More Than Meets The Eye

Hi friends! After a long absence, I am hopefully back for a while! I’ve been fighting some pretty intense health issues as well as family emergencies; it’s been an intense month. But, I know this: God is faithful. Back in June before it all got crazy I spent a happy Saturday reading Karen Witemeyer’s latest release, More Than Meets The Eye. It is finally getting a post!

“Love stayed. Even when things became messy
and unpleasant, love stayed.”

more then meets eyeMany consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world’s judgments, and Eva has two–Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers. 

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline? 

My Review

IMG_6671Evie has a unique condition called Heterochromia that causes her two eyes to be completely different colors. It’s an interesting “disorder” that may present within one eye, or both (as Evie has) and can be similar colors or very different (again like Evie). It can occur in humans, dogs, and cats! Looking up facts about Heterochromia, I learned that eye color is the distribution of melatonin within the eye. I knew that it had a role in skin color , but never knew it had bright colors.

This is one of the reasons I love fiction – learning cool stuff, because how else would I come across random information to file away? Now, if I ever meet someone with Heterochromia, I’ll be able to understand a little. I admit that I’ll still be insanely curious and probably still stare (sorry, Evie), but that’s because I find learning things fascinating and new facts enthralling.

“‘People might try to hide their broken places and pretend to be whole, but the truth is that we all have failings. That is why we need each other.'”

I love Evie’s cheerfulness. She often faces prejudices and people believing lies about her, but she chooses to look on the bright side of life and draw closer to her Savior. She learns a lesson that most of us struggle with our whole lives; that we are good enough and our identity is in Christ, not what other people (or ourselves!) think. I relate to the mean teasing Evie endures from struggling with weight my entire life. Most people are too polite to say something, but sometimes you get the look. You know the one; it makes you feel like crawling under a rock. I too struggle with feeling beautiful and accepted, and just like Logan, my hubs tries to speak into that place as much as possible. However, there’s no replacing letting the truth that God loves me no matter how I look sink into my soul.

I also enjoyed the family dynamics in this story. While it’s certainly a romance, there is a thread about the love between these chosen siblings. In a way, it’s a coming of age story; while the characters are grown adults, they’re learning how to function in their new world that is changing every day as they each try to find their place.

If you’r a Karen fan, or of historical set westerns, then check it out. If you’re not a fan of either of those, I’d encourage to get a copy from the local library and read; you never know when you’ll find a new favorite.

I was provided a copy of this story by the publisher. All opinions are honest and my own.

About The Author

Karen WitemeyerKaren maintains a super fun Facebook group, The Posse. Join the fun!

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

First Line Fridays – A Vast and Gracious Tide

A Vast and Gracious Tide Blog and Review Tour

Welcome to the blog tour and giveaway for A Vast and Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays, hosted by Hoarding Books. Today’s first line is from:

Vast GraciousTide

A Vast and Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter

“Sergeant First Class Caden Wallis grinned as his CO whistled – perhaps the fifteenth time today – that same tune again.”

So, grab the book nearest you and comment what your first line is (with title and author, of course!) and then head over to Hoarding Books to see all of the other books/blogs featured today.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Award-winning author Lisa Carter describes her Southern suspense novels as “sweet tea with a slice of murder.” She is the bestselling author of seven romantic suspense novels, four historical novellas, and a contemporary Coast Guard series. Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales and researching her next exotic adventure. A native North Carolinian, she has strong opinions on barbecue and ACC basketball.

CONNECT WITH LISA: website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


AVGT giveaway

Don’t miss your chance to enter this great giveaway prize pack! One winner (US only) will receive:

Print copy of A Vast and Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter
Sea glass jewelry set (see here)

A Defense of Honor

Happy Tuesday, all! I don’t know about ya’ll, but it hasn’t gotten crazy hot here in Baltimore. Perfect reason to curl up with a read while sequestering myself in my bedroom- the only room in the house with air conditioning.

A defense of honor

When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend’s missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can’t matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. And as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn’t worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger.

