Monday, January 16, 2017

Spotlight (+ Tour Giveaway) - Covering Love by Caryl McAdoo



 
Click here to purchase your copy.


About the Book

Book: Covering Love  

Author: Caryl McAdoo  

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: January 26, 2017  

Love may cover a multitude of sins, but not knowing all the facts can also get a man killed.

A family calamity gathers the clan, then a dying request tests loyalties and changes lives. New York City’s posh society, living on a rugged Texas hill country ranch, and the isolation of Alaska’s frozen tundra share little commonality and make going from one to another difficult at best. Still, destiny drives Crockett and his sister Charlotte where neither wants to go or thinks they belong. Second and third generations of the Buckmeyer progeny encounter danger, challenges, heartaches, and joys. But then reunions are all the sweeter for it.

This tale continues the breathtaking—and sometimes heartbreaking—family saga of the Buckmeyers, Baylors, and Nightingales that readers around the world have come to love.


About the Author

Caryl McAdoo loves writing stories for all ages that glorify God, thrilled that 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. She 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 with new songs the Lord gives her. She and high-school-sweetheart-husband Ron moved from the DFW area—home for fifty-plus years—to the woods and seat of Red River County. After him, 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

Book eight of the TEXAS ROMANCE Family Saga proved difficult to write in the beginning. At my bi-monthly Red River Writers’ Workshop where I read a chapter each meeting, I couldn’t get through one without weeping. This family’s story began in 1832 (book one, Vow Unbroken)—a true-love tale when Henry, a thirty-two year old bachelor living in his mama’s house, and Sue, a twenty-nine year old widow rearing two children find each other.

Fifty years have passed—it’s now 1885—and scripture says it is appointed for every man to die once. Henry is my Ron (my beloved husband), so I could barely get through his demise for his wife’s sake. I’m not giving a lot away. Readers find this out in chapter one of Covering Love. But in a family saga such as this series, characters must pass over into Heaven.

So who’s book is Covering Love? It actually has four love stories! One is sweet budding love, another is Houston’s romance set back in the 1860s, the third is Crockett’s and takes place in Alaska, and the fourth is Charlotte’s. She falls in love in New York City . . . my cover lady who is practically forced to go there and live in May’s brownstone. Well, her older brother wasn’t that happy about going to the frozen tundra of the far North, either.

Henry’s first five children didn’t have the ‘soft’ lives that May’s two offspring experienced. After I made it through the hard beginning, writing Crockett’s and Charlotte’s love stories was great fun! And of course, the old man who’s made appearances in the majority of my novels has his part to play in Covering Love.

Have my readers recognized him? If they’ve not made the connection in prior stories, they will definitely be enlightened in this one. Namrel is his real name, and he’s a delightful cherub who oft visits earth as an angel unaware. He’s also in A Little Lower Than the Angels, volume one in my Biblical Fiction series The Generations, and The King’s Highway, book one in my mid-grade/young adult Days of Dread trilogy.

I truly love how God has given me these multi-genre series and woven common threads through them . . . like the hero and heroine in my second Red River Romance Sing A New Song, have a conversation over the gravestone of the famous Texas Ranger, Levi Baylor, Samuel Levi Baylor’s ancestor. And in the soon coming book four in that contemporary series, The Pitch, readers will meet more descendants of these awesome families God has helped to create.

My slogan is ‘Praying my story gives God glory!’ And that’s what I want every single one to do. My characters are not perfect. They all have flaws and make some poor choices. But it’s in those times of our own lives that God shows up and shows out. Oh how wonderful, how marvelous is our Savior’s love!


Book Excerpt

Crockett tapped on the door. How many times over the years had he knocked on the same one? Better question, how many girls and ladies had called it their own?

“Go away.”

He knuckled it harder. “Come on, Sis. It’s me. Open up.”

She cracked the portal. “Crockett, what are you doing up here?”

“I need a favor.”

“Too bad. The answer is no.” She rubbed her eyes. “I am not lending you any more money, so go back to bed!”

