Beneath The Surface – Just Read -Giveaway

Happy Tuesday, all! I’m excited to be posting again with JustRead Tours. Today’s post is a bit different in that rather than a book review, I get to post about a topic book-related and close to my heart: adoption.
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ABOUT THE BOOK

9780800729387
Title: Beneath the Surface
Series: Dive Team Investigations, Book 1
Author: Lynn H. Blackburn
Publisher: Revell
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genre: Romantic Suspense

After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she’d left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.

Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff’s Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer–one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.

Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final heart-pounding page.


ADOPTION

What’s my story? I could write about it forever, so if you want more info, send me an  email! While I’m not adopted, I have been touched by adoption throughout my life; it has shaped and molded my worldview. I’ll tell you how in just a minute.

In the book, both Leigh and her brother, Kirk, are adopted internationally from two different countries. This is a wonderful form of adoption. In my years of research and training I’ve read lots of stories about kids/families adopting this way and their joys and struggles, and while that isn’t the focus of  Beneath The Surface, I appreciate how Lynn touches on a few of these challenges and how Leigh’s parents handled them. I love that Leigh is secure in knowing she was loved and her parents were open with her about their struggles with infertility and their joy of being Leigh’s and Kirk’s parents.

One summer I nannied two 2 year old “twins.” It’s a God story about a mom who had dreamed of twins but struggled with infertility. They signed up for a baby girl from China (a long and arduous journey), and had just about given up hope when the husband’s co-worker knew someone in their town who needed to give up her son. They jumped on the chance to take the little boy. Well, a time after he was home, they got the call from China. And guess what…it turned out that their little girl was born ON THE SAME DAY as their little boy. God provided twins in a way they had never planned or expected. Isn’t that just like God?

I knew from an early age that our family was different. My twin brother and sister were adopted. Also, they are African-American while mom, dad, and I are Caucasian. I don’t recall when this first occurred to me as it’s always been my normal, but it became much more important as my siblings became teenagers. As I watched them struggle with figuring out who they were and what adoption meant to our family, I found that God was shaping me as well.

Of course, being older siblings, there were plenty of years that they tried to convince me I was adopted (and some days, I thought it might be true!). My mom talked openly with me about the loss of her children before us, a fact I appreciate to this day and realize it’s not talked about openly enough. But, that also means that I saw how it was possible to love a child not of your womb. My family has their issues, whose doesn’t, and adoptive families face particular challenges, but they’re mine and I love them. I LOVE THAT WE WERE A FAMILY THAT WAS CHOSEN. While each sibling has a different perspective and memories, I saw my parents love us the same, but also uniquely to fit who we were.

We were lucky to have baby photos of my siblings as they had been in foster care before adoption and I would often look through the albums wondering about this family who cared for my siblings before they came home. Wondered how they could’ve let them go, but thankful they did. That sparked in me a desire to one day be able to foster children.

Over time, a deep seeded truth became the fabric of who I am; God created me to love the fatherless. You know that verse (James 1:27) that’s used in reference to adoption so often? About God telling us to care for the orphaned? The Greek word for orphan here can also mean “bereaved of parents.” Wow. How many kids are bereaved of parents even though they might be alive? How many in foster care? How many fatherless? How many with one or two parent households where the kid exists, but isn’t really seen? All these kids are bereaved. All of them need to be adopted.

You see, adoption as a concept extends beyond just a legal guardianship. We can look for those on the periphery and LOVE them. Adopt them into our homes, our families, our churches. Pour onto them as God has poured onto us. This idea of kids being raised in a village, of living in community, wasn’t one I was exposed to as a concept until adulthood, but I found it was natural to me; I craved it. I knew that whatever came in life, I could parent, I could adopt others, I could choose family.

This became critical many years later as my world fell apart. I was momming it for two beautiful foster girls, but behind the scenes my marriage was falling apart. We ended up making the heart-ripping decision to focus on our marriage and stop fostering. IT BROKE ME. Who was I if I wasn’t a mother, if I never had children?

It’s a question we all ask: who am I?

In that deepest pit, God met me and reminded me that I was HIS. I was chosen. I was adopted into His family. My identity was first and foremost as His daughter, a princess of the King. Adoption became a whole new concept for me.

