Monday, March 1, 2021

The Widow and the Highlander

 


She needs to be protected. He'll take on the job...for a price.

Christina MacKinnon is secretly relieved to be a widow. She is equally desperate to distance herself from the clan of her dead husband, but as the heir to his estate—one she needs in order to support her siblings—she must first stave off both the advances and threats of the man next in line to inherit. It seems the only person she can turn to is a nearby stranger who seems inclined to help her. But he has a request….

Freshly returned from the war, Lachlan Kincaid has one aim: to see justice served to the MacKinnons for betraying his family years ago and depriving him of his inheritance. While biding his time at a nearby inn, he discovers the death of the MacKinnon laird—whose widow has inherited everything. The way to accomplish his goal is becoming more evident, but the path is murkier than he could have foreseen.

As Christina’s and Lachlan’s lives intersect, it becomes clear that their separate aims may well only be achievable if they join forces. But to do so is to court more danger, and it requires a sacrifice Christina isn’t sure she’s prepared to make.


My thoughts: This story is excellent! I have loved everything that I've read by Martha Keyes. The change in scenery with this story was delightful, since I have been to Scotland and loved the chance to "visit" again.
Wow, I probably tend to look at the olden days through rose colored glasses, though I know that a lot of the things that go on today happened back then as well. Christina has suffered at the hands of her deceased husband (which may be a trigger for some, though it is handled delicately), causing her to be thankful for the fact that the her husband's estate is now hers, since it affords her some independence. Unfortunately, her husband was from a family of ruffians, leaving her at the mercy of some of his clansmen.
I loved the characters and the setting, and look forward to Elizabeth's story coming next! I hope that it will also be a continuation of this story's characters.
I received a complimentary copy from the author. This is my honest review.


Purchase a copy here! This post contains affiliate links.

Catching Hope

 


Catching Hope—a pursuit fraught with danger.

Newly adopted Lexi Michaels is taking her first real vacation as she, twin brother Levi, adoptive brother Chad, and new cousin Jen head to Haiti where their dad, a pediatrician, will be volunteering in an island clinic. But who is the man who displays such hatred for the Michaels when they arrive at their resort? Is an attempted burglary as random as it appears? Will Jen ever accept the newcomers to the family? When the four teens set out to explore Haiti’s sights and history on their own, an unexpected encounter and natural disaster plunge them into adventure and danger. With their very survival at stake, can the four teens work together or will Lexi’s dream of a “forever family” end in tragedy?

My thoughts: While I haven't been involved in foster care personally, some of my good friends have been, and I see the joy and hope (as well as heartache) that can come from opening your home to those in the system. I loved the message of this book as Lexi, her brother, and new family go on a mission trip to Haiti. I can only imagine what it would be like for that to be your first vacation! The author does a wonderful job of bringing the sites to life, as well as the characters. I appreciated the message of hope and God's love woven throughout the story as the four teens went on an adventure of a lifetime.

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy here! This post contains affiliate links.

About the Author

Kathy Cassel lives in the Florida panhandle with her husband and four of their eight children, five of whom are adopted. She is a motorcycle rider, scuba diver, and loves spending time with her family. Her debut novel, Freerunner, was published by Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. in 2019.

 

 

More from Kathy

My Experience with Haiti

Prior to the 2010 catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that caused immense damage to the country of Haiti, many people would not have been able to tell you that Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola just a two hour flight from Miami.

I knew where it was because our family had adopted a child from Haiti in 1997. At the time the earthquake took place, my husband and I were in the process of adopting twins from a different orphanage in Port au Prince Haiti. It had been over three years and our adoption was not yet complete. During those three years I visited the twins at the orphanage five times. Other family members went with me on some of those trips, and at one point, all of our children still living at home went to visit the orphanage.

This was an eye opening experience for my family. In fact, I volunteered us to do the daily wash. That meant hand washing clothes and sheets for 135 orphans using large metal tubs and harsh soap, then rinsing the clothes in other tubs before hand wringing them and hanging them on clotheslines. Once home, my children no longer complained about unloading the dryer!

Cooking was done in large pots over open fires and mainly consisted of rice and beans, or red sauce over rice. The cooks originally prepared the food in a wooden shack, but more than once one of them would get so hot she’d pass out, so an outdoor area was set up for food preparation.

