Saturday, July 24, 2021

Over Her Head

 


She’s working on a new start…

…He’s trying a new work venture.

Can they build a relationship that fits their new life?

Fresh out of cosmetology school Jessica and whiz software engineer Austin have been thrown together by mutual friends. They even escaped a wildfire together.

But do they have something more than friendship?

Maybe a singles’ camping trip will make their future clear.

But when they encounter someone who needs their help, the relaxing weekend away becomes anything but. As the danger mounts and the challenges reveal who they truly are, will it pull them together or push them apart… for good?

You will get lost in Over Her Head because the biggest adventure is falling in love.

 My thoughts: This is a wonderful, suspenseful read that was enjoyable to pick up! While you could read this as a stand alone story, I think that it is best to read the books in order, just to fully appreciate the characters and their friends in the story. I personally really enjoyed getting to know Jessica and Austin better as they are thrown together in a difficult situation. This is a story that will keep you reading late, wanting to know what will happen. I highly recommend it!

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Jennifer’s favorite thing is discovering how much there is to love about America the Beautiful and the great outdoors. She’s a mom to two navigating the young adult years while battling her daughter’s juvenile arthritis, exploring the delights of her son’s autism, and keeping gluten free. A California native who’s spent significant time in the Midwest, she’s thrilled to be back in the Golden State. Follow her on social media to see all her adventures and how she gets inspired for her books!

 

More from Jennifer

MacGyver might have come from my family tree. I grew up hearing stories of how my grandpa turned a horse trailer into a travel trailer for camping and how he finagled something out of what he had if he didn’t have the actual thing he needed. I grew up seeing my dad do this. And I’ve been known to do it a time or two myself.

 

My grandpa grew up during the Great Depression, so I could see how making do with what he had came to him naturally. The rest of us saw the usefulness of it and continued the tradition. Even though there are times I’ve stopped and said, “I should just go by the thing I need instead of trying to make do.” Maybe it would have saved me some time and frustration.

 

But there is something satisfying about seeing a problem and creating the solution yourself. It’s like solving a puzzle. And for me, writing a book is a lot like that. I start out with various pieces and no idea how they are going to fit together.

 

When I began Over Her Head, it was the third book of my In the Shadow series. This series explores the idea of what it’s like to grow up in the shadow of a hero. Jessica’s brother, Scott, is a Navy pilot. Their oldest brother died before Jessica was born, so she’s always felt like she’s been in the shadow of her older brothers. How would she become her own person and find the purpose that God has for her?

 

That was one piece. A big one. But I still needed to find a love interest, a plot, and a supporting cast. I started sorting through what I had, looking for pieces that could fit, could be molded into something new and different. A trip to the hair salon provided a fun conversation with my hair stylist about what a newly graduated cosmetology student might be doing and the politics of working in a salon.

 

The pieces were coming together. Finally, I decided to set the story around one of my favorite activities: camping. Okay, maybe it’s more like glamping. I like a real bed.  But it is a great way to force a group of people to be close together for a period of time. There’s an element of stress, and even danger, since nature isn’t predictable.

 

Hopefully the end product looks smoothly finished and not MacGyvered together. But I don’t ever let the rough beginning or different looking pieces discourage me from pressing on with the story. And I think that’s a good lesson for life. What rough spots need a little creativity to bring them to life and smooth them out? Spend some time letting your inner MacGyver play.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 19

For Him and My Family, July 20

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 21 (Author Interview)

The Sacred Line, July 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 22

deb’s Book Review, July 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 24

Inklings and notions, July 25

CarpeDiem, July 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 26

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, July 27

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 29

My Journey Back the Journey Back, July 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 30

Texas Book-aholic, July 31

Cats in the Cradle Blog, July 31

Pause for Tales, August 1

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J.L. is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the book!!

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/10fa8/over-her-head-celebration-tour-giveaway

Friday, July 23, 2021

A Sojourner Christmas

 


She relinquished her childhood home. Abandoned her former life. And set off for a faraway valley that’s touted as magical. As an aspiring newspaper reporter, Blossom Evans expects to find plenty of material with which to carve out a career.

But alarming tales about the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas abound. Barely tamed, rugged brush land. Mexican bandits. Wildcats, rattlesnakes, and tarantulas as big around as dinner plates. Where will she find the courage to face—and overcome—such foes, even for her dream career?