Today, my heart is still yearning to be a mom. Since the above, we’ve been down the road of one failed adoption. I don’t know if God means us to be parents in the traditional sense of the word, but until then I’m adopting all the needy kids I can into my momdom, loving on them, and clinging to God’s promises.

 


ABOUT LYNN

blackburn_lynn

Lynn H. Blackburn is the author of Hidden Legacy (Love Inspired, June 2017) and Covert Justice, winner of the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina, with her true love, Brian, and their three children.

CONNECT WITH AUTHOR: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

GIVEAWAY

justread_BTS_Giveaway

(3) Winners will win:

  • (1) Print copy of Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn
  • Surprised Bookish Treat

(US/Canada Mailing Addresses Only)

ENTER HERE

(or click on the Giveaway Banner)

Be sure to stop on every stop on the Tour Schedule for more chances to win!

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TOUR SCHEDULE

April 23
Create Explore Read – Author Interview
A Baker’s Perspective – A Day with Special Agent ___

April 24
Savings in Seconds – Quote Hightlight
Grace in Our Moments – Guest Post from Author

April 25
Christen Krumm – Guest Post from Author
Among the Reads – Beneath the Surface & the Power of Prayer

April 26
Blooming with Books – Character Profile
Fiction Aficionado – Did you know this about diving investigators?

April 27
Remembrancy – Photo Tour of Carrington
Stories by Gina – Quote Highlight

April 30
The Christian Fiction Girl – Quote Hightlight
Daysong Reflections – Underwater Investigations & Evidence

May 1
Worthy 2 Read – Quote Hightlight
Kat’s Corner Books – Beneath the Surface with International Adoption

May 2
All of a Kind Mom – A Character Like Me
Robin’s Nest – Quote Hightlight
Edits & Reviews by Leslie – Food Beneath the Surface

May 3
By the Book – Quote Hightlight
Cafinated Reads – Quote Highlight

May 4
Book by Book – Playlist
Pacific Northwest Bookworm – Cookies Beneath the Surface

 

A Mother for His Family

 

Mother for His Family 2

Lady Helena Stanhope’s reputation is in tatters…and she’s lost any hope for a “respectable” ton marriage. An arranged union is the only solution. But once Helena weds formidable Scottish widower John Gordon, Lord Ardoch, and encounters his four mischievous children, she’s determined to help her new, ever-surprising family. Even if she’s sure love is too much to ask for.

All John needs is someone to mother his admittedly unruly brood. He never imagined that beautiful Lady Helena would be a woman of irresistible spirit, caring and warmth. Or that facing down their pasts would give them so much in common. Now, as danger threatens, John will do whatever it takes to convince Helena their future together—and his love—are for always.

 

My Review

I am so sad that the Love Inspired Historical line is ending because I want to read Suzie’s books forever and ever. A Mother for His Family is the sequel to The Reluctant Guardian, but can be read independently. I really enjoy marriage of convince stories as it gives an opportunity for deeper romance more quickly. In this case our hero, John, is loath to be married again, but wants his children to have a mother while Helena needs the protection that marriage in that time period can offer. In true troupe pattern his children are little devils and Helena’s stubbornness and creativity with practical jokes slowly win the children over while stealing their father’s heart.

“God’s desire to forgive and renew you is not based on your actions, except for you willingness to ask and accept. He delights in you.”

“He delights in you.” Love that! While I wouldn’t call this a comedy, it has several funny moments while still providing a depth of character needed for well developed stories. John, Helena, and the children all grown in this story, with John grousing at Helena in true male fashion about not being changed, but adorably going along with it because he really loves her even though he’s denying it. It definitely left me with a contented sigh.

It does deal with a difficult situation in Helena’s past, but the sadness of that history does not bring the story down. Despite Helena’s struggles to process through it and the shame associated, she maintains a positive attitude while John slowly teaches her that she is worthy. It’s handled very well.

I received a complementary copy of this book from the author. I didn’t have to post a positive review and all opinions are my own!

