Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: Her Hope Discovered by Cynthia Herron


her hope discovered blog tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Her Hope Discovered by Cynthia Herron, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


ABOUT THE BOOK

HerHopeDiscovered Title: Her Hope Discovered  
Series: Welcome to Ruby #1  
Author: Cynthia Herron  
Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink  
Genre: Contemporary Romance  
Release Date: December 31, 2018

Is the sure thing worth risking for the possibility of maybe?

Charla Winthrop, a savvy business woman seeking a permanent lifestyle change in small-town Ruby, learns that things aren’t always what they appear when she takes up residence in a house steeped in charm and a hint of mystery. Rumor has it that Sam Packard the town carpenter is her go-to guy for home remodeling, but can Charla convince him to help her—with no strings attached, of course?

Alone far too long, Sam’s prayed that God would send him a wife and a mother for his daughters. However, the new Ruby resident is hardly what he imagined. A new place to call “home,” the possibility of what might be, and the answer to someone’s prayers unite this unlikely pair with the help of the town’s residents.

Nestled in the Ozarks’ hills and hollows is Ruby, Missouri, a quaint, cozy town where “neighbor” is merely another word for “friend.” Ruby will charm and delight as will her quirky, lovable characters who will steal your heart, but hand it right back—with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Savor your new friends’ sorrows and successes in the community where offbeat is perfect and mishaps and mayhem never tasted so good.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository



MY THOUGHTS

“Sometimes the good Lord’s will is more apparent than
we realize, but first we have to remove our blinders.”
- Horace

With the impressive debut of Her Hope Discovered, Cynthia Herron establishes herself as an author to watch and this story is destined to become one of my favorites. The writing is solid, dialogue flows easily, characters are well developed, and the Ozark setting envelopes you in its arms. There’s even a touch of the supernatural that I found delightful.

The beautiful Ozark Mountain town of Ruby embodies all that I love about small towns – people know and care about each other, friendships and faith are a part of daily living. You’ll come across some cute folksy comments like this one by one of my favorite secondary characters - Ida Mae, owner of the Come and Get It diner. When Charla asks why customers come to eat as early as 6 am, Ida Mae replies, “That’s catchin’ up time. Folks catch up on what happened the night before and chew on the day ahead.”

I loved Sam and Charla from the moment I met them. Sam’s daughters are scene stealers, and his father-in-law, Edwin, is a wonderfully endearing character that I hope to see more of in future stories. Sam and Charla have some emotional baggage from the past and career-related issues to work through, but they are surrounded by a warm, supportive community, and the God of second chances is clearly seen.

The rational didn’t matter with God at the helm. He’d
authored the irrational and finished it at the cross.
- Edwin

Through Edwin’s faith and prayers, one of my favorite spiritual themes shines brightly, and that’s the idea of God’s divine appointments. Sometimes I think we fail to see these opportunities personally, but Her Hope Discovered reminds that if we just think about it, we’ll see people and situations that God has orchestrated in our lives.

I’m glad more Ruby stories are to come because I didn’t want to let go of these characters.

Recommended.

I received a copy of this book through JustRead Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CH-7888 copy

Cynthia writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. A hopeless romantic at heart, she enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances. Her Hope Discovered, her début novel and the first in a three-book series, released December 2018 with Mountain Brook Ink.

“Cindy” has a degree in psychology and a background in social work. She is a member of ACFW, ACFW MozArks, and RWA.

She is a 2017 ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2016 ACFW Genesis (Double) Finalist, and a 2015 ACFW First Impressions Winner. Her short story Words from the Heart appears in The Story Anthology (Karen Kingsbury/Family Fiction) via Salem Publications, 2014. Her work is represented by Sarah Freese at WordServe Literary.

Besides writing, Cindy enjoys spending time with family and friends. She has a fondness for gingerbread men, miniature teapots, and all things apple. She also adores a great cup of coffee and she never met a sticky note she didn’t like.

Cindy loves to connect with friends at her online home. She also hangs out on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.  

For love, fun, and encouragement ~ Sign up for Cindy’s monthly e-NEWSLETTERS



Her Hope Discovered giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will win a $25 Amazon gift card from the author (US only)  

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight February 18, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm February 25, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks 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.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
cropped-justread-logo.png

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron



About the Book

Title: Castle on the Rise  
Author: Kristy Cambron  
Genre: Christian Historical Romance  
Release date: February 5, 2019  
Publisher: HarperCollins  

A storied castle. A band of rebels. A nation chasing a centuries-old dream of freedom. And three women who rise above it all . . .

