Christmas Reads 2018 – The Christmas Heirloom

Today I’m exciting to be bringing you a blog post found only at Kat’s Corner Books! Karen Witemeyer, Kristi Ann Hunter, Becky Wade, and 
Sarah Loudin Thomas join me to talk about a special gift that they have received. In The Christmas Heirloom, four women are gifted a Luckenbooth Broach and find love at Christmas. Join me in sharing the authors’ stories.

Karen Witemeyer

Zucchini Bread recipe

Heirlooms can be anything that is handed down from one generation to another, but what makes them special is not the item itself, but the memories and emotions that item evokes. I have an antique washstand in my bedroom that once belonged to my grandmother on my father’s side and a small landscape painting that my grandma on my mother’s side painted. Outsiders would not see anything of particular value in these items, but they mean a great deal to me because they connect me to people I loved from generations past. One of my favorite heirlooms​, however, is a recipe for zucchini bread written in my dad’s handwriting. I lost my dad when I was only 16, so this is a prized possession. Not only is the recipe delicious, but seeing my dad’s handwriting brings back a flood of happy memories every time I take it out.


As for gifts I’ve received, the ones that mean the most are the ones that have heirloom potential. They tie into specific memories and emotions. A couple years ago, my husband gave me two such treasures. The first was a blanket made with a photo of my kids. My first child was leaving for college and the empty nest had begun. This was a way for me to snuggle with my kids even when they were gone. Love it! The other gift was a set of throw pillows made from pictures we had taken on a trip to The Netherlands. My Dutch publisher had brought me out for a book tour, and they allowed Wes to tag along. It was one of the best trips we have ever taken. We met so many wonderful people and saw so many amazing things. These pillows sit on my couch all throughout the year, and every time I see them, I remember that trip and smile.


I’m a cross-stitcher, so this time of year, the house fills with handmade items like stockings, ornaments, and wall hangings. I’d like to think that some of these will become heirlooms as my children start their own families and take a few touches of Christmases past to start their own traditions, but even if they don’t, they will still hold memories and joy for me every time I look at them.

Kristi Ann Hunter

BFFs Tendy and Scruffy

I didn’t often get the trendy toy of the year growing up. I never owned a Cabbage Patch Doll or a Furby, but when I was three I did get a Care Bear. TenderHeart to be exact. I loved that bear. I slept with it every night, carried it around the house, he was my constant companion. I called him Tendy. Over the years Tendy soaked up a lot of tears, got a lot of washings, and got hugged until he was pretty much smashed flat. Eventually, when I was in college, I had to admit that Tendy was getting a little too worn to be my constant companion. My father, who’d gotten me Tendy to begin with, went on a hunt for a replacement. At the time he was traveling around the world for work. Everywhere he went, he visited toy stores looking for the softest, cuddliest replacement for my beloved Tendy. I was twenty when I received Scruffy, a gray dog with floppy arms and legs and fluffy fur. Scruffy has since been replaced by my husband, but he and Tendy still sit together in a place of honor in my bedroom. 

Sarah Loudin Thomas

Being sentimental is my super power. My most prized possessions are the bits and pieces that used to belong to someone who matters to me. There’s the Brown Betty teapot that belonged to my neighbor Betty. The stitched wall hanging Aunt Bess made. The wooden butter mold Uncle Willis made for Mom. Dad’s shaving mug. 
Mom knows this about me (maybe instilled it in me?). Which means she knew exactly what she was doing the year she gave me my favorite book EVER. It’s the copy of Heidi that her own aunt gave her as a girl. Mom must have read it to me a hundred times.
There, inside the front cover, it says “To Nancy Cox, Christmas 1954.” And then she passed it on to me one Christmas. And some Christmas down the road I plan to pass it along to my niece–mom’s granddaughter. And hopefully, there will be a great-granddaughter to appreciate it one day–say in 2054? 
While the Luckenbooth in The Christmas Heirloom was a valuable piece of jewelry, what made it such a prized possession wasn’t it’s dollar value, but rather it’s link to family. My character, Fleeta, lost her mother when she was very young. Having that connection to her mother restored in a way was what gave the pin value in Fleeta’s eyes.
It’s much the same with my copy of Heidi. It’s not a book–it’s something my great aunt picked out and wrapped for my mother. It’s the memory of curling into my mother’s side while she read aloud. It’s a connection to people I want with me always. 
I’m so looking forward to sharing those connections on down the line . . .

