Thursday, September 29, 2022

Escape from Amsterdam

 


A University Student Smuggles Children Out of Amsterdam

Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.

Helen Smit believed she was called by God to become a teacher. Little does she know that her care for kids will take a drastic turn for survival when the Germans occupy Amsterdam and Jewish children and parents begin to be deported. Now all she can think of is helping all the kids escape before it’s too late.

Erik Misman’s newfound love for Helen is tested when he joins a plot to help move Jewish children to a safe place in the countryside. If danger can foster a closer bond with Helen and save the lives of the little ones, he will do it all. But a German patrol that stumbles upon the farm where they are hiding with three children and a soldier who takes an unexpected interest in Helen, could well destroy their plans for safety and love.

 My thoughts: Helen has a heart for children, which is apparent when she works towards becoming a teacher, but also when she puts herself in danger to smuggle Jewish children out of danger. I thought that the author did a wonderful job with bringing history and the characters to life with this story! It was a unique, interesting story of some of the history of Amsterdam during WWII. 

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

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

 

About the Author

Lauralee Bliss is a published author of many romance novels and novellas, both historical and contemporary. Lauralee’s prayer is that readers will come away with both an entertaining story and a lesson that speaks to the heart and soul. When not writing, Lauralee can often be found on the trails where the author has logged over 10,000 miles of hiking. She makes her home in the Blue Ridge mountains with her family. Visit Lauraleebliss.com for more information about the author and her adventures.

 

More from Lauralee Bliss

Oh, the simple beauty of the Netherlands. Windmills. Tulips. Dutch wooden clogs. Beautiful Delftware and delicious speculaas cookies. Quaint villages nestled beside the waters. And here I am, an American that was able to visit this beautiful country on the heels of my husband winning a contest through his work. We had planned to immerse ourselves in Dutch culture, see the sites, and yes, visit places like the Secret Annex of Anne Frank and the town where Corrie ten Boom and The Hiding Place existed. Little did I realize though that this unique trip would become a journey into the heart of a hurting country in World War II. During our time there, we visited the Jewish Quarter in the center of Amsterdam and learned the details of Nazi occupation for many years that eventually caused two-thirds of the Dutch Jewish population to be exterminated. Walking in the place where a theater once stood and Jewish people gathered there to be deported was indescribable. Seeing the Jewish stars embedded in the pavement and noting the name of a man or woman killed at Auschwitz, was heart-wrenching. But through these horrendous details came the strength of courage and heroism. Across the street from the theater, Jewish children were rescued because of the efforts of those who gave everything to see them go into hiding. Thus the book, “Escape from Amsterdam” was born. It honors those that aided and hid Jewish children from the Nazis to avoid deportation. I am grateful for the opportunity to write this story of two common Dutch people, a college student and a grocery store clerk, called to a dangerous mission to save the innocent when the odds were the greatest. It is a timely book that magnifies the strength of courage in adversity and allows us to become better people because of it. I hope you enjoy this journey and as you do, remember those who came before us and allow their acts of courage to encourage you to persevere, no matter what.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 29

The Write Escape, September 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 30

Inklings and notions, September 30

deb’s Book Review, October 1

Holly’s Book Corner, October 1

Texas Book-aholic, October 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 3

Mary Hake, October 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 4

Through the Fire Blogs, October 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 5

Cover Lover Book Review, October 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 6

Labor Not in Vain, October 6

Connie’s History Classroom, October 7

Betti Mace, October 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 8

Remembrancy, October 8

For Him and My Family, October 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 10

Splashes of Joy, October 11

Lights in a Dark World, October 11

Blossoms and Blessings, October 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lauralee is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-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/2224b/escape-from-amsterdam-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Letter

 


She wants a new life.

He’s in danger of losing his.

Will love solve everything — or immerse them in even worse peril?