My Review

Kristi approaches some hard topics in this story that I think are great that a Christian Fiction author is getting into. I also appreciate how none of the characters and black and white – not all good, not all bad. Kit struggles with the motivations and decisions she felt forced into to create a stable environment for the women and children she strove to help. Given the same situation, I don’t know what decision I would’ve made. It brings to the forefront the question of “do two wrongs make a right?” And if it doesn’t, how do you survive when there seems to be no other way? I relate to Kit’s internal battle as I’m also someone who just figures out a way to take care of everyone without stopping to trust God and let Him provide for me.

IMG_6629The women in this story make/have made mistakes and are trying to figure out how to move forward and do life in the culture of their time. Illegitimate children were a huge problem in the regency period with soaring numbers where women faced all the consequences, the the men mostly none. With the intensifying recent awareness of the #metoo movement, Kristi gives us a peak into the lives of women facing the same challenges in the early 1800’s. Add to it the Christian worldview without getting preachy or judgmental, framed in a genre that gets serious, but not overwhelming, I count it as a must read.

Kristi has mentioned some of the statistics in a live video and I emailed her for more info to share. She says, “Basically, prior to the extended Regency period (late 1700s to about 1830) the percentage of children born out of wedlock in the UK was around 3%. During the Regency period that number rose to somewhere between 7% and 9%. The church’s backlash against this – for better or for worse – is, I think, part of what drove into the strictness of the Victorian period. Laws around the care of illegitimate children were changed in 1834 to try to discourage it. ”

I am looking forward to diving into Daphne’s story and getting more into the questions of how do we move forward after we’ve made a mistake? How do we face God and forgive ourselves? I admire Daphne’s strength and joy that appears to come from within and her relationship with God.

I was provided a copy by the publisher. All opinions are honest and my own.

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About the Author

Kristi Ann Hunter is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com.

She also has a super fun FB group, so go join!

 

The Heart’s Appeal – Giveaway – Celebrate Lit

The Hearts Appeal FB Banner copy

About the Book

Heart's Appeal

Book Title: The Heart’s Appeal

Author: Jennifer Delamere

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It’s only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women’s medical school. He’s supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he’s made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

This is Jennifer’s second novel and I think she did a smashing job. While the genre is definitely drama, a genre that I can struggle with, I didn’t have a problem getting through the story. While I sometimes got frustrated with Michael and his stubborn heart, I never stopped cheering for him. (…and his sister! I confess I wanted to punch her at times, but she winds up with some redeeming qualities by the end.)

I particularly enjoyed the look into the early days of woman physicians and the pressure and prejudice they endured. It was fascinating to learn about medical practices of the time (another confession, I skipped some paragraphs because I’m terribly squeamish, though nothing gets graphic, I assure you I’m just a wimp) and to live inside a female doctor’s head. Even in contemporary fiction, I feel like we don’t see a lot of female doctors, so to have it in a historical setting was intriguing.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next book.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit for the tour. I was not required to give a positive review.

About the Book

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Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.

Guest Post from Jennifer Delamere

Power couples?

Perhaps that’s not a concept that initially comes to mind when one thinks of Victorian England! And yet, they did exist. I love to include real people from history in my books, and in The Heart’s Appeal, Julia Bernay meets two inspiring real-life couples who will make a positive impact in her life.

In 1865, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first woman to qualify as a physician in Britain. She did this through a legal loophole, but soon the laws were changed to open the medical field to all women. In 1874, Dr. Anderson co-founded the London School of Medicine for Women. She remained involved in the school in various capacities for the rest of her life, even as she continued to run her own busy practice. In The Heart’s Appeal, she becomes a mentor for Julia, opening doors for her education and introducing Julia to people who can help her succeed in medical school.

Dr. Anderson’s husband, James Anderson (Jamie), was the joint-owner of a successful shipping line and also served on the boards of several organizations (including a children’s hospital). He was a handsome man, very much in love with his wife, and fervent in supporting her choice of a career.