Becky Wade

My great grandmother enjoyed a long and faith-filled life of laughter.  She had a wonderful marriage, numerous children, and even more numerous grand children and great grandchildren. When she passed away, my grandmother, her oldest child, inherited her gold wedding band.  Since my grandmother had two sons and no daughters, she chose to entrust her mother’s ring to her oldest granddaughter — me.  She gave it to me when I was still a teenager, long before I was in the market for marriage.  But, even then, I recognized the pricelessness of that ring.  I, like the characters in The Christmas Heirloom, had received a piece of jewelry that had been treasured and worn by my ancestors.  What a gift!   Years later, when marriage came my way, I had my great grandparents’ initials and wedding date inscribed inside the ring.  To this day, I wear it as my wedding band. I hope to pass it down to my own daughter one day.


Giveaway

Thanks you so much ladies for sharing your precious gifts and memories with us. To celebrate, I’m giving a gift of a Kindle ebook of The Christmas Heirloom. For the chance to win, enter via rafflecopter below. Please refer to my Policies. The giveaway will close at midnight of 12/10/18.

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First Line Friday – Enchanting Nicholette – Just Read

enchanting nicholette blog tourWelcome to the blog tour and giveaway for Enchanting Nicholette , hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! While this is officially part of a tour (with a giveaway!) I also wanted to say that I did purchase this novella originally as part of a box set, Timeless Love. Carrie, at Reading Is My Super Power has been trying to get me on the Everstone bandwagon for YEARS. Being part of a box set, I finally read one, and hopped right up on that wagon. Dawn’s stories are not to be missed. So now I have TWO copies. The second has an Epilogue, I am happy to say! I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye the first time.

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

 

Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall

“‘It was in looking up at him her aspect had caught its lustre – the light repeated in her eyes beamed first out of his.'”

Ok, that’s technically the first line, but it’s a quote from Villette. The first line of Dawn’s writing begins with:

“I suppose you have a new wardrobe ordered from Paris, oui?

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 BOOK

enchantingnicholette1Title: Enchanting Nicholette
Series: The Everstone Chronicles #5
Author: Dawn Crandall
Publisher: Whitaker House
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance

In this captivating novella by Dawn Crandall, Nicholette Everstone is already a widow at the age of twenty-two: her husband was murdered on their wedding day. She has just returned to Boston after two years of mourning in Europe. Although her husband was loving, the marriage was an arranged one, and Nicholette would like to wed again–this time for love…and to someone safe.

As she acclimates to life in Back Bay again, Nicholette meets someone she can’t help but fall for. But when she learns of the danger and sacrifices Cal Hawthorne takes on for the safety of others, will her heart be strong enough to keep her fears of “what if” at bay?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | BAM! | Christian Book


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

dawn-crandall

Dawn Crandall‘s debut Gilded Age Victorian romance, “The Hesitant Heiress,” was a 2015 ACFW Carol award finalist in the debut category and received the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2015 Write Touch Reader’s Choice Award and the 2015 Romancing the Novel Reader’s Choice Award. Her follow-up novel, “The Bound Heart,” received the 2016 Laurel Award from Clash of the Titles. Dawn earned a BA in Christian Education from Taylor University. She’s been balancing books and babies lately as her two sons were both born as the four books of her Everstone Chronicles series were being released from Whitaker House from 2014 to 2016. Dawn lives with her husband and two young sons on a hobby farm in her hometown in northeast Indiana.

CONNECT WITH DAWN CRANDALL: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


enchanting nicholette blog giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) Winner will win:

  • A print copy of Enchanting Nicholette
  • A library card zipper bag
  • Two pairs of Jane Austen socks
  • Two hand poured candles
  • A historically accurate soap from Austen’s time
  • A Jane Austen set of playing cards
  • A set of Jane Austen notecards
  • 6 magnets with Jane Austen quotes

(US Mailing Addresses Only)

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 29, 2018 and lasts through 11:59pm November 12, 2018. Void where prohibited by law. US addresses only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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Follow along at JustRead for a full list of stops!

