.S. during different war periods, but recently I've been picking more of these up and enjoying them more than I thought I would.  "To Wager Her Heart" is just such a book.  Tamera Alexander has a superb and engaging writing style and creates here a story that draws the reader in.  Her characters are also very well written and come to life on the page.  She is very good at writing swoon-worthy moments!  

"To Wager Her Heart" is set in the post-Civil War South.  It is fascinating to read about the South and what life was like for everyday people after the war ravaged their land and their hearts.  Ms. Alexander does such a great job portraying this "in-between" time where a lot of change is taking place, but there's also many people who still hold to the "old ideals", including the father of our main character (Alexandra). 

I love how Ms. Alexander incorporates real life into the fictional story, like the freedman's school that Alexandra teaches at (Fisk University) and the Jubilee Singers.  I love that the university emphasizes knowledge, not only of the basic subjects, but of Christ.  Despite these many good things, it was hard for me to read at points, due to the vivid descriptions and the heavy subject matter.  Like I said, it's not my favorite time period to read about, precisely because of all of weightier issues that come along with it.  But it is important to remember these periods in our nation's history as well and the courageous men and women who went before us. 

There are many important messages in this book.  Throughout the story, Ms. Alexander conveys the lesson that we're all created in God's image and it doesn't matter what color skin you have, which is still a very pertinent message today with the recent racial tensions and the white supremacy movement.  I was encouraged by Alexandra's struggle with fear after tragedy and how she is able to overcome that fear through her faith.  Tragedy, loss, love, overcoming, and justice are all themes that are woven into this amazing story! 

Content: This is a clean read, but it is more on the edgy, gritty side of Christian fiction.  One character was in a train accident and she often thinks about it or has flashbacks.  The descriptions of the accident and aftermath are very detailed and vivid.  The word "negro" is used in context.  There is talk about a woman's "assets" and the author implies that a character is a prostitute.  The prostitute propositions a man, and this man has been to a brothel before.  The Lord's name is taken in vain once.  A person accidentally gets drunk.  A man tries not to look at a woman's d├ęcolletage.  There is some sexual innuendo.  There is talk of how slaves used to commit suicide. 

Genre: Christian historical fiction; Romance

Rating: I give this book four stars. 

I want to thank Tamera Alexander, Zondervan, 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 a USA Today bestselling author and one of today's most popular writers of inspirational historical romance. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, not far from the Southern mansions that serve as the backdrop for many of her critically-acclaimed novels.

To purchase the book click here

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Rollicking Regency Spy Novel--"A Dangerous Engagement" by Melanie Dickerson Review





Have I mentioned before that Melanie Dickerson is one of my favorite authors?  Yes, I know I have a lot of favorites, but she is one of them and her newest book has a beautiful story, fantastic characters, and a gorgeous cover to boot!  I am also a lover of all things Austen and this series has many nods to Jane Austen's works. 

 "A Dangerous Engagement" by Melanie Dickerson is the third installment in "The Regency Spies of London" series.  This book can be read as a stand-alone novel, but characters from the other books in the series do make appearances.  Ms. Dickerson has mentioned before that she has gotten inspiration from Jane Austen while writing the books in this series.  "A Dangerous Engagement" seems to have a lot of similarities to "Northanger Abbey" in particular.  There are also some characters that remind me of characters from "Pride and Prejudice" and a certain section of the story brings "Emma" to mind.  Ms. Dickerson inserts these tidbits from Austen, yet manages to weave her own delightful and unique story.  I love that she adds the whole concept of spies and mystery.  While some may find it a little slower than the first two books, it is still very good in its own right.  At points it is especially hard to put down, as many of the chapters end in cliff hangers or a suspenseful plot twist!

