Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Spotlight (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Alice's Notions



Click here to purchase your copy.


About the Book

Book: Alice’s Notions
Author: Tamera Lynn Kraft  
Genre: Christian historical romance
Release Date: April 1, 2017

In this quaint mountain town, things aren’t always what they seem. 

World War 2 widow, Alice Brighton, returns to the safety of her home town to open a fabric shop. She decides to start a barn quilt tour to bring business to the shop and the town, but what she doesn’t know is sinister forces are using the tour for their own nefarious reasons. 

Between her mysterious landlord, her German immigrant employee, her neighbors who are acting strange, and a dreamboat security expert who is trying to romance her, Alice doesn’t know who she can trust.


About the Author

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. 

She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest and has other novellas in print. 

She’s been married for 38 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and two grandchildren. 

Tamera has two novellas in print: A Christmas Promise and Resurrection of Hope. Her first full length novel, Alice’s Notions released in April through Desert Breeze.

You can contact Tamera on her website at http://tameralynnkraft.net
 

Guest Post from Tamera Lynn Kraft

How Classic Movies from the 1940s Made Their Way in My Latest Novel

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

One thing I loved about writing my post World War Two novel was my main character’s passion for movies. Alice Brighton and her late husband loved to go to movies on Friday nights. Now, even after the war made her a widow, Alice still loves movies and compares everyone she meets to a movie character.

Of course for Alice, all these wonderful classic movies and movie stars and a part of her culture, but for me, it was so much fun because I love classic movies. In the novel, Alice compares her landlord to Cary Grant. Cary Grant is one of my favorites. After starring in movies like Suspision, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Notorious, Grant was one of the biggest stars around in 1946 when Alice’s Notions takes place. My favorite Cary Grant movie wouldn’t be made until a few years later. An Affair to Remember, released 1957, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr is one of my all-time favorites.

At one point in the novel, Alice thinks back to when her late husband always said she reminded him of Judy Garland. Garland would have been twenty-four at the time, just a bit younger than Alice, but she became a big star in her teens. She began acting at two years old when she debuted as Baby Francis and sang Jingle Bells. After playing in various roles including a few movies with Mickey Rooney, Garland had her big break in The Wizard of Oz. She went on to star in a ton of movies and had a thriving singing career until she committed suicide in the 1960s. One of my favorite Judy Garland movies released in 1945 during the war was The Clock. The Clock was about a woman who met and fell in love with a GI on leave. Their romance was intensified because they only had the weekend before he was shipped out again for the remainder of the war. This movie must have been in Alice’s mind since she had lost her husband shortly after the movie came out.

During Alice’s Notions, Alice goes on a date to see the movie, The Postman Always Rings Twice, starring Lana Turner and John Garfield. It was released in 1946 and was considered scandalous at the time because the two main characters have an affair and murder her husband. The main theme of the movie is you can’t get away with your sin. The truth will be revealed. In Alice’s Notions, the truth being revealed is also a main theme.

So you may be wondering what classic movie Alice’s Notions reminds me of. Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn was released in 1963. In that movie, Hepburn is being pursued and doesn’t know who she can trust. The movie has light hearted intrigue, suspense, and romance just like Alice’s Notions. Alice, also, doesn’t know who she can trust.


Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Tamera is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Spotlight (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Mighty to Save




Mighty to Save sounds like a great story for historical romance fans. Read all about it below, as well as Caryl’s guest post, which I enjoyed very much – and then enter her exciting giveaway.  (Carole)

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Mighty to Save  

Author: Caryl McAdoo  

Genre: Christian Historical Romance  

Release Date: May 15, 2017

Contrary to her parents’ wishes, Evelyn married a nonbeliever, but it all works out . . . or does it? Not only did the love of her life accept Christ, Nathaniel got baptized by fire and became a minister of the gospel. 

Woven into the breathtaking tale of love and redemption are two additional stories, Evelyn’s novels of faith, family, and forgiveness.