When Laine Forrester travels overseas to attend her best friend’s vineyard wedding, she expects to find the bride on the brink of a fairy tale life. But after a series of unforeseen setbacks, it seems the storybook lives they’d imagined are suddenly ripping apart. 

With hopes of resurrecting a happy ending, Laine agrees to accompany the newlyweds to the groom’s home in Ireland—never expecting she’d be the one drawn in by its wide-open moors, backroads bordering the Irish Sea, and a mysterious castle that dares to keep its secrets hidden. 

From the storied streets of Dublin to the shores of the Emerald Isle, Laine is drawn in to the land and its rich history. The castle ruins whisper stories of Issy—a photojournalist battling through the 1916 Easter Rising, and Maeve—the castle’s lady of legend, fighting for survival through the 1798 rebellion that started it all. 

Spanning more than two centuries, Castle on the Rise unites the legacy of three women who must risk mending the broken places within—for life, love, and the belief that even through the depths of our pain, a masterpiece of a story can emerge.

Click here to purchase your copy.


My Thoughts


"God is not absent in our pain. Nor is He indifferent
to our questions. He’s only ever as far as we turn our
back an’ walk away from Him."
- Sean, 1916

Kristy Cambron’s stories, so eloquently written, have the power to transport me to an era and setting that literally enthralls as it envelops me in its arms. Ireland – the setting, its history and people – come alive in this newest book, Castle on the Rise. The setting alternates between current day and two previous times in Ireland’s turbulent history, 1797 and 1916. That may seem like a lot to keep up with, but it’s all strategically interwoven in a way that’s easy to follow.

The story itself is fast paced, but as eager as I was to reach each era’s conclusion, Cambron’s atmospheric prose begs to be savored slowly. I don’t know a lot about Ireland’s history, other than long-time conflicts over Protestant/Catholic religions and the desire to be free from England’s rule, so I enjoyed the detail in this story. Family ties are broken as allegiance is given to English heritage or home country.  The leading characters in each era – Maeve and Eoin, Issy and Sean, Laine and Cormac – are well developed and so very easy to connect with. I don’t know if it’s the wonderful romantic chemistry between them, or if there’s just something special about an Irishman (maybe a little of both?), but these characters and their stories are memorable.

At its heart, Castle on the Rise is about freedom – political and personal – and the sacrifice and commitment it takes to get there. Faith is a constant theme gently woven throughout. While each of Cambron’s novels has touched me, there’s something special about this story.

Highly recommended.

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


About the Author

Kristy Cambron is an award-winning author of Christian fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping Series

She is a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at ministry events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal’s Best Books, RT Reviewers' Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. 

Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read. 

To stay connected, visit www.kristycambron.com.


Kristy’s Research Trip to Ireland





Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Kristy is giving away a grand prize of one finished copy each of The Lost Castle (book 1) and Castle on the Rise (book 2)!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.



Blog Stops


Back Porch Reads, February 19
Maureen’s Musings, February 19
The Power of Words, February 19
Livin’ Lit, February 20
Texas Book-aholic, February 20
Fiction Aficionado, February 21
Gensis 5020, February 21
Blogging With Carol, February 21
Bigreadersite, February 21
Just the Write Escape, February 22
As He Leads is Joy, February 22
Inspired by fiction, February 23
Connect in Fiction, February 23
Carpe Diem, February 23
Bibliophile Reviews, February 24
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 24
Lis Loves Reading, February 24
Emily Yager, February 25
Moments, February 25
All-of-a-kind Mom, February 26
Mary Hake, February 26
Simple Harvest Reads, February 27 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Remembrancy, February 28
Inklings and Notions, February 28
Pause for Tales, March 1
The Becca Files, March 2
Book by Book, March 2

Spotlight + Tour GIVEAWAY: Leaving Darkness by Greg Schaffer




About the Book

Title: Leaving Darkness  
Author: Greg Schaffer  
Genre: Christian Fiction  
Release date: October 31, 2018
  
Long-haul truck driver Lowell Ferguson is on the brink of suicide. He is haunted by the guilt of a horrible secret from his senior year of high school. Therapy and antidepressants aren’t able to lift him out of depression. At twenty-eight years old, he believes his life has dissolved into a meaningless annoyance. Only the strong bond with his lone friend—a Chihuahua named Rufus—keeps him from choosing death. But when Lowell learns Rufus may have cancer, he fears there will be no reason left to live if his beloved dog dies.

While awaiting the diagnosis, he comes across a flier for a Christian support group promising hope and freedom. A skeptic and an apatheist, he nonetheless reluctantly decides to join the group. Through this joining, he finds what he has been yearning for—a path toward leaving the darkness of depression. This first step provides Lowell the courage to do what he must to escape his guilt and finally confront his past.