Author

Susanne DietzSusanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the award-winning author of a dozen new and upcoming historical romances. A pastor’s wife and mom of two, she loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com, and sign up for her newsletter for an occasional cheery hello

Book Boyfriends 2017

I was going to do an all-time book boyfriends post…I do have my favorites, but 2017 was a great swoony hero year. Here are my favorites. Note: I READ all of these in 2017; most were also published last year, but not all. I did not even attempt to keep it at 10. (Learning from you, Carrie!)

1) Michael Carrington (All of You by Sarah Monzon)

We’re not supposed to objectify others, but….Michael is HOT. Sweltering. I’m not usually into bad boys, but this fine boy is attractive. He has other redeeming qualities as well, but they only make him hotter.

2) Karim  (The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon)

Karim is not your typical CF hero. He’s Muslim. But, oh my goodness, his dedication, quiet strength, patience, love for his people, and yes, his faith. He’s the best quiet but strong character I’ve read in a long time. He’s not brooding, he’s thoughtful.

3) Alex, Wes, and Reese (Pepper Basham’s Bunch)

If you’ve read any of Pepper’s books, or tuned into Carrie’s raves on her heroes, this won’t surprise you. All of her contemporary heroes will make your toes curl and make you jealous of the heroines. You can see my review for Charming the Troublemaker here.

 

4) Kristi Ann Hunter – Trent from An Uncommon Courtship and Griffith from An Inconvenient Beauty

Two more hereos here! Trent and Griffith’s novels were long anticipated by her readers taking sides for #mytrent and #teamgriffith which made their allure grow. I have been in love with Griffith from the very first time we meet him earlier in the Hawthorne House series and I’m so glad that everyone has finally caught on to the Duke of Hotness. We have similar personalities, so I relate a lot to Grif, and his love for his family, especially his momma. How can you not love a guy who loves his mamma?

5) Amos Bledsoe (Heart On The Line by Karen Witemeyer)

Amos is another non-typical hero. He rides bikes, wears glasses, and would probably enjoy playing Settlers of Catan if he lived today. He’s geeky and so not alpha male-ish. He reminds me a lot of my husband, so I can’t help but love him too.

6) Peter (A Name Unknown by Roseanna White)

I love Peter’s faith and how he goes about living it as a witness to Rosemary. No pushing, just example and patience. He writes her notes too! They’re probably not technically love letter, but I like to think of them that way.

7) Parker Mitchell (Still Life ) and Declan Grey (Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey)

These dudes are half of team hot and you love them more and more as you get to know them throughout the series. They’re protective, but not smothering; let their ladies think for themselves. They’re not perfect, but they’re trying to get there.

8) Ben Delaney (The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner)

I love Ben because he’s so real. I admire him for sticking to boundaries that are very hard to follow in our current culture, but he’s still real about it. He wants his lady, but respects her enough to hold himself back and isn’t mishish about bringing up the issue.

9) Tavin Knox (The Reluctant Guardian by Susanne Dietze)

Tavin has a Scottish accent and is mysterious. Need I say more?

 

The QuietingGiveaway

Today’s giveaway will be a copy of The Quieting by Suzanne Woods Fisher!  I will announce the winner next week on Tuesday. As always, please read my terms and conditions for giveaways and it’s open to US residents only. Click on the link here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Remember to enter the giveaways for the rest of the week!

Why I Read – With Carrie @ Reading Is My Superpower

Blogiversary Extravaganza! Things I wish I Knew When I Started a Blog

Throwback Thursday – Giveaway

First Line Fridays – Love In Three Quarter Time

A Song Unheard – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

a song unheard fb banner copy

About the Book

Title: A Song UnheardSongUnheard

Author: Roseanna M. White

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: January 2, 2018

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

First thinking about this review, I tried to summarize it in my head, because otherwise it was going to be endless rambling about awesomeness. But, I think you all already know this. Instead I remembered that I had highlighted several quotables that I think are apt and want to share.

“My mother always says that the one you’re meant to marry is simply the one you do marry-it’s not a matter of romance, it’s a matter of deciding to love and make it work.”

Yes, amen, thank you, Jesus. This from the girl who LOVES romance. But, at the end of the day Roseanna weaves a beautiful story to remind us that we can choose to open ourselves to love or close our hearts off. Love is hard work, it is a choice. Whether that’s describing a relationship with our husbands, friends, or family. We choose to love them and stand by them (and sometimes to let them go).