Restless and ready for a change, Grace Stratton gladly accepts the opportunity to leave her remote parsonage home to serve as a wealthy spinster’s companion in the idyllic country town of Lindenfell. Its warm atmosphere and friendly inhabitants sooth Grace’s lonely heart. But when a mysterious stranger arrives, she soon discovers things aren’t always what they seem.

Convinced chloroform will revolutionise the medical world, Dr. David Carbury frequently administers it to his London patients — until one of them dies. Facing a grave trial to prove his innocence and defend a drug most people view as poisonous, he makes hasty plans to buy time to bolster his case. But he wasn’t expecting to face an even deadlier challenge.

As attraction sparks not long after they meet, Grace soon suspects he’s hiding something, and David knows he can’t run from the truth forever.

But neither of them could imagine the sinister threat lurking just around the corner…

Immersed in faith and intrigue, this Christian Victorian romance from award-winning author Edwina Kiernan will encourage and delight you long after you turn the last page. Pre-order your copy today!

The Letter Excerpt 6 

David stared at him, a sickening sensation coiling in his gut. “No. Augustus, you know as well as I do — there are doctors up and down the country who are using it now — for all kinds of conditions — why, plenty of surgeons use far larger doses than I! It is safe. And I gave Mr. Edwards an appropriate dosage, I know I did!” 

Augustus slowly raised his eyes to look at David. “Well, that matters little enough now. The man is gone.” 

A chill plunged through David’s heart. “What do you mean, it matters little enough now? It matters a great deal, Augustus! I administered a safe dosage. It was not the chloroform that ended his life, it was the cholera for which we were treating him, that is—” 

“You. For which you were treating him. Do not drag me into this, Carbury. I never liked the idea of using that terrible liquid. The culpability for his death is squarely upon your own head.” 

David gaped. “Augustus? What do you—” 

“I never wanted to have anything to do with it all in the first place, David. You knew that. But you insisted that soon use of this horrid substance would become standard practice. That other physicians would laud us as one of the first to adopt it.” He exhaled bitter contempt. “I only wish I had adhered to my own judgement.” He cast his gaze at the floor again. “Had I done so, that man might still be alive.” 



Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Night Songs

 


What’s a girl to do when her life sounds ripped from the lyrics of a country music song?

Charlotte Van Cleave’s hissy-fit reaction to her husband’s infidelity sours her world like a pot of boiled chitlins. She’s left with no husband, no job, and no home—well, besides the dilapidated farmhouse inherited from her nana.

But Charlie learned early that southern girls dig deep when things go sideways. She’d climbed out of the mire when her missionary parents were killed in Congo, endured two late-term miscarriages, and survived the death of her nana and papaw. Too poor to paint and too proud to whitewash, Charlie follows a new path with her interior design skills.

Derek Daniels spent his life serving his country until a helicopter accident ended his military career. Now back home on the family farm, he’s stuck between his philandering brother, Nicky, and the only girl he’s ever loved—sweet Charlie Van Cleave. Unwilling to cross a line, he vows to keep his feelings to himself. Easier said than done when Charlie discovers a mystery surrounding her parents’ death and asks him to help investigate.

What’ll Charlie and Derek have to do to turn those lyrics into a country hit?

 My thoughts: I enjoyed this story when I read it a while back, so it was nice to have the chance to revisit it through the audio book! I thought that Christa DelSorbo does a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life. I love how audiobooks can give me a chance to look at a story again, sometimes in a slightly different light, depending how the actress or actor portrays characters. I loved the layers of this story. The message of faith and forgiveness are a powerful one!

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

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

 

About the Author

Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing—and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies—two in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.