Click here to purchase your copy.


About the Author

Greg Schaffer participated in a small Christian-based group ministry in 2011 and became a facilitator with the ministry to help others find their direction toward a purposeful life. 

His firsthand experiences of lives transformed through such healing groups led him to write Leaving Darkness, hoping the tale of transformation through God’s grace may encourage those lost in their own darkness to reach out for help. 

The author of two previous novels, Greg lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with his wife and three rescue dogs.


Guest Post from Greg

As first a group participant and then a volunteer for Restore Small Groups for many years, I’ve seen firsthand the healing power of small group ministries. Many want to change, but don’t know how.

Leaving Darkness tells the fictional story of one lost in depression to the point of contemplating suicide who happens upon such a Christian-based ministry. Although he is reluctant at first, he gives the process a chance, and through it leaves his darkness, finds his faith, and becomes the person God meant for him to be. 

I was called to write this story in hope that someone with similar struggles may read Leaving Darkness and realize that there is a way out of the darkness when everything else has failed.


Giveaway


To celebrate his tour, Greg 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 on the image above or the link the below to enter.



Blog Stops


Godly Book Reviews, February 16
Bukwurmzzz, February 18
Power of Words, February 19 (Spotlight)
Maureen’s Musings, February 21
Bibliophile Reviews, February 23
Janices book reviews, February 24
Carpe Diem, February 25
Texas Book-aholic, February 26
Just the Write Escape, February 28
Bigreadersite, March 1
Artistic Nobody, March 1 (Spotlight)

Monday, February 18, 2019

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden


On Tour with Prism Book Tours


A Desperate Hope
(Empire State #3)
By Elizabeth Camden
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 352 Pages
February 5th 2019 by Bethany House Publishers

Eloise Drake's prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she believes is finally behind her. A mathematical genius, she's now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town--but he needs Eloise's help to succeed.

Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he'd lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them.




My Thoughts

Elizabeth Camden novels are simply not to be missed. Camden is an exquisite writer whose stories are always rich in characterization and complexity of storyline, and A Desperate Hope continues that legacy. Inspired by actual historic events, the story opens in 1908 as plans to flood an upper state New York valley and create a reservoir are coming to fruition. Understandably, resentment and bitterness from the townspeople are a major factor, with the determined mayor of Duval Springs and the planning team’s accountant at odds with each other. But the story of Alex and Eloise began one summer twelve years earlier, first as friends, then blossoming into a romance that went too far.

Camden has a gift for making the town of Duval Springs and its residents come alive. This character-driven story also has elements of suspense, intrigue, and betrayal. Events from the past have shaped the flawed and relatable Alex and Eloise into stronger people, with an inner strength and drive, even as Alex’s last official act as mayor would be the dismantling of the town he loved. Eloise, a mathematics genius, had a craving to be needed and loved the structure and safeness that being an accountant offered … “Rules were like a trellis that supported a fast-growing vine, letting her thrive and find success in the world.”

It would have been fascinating to watch how this technological feat came to be, were we not seeing events unfold from the perspective of the very people who were losing their homes. Just a reminder that meeting the needs of one group of people always comes at the expense of another. Spiritual themes are subtle, maybe a little more understated than I would have liked, but still an excellent story.

A Desperate Hope is a page turner, filled with hope and grace, no matter the circumstances. Recommended to all who enjoy quality historical fiction.

I received a copy of this book through Prism Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Other Books in the Series




About the Author


Elizabeth Camden is the author of twelve historical novels and two historical novellas and has been honored with both the RITA Award and the Christy Award. 

With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. She lives with her husband in Florida.




Tour Schedule



Bookstagram Tour


Check out the Bookstagram Tour:
February 17th (launch): @prismbooktours
February 18th: @heidireadsblog
February 19th: @suziewaltner
February 20th: @girlandherbooks
February 21st: @singinglibrarianbooks
February 22nd: @betherin02
February 23rd: @all.the.lovely.pages
February 24th: @christenkrumm


Tour Giveaway


One Grand Prize winner will receive print copies of all three books in the Empire State series: A Dangerous Legacy, A Daring Venture, and A Desperate Hope
Two additional winners will receive a print copy of A Desperate Hope
- US only
- Ends March 1, 2019

Grab Our Button!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Spotlight + Tour GIVEAWAY: The Amish Candy Maker by Laura V. Hilton



About the Book

Title: The Amish Candy Maker  
Author: Laura V. Hilton  
Genre: Amish Christian Fiction  
Release date: February 5, 2019  
Publisher: Whitaker House

Agnes Zook finds herself on her own in a small Amish community in Mackinac County after a tragedy kills her family. Most of the Amish call her “off in den Kopf” (strange) since she’s starting her own business and forging her own way in the community instead of relying on the bishop to take care of her. Since she’s viewed as non-submissive and too-forward for an Amish woman, she’s not courted by young men in the area. 