“Let me in.”

The force of the door swung wide and moved her back. “Fine, Brother. Come on in.” She exhaled audibly. “Why can’t we discuss this tomorrow? Why do you always…grrrr…you see, Mother! He’s incorrigible!”

Ma sat on the bed. He smiled. “Sorry, didn’t know I was interrupting you ladies, but if you don’t mind, I need a word in private with Charlotte.”

“If you can’t say whatever it is in front of her, then you don’t need to be saying it at all. Just get out of here. You cannot come into my room and chase Mother out!”

“Fine, if you insist. I need you to go to New York.”

“What for?”

“It’s like this. My partner is a whiz at sniffing out great deals, but he needs someone to keep a firm grip on him. He wants to gallop when he should trot, if you get my drift. If I’m expected to gallivant all over the Northwest, I need someone I can trust in New York, watching over things. You’re it.”

“Son. You’re wanting your sister to take over your business while you’re gone? That’s asking too much.”


Blog Stops

January 17: A Reader’s Brain
January 17: The Power of Words (Spotlight)
January 19: Karen Sue Hadley
January 21: A Greater Yes
January 24: New Horizon
January 25: Giveaway Lady
January 26: Pause for Tales
January 28: Bigreadersite
January 30: Neverending Stories


Giveaway




Saturday, January 14, 2017

Review (+ Tour Giveaway): Telling Tails




Telling Tails
By Sophie Ryan
Second Chance Cat Mystery #4
Berkley, 2017


Summary

The New York Times bestselling author of A Whisker of Trouble  returns as secondhand shop owner Sarah Grayson and her rescue cat, Elvis, get caught up in a case of she said, she said….

When Sarah Grayson opened a secondhand shop in the quaint town of North Harbor, Maine, she was expecting peace and quiet. Then she was adopted by a rescue cat named Elvis and a kooky trio of senior sleuths known as Charlotte’s Angels. Now she has nine lives worth of excitement…

Sarah’s friend and employee Rose is delivering a customer’s purchase when the quick errand becomes a deadly escapade. Rose arrives just in time to see the customer murdered by his wife, but before she can call the police, she is knocked out cold. When she wakes up, no one believes her, especially after the woman claims her husband is very much alive and has left her for someone else—and has a text message and empty bank account to prove it.

Despite her convincing story, Sarah is sure something is fishy—and it’s not Elvis’s kitty treats. Sarah, Elvis, and the Angels are determined to unravel this mysterious yarn, before the feral killer pounces again…


My thoughts

I’ve found another cozy mystery series to love – the Second Chance Cat Mysteries by Sophie Ryan. Telling Tails is well written with lots of humor, witty dialogue, and three older sleuths who are pure delight.

Telling Tails has the feel of a more traditional type of cozy mystery that I love. The setting is North Harbor, a small town on the midcoast of Maine, full of beautiful old buildings and eclectic businesses – and it was this setting that initially drew me to the story. Sarah might be the main character, but there’s also a strong ensemble cast feel that includes the three senior sleuths – Rose, Liz, and Charlotte. The characters are likeable, intelligent, caring, and just plain fun. One example of their humor is when Liz was talking about drinking Avery’s healthy smoothies:  “I can’t believe the good Lord intends for me to drink what is essentially a weed for breakfast, not when he created sausage.”

And who needs a lie detector when you’ve got Elvis the cat?! The mystery is well plotted and I enjoyed detecting right along with Sarah and the Angels. Reading the series in order would help to know the characters better, but Telling Tails works fine as a standalone also. I hope there will be several more Sarah and Elvis tales to enjoy.

Recommended.

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

_________________________



Sofie Ryan/Sofie Kelly is the pseudonym of author and mixed-media artist, Darlene Ryan.

Sofie/Darlene lives on the east coast with her husband and daughter. In her spare time, she practices Wu style tai chi and likes to prowl around thrift stores. And she admits to having a small crush on Matt Lauer.