 

 

About the Narrator

Speaking Life into Story

Queen of the one-eyebrow quirk, Christa DelSorbo auditioned for the role of Tarzan’s mom and has the photos to prove she ended up as the only cast member in a literal cast. These days, they keep her stuck in a box with a ball on a stick and only feed her when she reads another chapter of another fabulous book. She loves every minute. Or so they tell her. *eyebrow slowly raises *

 

More from Christa

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 23

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 24

Texas Book-aholic, September 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 26

An Author’s Take, September 27

Inklings and notions, September 28

deb’s Book Review, September 29 (Spotlight)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 1

Simple Harvest Reads, October 2 (Guest Review from Anne Rightler)

Sodbuster Living, October 3

For Him and My Family, October 4

Hallie Reads, October 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 6

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a code for the audiobook!!

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/21aa9/night-songs-audiobook-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sunday, September 25, 2022

His Brother's Atonement

 


Shane Phillips had given up hope of ever meeting the nephew born to the woman his brother assaulted. After checks he sent to Aubrey Anders were returned, Shane decided the most he could ever do was pray for the Anders family. When Shane discovers that he and Aubrey work for the same graphic arts company, he must find a way to assure her he means no harm before both Wyoming branches meet for a conference.

Aubrey thinks she has worked through most of her trauma with the help of her psychologist and loving community. However, meeting Shane Phillips seems to have unleashed suppressed anxiety and insecurity. But as their paths continue to intersect, Aubrey begins to wonder if Shane could be part of God’s plan for her despite their painful connection.

 My thoughts: I was blown away by this story and the beautiful message of grace and forgiveness in the pages. I couldn't imagine being in Aubrey's shoes, having been assaulted and that resulting in pregnancy. Her whole life changed that night, though she chooses to focus on the blessing of her son. When Shane Phillips comes into her life, it reopens those old wounds. 
The author does a wonderful job of handling the sensitive subject. The characters give readers a chance to see them work through a horrible event, from the result of the victim and the family of the attacker. This is a wonderful, well written story that I recommend picking up!

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

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

 

About the Author

Amy Walsh is a 5th-grade teacher who loves teaching children about what she loves to do herself: reading and writing. She enjoys outdoor activities, especially hiking and camping. Amy also appreciates opportunities to share her faith through singing, teaching, and writing for her church family. Amy and her husband, Patrick, have three children: Bree, Spencer, Liz, and a son-in-law, Kyle. Amy and her family love to spend time together celebrating special occasions, listening to great music, swimming and kayaking, and having occasional ping pong tournaments.

 

More from Amy

Thank you for helping me spread the word about my first Whispers in Wyoming novel! I am thrilled to be part of this gospel and heritage-themed series! If you haven’t read any of the novels yet, you are in for a treat! There are thirty-three novels ahead of His Brother’s Atonement — and they are all STANDALONES, so they can be read in any order!

Meet Aubrey, Shane, and Jayson

Aubrey is a young mother and graphic designer from Engelmann, Wyoming. Her terrible experience during college has caused her to keep to herself. Aubrey has no close friends and has never dated. But her parents are supportive, her son keeps her happy and busy, and she loves her job. Aubrey believes she is doing pretty well emotionally until the brother of the man who assaulted her turns up in town.

Shane suffered quite a bit when his brother was tried and imprisoned for assaulting Aubrey. People  actually turned their backs on his family, and Shane’s fiancĂ© ended their engagement. Even worse was watching how it affected his parents. After Shane’s brother died in a freak prison accident, their mother spent several days in the ICU. For years, Shane has yearned to do something to help Aubrey and her son, wanting to atone for his brother’s terrible action. But Shane gave up hope of ever meeting his nephew years ago.

Jayson is Aubrey’s six-year-old son. He is obsessed with cowboys, horses, and the wild west. Art runs in Jayson’s genes from both sides of his family, so it is not surprising that he loves drawing and helping his grandpa with woodworking. Jayson never seemed to notice that he doesn’t have a dad, but when he finds out that his father died, he is so heartbroken that Aubrey promises to let him meet his uncle. So much for her thinking that she would never have to see Shane again!

The Creation of His Brother’s Atonement

I never really know when or how a story idea will enter my head.  I can drive by a house that catches my eye, and the next thing I know, I am imagining the characters that live there and writing their story in my imagination.  Sometimes watching the interactions of people prompts a story.  Other times my ideas come from research.