“Can a man compose a symphony without paying attention to each individual note…It’s ridiculous to posit a Creator who stands back, unconcerned. If we grant a God, we have to grant a complete God.”

I love this analogy. I’ve faced the same questions: does God really care about me? Specifically? Why? This is a beautiful answer.

“‘What would you have Him do, Lukas? He warns us of how not to act, but we disobey – like the time I climbed the tree when Papa had told me not to. But how is mankind railing at God any different than when I screamed at Papa for not catching me when I fell, even though I’d done it deliberately when he wasn’t nearby?'”

Sometimes we can’t control what comes to us, other times, we climbed that tree. A good reminder.

There are many other great nuggets in this (and Roseanna’s others) story. If you’re one who likes to mark books, read it with your highlighter. If you think that’s monstrous, pull out those sticky tabs! Either way, I guarantee you’re going to want to remember some of these later.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit tour. All opinions are honest and my own!

About the Author

Roseanna White 2017Roseanna 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 White

I started playing the piano when I was 7. I didn’t discover any long-dormant genius or anything, but I liked it. When my sister quit, I kept playing. In middle school, I switched teachers, and moving from the lady at my church that I knew so well to someone who was just my piano teacher made a difference in how I applied myself. It deepened my love of music.

We all know how some random moments stand out forever in our memory. One such for me happened on the school bus. I was sitting with my best friend, talking about the new piano piece I was learning. “Via Delorosa” means Road of Sorrow, and it’s a song that tells musically about Jesus’ journey to Golgotha—ending with the faint chime of the nails being driven into his palms. As my beloved Mrs. Peto went through this song with me the night before, I remember her circling a D♯ that I’d missed and saying how important that note was. That it made the whole line weep.

That it would make the hearers weep. An epiphany so huge I had to share it with my friend. A well placed sharp could make music weep! Who knew?

That was but one lesson Mrs. Peto taught me in how music could evoke things words never could. A woman of strong faith, she also taught me how a song could preach the Gospel. Music can be medicine. It can be hope. It can be tears. It can be truth. Music can be Jesus to a hurting heart that turns its back on words.

This is a lesson I never forgot, and I had it always in mind as I was writing A Song Unheard. In this story, both my hero and heroine are musicians—violinists. But Willa (who is SO STUBBORN) wouldn’t listen to words of faith from any of the people in her life “suddenly spouting such nonsense.”

But then, in her darkest hour, she hears a slip of melody. And she realizes it’s the Lord.

I pray as readers move through the story of Willa Forsythe—violin prodigy and top-notch thief—that their spirits’ ears hear more than words, more than just a story. I pray they hear the Lord whispering that ultimate song. The one that says, “I love you.”

Want to hear the song Willa eventually wrote in the book? You can! The violin music in this trailer is officially dubbed “Willa’s Song” and written specifically for this book. I hope you enjoy it! http://bit.ly/ASongUnheardTrailer

Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, January 11

History, Mystery & Faith, January 11

Genesis 5020, January 11

Bookworm Mama, January 11

A Simply Enchanted Life, January 11

Avid Reader Book Reviews, January 12

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 12

Blogging With Carol, January 12

Multifarious, January 12

proud to be an autism mom, January 12

Faithfully Bookish, January 13

Christian Bookaholic, January 13

Karen Sue Hadley, January 13

Mary Hake, January 13

A Greater Yes, January 13

Remembrancy, January 14

Blossoms and Blessings, January 14

Just the Write Escape, January 14

Connie’s History Classroom, January 14

Texas Book-aholic, January 14

A Reader’s Brain, January 15

Rachel’s Back Talk, January 15

Smiling Book Reviews, January 15

Cordially Barbara, January 15

Pursuing Stacie, January 15

The Fizzy Pop Collection, January 16

Kat’s Corner Books, January 16

The Artist Librarian, January 16

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 16

Bigreadersite, January 16

Mommynificent, January 17

Seasons of Opportunities, January 17

Moments Dipped in Ink, January 17

Baker Kella, January 17

Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot, January 17

God’s Little Bookworm, January 18

allofakindmom, January 18

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, January 18

Inklings and notions, January 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 18