Isaac Mast is on the verge of leaving the Amish church. He’s become a sought-after auctioneer and has a thriving business, but he feels confined by the strict rules. When his brother is severely injured in a wildfire, Isaac receives a letter from his sister-in-law, begging him to come to Mackinac County to help out while his brother is hospitalized. Isaac agrees but is unsure how to manage their young children when he has weekend auctions he’s expected to attend. 

Agnes may be the answer to a prayer. Sparks fly when she and Isaac meet. But could their differences help them form a deeper connection to their faith…and each other?

Click here to purchase your copy.


About the Author

Laura Hilton is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with more than a thousand reviews published on the web. 

Her first series with Whitaker was The Amish of Seymour, comprising Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (2012 Laurel Award winner, first place in the Amish Genre Clash), and Promised to Another; and her second was The Amish of Webster County, comprising Healing Love, Awakened Love, and Surrendered Love. Her next series was The Amish of Jamesport, featuring The Post Card, Snow Globe, and The Birdhouse. Her latest books include The Amish Firefighter, The Amish Wanderer, and Love By the Numbers

Laura and her husband, Steve, live in Arkansas with their five children, whom Laura homeschools.


Guest Post from Laura

RECIPE FOR FUDGE À LA AGNES ZOOK

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge
Courtesy of Laura V. Hilton 

1 bag (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips 
1 bag (10 ounces) peanut butter chips 
2 cans sweetened condensed milk, divided 
6 tablespoons butter, divided 
20 to 30 miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or six regular-size ones broken into four or five pieces each 

For the chocolate layer: Line a greased 8-by-11.5-inch baking dish with parchment paper. 

In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine milk chocolate chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 4 tablespoons butter. Stir until melted and smooth. 

Pour into prepared baking dish and allow to cool to room temperature, then move to the refrigerator while preparing next layer. 

For the peanut butter layer: In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine peanut butter chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until melted and smooth. 

Pour on to the milk chocolate fudge layer and press pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into the surface. If desired, group candy pieces in a grid-like fashion for easier cutting later. 

Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight or until set. 

Remove from refrigerator, lift out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper, and cut into squares, with roughly one miniature peanut butter cup or piece of a cup per square. 

Store in the refrigerator.


Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away a grand prize of a large and small spatula set and a $10 Starbucks gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.



Blog Stops


Carla Loves To Read, February 5
Among the Reads, February 6
Britt Reads Fiction, February 6
The Avid Reader, February 7
Emily Yager, February 8
Quiet quilter, February 8
Maureen’s Musings, February 9
Bibliophile Reviews, February 10
Vicky Sluiter, February 10
Daysong Reflections, February 11
Texas Book-aholic, February 12
Janices book reviews, February 12
Carpe Diem, February 13
SusanLovesBooks, February 14
Inklings and Notions, February 16
Pause for Tales, February 16
Have A Wonderful Day, February 17
For the Love of Books, February 17
Bigreadersite, February 18

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The JOY of Art - Celebrating Valentine's Day





A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.
- Mother Teresa





Art is a beautiful way of expressing the heartfelt emotions of love. So on this Valentine’s Day – from young love to mature love, from classics to pets – here’s an assortment of artwork that speaks to me on so many levels.

Thoughts? Any favorites?




Cinderella
By Ruth Sanderson


You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep
because reality is finally better than your dreams.
– Dr. Seuss




Grow Old Along with Me
By Paula Vaughn



Young Summer Love
By Vickie Wade


All you need is love.
But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.
– Charles M. Schulz




For My Valentine
By Tom Wood



The Waltz
By Morgan Weistling


They invented hugs to let people know you love them
without saying anything.
- Bill Keane




Moments to Remember
By Mark Keathley



Arthur Saron Sarnoff


Love doesn’t make the world go round.
Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
– Franklin P. Jones




The Secret Admirer
By Jim Daly



The Road Ahead
By John Sloane



No Place Like Home
By Diane Dengel


Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.
– Robert Browning




Romantic Hideaway
By Mikki Senkarik



Coffee with Love
By Iwona Lifsches



Amy Rosenberg


More romantic-themed art on my Pinterest board at