About the Author

Caryl McAdoo loves writing stories for all ages that glorify God and is thrilled Christian fiction fits her life purpose so well. Bold not bashful, she’s quick to share the Bible principles she lives by through her characters and hopes each title ministers His love, mercy, and grace. 

Known as the “Singing Pray-er”—with a YouTube channel to prove it—the prolific hybrid author also loves praising Him with new songs He gives her. 

Her high-school-sweetheart-husband moved the family from the DFW area—home for fifty-plus years—to the woods and seat of Red River County. After Ron, Caryl counts four children and sixteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings. The McAdoos live a few miles south of Clarksville in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State with two grandsons. 


Guest Post from Caryl McAdoo

Mighty to Save, book nine, is unlike all the other stories in the Texas Romance family saga as the heroine, Evelyn Eversole—you’ll remember her as little Evie in book eight, Covering Love—and hero, Nathaniel Nightingale, are already married in Chapter One. Where’s the romance, Caryl? You may ask. But I think you’ll see that Mighty to Save is brimming with all the stuff love is made of!

The depth of the Nightingales’ love is revealed and tested, and because Evelyn is a novelist like her MayMee (May Meriwether), we are privileged to experience the love of another couple whose progeny is intertwined with the Nightingales’ lineage. (knowing the characters of the next novel Chief of Sinners that was written over twenty years ago and served as the foundation of the Texas Romance series, it’s been a labor of love, tying all these characters together.

And while a very few have remarked that it’s a little hard jumping back and forth in time, the majority of readers have expressed their satisfaction and appreciation for getting to know the backstories in such a fun way. This tale deals with imperfect people—as we all are. I hope my characters come across as real, someone in your family or who might live next door.

In this world, we will have tribulation . . . but being of good cheer isn’t always so easy. Sometime those trials knock us off our foundation, and we find ourselves in an ocean of mire, like trying to swim through jello . . . weary of it to the point where only God can save us. And so we cry out to Him. And He does.

Should that mean what waylaid us no longer has any effect on our lives? Not every time.

I pray that you will enjoy Mighty to Save. This story is another reason why I’m so blessed that God led me to publish independently of the traditional houses, as I’m most certain it would definitely not fit their pigeon hole titled Christian Romance. Life offers hills and valleys. Could we truly appreciate one without the other?

Fair warning, don’t be expecting same-O same-O!

Thank you so much for being a part of my Celebrate Lit Blog Tour Launch! Bloggers, readers, reviewers, and visitors all—everyone at the awesome Celebrate Lit Tour Company, too—y’all are such blessings to me! So much so, I could never repay your kindnesses, encouragement, and support. But my Father can, And I pray He will send every blessing back to you a hundred fold!


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away:

  • Grand Prize: ALL NINE books in the Texas Romance series!
  • 1st Prize: Four first books in four of Caryl’s series
  • 2nd-6th Prize: Print Copy Vow Unbroken

Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Review: Forensic Faith


Forensic Faith
By J. Warner Wallace
David C. Cook, 2017


Summary

A cold-case detective helps you rethink and share your Christian beliefs.

J. Warner Wallace has asked this question in churches across America over the past several years, and the answer he gets is often disappointing; it's almost always rooted in some sort of personal, subjective experience. As a community, we Christians aren't typically prepared to make the case for why we believe Christianity is true from the objective evidence of history, philosophy or science. Worse yet, many of us don't think we have any obligation to do so.

In J. Warner's first two books, he made the case for God's existence (God's Crime Scene) and the case for Christianity (Cold-Case Christianity). In Forensic Faith, J. Warner completes the trilogy by making the case for... making the case! In Forensic Faith, J. Warner helps readers understand why it's important to defend what they believe, and provides them with a unique template to help them become effective "Christian Case Makers." Forensic Faith will help readers:

-understand why they, as Christians, have a duty to defend the truth
-develop a training strategy to master the evidence for Christianity
-learn how to employ the techniques of a detective to discover new insights from God's Word
-become better communicators by learning the skills of professional case makers

With real-life detective stories, fascinating strategies, and biblical insights, J. Warner hopes to teach readers the daily cold-case investigative disciplines they can apply in their lives as believers. Forensic Faith is an engaging, fresh look at what it means to be a Christian.

