Saturday, December 3, 2016

Giveaway Alert! The Time Garden Notecards by Daria Song

I have a giveaway on the Facebook page for these adorable, colorable notecards! I don't want those who read the blog to be left out, so hop on over and enter!  It ends Friday, December 9th.

You can enter HERE

Friday, December 2, 2016

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

  Romanticizing the past is nothing new.  Most people like to think about a time when things were quieter, when the pace was slower, and when the world was a bit less complicated.  However, we seldom think of the difficulties of the time (beyond no appliances and running water!).  News of the World by Paulette Jiles has, at its center, a man who is seeking to make the world a bit less difficult by reading the news.

         In the late 1800s, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd has carved out a niche for himself.  He travels through Texas giving readings of newspapers to otherwise news-starved locals.  He selects the stories to be read carefully, mindful of the prejudices and mindset of his audience.  For a few coins, townspeople can be connected to the wider world.

         When he arrives in Wichita Falls, he is presented with a proposition.  He is asked by a freighter to take unusual cargo home---a ten year old girl who was captured four years earlier by the Kiowa.  Offered a great deal of money, Captain Kidd agrees to take Johanna Leonberger, who speaks no English and wants to return to the tribe, to be reunited with her original white family.

         What follows is a grueling journey for both the Captain and Johanna.  The Captain, who has some experience with children, works to communicate and bond Johanna.  He offers her protection from both the clash of her two worlds, as well as from natural dangers.  During their journey, he must also be prepared to keep her safe against those who would wish her harm.  Floods, mercenaries, and homesickness are just some of the challenges of the trail.  And when they finally arrive at the Leonberger home, the Captain proves that he has been transformed from a solitary man to a loving one.       

         Jiles knows how to create a sense of time and place.  Referencing the Civil War and the struggles of America after its end, she manages to convey the sense of bleakness and lawlessness that prevailed.  She is able to create a visceral sense of place and does so with an eye for detail and poetry.

         Both the Captain and Johanna unfold as characters as they develop their relationship to each other.  With each struggle and hardship, they learn to trust each other and to understand each other.  While covering the seemingly endless landscape with nothing else to do, the two of them develop a way to communicate.  He understands her desire to return to the Kiowa.  She comes to understand the Captain’s loneliness.

         News of the World is a delightful book about hardship, struggle, and connection.  It reminded me of the old Westerns on TV, where you could count on the hero and you rooted for his success.  The spare details about the characters really encourages the reader to pay attention to this compelling and touching story. 

         Highly recommended for historical fiction lovers and those who love a character driven tale.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Regina

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Unexpected: Short Stories from Around the World Book Blast & Giveaway

Unexpected: Short Stories from Around the World

by P. F Citizen One

Unexpected: Short Stories from Around the World by P. F Citizen One
Unexpected is a collection of true life short stories inspired by the author's travels around the world and the people he has met. The book features seven thought-provoking, humorous and engaging stories that end with the most unlikely twist.
In one of the stories, The Wedding Contract, the author tells the story of a man who was forced to sign a pre-nuptial agreement simply because his wife was wealthy and he was considered poor. As time went on, fortunes changed and the man became far wealthier than his wife. His wife and friends dreaded the worst from him because of his new financial position but what he did next was shocking.

Book Details

Genre: Anthology, Short Stories
Published by: BookBaby
Publication Date: October 7th 2016
Number of Pages: 23
ISBN: 1483577856 (ISBN13: 9781483577852)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 Barnes & Noble 🔗 Goodreads 🔗


Julie’s parents were concerned. Julie was a single child from a pretty wealthy family with many properties and stores. So, her parents, her family, and her friends convinced her to protect herself by writing a prenup agreement. Should they get divorced, Julie would keep all her family’s belongings. All her entourage pressured her so much that Julie finally arrived at the idea that it was necessary to sign a prenup.
Jean-Pierre didn’t accept it at first, but in the end, he had no choice: Was it worth losing the woman he considered to be his soulmate?
Jean-Pierre and Julie finally got married and had two gorgeous daughters. But Jean-Pierre was still a little bit sad. After all, if they insisted on a contract, it was because her family didn’t completely trust him.
Jean-Pierre had been writing for a few years, and he had written many books. He was also working as a French teacher to get some additional revenue. However, he decided to stop writing to become a full-time teacher and contribute more to the family expenses.
He threw himself into his work as a teacher. One day, as Julie was watching television, she saw that the press was looking for the anonymous author of three books. From their description of the writing, she immediately recognized her husband’s style. After he was identified as the author of these books, he was given royalties for the book sales.
Jean-Pierre soon became very rich and famous, so much so that Julie (and, indeed, the press) was now waiting for the day when Jean-Pierre would cheat on her. She expected that he would eventually divorce her to marry another girl—probably an actress or a model or simply a younger woman. He was now famous and powerful, far richer than his wife and her entire family.
Rumors of cheating grew more and more persistent. The rumors said that Jean-Pierre would ask for a divorce and that he was getting ready for another wedding.
During a press conference, Jean-Pierre was asked about the rumors. He answered that he would act like a man and not hide anything anymore. In front of everyone, he told his wife:
“Honey, since the very first time I met you, I loved you more than I loved any other woman. Then, we got married and had two wonderful girls. I love them so much Over the years, I always thought about…that prenuptial agreement I had to sign because I was poor. Today, I am very rich… I am sorry, honey, but I am announcing...