In a letter he wrote to her while they were engaged, Jamie explained his vision for their future—how they could keep their professional and private lives separate, yet still give each other plenty of love and support:

“I think we had better lay it down once for all as a rule that I am under no circumstances to bring people ‘favorably under your notice’ or ‘exert any influence’ or anything of the sort. It will give people a wrong idea of you unless I take a decided line in this matter — and as I mean to be if I can a successful man of business, neither interfering with your pursuits nor being interfered with by you (but having our confidences on all feasible subjects at off times of the day and week and mutually advising and fortifying one another), I must let people know unmistakably not to come bothering me about your public affairs. Will you think about this, dearest?”

Who couldn’t love a man like that?

Jamie Anderson’s outlook on life comes into play later on in The Heart’s Appeal, when he provides advice and aid to Michael Stephenson, the book’s hero, at a critical time.

Julia also has an inspiring encounter with Dr. Anderson’s sister, Millicent Fawcett. Millicent was married to a Member of Parliament and actively supported her husband’s career in many ways, including acting as a scribe for him since he was blind. She is most remembered for her role in the women’s suffrage movement. In fact, a statue of her will be placed in Parliament Square in London this summer. She was not a militant suffragette, but rather campaigned for suffrage under the banner “Law-Abiding Suffragists.”

Both couples raised families, too, and their children’s successes in life show they were raised to have the same energetic and “can-do” attitudes that their parents had.

Julia initially believes she must remain single to achieve her life’s goals. But soon she finds her heart drawn to successful barrister Michael Stephenson, who admires Julia’s intelligence and ambition. She learns that love and the freedom to pursue her dreams do not have to be mutually exclusive. A meeting of minds to spark a true romance? Yes, please! I hope readers will agree this can be the most satisfying of all.

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, March 22

Inspiration Clothesline, March 22

Texas Book-aholic, March 22

A Greater Yes, March 23

Among the Reads, March 23

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 23

Splashes of Joy, March 23

Fiction Aficionado, March 24

History, Mystery & Faith, March 24

Red Headed Book Lady, March 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 24

The Power of Words, March 25

Mary Hake, March 25

Remembrancy, March 25

Janices book reviews, March 25

Cordially, Barbara, March 26

Genesis 5020, March 26

Moments Dipped in Ink, March 26

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 26

Kat’s Corner BooksMarch 27

The Fizzy Pop CollectionMarch 27

Maureen’s MusingsMarch 27

Carpe DiemMarch 27

Reflections From My BookshelvesMarch 28

Seasons of opportunitiesMarch 28

Singing Librarian BooksMarch 28

A Baker’s PerspectiveMarch 28

Baker KellaMarch 29

All-of-a-kind MomMarch 29

Inklings and NotionsMarch 29

Simple Harvest ReadsMarch 29 (Guest post from Mindy)

Pause for TalesMarch 30

Cafinated ReadsMarch 30

Have A Wonderful DayMarch 30

Pursuing Stacie, March 30

Locks, Hooks and BooksMarch 31

Connie’s History ClassroomMarch 31

Book by BookMarch 31

BigreadersiteMarch 31

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly KissesApril 1

Neverending StoriesApril 1

Ladybug Chronicles, April 1

Smiling Book ReviewsApril 2

Two Points of InterestApril 2

Vicky SluiterApril 2

Kaylee’s Kind Of WritesApril 3

proud to be an autism momApril 3

Bibliophile ReviewsApril 3

Karen Sue HadleyApril 4

Live Love ReadApril 4

Stories Where Hope and Quirky MeetApril 4

Faery Tales Are RealApril 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a grand prize package of that includes All four March Bethany House historical releases (The Heart’s Appeal, plus A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason, A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears, In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson) and a $20 Starbucks 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/cacd

 

A Search for Refuge

The world is a happier place. Why? Because Kristi Ann Hunter’s newest series, Haven Manor, has launched! We are transported to Marlborough and a few years later than the Hawthorne House series. Kristi has promised us glimpses of the Hawthornes, which, if you’re like me, you have been spending a lot of brain power imagining what the siblings are up to.

A Search for Refuge  is a novella that opens the series and gives the background story of the founding of Haven Manor. The best part, it’s free! FREE!!!!! While it’s an ebook only, don’t despair if don’t have an ereader. Both Nook and Kindle have apps, and I know at least the Kindle app, you can even read online from a desktop app.