Learn more and purchase a copy.


My thoughts

Forensic Faith is not only a well-written, interesting and informative book, I’d say that it is a vital book, especially in today’s times. My faith is strong and I’ve done a lot of study over the years, but could I give an adequate defense for why I believe? Probably not.

I’ve always found apologetics interesting and have read some works by authors like Lee Strobel, which can be quite deep. What I like about Forensic Faith is that it is thorough, comprehensive and logical – and easy to follow. Wallace has journeyed from atheism to being a passionate, knowledgeable, and clear communicator.

Through his creative approach – that of a forensic investigator pursuing a cold case – Wallace first makes a compelling case for why our defensive knowledge is important and that Christianity was never intended to rely on “blind” faith – and he’s right. I especially liked how, while presenting evidence in a step-by-step flow, he doesn’t diminish the part that faith plays.

It’s no secret that our children’s faith will be attacked when they get to college. While Forensic Faith has a personal benefit for the reader, it would also be a great resource for parents to use as a teaching tool. I’m eager to start at the beginning and work my way slowly through this book.

Highly recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

http://litfusegroup.com/author/JWWallace





J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, Fox News, and Court TV. A former atheist, he is the author of "Cold-Case Christianity" and "God's Crime Scene." Wallace has a master's degree in theology and lives in California with his wife and four children.

Find out more about J. Warner at http://coldcasechristianity.com.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): The Final Vow




The Final Vow
By Amanda Flower
Living History Museum Series #3
Midnight Ink, 2017


Summary

Summer weddings in Barton Farm’s picturesque church are standard procedure for museum director Kelsey Cambridge. At least they were until the Cherry Foundation, which supports the museum, orders Kelsey to host her ex-husband’s wedding on Farm grounds.

Ambitious wedding planner Vianna Pine is determined to make the bride’s Civil War-themed wedding perfect. But each time Vianna’s vision threatens the integrity and safety of the Farm, Kelsey has to intervene.

When Kelsey finds Vianna’s dead body at the foot of the church steps, everyone’s plans fall apart. With both the wedding and Barton Farm at risk of being permanently shut down, Kelsey has to work hard to save her own happily ever after.

Amazon    B&N


My thoughts

The Final Vow by Amanda Flower has all the essential ingredients that make for a good cozy mystery – picturesque location, small-village setting, gentle humor, likeable characters (with the exception one or two who are frustrating), mystery that quickly hooks you – and I enjoyed it very much.

Kelsey, divorced, is raising her six-year-old son and running Barton Farm, a living history museum in Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley. With her love for Hayden and her passion is to teach the public about the past, I found her likeable and easy to connect with. I also enjoyed the supporting cast that has probably been present since the beginning of this series, but The Final Vow still works fine as a standalone.

The author did a good job with the historical museum theme, something that I always enjoy. The mystery storyline was entertaining and I liked that when the murder is unmasked, his reasoning made sense. Also, I'm glad to note that this is a clean read.

I plan on reading more stories by Amanda Flower, as well as looking into those written under her pen name, Isabella Alan.

Recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


_________________________



Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

WebsitePen name websiteFacebook
TwitterGoodreadsPinterest


GIVEAWAY




Review: Brave Is the New Beautiful


Brave Is the New Beautiful
By Lee Wolfe Blum
David C. Cook, 2017


Summary

Our culture bombards women with "thinspiration" messages and pressure to "do it all" while wearing the mask of perfection.

Women are left feeling alone and overwhelmed. How can they stop comparing themselves to others? How can they live out who they really are?

Lee Wolfe Blum offers stories from everyday women who have answered these questions with their lives-and found true beauty in the process. In Brave Is the New Beautiful, Blum weaves reflections from her own journey with inspirational stories from everyday women who chose to take off their masks and live authentically. Through call-to-action questions and ideas, she encourages readers to be brave enough to be who they really are and the beloved that God knows they are.