Author Bio:

P.F  Citizen  OneP.F. Citizen One is a writer. He works as a petroleum engineer, which requires a lot of traveling to different countries, and he uses the situations and varied people he has come across as an inspiration for his great love of writing. His interest in travel has meant that he has picked up some useful languages along the way, and he is now fluent in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and German, allowing him to go just about anywhere and still be understood. Most of the time. He lists his great fear as ''being stranded alone on a desert island'' and, as a result, he avoids traveling by boat whenever he can.
P.F. Citizen One’s new book, Unexpected, was published on October 7th and is a book of short stories, inspired by his travels throughout the world and the people he has met.
Catch Up With P.F. Citizen One on his Website & on Facebook!

Book Blast Participants:

Stop by these great hosts to learn more & enter to win!

Book Tour Coming Soon!

In February Unexpected: Short Stories from Around the World will be featured in a virtual book tour. Visit the sites below for great features, reviews, and giveaways!

Don't Miss Out On Your Chance to WIN!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for P. F Citizen One. There will be 2 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of Unexpected: Short Stories from Around the World by P. F Citizen One. This is subject to change without notification. The giveaway begins on November 20th and runs through December 3rd, 2016.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Amish Midwife (Women of Lancaster County #1) by Mindy Starns Clark & Leslie Gould

A dusty carved box containing two locks of hair and a century-old letter regarding property in Switzerland, and a burning desire to learn about her biological family lead nurse-midwife Lexie Jaeger from her home in Oregon to the heart of Pennsylvania Amish country. There she meets Marta Bayer, a mysterious lay-midwife who desperately needs help after an Amish client and her baby die.

Lexie steps in to assume Marta’s patient load even as she continues the search for her birth family, and from her patients she learns the true meaning of the Pennsylvania Dutch word demut, which means “to let be” as she changes from a woman who wants to control everything to a woman who depends on God.

A compelling story about a search for identity and the ability to trust that God securely holds our whole life—past, present, and future. 

Alexandra “Lexie” is a nursing mid-wife in Oregon when she gets the dreaded phonecall at work.  Her father, who has cancer, doesn’t have long for this world.  She takes a leave of absence and rushes to his side. On his death bed, he tells her about a box in the closet for her, one he never opened but one that might bring her closer to finding her birth parents.   After his death, she looks into the box that has a letter about property in Switzerland, 2 swatches of hair and not much else.  Her dear friend Sophie makes some enquiries, and finds that a mid-wife in Pennsylvania needs some help and it might do Lexie good to take a break and to also look for her birth parents.

When she arrives at Marta’s house, against Marta’s wishes, things go awry. No one wants to give her information about her birth, and no one wants her help. Marta is going through some legal battles at the moment and when pushes against the wall, realizes she needs Lexie’s help with her Amish patients and the babies soon to come.

Along the way, Lexie meets a doctor who she starts having meals with, even though she left her fiancĂŠ James back in Oregon,  telling him they were on a break.  She also pokes her nose into everyone’s business to get the information she is seeking. She won’t take no for an answer, even though the Amish prefer to leave the past in the past and not discuss it.

Things eventually come to a head, with the help of someone close to Lexie and all is revealed. However, it isn’t quite what Lexie was looking for. She needs to look to God for the peace and comfort of the answers she is given.  I liked most of the characters in this novel, and I found it interesting to see how different Amish settlements lived.  I did not care for Lexie. While I felt for her plight, she  didn’t care if she hurt people in her path to her goals. She was actually a pretty flat character except when she was angry. Then she became a full dimensional person who had some life and fire in her.  

I look forward to reading the next installment in the Lancaster series. I thought the settings were great and would love to delve into some of the secondary characters’ lives.  I just hope Lexie is better behaved if she makes any cameo appearances.  All in all, a great story if you love reading about the Amish, prefer your fiction clean and a mystery that keeps you turning the pages long into the night.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Wendy

Monday, November 14, 2016

Witch's Pyre (Worldwalker #3) by Josephine Angelini

Lily Proctor has come a long way from the weak, sickly girl she used to be. She has gained power as a witch and a leader, found her way home, chosen to face battle again, and (after losing her first love and being betrayed by her new love) she has learned more about loss and grief than she ever wanted to know.

Thrust once again into a society different from anything they have ever seen, Lily and her coven are determined to find answers―to find a new path to victory, a way to defeat the monstrous Woven without resorting to nuclear weapons or becoming a tyrannical mass murderer like her alternate self, Lillian. But sometimes winning requires sacrifices . . . and when the only clear path to victory lies at Lillian's side, what price will Lily be willing to pay?