Webpage

Purchase Links:

Amazon.ca Amazon Barnes&Noble
Books•A•Million Chapters IndieBound


GIVEAWAY




Friday, January 13, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Dead Cold Brew




Dead Cold Brew
By Cleo Coyle
A Coffeehouse Mystery #16
Berkley, 2017


Summary

The perfect proposal leads to a chilling cold case…

Coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi sheds tears of joy when her NYPD detective boyfriend surprises her with an engagement ring. But her bridal bliss is put on hold when a chilling mystery brings a wave of deadly danger to those she holds dear…

After everything Clare and Mike have been through, they deserve a little bit of happily ever after. So when Mike decides to put a ring on Clare’s finger, Clare’s eccentric octogenarian employer is there to help. She donates the perfect coffee-colored diamonds to include in the setting and the name of a world-famous jeweler who happens to be an old family friend. But while the engagement is steeped in perfection, the celebration is not long lived.

First, a grim-faced attorney interrupts their party with a mysterious letter bequeathing a strange, hidden treasure to Clare’s daughter. Next, the renowned jeweler who designed Clare’s ring is found poisoned in his shop. Both events appear to be connected to a cold case murder involving a sunken ship, an Italian curse, a suspiciously charming jewel thief, and a shocking family secret. With deadly trouble brewing, Clare must track down clues in some of New York’s most secret places before an old vendetta starts producing fresh corpses.

With recipes to die for, including how to make cold-brew coffee at home!



My thoughts

Dead Cold Brew, #16 in Cleo Coyle’s popular coffeehouse mysteries, is my introduction to this series – and I enjoyed this story very much. This is not your typical cozy mystery because there’s a lot going on, and that’s what sets it apart. The writing is tight and moves at a fast clip. Atmosphere, suspense, romance, and character depth combine to deliver an entertaining tale that hooked me from the first page.

It was easy to connect with the intelligent and caring Clare Cosi, who manages the Greenwich Village coffeehouse, Village Blend – as well as Mike, her police detective romantic interest. I’m sure there has been a lot of character development throughout the series, but I had no problem jumping right in. The plot of this story has Clare spending a good bit of time with her business partner and ex-husband, Matt – definitely a flawed character, but appealing nonetheless. I liked how they remained friends and that he had respect for Clare’s fiancé, Mike.

Dead Cold Brew is rich in atmosphere, making it easy to feel the essence of Greenwich Village and NYC. Descriptions of places like the 21 Club added depth to the story. I love a good cup of coffee, but don’t know much about gourmet things like coffee roasting and blends, so I found the coffee-related detail intriguing. It was interesting to learn how “cold brew coffee” is made, and readers will enjoy all the recipes included at the end.

The suspense and action sometimes made this story feel more like a traditional mystery, but it made for great pacing. Multiple storylines – Eye of the Cat diamond, attacks on police officers, family secrets – all seem to revolve around events connected to the 1956 sinking of the Italian ocean liner, the Andrea Doria. I appreciate how Cleo Coyle made me want to learn more about this maritime disaster.

Clare’s values resonated with me, reflected in her thoughts that true treasure “lived in the people around me, who’d become my family, the work that gave me pride, and the daughter who gave me joy.”

Recommended.

Note:  This is a general market novel. It’s obvious that Clare and Mike are intimate, but nothing graphic is portrayed.

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

_________________________



Cleo Coyle is the pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini.

Cleo Coyle grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After earning scholarships to study writing at Carnegie Mellon and American Universities, she began her career as a cub reporter for The New York Times. Now an author of popular fiction and New York Times bestselling media tie-in writer, Cleo lives and works in New York City, where she collaborates with her husband (also a bestselling author) to pen the Coffeehouse Mysteries for Penguin. Together Cleo and her husband also write the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries under the name Alice Kimberly.

When not haunting coffeehouses, hunting ghosts, or rescuing stray cats, Cleo and Marc are bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for NBC, Lucasfilm, Disney, Fox, Imagine, and MGM. In their spare time, they cook like crazy and drink a lot of java. You can learn more about Cleo, her husband, and the books they write by visiting www.CoffeehouseMystery.com.