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An Hour Unspent – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

an hour unspent FB banner copy

About the Book

An Hour Unspent

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.kats-corner-cat-amazon

My Review

Oh, Barclay. I always love the mysterious types, especially this one who has melted my heart over the past two books caring for his siblings. His heart is so compassionate, even if a bit misguided, a bit of a Robin Hood. I can’t fault him; in the same place, I think I’d have acted similarly. But, we’ve had glimpses of him changing over in the first two in the series and I fell in love a little more getting inside of his head and heart over the course of this story. He’s a redeemable bad boy, but was only a bad boy because he was taking care of others with his giant compassionate heart; what’s not to love?

I wasn’t sure what to think of Evelina, especially at first, but she grows so much other the course of the story and comes into her own. I did get frustrated with her how she loved or thought she knew others so much and then just doubted them; I found it aggrevating. But the way she dove into the family, embracing them, and testing her wings of independence, she changed. So while I was frustrated at the start, by the end I thought she was a good addition.

So far as I know, no more books in this series are planned, but I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to keep getting to know this boisterous chosen family. And as we head into National Adoption Month, a topic you all know is close to my heart, I just want to wrap up in their fictional world and be chosen to be a part of their family too.

I was provided a copy for the purposes of this tour. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Roseanna 2018

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Guest Post from Roseanna

Last year, as I finished up the writing of An Hour Unspent, my great-grandmother passed away at the age of 103. As I sat at her funeral service and listened to the heartfelt memorial raised up to her by her kids and grandkids, I realized anew that this woman had been a matriarch in the truest sense of the word. She’d taught my family for generations how to love the Lord and each other, how to serve the Lord and each other, and how to trust the Lord and each other. Grandma Seward was, in so many ways, the one who instilled in me my idea of what family really is.

That idea—that it’s those knit together by love more than blood, and that faith is the strongest foundation—is what I built my unusual family of thieves upon in the Shadows Over England series. And strange as it is to liken my twenty-something reformed-thief hero to my 103-year-old-grandmother, Barclay Pearce is very much to his family what Maxine Seward was to mine.

The founder. The caregiver. The leader.

I knew as I began the series that I would write about Barclay in book three, and as I got to know him better throughout the series, I grew so excited to share his story! This is a man who led his family first into and then out of a life a crime, always for the right reasons—so he could provide for the children under his care. All he ever wanted to do was give them what he himself had lost. To show them love. To prove to them that they were worth any sacrifice.

It was truly a blessing for me to get to write the story in which Barclay found someone to come alongside him, to appreciate and learn to understand him. To finally share what started him down this path. I loved the idea that only a reformed thief could steal the time another family needed to overcome their own trials.

There are many historical items in the book that were such fun to explore—watchmaking of the era, the suffrage movement in England, technological advancements of the war—but at the heart, this isn’t a story about any of those.

It’s a story about how far people should go for love. I hope you enjoy Barclay’s story as much as I did!

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 30

The Power of Words, October 30

Back Porch Reads, October 30

Kat’s Corner Books, October 30

Janice’s Book Reviews, October 30

Where Faith and Books Meet, October 31

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 31

Faithfully Bookish, October 31

Genesis 5020, October 31

Fiction Aficionado, November 1

Among the Reads, November 1

The Lit Addict, November 1

Just the Write Escape, November 1

Multifarious, November 2

Godly Book Reviews, November 2

Real World Bible Study, November 2

Madeline Clark, November 2

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 3

Christian Bookaholic, November 3

Inspirationally Ever After, November 3

Bookworm Mama, November 3

Bigreadersite, November 3

Blogging With Carol , November 4

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 4

Life with the Tribe, November 4

The Becca Files, November 4

Kathleen Denly, November 5

Cordially Barbara, November 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 5

Simple Harvest Reads, November 5 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

God’s Little Bookworm, November 6

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 6

Faery Tales Are Real, November 6

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, November 6

Carpe Diem, November 6

Margaret Kazmierczak, November 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 7

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, November 7

Blossoms and Blessings , November 7

Maureen’s Musings , November 8

Connie’s History Classroom , November 8

Book by Book, November 8

Just Commonly, November 8

cherylbbookblog, November 9

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 9

Have A Wonderful Day , November 9

With a Joyful Noise, November 9

KarenSueHadley , November 10

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 10

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 10

Baker kella, November 10

Bibliophile Reviews, November 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 11

Inklings and Notions , November 11

Two Points of Interest, November 11

Inspiration Clothesline, November 11

A Baker’s Perspective, November 11

Henry Happens, November 12

Proud to Be an Autism Mom, November 12

Texas Book-aholic, November 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 12