The first hint of an answer lies in the sleepy little West Texas town of Winters. An unexpected conflict is brewing, one that could launch a reporter’s career—or crush it before it begins. How will Blossom be lured into the fray? And where will she find the temerity to confront this particular brand of evil? It’s Christmas Eve 1923, and Blossom Evans is about to discover what’s she made of.

 My thoughts: First off, I recommend  going back to the beginning of this series and starting with "The Calling of Ella McFarland" to get the full scope of the family and their story, though you can easily pick this novella up as a stand alone and still enjoy the characters and story line. I loved the time period that it is set in and how Blossom grows as a character over the course of the story, both with her writing and with her walk with God. I really appreciate the strong message of faith that is woven into this beautiful story. I highly recommend picking this one up!

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review. 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

LindaBrooksDavis_profile-removebgLinda Brooks Davis was born and reared on a farm in Raymondville, a small Rio Grande Valley community in the southernmost tip of Texas. She retired in 2008 after forty years as a special educator and administrator and now writes inspirational historical fiction from her home in San Antonio, Texas. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.

 

More from Linda

Something to Write Home About

 

“People don’t come better than the Pyles,” my mother would often say about her mother Ella’s family. And I believed her.

 

Years ago—1967 to be exact—Mother finally convinced me to put pen to paper and tell the Pyle family tale about their winter of 1923-24 migration from central Oklahoma to the southernmost tip of Texas. In covered wagons. The process turned me into a family history buff.

My mother was our family’s “keeper,” and she passed the moniker to me. Fortunately, I now share her interest in our Pyle ancestors’ backstories. I delight in finding treasures—photos, stories, anecdotes, and documents—from our family tree.

At the present time, I’m going through trunks, bins, and boxes of family mementos that extend into the nineteenth century and even further. Each item sparks dreams of what forebearers’ lives truly might have been. What were their secret longings and loves? What dreams did they withhold from others? What tragedies did they endure, and how did they survive them?

One Pyle dream that became reality was migrating from central Oklahoma to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in the southernmost tip of Texas. They had heard stories about soil so fertile and climate so ideal that the area was called the Magic Valley.

Land developers in the Valley were as busy as bees in citrus orchards, doing all they could to convince folks in the Midwest to buy land in the Texas Magic Valley, and the newcomers came. Among them, my mother’s Pyle clan. In the deep winter of 1923-24, the Pyles sold their land and belongings and acquired 8 covered wagons and the horses to pull them. On December 17, 1923, they headed southward toward their dreams.

On Christmas Eve a week later, the family arrived in Winters, Texas, a windswept community south of Abilene in West Texas where ranchers and farmers populated the countryside. Since the advent of the train and automobile, cross-country travel in covered wagons had become an oddity. And the Pyles did feel a bit odd—especially when someone mistook them for Gypsies and bought the Pyle children Christmas presents.

Fast-forward sixty years. My mother possessed a crusader streak and rarely hesitated before acting on it. Fifty years after the wagon trail adventure, she acted—without hesitation—when a young farm worker told her someone was involved in the drug trade on her land.

Soon she knew the sound of the engine and general description of the car that crept down the dirt road past our house in the dark of night for no apparent reason. Mother, the Super Sleuth, wanted to share the make and license number with the local police, so she and the young farm worker devised a plan.

On the appointed night, the same car inched past our house, around the corner of an adjoining twenty-acre parcel. Mother and her partner headed, stooped and trembling, across a dark field of cotton toward the now distant red taillights of the suspicious car.

“I need to get close enough to find the make of the car and the license number,” Mother said as she drew near the car, which had stopped in the middle of the dirt road. As she raised up, another set of headlights flashed down the road, and she flopped onto the dirt cotton row. But the second set of headlights brightened their hiding place like the noonday sun.

“Follow me,” Super Sleuth whisper-shouted to her compadre. Both tumbled into a drainage ditch that separated the field from the road. Out of sight—but terrifyingly near danger—the pair dug their fingers into the damp soil and pressed their faces into the slimy growth, praying no one would see them. And that no creepy creature would attack.

Several men, some blinding white in the lights and others black as tar in the shadows, met in the space between the two idling cars and made their exchange. Mother peeked above a prickly weed and caught the makes of both vehicles. And she and her partner memorized partial plate numbers.