Pause for Tales, January 19

Have A Wonderful Day, January 19

Just Commonly, January 19

Bibliophile Reviews , January 19

Janices book reviews, January 19

Radiant Light, January 20

The Power of Words , January 20

Book by Book, January 20

CAC Devourer, January 20

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 20

Splashes of Joy, January 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 21

Neverending Stories, January 21

Faery Tales Are Real, January 21

A Baker’s Perspective, January 21

margaret kazmierczak, January 22

The PhD Mamma, January 22

Cafinated Reads, January 22

Daysong Reflections, January 22

Romances of the Cross, January 23

Purposeful Learning, January 23

Rachel Scott McDaniel, January 23

Carpe Diem, January 23

Simple Harvest Reads, January 23

Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, January 24

Henry Happens, January 24

Joy of Reading, January 24

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 24

Raining Butterfly Kisses, January 24


Giveaway


CL Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a Grand Prize Package of a signed copy of the book as well as a lovely album of soothing songs based on the Scriptures called Hidden in My Heart (winner’s choice of CD or digital download)!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c72a

 

12 Days at Bleakly Manor – C

12 days at bleakly manor copy

About the Book

Bleakly Manor COVER

Name of book: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Historical Christmas

Release Date: September 1, 2017

England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.

But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.

What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

I may be dense, or just need to brush up on my classic literature, but I didn’t realize that this book was related to a Dicken’s classic until I was reading about the next in the series at the end. Thus, this review will not comment on whether or not the author did that compassion justice. Instead, I will be relating it to a more modern piece of entertainment, Clue.

I love Clue. I’ve always loved the game, the mystery, puzzling out just who did it. Once I was old enough, I also saw the movie, and now I own it. I was so excited when I watched the DVD the first time and it had an option to pick one random ending from three and you would never know which was going to be selected. It still thrills me even thinking about it. Unfortunately, it’d be extremely difficult for Michelle to pen three different endings, and then make us randomly flip to the page to select a different one, but all of the other essential reasons of why I love Clue, Michelle did in such a creative fashion.

I can’t say I was surprised by the ending, but that is because I suspected EVERYONE at some point, it’s the nature of the story arc. But, I also was surprised because it was brought together and the motivations behind it weren’t what I was puzzling together in my imagination. The mystery of who will die next and who was behind it all is what kept me turning pages because I had to know. Also the anxiety of knowing there could be only one winner, but we have both a hero and a heroine! I want them both to win! It was agonizing.

For regular readers of my blog, you will be happy to know I DID NOT, I repeat, DID NOT, read the end until I got there. Aren’t you proud? In this case, I just knew it would ruin the mystery and allure of everything and Michelle wrote it in such a way with clues coming steadily that I didn’t feel the all consuming desire to know how it turned out before I got there.

So, that should tell you something. If you’re a fan of mystery, give it a try.

Side note: If you’re looking for a fluffy cheery Christmas read, this isn’t it. It’s a bit morose, but I ensure you, a very satisfying read.

What about you? Do you like Clue? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

michelle griep

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of both Regency and Colonial historical romances but also leaped the writerly fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. Keep up with her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle Griep

Go Green With Victorian Christmas Décor

Guest post by Michelle Griep

Walk in any store and you’ll be bombarded with displays of Christmas lights, gaudy ornaments, and inflatable life-size lawn characters. Commercialization at its worst. 150 years ago, that wasn’t the case. Yearning to decorate in a simpler fashion this year? Here are some ways you can bring a bit of the nineteenth century to your home this Christmas…

TREE DECORATIONS

Queen Elizabeth’s husband, the German Prince Albert, introduced the concept of a Christmas tree to Windsor castle. And you know, if it’s good enough for royalty its good enough for the common folk, right? So, the tradition spread. Generally trees were brought inside on Christmas Eve and taken down on January 6th. Trees were decorated with homemade ornaments from paper or fruits and nuts, strings of popcorn or cranberries, or hanging cookies such as gingerbread men from the branches. And remember, an authentic Victorian Christmas tree would’ve been small, like small enough to stand on a table.

GREENERY

Holly. Evergreens. Mistletoe. Most Victorians couldn’t afford store-bought decorations even were there a commercialized industry at the time (which there wasn’t). So the next best thing was to bring in some free/natural ornamentations. Greenery would’ve been perked up with berries, ribbons, dough ornaments or flowers. Pinecones were also scattered throughout the house.