Witch's Pyre is the captivating final installment to the wonderfully imaginative Worldwalker Series. Fresh off the betrayal at the end of book two I was anxious to see what was to come of Lily and Rowan's relationship as well as the rest of the events that have been building. Everything that has been evolving in the first two books is now coming to a head, which means lots of action. I love that Witch's Pyre finally gives us the answers to what lies outside of the part of the country they were thought to be confined to in the alternative world where Rowan lives and also the mystery behind the Woven. 

Lily has pretty much become as much of a part of that world as she is this one and the fact that she is so determined to go to war for it just proves that. That's definitely one of the things that makes Witch's Pyre so compelling. The world building is absolutely phenomenal without being overly descriptive. I can't even really describe how effortlessly Angelini seemed to weave together this alternative world of magic and science and somehow make these characters feel like they belong there.

 There's not a lot of romance in this book but there is a constistent strong bond that you feel from the characters whether it's a romantic relationship or a friendship. I think the stonekin and claiming of willstones is just about one of the coolest things I have come across in fiction in quite a while. It really makes this story stand out from the rest for me. 

The epic battle and all the pieces that move into place for it to happen, along with all the secrets revealed make this an amazing conclusion to a fascinating series. If you're a fan of YA fantasy with action and incredible world building then I think you would enjoy this series too. I look forward to trying out more works by this author in the future. 

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. April

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Home for Christmas (The Christmas Love List Book 3) by Jennifer Conner

Kady never thought that she and her son, Noah, would have to come back to Vine Grove. But after nearly losing everything in a fire, moving in with Mom and Dad was her only choice. 

Kady finds a job in town at the Que Syrah Syrah wine shop. The ladies who meet at the shop create a group called The Love List. They draw names of single guys in town to possibly become someone special. No way is Kady drawing a name. The last thing Kady needs is a man, she needs to concentrate on getting her life back and finding a new home. 

Local entrepreneur, Editon, has always had a crush on Kady, but she never knew. When he sees her again, all of his old feelings flood back. He’s trying to make a difference and build a community center in their small town. Will he have time to peruse Kady if she’ll take a chance on him? 

Sometimes when all you have to do is come home to find one.

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first.  I really don't care for the main character, Kady.  The entire time that we know her, she's selfish and self-absorbed.  She's a horrible mother.  I don't like her as a person.  When she's telling her back story, I want to climb in to the story and smack her.

The story itself was actually pretty sweet.  Editon, while having a silly name, is really a gem.  He's financially stable, knows a little bit of everything, and is the ultimate do-gooder and family man.  Not to mention the fact that he's sexy, honest, genuine and funny.  You can't get a better package!  The romance portion of the story is pretty fast-paced because Editon keeps it interesting.  The entire story lasts about a month.  

This is a quick, sweet read.  I would have enjoyed having a little more information about Noah, and possibly seeing a good side to Kady, but I still enjoyed the story.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Shawn

Monday, November 7, 2016

Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue (The Bern Saga #1) by Hugh Howey

When Molly gets kicked out of the Naval Academy, she loses more than just another home, she loses the only two things that truly matter: flying in space and her training partner, Cole. A dull future seems to await, until a marvelous discovery changes everything. Her father's old starship, missing for a decade, turns up halfway across the galaxy. Its retrieval launches Molly and Cole on the adventure of a lifetime, one that will have lasting consequences for themselves and billions of others. What starts off as a simple quest to reconnect with her past, ends up forging a new future. And the forgotten family she hoped to uncover becomes one she never foresaw: a band of alien misfits and runaways-the crew of the starship Parsona.

I adore Hugh Howey's books and this is one series that I hadn't had the chance to read. I was ecstatic to get my hands on the first volume in this young adult series.  It's a bit sy-fy, dystopian, mystery and romance all rolled into one great adventure.  Molly's mom dies when she is young and she can't really remember her. She remembers her father and growing up in his ship, The Parsona.  When he goes on a mission and never returns, an old family friend takes her under his wing and enrolls her into the Naval Academy.

It's all simulators and girls aren't supposed to fly, so Molly usually is the navigator.  When a trial run goes awry, Molly is kicked out of the program and although she is heartbroke, she keeps her chin up and enrolls in a 'normal' school.  She's bored but creating her own path when her guardian arrives unexpectedly with the news that her father's ship has been found.  Molly is the heir to that ship so she insists she be the one to bring it home, and she wants her friend Cole to assist.

Their travels and adventures take them into all sorts of trouble and they find friendship in the least expected places.  Through thick and thin though, Molly's hope and faith shine through. She does a bit of growing up and she is determined that even though she is a young woman, she will fly her own ship. Cole is a teen hearthrob.  His humor and patience with Molly is endearing. He's also a great fighter and thinks on his feet.  It will be interesting to see where their relationship goes. There are many secondary characters that really bring this story to life, adding just the right key elements.There are different races, not just human, as well as different planets.  Howey has a knack for creating believable worlds that just seem to flow together with his creative storytelling. A great adventure that I am excited to resume in the next installment!

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Wendy