Learn more and purchase a copy.


My thoughts


Beauty is the woman who sees her brokenness
and acknowledges the scars of life
but doesn’t try to cover them up or hide behind them.

Brave Is the New Beautiful looks directly into your eyes and speaks straight to your heart. We see beauty in its true sense, far from how the world would define it. Within its pages, we meet courageous women and situations like Shannon with her scarred face … Heather Jo, for whom adopting children turned into aching heartbreak … Megan’s decision about her unborn child … Stacy’s determination to not be defined by cancer.

Blum’s writing style in engaging in this collection of women who have faced the unimaginable and grown in faith. Their stories are real, as are their struggles. You won’t find endings where everything is tied up neatly – and that makes them even more inspiring. Chapter themes reflect life processes like confronting, believing, reinventing, surrendering, enduring, trusting. I loved the thought-provoking quotes that begin each chapter. Questions for reflection offer times for introspection and healing.

Brave Is the New Beautiful is full of hope and inspiration, packed with a compelling message for all women. Highly recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

http://litfusegroup.com/author/LWBlum


_________________________



Lee Wolfe Blum is an energetic and passionate speaker who loves to help women find hope in healing from perfectionism and addictions. She works as a mental health practitioner in the field of Eating Disorders and Chemical Dependency. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and three boys.

Find out more about Lee Wolfe at leewolfeblum.com.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): The Beloved Hope Chest



 
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: The Beloved Hope Chest  
Author: Amy Clipston  
Genre: Amish  
Release Date: May 9, 2017  

In the final installment of the Amish Heirloom series, the Fisher sisters learn the mystery behind their parents’ marriage—and about the sibling who has never been spoken of.

Mattie Fisher’s three daughters know that she’s been keeping a secret from them. With each item pulled from the beloved family hope chest, they’ve discovered a new clue about their mother’s past.

But there’s a reason Mattie has been keeping her history hidden, and she’s not sure she’s ready to reopen old wounds. Will dredging up the past change the way her children view her? Or her marriage to their father? And can she handle the pain of revisiting the memories that preceded the last few happy decades?

Mattie’s story is one of grief and learning to love again. But like the best things preserved in a hope chest, it’s a story of love and redemption born out of heartache—and it’s past time to share it.



My thoughts


Amy Clipston has chosen a tender, poignant way to conclude her Amish Heirloom series, brought full circle with Mattie and Leroy’s story in The Beloved Hope Chest. While this story can stand alone, the previous three books hint at a family secret and reading the entire series will provide a rich reading experience.

There’s so much that I loved about The Beloved Hope Chest. This is a story of family, so real that it didn’t always feel like fiction. It’s a story of loss and grief, easy to relate to because they are such a part of life. Instead of a courting couple, we journey with Mattie and Leroy as they marry for reasons of necessity, then try to figure out how to make that work. I became emotionally connected to Mattie and felt her grief over unimaginable loss, and I loved Leroy’s protective care and patience – especially the way he wooed Mattie by cooking and making things for her.

This story is a reminder that life goes on through and after the grieving process. Heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, it’s a story of renewal and hope. Faith threads run throughout, and I was touched by Leroy’s Christlike characteristics of protectiveness, patience and love.

The Beloved Hope Chest is a moving story and beautiful conclusion to the enjoyable Amish Heirloom series. Recommended to all who enjoy Amish fiction.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.



About the Author

AMY CLIPSTON is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. She has sold more than 1 million books, and her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and three spoiled rotten cats.






Guest post from Amy Clipston

I am thrilled to share the The Beloved Hope Chest, which is the final installment of my Amish Home series.

In The Beloved Hope Chest, the Fisher sisters learn the mystery behind their parents’ marriage—and about the sibling who has never been spoken of. Mattie Fisher’s three daughters know that she’s been keeping a secret from them. With each item pulled from the beloved family hope chest, they’ve discovered a new clue about their mother’s past. But there’s a reason Mattie has been keeping her history hidden, and she’s not sure she’s ready to reopen old wounds. Will dredging up the past change the way her children view her? Or her marriage to their father? And can she handle the pain of revisiting the memories that preceded the last few happy decades? Mattie’s story is one of grief and learning to love again. But like the best things preserved in a hope chest, it’s a story of love and redemption born out of heartache—and it’s past time to share it.