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Purchase Links:
AmazonB&NIndieBound


GIVEAWAY

A Grand Prize package including a copy of Dead Cold Brew, $25 Amazon gift card, tote bag, and recipe cards. To enter the drawing, please click on this link and share my Facebook post, then leave a comment here.






Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Amy Clipston’s AMISH QUILT GIVEAWAY




Would you like to win the quilt featured on the cover of The Cherished Quilt? If so, then here’s how—Take a photo of yourself or someone else reading Amy’s book, The Cherished Quilt, in unusual places – such as doing laundry, working on a car, hanging upside down, sewing, etc. Here are a couple of examples . . .






Amy will pick ONE WINNER to receive the quilt. Three first-place winners will receive a signed Amish Heirloom Series potholder, along with a signed copy of The Cherished Quilt!

So use your imagination and start taking pictures! Photos must be posted in the comments of Amy’s Facebook post at . . .
https://www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks/posts/10154084847975824




Giveaway ends on Monday, January 23. The winners will be announced on Tuesday, January 24.

Be sure to post entry photo in the comments section here . . .
https://www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks/posts/10154084847975824

Monday, January 9, 2017

Review: The Pattern Artist


The Pattern Artist
By Nancy Moser
Barbour/Shiloh Run Press, 2016


Summary

Born into a life of hard work, English housemaid Annie Wood arrives in New York City in 1911 with her wealthy mistress. Wide-eyed with the possibilities America has to offer, Annie wonders if there’s more for her than a life of service.

Annie chooses to risk everything, taps into courage she never knew she had, and goes off on her own, finding employment in the sewing department at Macy’s. While at Macy’s Annie catches the eye of a salesman at the Butterick Pattern Company. Through determination, hard work, and God’s leading, Annie discovers a hidden gift: she is a talented fashion designer—a pattern artist of the highest degree.

As she runs from ghosts of the past and focuses on the future, Annie enters a creative world that takes her to the fashion houses of Paris and into a life of adventure, purpose, and love.


My thoughts

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Nancy Moser novel - two that I remember greatly enjoying being the contemporary stories The Seat Beside Me (2002) and John 3:16 (2008). She has also written several historical novels, and if The Pattern Artist is typical of her work in this genre, Nancy shines in this style as well.

There’s so much that I liked about The Pattern Artist, which opens in 1911 as we follow an immigrant maid from service to employment at Macy’s, then eventually the Butterick Pattern Company. The story is rich in historical detail, setting, and characterization. There’s also an element of suspense that seems realistic for the times. Not only does the setting come alive, but the era in which the story is set as well. The world of fashion, home sewing, and pattern design was fascinating to me. Difficult to imagine how the hobble skirt fashion trend ever became popular! While I have no ability when it comes to sewing, my grandmother was quite good at it and this story stirs up a lot of precious memories. I vividly recall shopping with her at Macy’s in Atlanta for patterns and fabric, later proudly wearing dresses she magically created on her Singer sewing machine. A later era than The Pattern Artist, but sweet nostalgia nonetheless.

It was easy to connect with Annie – strong willed, spirited, able to learn from obstacles and wrong decisions – and I appreciated that she is realistically flawed. Sean, a salesman at Butterick, is very appealing – sensitive, honorable, and wise. One of my favorite characters was Edna, the mother figure so needed by Annie and who just happened to have a strong faith. Annie wasn’t much of a believer in the beginning, but we get to journey with her as she matures and grows spiritually.

I enjoyed how some real-life characters and events were included, such as Macy’s inspirational owner, Isidor Straus. Molly Brown was also mentioned, a fascinating lady played by Debbie Reynolds in one of my favorite musicals, The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Another character that I was intrigued by is Annie’s coworker, Maude, and I hope her story will follow soon.