After the earthquake, there was a mountain of paperwork to be done to get refugee status for children in the orphanages who had families waiting for them. Finally the children were brought to the United States, although some of the orphans went to other countries too, to be united with their forever families. Sadly, many were held in the airport for days before being released. For our family, the long wait was over January 25, 2010. Now our family is complete with three birth children and five adopted children, three of whom are from Haiti.

Some of the places mentioned in the book resemble real places in Haiti, although they have been fictionalized. I hope you will not only read Catching Hope, but will also take time to learn more about the country of Haiti.

Blog Stops

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 27

For the Love of Literature, February 28 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, March 1

Inklings and notions, March 2

For Him and My Family, March 3

Wishful Endings, March 4 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, March 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 5

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 6

Artistic Nobody, March 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 8

deb’s Book Review, March 9

Simple Harvest Reads, March 10 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, March 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Books-A-Million Gift Card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1089e/catching-hope-celebration-tour-giveaway

Saturday, February 27, 2021

The Rubber Band

 

THE RUBBER BAND What do Roadkill Rocky, Bossy Becca, and Pinhead Eddie have in common? Nothing. A rag-tag bunch of elementary school kids come together to form a rock and roll band and enter the Sun Valley talent contest. Will they be strong enough to overcome prejudice and see the dream of winning through, or will an unforeseen medical emergency break the bond of the band?

My thoughts: This book has so many important lessons for middle school age (really all ages) kids! I loved how the band mates have to learn how to work together in spite of their differences. The kids in the band are quite a fun, motely group and I enjoyed getting to know them! I also loved how they learned to get along by coming together and having to work together. Such an important lesson for all of us! 
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.


About the Author

IMG_0898-Edit (1)Christy caught the writing bug in second grade after winning a prize for a five-page story about her dog, Noodles. Mrs. Olson told her she was destined to be a writer and that dream never left her thoughts. After teaching elementary school for fifteen years, Christy fulfilled her childhood dream with her debut novel, The Rubber Band. She substitute teaches to support her writing career, deriving writing inspiration from the students and situations she encounters.

At age twenty-five, she was diagnosed with type-one diabetes but refuses to let it limit her. Her diabetic alert dog, Aiden, has saved her life uncountable times and will appear in future installments of The Rubber Band. Christy lives by this equation: Living + diabetes = LIVE-abetes.

Christy is a freelance editor and writes children’s Bible stories for Focus on the Family ClubHouse magazine and has written articles for Guideposts. She is a featured speaker for conferences, retreats and special events.

Christy lives in Northern California with Kevin, the love of her life. They have three grown children.

 

More from Christy

Noodles is the reason I am a writer. Noodles was my childhood dog’s name. I loved her oodles and oodles. She was a dachshund, not a poodle. I often drew her in my doodles. (Can you tell I’m an elementary school teacher?) A few short years ago, when I was in second grade, I entered a class writing contest. My story was five sentences long but won first place. The teacher told me I was destined to be a writer. That encouragement never left me. I grew up in the small town of Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and always loved writing in school, especially fiction. I wrote stories for my friends and for myself to create situations I could only dream of. As an adult, I moved to California, determined to live for God. He led me back to college where I fell in love with writing again. I won a state-wide award for my feature article in the JC’s newspaper, confirming my heart’s desire. Fast forward through marriage, kids, and a teaching job—my friends begged me to write about a recurring night dream I had, which was like watching the ending of a suspense thriller movie. Through writing conferences, critique groups and late nights, I wrote Palms of Death by starting at the end and working my way backwards. After rewriting it several times, I self-published it in 2018. At my first major writers’ conference, the Lord undeniably called me to write. So, the real reason I write is not because of Noodles, but because I want to always be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ and wholeheartedly follow His direction. That’s my story, just a bit of the whole kit and caboodle.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 19

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 20

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, February 21 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 21

Texas Book-aholic, February 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 23

Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 24 (Author Interview)

Sara Jane Jacobs, February 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 26

Wishful Endings, February 27 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, February 27

Inklings and notions, February 28

deb’s Book Review, March 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 3

Artistic Nobody, March 4 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Christy is giving away the grand prize of $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/10869/the-rubber-band-celebration-tour-giveaway


Friday, February 26, 2021

Delia and the Drifter

 

An arranged marriage to save the family from ruin?