WREATHS

“Writhen” is the root word where we get the word wreath from. It’s an old English word meaning “to writhe” or “to twist.” While the art of hanging wreaths goes back to Roman times, Victorians continued the tradition.

CANDLES

Candles were primarily placed in one of two spots during a Victorian Christmas. A single candle in a window was lit to show that the house was willing to provide food and shelter to travelers. Candles were also used on each and every branch of a Christmas tree, which meant a huge danger of fire. Usually a servant would stand nearby with a bucket of water just in case the thing started to burn.

DRESDENS

Dresdens are ornaments hung from the tree, from a window, or really hanging pretty much anywhere. These were handmade by cutting out shapes (usually animals or trains) and painted with metallic paint so that they looked like metal.

And that’s about it. No obnoxious Santas or reindeer inflated on the front lawn. No psycho Christmas lights strobing enough to give every passerby a seizure. Just plain and simple decor that made the home feel cozy.

And speaking of cozy, how about grabbing a blanket and a cup of hot tea and settling in for a holiday read that’s sure to put you in the Christmas spirit? My latest release is 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, a Victorian blend of Dickens and Agatha Christie.

Blog Stops

By The Book, December 14

Bukwurmzzz, December 14

Faery Tales Are Real, December 14

A Baker’s Perspective, December 15

A Reader’s Brain, December 15

Have A Wonderful Day, December 15

Texas Book-aholic, December 16

Carpe Diem, December 16

Cafinated Reads, December 16

Just the Write Escape, December 17

A Greater Yes, December 17

Remembrancy, December 17

Allofakindmom, December 18

History, Mystery & Faith, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 18

amandainpa, December 19

Kat’s Corner Books, December 19

Mommynificent, December 19

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 20

Bookworm Mama, December 20

Vicky Sluiter, December 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 21

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, December 21

To Everything A Season, December 21

Reader’s Cozy Corner, December 22

The Fizzy Pop Collection, December 22

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 22 (Interview)

My Writer’s Life, December 23

Janices book reviews, December 23

For The Love of Books, December 23

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

Red Headed Book Lady, December 25

Raining Butterfly Kisses, December 25

Bibliophile Reviews, December 26

Blogging With Carol,December 26

Mary Hake, December 26

Reflections From my Bookshelves, December 27


Giveaway

barnes and noble

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift card and a signed copy of 12 Days of Bleakly Manor!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5b8

 

Charming the Troublemaker – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

charming the troublemaker copy

About the Book

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Title: Charming the Troublemaker

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 1, 2017

Troublemaking never looked so good…

When Dr. Alex Murdock is demoted to a university in rural Virginia, the last thing he expects to find is a future. But country charm never looks as good as it does on Rainey Mitchell.

Rainey Mitchell doesn’t need a high-class flirt in her wounded world, but trouble and temptations wafts off the new professor as strong as his sandalwood-scented cologne.

When circumstances thrust them together to save her tutoring clinic, can the troublemaker find the hero inside and encourage the reticent Rainey to open her heart again.

Click here to purchase!

My Review

I’ll admit that I was late to jump on the Pepper Basham bandwagon, but once I was on, that wagon moved fast and furious. I consumed as many books as I could get my hands on, including the first in this series, A Twist of Faith. And guys, I was despondent when I found out that I had to wait until November for Charming the Troublmaker to come out. A few days later, I was checking emails, and lo, and behold, there it was, sitting in my email with the reminder that I had signed up for this tour. HOW IN THE WORLD HAD I FORGOT? I will never make that mistake again.

I immediately (and I mean immediately right after I might have jumped up and down, squealed, and posted a photo on Instagram) dove into the story. I was not disappointed.

Anyone who loves laughter, kisses, My Little Pony, kisses, awkward men who don’t know what to do with themselves, kisses, and, oh, yeah, kisses, will love this story. Plus, Pepper continues to show her writing talent by including elements of mystery/suspense while maintaining her trademark romantic comedy. How can a book be a contemporary-romance-comedy-suspense you might ask? Trust me, just read it.