A Search for Refuge is a delightful opening to the new series, and the extended preview at the end verges on mean because I want to read the rest of it RIGHT NOW and I have to wait until June. Ugh! Kristi, can you please write way faster? We want to know what happens with all of those post-it notes on your board!

Also, this cover is gorgeous. I love the eye popping yellow cloak, which is saying something because I’m not a big fan of yellow and I can’t stop staring at it.

A Search for Refuge

Margaretta Fortescue desperately needs to disappear from London society, and her only hope is to follow the rumors of another young woman who recently made a life for herself away from the glare of society. Her search leads her to the market town of Marlborough where, in spite of her efforts to avoid attention, she can’t seem to elude local solicitor Nash Banfield. 

All Nash wants is a quiet, sedate life–no risks or surprises. When Margaretta, clearly on the run and unwilling to answer questions, interrupts his solitude, his curiosity and his principles won’t let him leave this determined woman without assistance.

But will discovering the truth about Margaretta make him think twice about finally taking a risk on love?

Kristi is on the top of my list for author/reader interactions. Follow her Instagram and join her Facebook group.

hunter_headshotKristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. In addition to several pre-published contests, Kristi is a Rita award winner and has also been a finalist in the INSPY, Christy, and GRW Maggie Award of Excellence. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com.

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First Line Fridays – Out of the Ordinary

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays, hosted by Hoarding Books. Today is an FLF from one of my comfort read authors. Jen’s books live on the self next to my bed.

Out of the Ordinary

Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano

“Slipping through the crowd gathered on the upper deck of a most extravagant yacht, Miss Gertrude Cadwalader drew in a breath and adopted an air of what she hoped would be taken for nonchalance.”

 

So, grab the book nearest you and comment what your first line is (with title and author, of course!) and then head over to Hoarding Books to see all of the other books/blogs featured today.

 

Hearts Entwined

Hearts entwined Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer’s “The Love Knot,” Claire Nevin gets the surprise of her life awaiting her sister’s arrival by train. Mary Connealy’s “The Tangled Ties That Bind” offers the story of two former best friends who are reunited while escaping a stampede. Regina Jennings offers “Bound and Determined,” where a most unusual trip across barren Oklahoma plains is filled with adventure, romance, and . . . camels? And Melissa Jagears’ “Tied and True” entertains with a tale of two hearts from different social classes who become entwined at a cotton thread factory. 

Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers.

My Review

Anyone who enjoys American western historicals will enjoy this collection. In my opinion, all of the authors to a great job of developing a believable romance within the shortened format of a novella.

Karen starts off with the final story in the Harper’s Station series and Claire Nevin’s happily ever after. We find out why Claire so quickly left home to marry Mr. Fischer and while we also see the immaturity that her age denotes, she also grows and develops.

Mary’s story brings another Kincaid tale. It good to catch up with part of the family years later and revisit the cavern. I love the way Connor supports Maggie. As a woman with a hubs who is so supportive of my career, my heart melted with how he championed her.

Regina’s story seemed familiar. I’m not sure why and I still really enjoyed it. I’m not sure if I’ve read another story with the same historical impetus or what. Bradley’s self confidence would annoy me in person, but in this hero is adorable.

Melissa creates a heroine who reaches beyond her upbringing and crosses class divides in an era where it was rare and show compassion that is admirable in anyone. Calvin frustrates me, but he comes around eventually, so it ends happily.

Overall it was a very enjoyable collection and I encourage you to pick up a copy.

I received a complementary copy of this book from the author. A positive review was not required and all opinions are my own!

About the Authors

Karen Witemeyer is a winner of multiple Carol Awards and has been a finalist for the RITA Award and National Readers’ Choice Award. She lives in Abilene, Texas. www.karenwitemeyer.com

Mary Connealy is well-known for her award-winning, bestselling historical romantic comedies. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska. www.maryconnealy.com

Regina Jennings is the acclaimed author of The Fort Reno Series. She lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children. www.reginajennings.com

Melissa Jagears, author of the Unexpected Brides series, lives in Kansas. Her novella, “Love by the Letter,” won the 2014 Carol Award. www.melissajagears.com