Thankfully, the drug dealers went their separate ways, leaving Super Sleuth and her partner to make their way back home. In the pitch-black night. Across acres of growth that snatched at their cotton skirts. Amid clusters of swarming insects. And through strips of undeveloped land that harbored rattlesnakes.

Trembling from the adrenalin surge but armed with tidbits of important information, the two piled into Mother’s car and raced to the Sheriff’s Office. She submitted a report about the incident, complete with the cars’ identifying details, and returned home so grateful not to have been discovered that she fell into a deep sleep.

I drew upon these memories for the writing of A Sojourner Christmas. The McFarland clan does, indeed, set out across country in a team of covered wagons as my Pyle relations did. And they pull into Winters, Texas on the twenty-fourth of December 1923, just as my Pyle forebearers did. They were mistaken for Gypsies and were surprised with Christmas presents from the townsfolk, as are the McFarlands.

While in Winters, Blossom Evans entangles herself in a dangerous affair, one that my Super Sleuth mother would have joined if she could. I can imagine Mother and Blossom heading out across a windswept field in pursuit of bootleggers in 1923. Or drug dealers in 1983. Or …

I hope A Sojourner Christmas meets Mother’s heavenly approval. I hope the same for readers.

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, July 24

For Him and My Family, July 25

Mary Hake, July 25

deb’s Book Review, July 26

Lighthouse Academy, July 27 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, July 29

Connect in Fiction, July 29

lakesidelivingsite, July 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 30

Connie’s History Classroom, July 31

Pause for Tales, July 31

She Lives To Read, August 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 4

Texas Book-aholic, August 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 6

Splashes of Joy, August 6

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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/11031/a-sojourner-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Ice Swan

 


Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian court, a Russian princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it.

1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory.

Born the second son of a duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. While treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter and underground Russian clubs where drink, culture, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka.

Out of money and options, Svetlana is forced into a marriage of convenience with Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn can’t help hoping the marriage will turn into one of true affection. As the Bolsheviks chase them to different corners of the earth, Wynn and Svetlana begin to see they will never be able to outrun the love they have for one another.

 My thoughts: When I was in school, I went through a fascination with the Russian Revolution and the last Czar's family. I still have a little bit of a fascination about the time period, so I was thrilled to read and review this book! 

In a time of great upheaval, Svetlana finds that there are still good men when she crosses paths with Wynn. I loved his sense of humor (and how it generally wasn't well received, due to the differences in cultures) and honor, doing what was right as a doctor on the battlefield, and then by Svetlana and her family. This is a well written, hard to put down story that I thoroughly enjoyed! I loved the characters and how they change and grow over the course of the story. This is a delightful story to pick up and enjoy!

I recieved this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.

Click here to get your copy! This post contains affiliate links.

 

About the Author

J'nell Ciesielski officialWith a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.

 

More from J’nell

When we think of the Great War we often only think about events happening right on the battlefield of France, Belgium, and Germany. It was a time of great upheaval for so many people and countries, none more so than Russia. It was during the Great War that the Bolsheviks rose up against the monarchy, assassinated the tsar and his family, and plunged Russia into civil war. The country was in such chaos that they pulled out of the war to deal with their own revolution. The Russian Revolution was the result of centuries of oppression and imperialism that finally boiled over. As the Bolsheviks seized power, nobles and anyone associated or favorable to the monarchy were stripped of their privileges and homes, many killed, and still thousands of others fled in fear of their lives where they became the great wave of White emigres.

 

The stories of the ill-fated Anastasia and the evil Rasputin are legendary, but it wasn’t until recently when I watched a Russian miniseries called Road to Calvary that I became fascinated with the nobles and their struggle and from all that an idea sparked that would become my upcoming release, The Ice Swan. It’s about a Russian princess fleeing the Revolution to Paris in 1917 where she meets a handsome surgeon who is breaking new grounds in cardiology. We see the plight of the White emigres who have taken refuge in Paris and founded their own little Russia in the heart of the city, the exhausted City of Light after four years of war, the overflowing hospitals, and highly controversial advancements in surgery. Plus, a romance to prove that true love can overcome any difference and who doesn’t need a little more love these days?