This book is very close to my heart since it is the last in my Amish Heirloom series. I’ve grown to love the Fisher family, and writing Mattie and Leroy’s story was bittersweet. This is a very emotional story, and I poured my heart and soul into it. I hope you enjoy this book since it reveals all of the mysteries that have been placed throughout the series.

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Amy is giving away a copy of An Amish Home and an handpicked Amish goodie chosen by Amy to two winners! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!


Friday, May 12, 2017

Review: Getting Jesus Wrong


Getting Jesus Wrong
By Matt Johnson
New Growth Press, 2017


Summary

Jesus is not a life coach, a movement leader, a cultural visionary, or a blessing dispenser-but you might not know that by listening to many Christians talk about their faith.

Feel-good slogans promote a caricatured Jesus made in our own image who cannot save us and leave us feeling guilty for not saving ourselves. Following the wrong Jesus disappoints us and produces anxiety, pride, and despair.

The first half of Getting Jesus Wrong recounts pastor and author Matt Johnson's personal encounters with a string of false saviors-false saviors that many, especially young adults, will recognize. Johnson's humor and transparency in recounting his own painful experiences will appeal to those who have tried a "brand" of Christianity and found it lacking.

The truth is, we all want something from Jesus. Some are just hoping for a little help to get through life-a new direction, a purpose that will get us up in the morning, an exercise plan, a way to get organized. But that approach to Jesus doesn't result in real faith or love.

Whether we've followed a false Jesus or attempted to coopt the real Jesus, Getting Jesus Wrong ultimately offers us hope because it helps us see Jesus as he is. Getting Jesus Wrong shows that the message of the Bible is about Jesus coming to us as we are-which is good news for exhausted and disillusioned disciples. It shows us that getting Jesus right means a whole new way of thinking (the way up is down) and a whole new way of life (daily dependence on the one who knows the beginning from the end). Getting Jesus right gives us more than spiritual vitamins or a blueprint for living; it gives us a full, rich life spent exploring the depths of gospel love together.

Learn more and purchase a copy.


My thoughts

I’m glad I chose to review Getting Jesus Wrong because it is a well written, solid, and thought provoking book. It’s easy to read, and Johnson expresses himself with honesty and clarity. And best of all, it’s a book for everyone – from seeker to those who grew up in the church.

“I was using God for his gifts
rather than loving him as The Giver.”

I was intrigued by the title and found myself more than a little convicted over the early chapters where he describes several false views of Jesus (“false gods”): the Life Coach Jesus, Checklist Jesus, Movement Leader Jesus, Visionary Jesus. Ever since biblical times, people have had false impressions of the type of Messiah they expected Jesus to be.

I love how Johnson writes with openness and subtle humor, drawing from personal experience. I’ve often seen these four images of Jesus played out in people around me, one particular example being that of switching churches. I wonder how many people, if honest, could relate to Johnson’s confession that his “impulses for switching were always to go after something new and relevant, something more cutting edge.” Part two deals with the antidote to these various false gods, all of which I enjoyed. Johnson did a good job of explaining the Law and showing the connection between it and the gospel.

In drawing from personal experience, I felt that his negative experiences in megachurch settings colored his conclusions. I also expected Getting Jesus Wrong to focus more on personal relationship with Jesus than on churches. But while I might not agree with all that was written, this is a thought provoking and encouraging book, well worth the read.

Recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

http://litfusegroup.com/author/MJohnson

_________________________


Matt Johnson is a husband, father to two little girls, and is an armchair student of theology living in Seattle. He is also a freelance writer and editor. Until recently, Matt spent 7 years as an associate volunteer pastor in counseling and recovery ministry.

Find out more about Matt at https://www.therealmattjohnson.com.