I loved it so much that when I hit The End, I thought about starting it right over and reading it a second time, but then I decided that would probably be absurd. But I wanted to, and now that I’m writing this post, I’m realizing how much I miss Alex, Rainey, and Sarah, and….(I’m posting now because I have to go read this again…_peace out, ya’ll)

About the Author

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Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, releases in April 2016. You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, or Instagram.

Guest Post from Pepper Basham

I have a thing for underdogs.

Misfits.

Lots souls who desperately need to find where they belong.

I can’t help it! Call it a ‘fix-it’ mentality or an awareness that God rescued me and now I want to rescue other people…even fictional characters, but I’m definitely a softy for those characters that people are less likely to root for. Catherine from The Thorn Bearer/Keeper became my first rescue…and I just HAD to find another.

I guess that’s how Charming the Troublemaker came into existence.

Dr. Alex Murdock desperately needed to be rescued.

In a bad way.

If you’ve had a chance to read my first book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, A Twist of Faith, you’ll know that Alex doesn’t seem to be made up of much hero material. He’s a flirt, a little arrogant, and…well, kind of like a lost puppy.

As book 1 grew and came to a close, I knew Alex and Rainey’s story would be next…but I immediately ran into a real problem.

Who in the world was Alex Murdock? We really didn’t get to know him very much in book 1. He zoomed in a few times, ruffling feathers and then finally showing off some interesting kindness/compassion in the end, but…he was still a big-time flirt.

So the question emerged: Can a flirt be a hero?

What is Alex hiding behind that ready smile and sense of humor? Why does he seem so lost?

The answers were surprising!! Just wait.

The Mitchell family draw him right in, as they did with Dee, and his world is forever changed.

And then there’s Rainey. Strong-willed and independent, she is deeply wounded by her ex-husband’s betrayal. Though she gives off all these ‘confident’ vibes, she hides her insecurities behind a tough exterior in a desire to keep people at a distance – well, everyone except her family.

Alex rocks her world with his ready charm.

And she sees beyond the plastic grin to recognize another wounded soul.

Throwing them together into a book has been a hilarious and heart-stirring adventure, I wasn’t prepared to encounter. They’re so much fun!

AND…he’s ADORKABLE!! Seriously!! He is SUCH a dork, but makes me grin. And…he looks like Armie Hammer 😉

Let me just give you a hint to some of my favorite scenes:

Anything with Sarah!

Underoos

All of the scenes in Rainey’s house

And those in Mama Mitchell’s

Okay, I like the WHOLE STORY…and I can’t wait to see what you think too.

Blog Stops

By The Book, November 14

Just the Write Escape, November 14

Avid Reader Book Reviews, November 15

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 15

Moments Dipped in Ink, November 15

Fiction Aficionado, November 16

autism mom, November 16

Fiction, Faith, and Fun, November 17

Inklings and Notions, November 17

Faithfully Bookish, November 18

Radiant Light, November 18

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 19

The Power of Words, November 19

Cordially Barbara, November 20

Red Headed Book Lady, November 20

Smiling Book Reviews, November 20

Kat’s Corner Books, November 21

A Greater YesNovember 21

100 Pages per HourNovember 22

Splashes of JoyNovember 22

Carpe Diem, November 23

Bookworm Mama, November 23

A Baker’s Perspective, November 24

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, November 24

Daysong ReflectionsNovember 25

Rachel Scott McDaniel, November 25

Remembrancy, November 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 26

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, November 27

Karen Sue HadleyNovember 27

Giveaway

 

5b0da174-3bb2-47fb-9e0d-a0ce456971e5-225x300To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a grand prize of a paper copy of A Twist of Faith, a mug from the Blue Ridge Parkway, one driftwood scented candle, one mango scented candle, and a Troublemaker snickers 😉 highly appropriate. Chocolate with a nutty personality :)!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c1f1

 

Top 10 Summer Books

It’s technically fall, though the weather here disputes that fact. So, that means it’s time for the summer round up! This is for books read July-August-September. (There were so many in June, I just couldn’t include it, and I’m resisting a great book I just finished today, because it’s already October!) I surprised myself when I started narrowing down the options and saw how many contempories there are; I normally consume mostly historical fiction, but it appears to have been a summer of contemporaies!

Enjoy!

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