Giveaway

an hour unspent giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of a signed book, a London mug, and a 48-pack Twinings tea sampler!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d570/an-hour-unspent-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

This Courageous Journey – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

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About the Book

This Courageous Journey

Book Title: This Courageous Journey

Author: Misty Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: October 9, 2018

As the fifth daughter in a family of nine children, Noelle Grant has spent her life working to be unique. Her love of stories helps define her goal—to be known around the country as one of the top news correspondents of her time. And what better way to uncover sensational stories than to travel through the mountain wilderness to visit the brother she hasn’t seen in years? The trip comes together perfectly as she plans to journey with family friends who will be settling in the same area. Her first inkling that things may not be as perfect as planned comes in the form of the mountain man they hire as their guide for the final leg of the journey.

When Daniel Abrams agrees to guide the small group of easterners along his usual journey northward to the Canadian mountains, his gut tells him he’s making the wrong decision. But if he doesn’t take them, who will? The man in charge refuses to consider turning back. As they start out, Daniel can’t help but notice the woman traveling under the care of her friends. Though she appears too genteel to last long in these mountains, she soon reveals a strength that draws him more than he should allow.

As the dangers of this wilderness become more than the group bargained for, Noelle is faced with the choice to delay her journey northward or proceed alone with the man she’s come to trust against all reason. She never imagines her decision will place her—and the man she loves—in a situation more hazardous than any story her imagination could conjure.

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My Review

At first, I felt that another guide falling-in-love-with-his-guidee troupe is a little over done. HOWEVER, as the story developed Misty brought other unique aspects to this troupe providing opportunities not just for the hero to save the day, but also the heroine. While at times you could predict the next turn, I still found myself turning the pages wondering how the story would arrive.

Noelle is a heroine who enjoys her femininity, but also rises to the occasion; she has a tough backbone, but isn’t rough. The journal entries provide a glimpse into her thoughts where she shows honest reluctance at some of the new experiences while also showing a willingness to encounter new experiences with an open mind. Faith wraps her life, but, as many of us do, in the trying to get through everyday she loses track of that faith until God orchestrates a reminder. Without going into spoilers – I’m thankful that I haven’t had to go through the same reminder situations, though!

Daniel is your typical guide-type hero, but at the same time does an admirable job of not trying to bulling Noelle into thinking his way; he lets her make her own decisions, but at times to both of their detriment.

Overall an enjoyable read, even if a bit predictable.

I was provided a copy of this book for the tour. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Misty

Misty M. Beller writes romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Guest Post from Misty

Ever Been Struck by Lightning?

One of the fun things about being a writer is the crazy topics I get to research. Without giving away too much of the story, part of my research for This Courageous Journey included uncovering what happens when lightning strikes a person. It turns out anything can happen!

Surprisingly, about nine out of ten people struck by lightning live to tell their story. Each person’s experience seems to be different—some are knocked unconscious, while others are horribly aware of everything happening. One person who was struck said it seemed as if time slowed to a crawl and a white haze surrounded him like a bubble, as excruciating pain shot through him.

People usually try to determine the path the lightning traveled through them, based on where burn marks appear on both skin and clothing, but sometimes that can be difficult if jewelry or coins were touching the body. Survivors might suffer a variety of short- and long-term effects, including—but not limited to—cardiac arrest, confusion, seizures, dizziness, muscle aches, deafness, headaches, memory deficits, distractibility, personality changes, and chronic pain, among others. That may sound like an awful list, but it does beat the alternative!

As I considered the possible effects of a lightning strike when I was writing This Courageous Journey, I was reminded once again how magnificent God’s creation is. Both the incredible power contained in one streak of lightning, and the beautiful inner workings of the bodies He created for us. As the Psalmist said, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made!”