Delia Blackstone knows what her mother is up to—she intends to marry her off to an older man who is all fortune and no future. And Delia’s having none of it.

When a mysterious visitor appears on the family doorstep and offers an opportunity for Delia to travel from Pennsylvania to Colorado, Delia knows it is time for her to strike out on her own and discover a new life. Along the way she encounters a handsome drifter who captures her heart. But is he interested in trading his exciting life of adventure for love?

Two murders, a missing will, and a number of puzzling relationships are enough to unsettle anyone—even smart, capable Delia. Who can she trust? And can she trust her heart in matters of love?

My thoughts: When Delia comes home from getting her two year college degree in a time when most women didn't go on to college, she finds that her parents attitudes towards her has changed. Armed with "newfangled" ideas, she isn't satisfied with their plan to marry her off to a wealthy widower. When an unexpected visitor gives her the opportunity of a lifetime, she is thrilled to jump on the chance to go to Colorado, even if it means further widening the gap between her and her parents.

I enjoyed this story and the setting! I have to say, the older I get, the more I find that I can relate a tiny bit to the parents in the stories I read. That said, I didn't like how Delia's parents treat her and their how they wish for her to take the responsibility of their decisions. I can see wanting your daughter to be well set up and not lack worldly comforts, but they take things to a whole new level, being rather self serving. I cheered for Delia as she gained her independence and had a taste of adventure. I enjoy Melody Carlson's books and the lessons found in them. Not to mention, they are just delightful and entertaining! I recommend picking this story up and look forward to reading the other books in this series as they come out.

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy here! This post contains affiliate links.

About the Author

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.

 

 

More from Melody

I love historical stories about women. Particularly ones in the American frontier and old west. Probably because I grew up hearing pioneer stories from my grandparents, whose parents arrived in covered wagons. But contributions made by pioneering females is often overshadowed by their male counterparts. That’s why I enjoy researching and telling these fictional yet reality-based stories of women who lived and loved and did their part to settle the frontier. To me they are the unsung heroes of the West.

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, February 24

lakesidelivingsite, February 24

For Him and My Family, February 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 25

Blogging With Carol, February 25

She Lives To Read, February 26

Texas Book-aholic, February 26

Pause for Tales, February 26

Inklings and notions, February 27

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, February 27

deb’s Book Review, February 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 28

CarpeDiem, February 28

Betti Mace, March 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 1

Artistic Nobody, March 2 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 2

Simple Harvest Reads, March 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 3

Older & Smarter?, March 4

Connie’s History Classroom, March 4

Christian Bookaholic, March 5

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 5

Sara Jane Jacobs, March 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 6

Labor Not in Vain, March 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 7

Connect in Fiction, March 7

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 8

Splashes of Joy, March 8

Hallie Reads, March 8

Batya’s Bits, March 9

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, March 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1089b/delia-and-the-drifter-celebration-tour-giveaway

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Soon the Dawn

 


Ella thought becoming a mother to five daughters a month after marriage would be difficult.  Sixteen years later, letting go is even harder.  What should be a joyous time of Amaryllis spreading her wings as she graduates from the College of Industrial Arts… isn’t.

Ella fears that Amaryllis will lose a grip on her faith, her upbringing, and the goals Ella believes she should have.  Will Ella’s mother-in-law’s high society friends puff up the girl until Amaryllis loses sight of what’s important?  If Amaryllis stays away, can Ella trust that the Lord will keep the girl safe? Can she trust Him with her daughter’s well-being period?

Of course, she can!  But will she?

When everything begins to crumble around her, Ella must decide where she will place her trust—in her own capable hands or in the Lord’s sovereign ones.

My thoughts: This book is so relatable to me, as I am sure it will be to a lot of readers who are also mothers! Ella and Andrew sacrifice when they become parents through adoption shortly after their wedding day, which I can only imagine the adjusting that would take! This delightful family has been in some of Linda Brooks Davis' previous stories, so readers can get the full background in The Calling of Ella McFarland. That said, this story works just fine on it's own.