Spiritual themes are gently woven throughout – themes such as seeking God’s purpose in our lives, using our God-given talents and abilities. I especially liked how the concepts of physical independence and spiritual dependence were contrasted through Annie’s journey.

The Pattern Artist hooked me from the beginning and kept me eager to turn the pages. I’m eager for further development, so I hope there’s a sequel.

Recommended.

_________________________


Nancy Moser is an award-winning author of over twenty-five novels that share a common message: we each have a unique purpose—the trick is to find out what it is. Her genres include contemporary and historical novels including Love of the Summerfields, Mozart’s Sister, The Invitation, and the Christy Award-winning Time Lottery. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included.

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I was provided a free copy of this book from Barbour Publishing. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Review: Of Stillness and Storm


Of Stillness and Storm
By Michèle Phoenix
Thomas Nelson, 2016


Summary

"I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing."

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream---reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family's undoing.

At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren's past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It's thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.

Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2gzxgeq


My thoughts

If I had a complaint, it would be that the time span between one Michèle Phoenix story and the next is too long by far. But I guess that’s really a compliment, in a roundabout way. Michèle’s previous novel, In Broken Places, is one of my all-time favorites (please click on title to see my review).

Of Stillness and Storm is a story that continues to linger in my mind. It’s about relationships, physical and spiritual. It is beautifully crafted in a style that skillfully blends exquisite narrative, literary quality, candid themes, and emotional depth. With rawness and honesty, it plumbs the depths of commitment to family and God. This is not a light or easy read – but it’s a haunting and thought-provoking one.

Of Stillness and Storm is the story of Sam, Lauren, and 13-year old Ryan, a missionary family dedicated to reaching the distant villages and tribes of Nepal – and of Aiden, a friend from Lauren’s past that she reconnects with online.  Backstory passages make us privy to all that has led them to this place in time.

_________________________

“Though Sam felt called to the Nepali people,
I felt called to protecting our son.”
- Lauren
_________________________

I loved the complexity of these characters. Sam had always had a vision of global impact and to him, deprivations were a badge of honor. I understood Sam’s passion and admired his drive to reach the Nepali people, yet I struggled to like him. I so badly wanted to reach out and shake some sense into him, yet I knew such effort would result in failure. Lauren’s heart is for her son, but she is bewildered and at a loss by the changes she sees in Ryan, and it’s not long before we witness a family in crisis.

There’s so much upon which to reflect in this story – for instance, God’s will or man’s desire, blurred lines between ministry and marriage, submission, the unwitting effect of parents’ decisions on children. I loved this quote by Lauren during a conversation with Sam: “I tend to think that who we become because of our faith is more important than what we do to prove it.” I was kind of taken aback by the ending, yet it reflected the gritty realness of this story, and I actually saw it coming.

Of Stillness and Storm speaks of something that Lauren discovered and that I take joy in every day … that out of darkness and loss emerges a “relentless, demanding, trustworthy, benevolent, and healing God.” Oh, for more stories like this in Christian fiction!

Highly recommended.

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

_________________________


Born in France to a Canadian father and an American mother, Michèle Phoenix is a consultant, writer and speaker with a heart for Third Culture Kids. She taught for 20 years at Black Forest Academy (Germany) before launching her own advocacy venture under Global Outreach Mission. Michèle travels globally to consult and teach on topics related to this unique people group. She loves good conversations, mischievous students, Marvel movies and paths to healing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

http://litfusegroup.com/author/mphoenix

Friday, December 30, 2016

Michèle Phoenix’s ‘Of Stillness and Storm’ Bookworm On-the-Go Prize Pack


A tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry—don't miss Michèle Phoenix's new intimate and bold release, Of Stillness and Storm. It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. When a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again, the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past might be too much. Will it be the family's undoing?

Take Michèle's new book with you on your winter vacation and enter to win her Bookworm On-the-Go Prize Pack (because you can't take a stack of books with you when you travel).


of-stillness-and-storm-400


One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 31. The winner will be announced January 3 on Michèle's blog.

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