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 11

Among the Reads, October 11

Singing Librarian Books, October 11

The Power of Words, October 12

Multifarious, October 12

Maureen’s Musings, October 12

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 13

Real World Bible Study, October 13

Splashes of JoyOctober 14

Artistic Nobody, October 14 (Spotlight)

Joy of ReadingOctober 15

Mary Hake, October 15

Janices book reviews, October 15

Kat’s Corner Books, October 16

Livin Lit, October 16

KarenSueHadleyOctober 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool aacademy, October 17

Remembrancy, October 18

Carpe Diem, October 18

Pause for Tales, October 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 19

Bigreadersite, October 19

A Baker’s Perspective, October 20

Blossoms and Blessings, October 20

Bibliophile Reviews, October 20

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, October 21

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 21

Wishful Endings, October 22

Simple Harvest Reads, October 22 (Guest post Mindy Houng)

Inspiration Clothesline, October 23

proud to be an autism mom, October 23

Texas Book-aholicOctober 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 24

Giveaway

amazon gift card 50

To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d4cf/this-courageous-journey-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Literarily For Keeps AND Freedom’s Kiss

Sarah Monzon kept me company on my travels last week with both Literarily for Keeps and Freedom’s Kiss. I only had one problem: I wanted to read both at the same time and didn’t want to put either down to read the other. It’s tough wanting to read ALL THE BOOKS.

About the Book: Literarily for Keeps

literarily for keepsShe only has to pretend to be married for five days. What’s the worst that could happen? 

Literature professor Ashleigh Darmody never imagined her life would turn into a classic trope, but that’s exactly what happens when her sister Claire calls with a bizarre request–quickly find a fake husband. Backstory is a powerful thing, and Ashleigh’s has plenty of shadows, but is her past so shady that it requires an elaborate scheme to ensure Claire’s prospective father-in-law, renowned TV evangelist Ken Abrams, will give her his blessing to marry his son? 
Already divorced from a man who turned out to be other than he claimed, Ashleigh now has to pretend to be blissfully married to a stranger for the next five days. But when the lines of fiction and reality blur with each tick of the clock, could a temporary deal turn into something for keeps?

About the Book: Freedom’s Kiss

Freedoms kissThey were both prisoners of their past. Could legacy be the key to setting them free? 

Olivia Arroyo knows who she is and where she’s going—her sense of family responsibility a stepping stone to her dream of becoming a chef. When her employer refuses her the chance to move from server to the kitchen, she makes another opportunity for herself with the owner of a new food truck. But her life derails when a hidden piece of her past suddenly comes to light, and she discovers everything she thought she knew about herself has been a lie. 

A single decision can have innumerable consequences—a truth that has changed Adam Carrington’s life. A criminal defense attorney turned food truck owner, he is haunted by his role in an unpardonable act and driven by his need to make restitution. Unexpected help comes in the form of a feisty, raven-haired beauty, but she soon begins challenging his kitchen as well as his heart. 

Florida, 1816 
Propelled by a fleeting hope of freedom, Winnie and her family escape slavery and find refuge and new life with the Seminole Indians of Florida. But their future is still uncertain as threats of war, a return to slavery, and removal to the west shake their tentative grasp on freedom. Will they ever step out of the shadow of fear to leave a legacy of deliverance?

My Thoughts

I’ve yet to meet a Sarah Monzon book I haven’t liked and these two add to the count. I’ve had Freedom’s Kiss patiently waiting for me for awhile, and Literarily for Keeps just came out. I thought it’d be fun to focus on one author while traveling and so loaded both on my ereader (and on the Ipad, and the phone, because, you know, things happen and you don’t want to be BOOKLESS).

The books share some similarities: solid characters, contemporary settings, toe curling romance, and tough topics. Both stories deal with sexual abuse, so trigger warning for some. Personally, I think Sarah did great job of lending gravity and the seriousness the situations without requiring a box of Kleenex, breaking the tension with well placed levity. I also appreciate her note at the end of Freedom’s Kiss. Throughout both stories, Sarah weaves faith in naturally, never getting preachy while incorporating solid Biblical truths. Her characters aren’t perfect and have made mistakes, but all learn that God takes us as we are, not where we think we should be.

Literarily for KeepsThis is a quick fun read perfect for passing a Sunday afternoon. But don’t think it’s too sweet. It’s a first person narrative (which I usually avoid, but guys, it’s Sarah Monzon, so I couldn’t not read it) with an internal monologe that I related to so often, I wondered if Sarah had tapped into my own head. Granted, I don’t have quite as many literary reference bobbing around, but I think most will relate to the rambling monologue that frequently occurs in those 5 seconds before you make a decision but if you wrote it all down would take 3 pages.

Freedom’s Kiss: I’m a Carrington family fan for sure; weekly game night sounds ideal. For the first two books we see Adam as a secondary character, but I kept wondering what was going on with him and what his story was; now I know. I was a little surprised at how quickly the romance developed, but it made such a great platform for romantic tension for the rest of the story and allowed some toe curls. When I think about, Adam is such a passionate and compassionate man, he couldn’t help but jump in with his whole heart right away- he’s all or nothing.