Anyway, the message of this story is so beautiful and well done, as Ella struggles with doubts on whether her girls are prepared for life in the outside world and college, especially since the story is set in the 1920's. I could relate to not always being okay with God and how things in life are turning out, but also not dwelling in that place. (I think that God is okay with our wrestling with hard things and situations)

This is a wonderful story to pick up and enjoy! 
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy here! This post contains affiliate links.

About the Author

Davis_LindaBrooks_300dpi_2x2.5 copyLinda’s debut novel, Amazon best-selling The Calling of Ella McFarland, Book One in the Women of Rock Creek series, is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel in 2014 and subsequently, ACFW’s Carol award for debut novel 2016. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908 Oklahoma. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, is set in 1910 and is the prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, which is set in 1914, Amazon best-selling The Mending of Lillian CathleenBook Two. The third novella, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, releases in 2020 and is set in 1912. It is a prequel to Book 3 in The Women of Rock Creek series, The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, which is set in 1918.

Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.

 

More from Linda

When the Backstory Is Tragic

 

Family lore abounds in my family tree, much of it tragic. There’s the Boyd Irish crystal heiress who forsook her heritage for love in 1747 colonial America. The Billingsley American patriot hanged in his front yard by Tories in 1776. The Brooks great-grandfather who lost his three brothers in the Civil War and its aftermath. And the De Graffenried Swiss baron who brought a group from Switzerland to establish New Bern, North Carolina in 1711 and was captured by Indians.

 

Among the most tragic stories is how my grandmother, Ella Pyle Banks, buried 5 daughters and 2 husbands. Mama Ella and Papa Tribble’s story has waited years to be told. Part of it is the inspiration for my latest novella release, Soon the Dawn.

 

Ella Jane Pyle met William Tribble Banks in Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. They married in Elmore City in 1904 and welcomed seven girls over the next 18 years. Papa Tribble, a kind and sensitive one-armed man, farmed. And Mama Ella, known for her salt-of-the-earth character and neighborliness, was the one folks called on to tend their sick and prepare their loved ones’ bodies for burial. She possessed a will of iron, but her voice was whisper soft. I love the story about how Papa tried to kiss her while they were courting, and she responded with a slap. “No kiss from me until you’ve proposed.”

 

When I decided to write for publication, I knew I would create stories based on my family’s experiences. There are transatlantic stowaways, rejection by Quaker brethren, murder of a groom at his wedding reception, prisoners of war, deaths by lightning, fortunes won and lost, and more disease and death than I can imagine. With such drama hanging on the various branches, how could I not include these stories?

 

What’s an author to do with such tragedy?

 

Tragedy and loss are integral parts of life on fallen Earth, but triumph invariably attends each loss. Wellness follows disease. Light peeks through the darkness. Blessings attend tragedies. And life follows death. It’s the space between the two that intrigues me as a storyteller.

 

My task, then, in creating a story inspired by Papa Tribble and Mama Ella’s experiences was to find the colorful strands among the black, the shining light amid the darkness, and the blessings tucked into the folds of the woe.

Soon the Dawn contains dark and light strands and many colors between. But it’s the stitching—Jesus—who binds the strands together. He turns an ordinary morning into a hint of the “Sweet By & By.” As the delicate aroma of the Rose of Sharon, He scents the sultry stillness before a summer storm. And He wraps the bitterness of grief and failure in the richness of His incomparable grace.

I offer Soon the Dawn to Jesus as a tale that reaches beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary because of His grace.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 22

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 23

Sara Jane Jacobs, February 23

Texas Book-aholic, February 24

Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 25 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Rebecca Tews, February 25

Inklings and notions, February 26

Betti Mace, February 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 27

For Him and My Family, February 28

Connie’s History Classroom, March 1

Bizwings Blog, March 1

deb’s Book Review, March 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 3

Artistic Nobody, March 3 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 4

She Lives To Read, March 5

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Pause for Tales, March 7

CarpeDiem, March 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize of a handmade 8×12 wooden cross suitable for shelf or hanging with winner’s personalized engraving on back!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1086b/soon-the-dawn-celebration-tour-giveaway