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, July 19

Where Faith and Books Meet, July 19

Books and Everyday Life, July 19

Texas Book-aholic, July 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 20

Reflections From My Bookshelves, July 20

All-of-a-kind Mom, July 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 21

She Lives To Read, July 21

The Write Escape, July 21

Lakesdielivingsite, July 22

Remembrancy, July 22

Inklings and notions, July 22

For Him and My Family, July 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 23

The Christian Fiction Girl, July 23

deb’s Book Review, July 24

Rachael’s Inkwell, July 24

To Everything There Is A Season, July 24

Life, love, writing, July 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 25

Life of Literature, July 25

Inside the Wong Mind, July 25

Betti Mace, July 26

Bliss, Books & Jewels, July 26

Older & Smarter?, July 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 27

Connect in Fiction, July 27

Mary Hake, July 27

Connie’s History Classroom, July 28

Back porch reads, July 28

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, July 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 29

Blossoms and Blessings, July 29

Genesis 5020, July 29

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 30

Splashes of Joy, July 30

Simple Harvest Reads, July 30 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Through the fire blogs, July 31

Just Your Average reviews, July 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 1

Labor Not in Vain, August 1

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 1

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a paperback copy of the book!!

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/10fa9/the-ice-swan-celebration-tour-giveaway

Monday, July 19, 2021

Rocky Mountain Restoration

 


Josephine Thorebourne doesn’t deserve happiness. Not after the mess she’s made.

Mid-voyage, on the steamship Jameson, she learns of the tragic loss of her family’s money. Money she stole with the hopes of turning a profit. What should be a delightful voyage up the Canadian coast turns into a journey of regret. Josephine seeks the solace of the man she loves, only to find out he’s an imposter. Left with no other choice, she must return to her home town of Stony Creek and face the anger of those she’s betrayed.

Owen Kelly was given the opportunity of a lifetime to steward on the SS Jameson. The work meant he could escape his difficult upbringing along the wharves of Chicago. When his heart falls for the woman in cabin eight, Owen must decide if he will continue his work on the ship or follow the love of his life to her Rocky Mountain home.

As Josephine faces the repercussions of her decisions, the future becomes uncertain. Owen is the one person who knows everything and yet still sees the good in her. Will their love survive the challenges the Rocky Mountain town throws in their path?

 My thoughts: First off, I thought that the cover of this story was just beautiful with the colors of Josephine's dress. I enjoyed reading more about Josephine and how she develops as a character in this story, after making some poor choices. I thought that Owen and his story kind of stole the show, since it was a wonderful story of redemption and I loved how he sees the good in Josephine. 

This is a wonderful addition to the series! I highly recommend reading the books in order to fully appreciate the story.

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Lisa J. Flickinger lives and writes from the cliff of a river along the majestic Rocky Mountains. When not writing or reading, you will find her scouring antique shops or sipping a maple latte with friends and family. To learn more about her other books, visit www.lisajflickinger.com.

 

More from Lisa

Have you ever smelled a whale’s breath? I have. The experience sparked the idea of taking the characters in Rocky Mountain Restoration on a pleasure cruise up the Canadian coast.

My husband and I vacationed in Ucluelet one summer, a quaint fishing village on the west coast of Vancouver Island. While there, we boarded a cabin cruiser with other adventure seekers to go whale watching.

Not long after leaving the rocky shore, our experienced captain spotted the flick of a tale in the rolling waves, and guided the boat to a position hundreds of yards away.  Within moments, to our delight and awe, a massive humpback breached mere feet from the boat. Its knobbed head rose before us, mouth wide open, hundreds of baleen plates dripping a murky red. The smell was one of the worst in my memory, a vulgar mixture of rotten fish, old road kill, and something indescribable. But what a privilege to encounter one of God’s magnificent creatures up close!

A logging camp, high in the Rockies, is a long way from the pacific coast. That’s the very reason our nefarious antagonists from book one of the Rocky Mountain Revival Series, Josephine and Snoop, have chosen to board the SS Jameson under assumed names.

While I can’t promise you whale’s breath in the novel, I can promise you gorgeous scenery and other wildlife encounters as a backdrop for betrayal, thievery, and—of course—romance. Hop aboard!

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, July 20

Artistic Nobody, July 21 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 21

For Him and My Family, July 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 23

By The Book, July 24 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 24

deb’s Book Review, July 25

Connie’s History Classroom, July 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 27

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 29

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 30 (Author Interview)

Blossoms and Blessings, July 31

Life of Literature, August 1

Texas Book-aholic, August 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lisa is giving away the grand prize of a $50 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/10fab/rocky-mountain-restoration-celebration-tour-giveaway