I appreciated getting to know a slice of history I wasn’t familiar with and ended up with some time on Google reading up, so I know Sarah was trying to fit a long timeline in, but I found the secondary historic story a little jumpy at times. Being light skin, it will always be hard to understand the struggles that can come with dark, but I feel that I gained some understanding, especially of the Native American culture of that area. The book opened up a conversation for me with a Native American friend where we could talk points of spirituality. As she’s not a believer, I was happy to have some thoughtful questions I could ask as a result about the culture she was raised in and share a bit of my faith with her.

I received a copy of Freedom’s Kiss from the author. I was not required to post a review. These opinions are my own.

A Tale of Two Hearts – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

About the Book

img_0004Book Title: A Tale of two Cities

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: September 1, 2018

Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life. She saves every penny to attend a finishing school, dreaming of the day she’ll become a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn.

William is a gentleman’s son, a charming rogue but penniless. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his puritanical cousin. In an effort to secure the inheritance, William gives his uncle the impression he’s married, which works until he’s invited to bring his wife for a visit.

William asks Mina to be his pretend bride, only until his uncle names an heir on Christmas Day. Mina is flattered and frustrated by the offer, for she wants a true relationship with William. Yet, she agrees. . .then wishes she hadn’t as she comes to love the old man. And when the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost.

Can two hearts survive such a deception?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

I confess I didn’t understand enough of the references to other books in this novel; clearly I need to brush up on my classics. But, that didn’t stop me from enjoying it! A Tale of Two Hearts to me is really a tale not just about two people falling in love, but two people learning that it’s important to be themselves and to be honest. Both Will and Mina struggle with their own insecurities and while they set out with the best of intentions, their methods may not be the best choice, but this is one of those stories where if I was in their shoes, I’m not sure I would’ve made a different decision.

I appreciate how Michelle kept the story within social norms of the time period. For two people to act married and not be put them in situations that would’ve been scandalous, and this is reflected in both characters actions; their behavior wasn’t changed for modern audiences (i.e. it’s ok to be alone together for awhile, etc.).

If you’re looking for a drama where Christmas is an aspect, but doesn’t overwhelm the story and where characters learn to give others another chance, this story is for you.

I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle

Victorian Christmas Foods

So, it’s September, and you know what that means? It’s back to school. Pumpkin spiced everything is just around the corner. And it’s nearly time for cardigans and colored leaves. But besides all these autumn staples, it’s also time to start thinking about Christmas, because it will be here before you know it. How about this year you plan ahead to serve some traditional Victorian food?

In my newest release, A Tale of Two Hearts, the heroine’s father is known for his annual oyster stew that he serves on Christmas Eve. Here’s a bit of the background on that tasty soup.

Victorian Oyster Stew

Oysters have been savored in Britain since the days of the Romans. By Victorian times, industrialization cheapened oysters to the point of them becoming a staple of the poor man’s diet and were a frequent fare served in public houses. This, however, depleted their abundance, and by the mid 1800’s, the natural oyster beds became exhausted, making it harder to find good oysters. While other foods were served as well on Christmas Eve, oyster stew was as common as goose or turkey.

Another Victorian favorite that goes great on a crisp evening is good ol’ hot chocolate, though in Dickens’ England, it would’ve been called something else.

Drinking Chocolate

What we now call cocoa or hot chocolate was called drinking chocolate in the mid 1800s. This beverage was a favorite among Victorian ladies. You can find recipes for it even from the Regency era (early 1800s) and here is one for you to make at home.

And last, but not least, who hasn’t heard of Christmas pudding? To our American ears, that sounds like a tasty dish that you’d eat with a spoon and slap a little whipped cream on top. Actually, it’s more like a fruit cake.

Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding is quite a production, one that begins well before Christmas Day. In fact, it begins on Stir-Up Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent (which is five weeks before Christmas). This is why when Mina, the heroine in A Tale of Two Hearts, returns home from dinner at Uncle Barlow’s, and though it’s not yet Christmas, she sees the pudding moulds on the kitchen table.

If these tastes and the accompanying smells still aren’t quite enough to get you in the Christmas spirit, then snatch yourself up a copy of the second book in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series. A Tale of Two Hearts is sure to get you in the mood.