The characters in this book are my favorite part.  They are so well written and I really grew to love many of them and despise others.  Felicity, our heroine (who doesn't think she is one), is nervous and emotional in the beginning.  Her character changes a lot over the course of the novel and she is able to become more bold and courageous.  She is more interested in wanting to make something of her life and instead of obsessing over the latest fashion; she can be found studying Chinese to become a missionary in China and quoting Hannah More.  She often prays and learns to trust in God and look to Him when she feels anxious.  What a great character and encouragement for those of us who struggle with anxiety!  Philip, the hero, is very noble and has strong faith and morals.  I also have a feeling many of us bookworms will find a kindred spirit in Aunt Agnes (I don't want to say any more and risk giving spoilers). 

 "A Dangerous Engagement" is another terrific book by Melanie Dickerson!  It's a great read that can be enjoyed by young and old alike!

 Content: This is a clean read, suitable for middle grade to adult readers.  There is a mention that a character curses, but the curse isn't written.  There is an instance where a character hears that at some house parties men take “liberties” with women.  There is a reference to the marriage bed. 

 Genre: Christian historical fiction; Regency; Romance

 Rating: I give this book four stars.

I want to thank Melanie Dickerson, Netgalley, Waterfall Press and Brilliance 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.


About the Author:

Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama.

She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine.

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

To purchase the book click here

To visit Ms. Dickerson's website click here

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Different Perspective on the Women of "Little Women"--"The Other Alcott" by Elise Hooper Review





"Little Women" has always been one of my favorite books.  During my childhood, I devoured every book I could find by Louisa May Alcott and did a term paper on her in high school (it was about how much her actual life parallels her book, "Little Women").  When I read the premise of "The Other Alcott", I was so excited to read more about my beloved Alcott family!

"The Other Alcott" by Elise Hooper is about May Alcott, Louisa May Alcott's younger sister.  In Louisa's book "Little Women", the character Amy is modeled after May Alcott.  Amy is not always portrayed in the best light and is often the least liked sister.  May is in fact much more than just the spoiled, selfish Amy.  May Alcott is a brilliant artist and reaches her own level of fame and moves among the inner circle of artists of her time. 

This book is a fascinating look at life through May's perspective.  The story takes place after "Little Women" is published.  The Alcotts are often close to poverty and Louisa and May struggle to provide for themselves and their family.  It is still not conventional for women to be artists or to remain unmarried--but both Louisa and May follow this less traveled path.  Throughout the story we see May rise as a talented artist and how she has to work hard to make her own way and not just be known as the "other Alcott.”  May struggles with the constant balance between creating art to make money and being true to herself and doing what she loves.  Ms. Hooper incorporates minute historical detail and draws the reader into the world of art during this time period.  There are beautiful and vivid descriptions of all the places May visits, such as Paris and England.  I love that the book includes special content, including some of May's artwork and illustrations. 

The characters of May and Louisa are so well done that I felt like I knew them personally.  I love getting to see a different side of these characters.  I was surprised that Louisa didn't actually want to write "Little Women" or those types of stories and she didn't like the fame her stories brought.  May's character is very optimistic and very different from Louisa’s.  Louisa and May do have a difficult relationship, but at the end of the day, May misses Louisa, still wants her approval, and wants to be able to share her successes with her.  This is a beautiful picture of family ties and how sometimes only family can fully appreciate your triumphs because they know where you once were and how far you've come.  May's journey helps her appreciate Louisa better and she realizes the sisters have more in common than they originally thought. 

Content: I give this book a PG-13 rating.  There is the use of some minor swear words.  There is a character that falls in love with a married man.  There is a scene where May is painting a nude model.  Some side characters are homosexual.  There are the implications that a character sleeps with her husband and a scene of the married couple lying in bed. 

Rating:  I give this book 4.5 stars. 

Genre: This book is Historical Fiction

I want to thank Elise Hooper, William Morrow and Harper Collins 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:

Although a New Englander by birth (and at heart), Elise now lives with her husband and two young daughters within stone-skipping distance of the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound. When she’s not writing, she’s in her classroom making American history and literature interesting for high school students. Want to try your hand at creating a pitch for Shark Tank: Colonial America Edition? Stop by her classroom.

Click here to visit the author's website

Click here to purchase the book