Blog Stops

Kat’s Corner Books, October 2

Creating Romance, October 2

Just the Write Escape, October 2

The Avid Reader, October 2

Genesis 5020, October 3

The Power of Words, October 3

Just Commonly, October 3

Baker Kella, October 3

Among the Reads, October 4

Fiction Aficionado, October 4

Godly Book Reviews, October 4

Inklings and Notions , October 4

Captive Dreams Window, October 5

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, October 5

Proud to Be an Autism Mom, October 5

Multifarious, October 6

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 6

The Christian Fiction Girl, October 6

Texas Book-aholic, October 6

Remembrancy, October 7

Splashes of Joy , October 7

Blossoms and Blessings, October 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 7

Back Porch Reads, October 8

A Reader’s Brain, October 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, October 8

Janice’s Book Reviews, October 8

Simple Harvest Reads, October 9 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, October 9

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 9

Carpe Diem, October 9

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, October 10

Britt Reads Fiction, October 10

Luv’N Lambert Life, October 10

A Baker’s Perspective, October 10

By The Book, October 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 11

Book by Book, October 11

Bigreadersite, October 11

More Of Him, October 12

Pause for Tales, October 12

With a Joyful Noise, October 12

Have A Wonderful Day , October 12

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 13

Bibliophile Reviews, October 13

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 13

Vicky Sluiter, October 14

Daysong Reflections , October 14

To Everything A Season, October 14

Henry Happens, October 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 15

Reader’s Cozy Corner, October 15

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d4ef/a-tale-of-two-hearts-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Love Letter – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

The Love Letter FB Banner copy

About the Book

The Love Letter

Title: The Love Letter

Author: Rachel Hauck

Release Date: June 12, 2018

Genre: Contemporary

Tour Dates: June 21 – July 4

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a story of long-lost love and its redemption in future generations.

Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte—in life or on screen. But everyone knows who to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.

When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.

Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted—something straight from the heart.

Set in stunning upcountry South Carolina, The Love Letter is a beautifully-crafted story of the courage it takes to face down fear and chase after love, even in the darkest of times. And just maybe, all these generations later, love can come home in a way not even Hollywood could imagine.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

For all my fellow end-readers out there: JUST SAY NO. Do not read the end of this book before all the rest. I got nervous part way through, almost read the end, but something whispered, wait for it. I AM SO GLAD I WAITED. Wait for the ending, friends, don’t rush this one!

Rachel is known for seemingly weaving together a contemporary and historical story, and this novel is no exception. From the start, the two stories develop, back and forth, keeping me turning pages. The historical story is filled with angst and delayed love, but is well balanced by the sweeter contemporary story, which keeps the drama from getting overwhelming. I really like Jesse and Chloe, as well as several of the minor characters from both stories, but I struggled to connect with Esther and Hamilton and their lack of standing up for their love as well as admitting and committing to it.

It was very interesting getting a small peek into the back story of getting a movie produced, and I admire the way Chloe, and the director, Jer (who happens to share a name with hubs!) find a way to move forward and make it work when challenges come up.

…and the ending. I can’t even. It’s perfect. I was definitely nervous part way through, wondering how it was going to work out, how it was going to satisfy when we knew he didn’t send the letter (which is not a spoiler because you know that from start!). But…oh, my gosh. It surprised me but was awesome.

I received a complimentary copy of this story. All opinions are my own and honest, I promise! I can’t fake the ending gushiness.

About the Author

Rachel Hauck

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times. She is a double RITA finalist, a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Rachel sits on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, and is the comical sidekick to Susan May Warren at the amazing My Book Therapy. She is a worship leader and speaker.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel is a devoted Ohio State football fan. She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

Guest Post from Rachel Hauck

I’m always looking for story ideas. My husband does a standard disclaimer when I start drilling into a conversation with questions like:

”Really? So why did you do that?”

”Have you sought help?”

”Was it love at first sight?”

Hubster says, “Warning, anything you say can end up in a book.”

Of course, stories abound! Interesting people abound!

Then again, sometimes ideas just hit out of the blue. A few years ago I had the idea of a young, contemporary couple meeting by “accident” only to learn that their great grandparents were in love but time, life, family, war, or society made their love impossible.

I suppose there are a hundred ways to tell such a story but when it came time to write The Love Letter, I was slightly infatuated with the Poldark series on PBS.

Set in 18th century Cornwall, the story and the characters were so dynamic I had to write my own version of Poldark.

But could I write a split time with a 240 year difference? I mean, they didn’t have electricity or phones in 1780! They didn’t even have a postal system. Letters were carried by traveling friends or family.

What possible conflicts could my historical characters face? What event could be so dark and tragic to keep them apart?

The Revolutionary War created a perfect backdrop for my young lovers.

I set the story in upcountry South Carolina not realizing the battle I chose for the back drop, the Battle of Cowpens, was the inspiration for the movie The Patriot. (A fav movie of mine!)

For the contemporary story, I started with shoes. I mean, doesn’t every thing start with shoes?

”Nice outfit but what shoes are you wearing?”

”You’re going on a date? You need new shoes.”

What we “walk in” can either empower or defeat us. There’s a spiritual metaphor I’ll mediate on for awhile.

However the shoe angle didn’t quite work so the contemporary story ended up in Hollywood with an actor/screenwriter and an actress.

Both worlds—1780 upcountry South Carolina and contemporary Hollywood—were a bit out of my southern bailiwick.

I did a lot of research on the war and the colonial south. Where I couldn’t find details, I filled in with my imagination.

As for Hollywood, I talked with a screenwriter friend, read books, watched interviews, and then, you know, made the rest up. Don’t you know I eventually ended up on a movie set—Once Upon A Prince—four days after I finished reading the galley proofs for The Love Letter!

One of the hardest parts of the story was the actual love letter. What did it say? Who wrote it and why? Was there more than one? No, only one. But why only one?

I must have written and rewritten the letter five different ways to Sunday before I settled on the magical one.

During the course of the book, I realized I’d never written a love letter. Have you?

I’ve written sentiments to my husband on an anniversary or birthday card. I speak my love and affection out loud all the time.

But a bonafide love letter?

A love letter is it’s own art form. They range from sickly sweet with a lot of “darlings” and “sweethearts” to Shakespearean sonnets.

There’s a vulnerability that comes with writing a love letter. Putting one’s heart on the page creates a new level of commitment with your affections.

Will the reader receive your words? Will the reader respond in kind?

It’s fascinating to consider the purpose of a love letter. Have we lost something intrinsic to the human heart with our instant texting and email society.

Can you imagine Romeo texting to Juliet in 2018?

Saw you at your window. You looked hot.

Doesn’t quite have the same ring as: “But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun.”

Scripture is a continuous love letter. “For God so loved the world—”

Whether you write love letters or poems, or quick texts, or put XO’s on cards to loved ones, write a love letter this month.

Write one to yourself, to Jesus, a spouse, child, parent, friend, foe—

See how it will bless your heart! Off to write my love letter…

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, June 21

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 21

The Avid Reader, June 21

Genesis 5020, June 21

ansel book blog, June 22

Blogging With Carol, June 22

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, June 22

Cover to Cover and Everything in Between, June 23

The Power of Words, June 23

Luv’N Lambert Life, June 23

Janices book reviews, June 23

C Jane Read, June 24

Kristin’s Book Reviews, June 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 25

Faithfully Bookish, June 25

By The Book, June 25

Reading Is My SuperPower, June 25

Kat’s Corner Books, June 26

Maureen’s Musings, June 26

Ladybug Chronicles, June 26

Carpe Diem, June 26

Moments Dipped in Ink, June 27

Mommynificent , June 27

Godly Book Reviews, June 27

God’s Little Bookworm, June 28

Radiant Light, June 28

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 28

Have A Wonderful Day, June 28

Novels corner, June 29

Blossoms and Blessings, June 29

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 29

Bigreadersite, June 29

Pause for Tales, June 30

Bibliophile Reviews, June 30

Splashes of Joy, June 30

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 1

Simple Harvest Reads, July 1

The Christian Fiction Girl, July 1

A Baker’s Perspective, July 1

Remembrancy, July 2

amandainpa, July 2

To Everything A Season, July 2

proud to be an autism mom, July 3

Texas Book-aholic, July 3

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, July 3

Fiction, Faith, and Fun, July 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 4

 

Giveaway

kindle

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away Grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7 Semi-Grand prize of a book basket 2nd – 4th place prize of a copy of The Love Letter!!

Click below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d071/the-love-letter-celebration-tour-giveaway