For His Brother’s Atonement, there were a bunch of factors that came into creating Aubrey and Shane’s story as far as the setting.  I had just been to a writing conference where one of the speakers said that many readers still love contemporary westerns. Adding to that, I had been following the multi-author group Whispers in Wyoming and other authors who wrote westerns, and I had been enjoying their posts.  Additionally, one of my teacher friends has spent portions of her summers out west and I love to hear her talk about landscapes and small communities.   A camping trip to Yellowstone and other western parks has been high on my bucket list for several years.

As for the situation that Aubrey is in, how she became a single mother and how she now deals with anxiety, her story just came to me while I was brainstorming.  Her and her son’s personalities developed in my mind as if they were real people.  I have wondered what it must be like to have a family member who is a criminal, the conflicting emotions it must bring: to still love that person; to be ashamed for what that person has done; to yearn to find a way to help the victim.  So I am sure those thoughts helped me create Shane’s struggles.

I wrote most of Aubrey and Shane’s story while I was spending nights with my grandmother in hospice.  Grammy was often sleeping while lovely hymn instrumentals were playing, and I felt as though I was in a sacred space.  I think some of my own inner struggles with trusting God’s sovereignty, with remembering that God does work out everything for our good, may have become part of the novel.  And in the last chapter when Aubrey prays during the Thanksgiving dinner, you can see some of my own angst about life changing and my own feelings of grief being resolved.

His Brother’s Atonement is a fundraiser!

As I was researching for this novel, I read too many firsthand accounts of women who had been assaulted and the devastating effects of the violence in their lives. According to rainn.org, every 68 seconds another American is assaulted, and one out of every six American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. According to multiples sources, there are at least 30,000 rape-related pregnancies in the U.S. each year. Sexual violence is a significant problem in the U.S., and in other countries around the globe, it is even more rampant.

As I was delving into Aubrey’s thoughts and pondering how her assault had affected her and her family, I decided that I needed to do more to help women and children who have been victimized. As a first step, ten percent of the profits from the sales of His Brother’s Atonement will be donated to Heaven’s Family. To find out more about this organization, follow this link:  https://www.heavensfamily.org/ministries/victims-of-sexual-violence/

Here is the recipe for Nana Ander’s Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pie.

https://walshmountainpublishing.com/2022/03/26/nana-anders-chocolate-chip-oatmeal-pie/

 

Shane and Aubrey’s Anti-Meet-Cute

Aubrey and Shane don’t get to have a “meet-cute”, you know that sweet moment when a couple-to-be meet for the first time? In fact, when Aubrey sees Shane across Engelmann Park, she almost has a panic attack thinking that he is the man who assaulted her.

In the next book about Engelmann Wyoming, Portrait of Redemption, Cody will help Shane set up a “meet-cute” redo. I think it is so adorable that Shane wants to do that for Aubrey!

Two special characters mentioned in His Brother’s Atonement are from another of my novels, Elsie Whitmore. Elsie meets famous actor Graham Thurston for the first time when he tracks her down at her school, determined that she will audition for a movie he is producing. A somewhat spoiled star, he is annoyed that she hasn’t taken calls from his talent agency, so he is cold and judgy during their first meeting. In return, she thinks it is ridiculous for Graham to assume that she would consider giving up teaching just because he liked one of her YouTube videos. They also do not have a cute first meeting!

Here is my meet-cute!  I worked part time at a Sears in a mall while I was going to college. My husband, Pat, was a loss prevention agent there.   A coworker  who had a crush on Pat asked me to draw a Christmas card for her to give to him. In the PS, she told Pat that I was the one that illustrated the card. That led to Pat investigating who I was, and soon he was regularly stopping by my register at Sears to make small talk. He would have silly excuses to stop by, like having me help him put a baby outfit on a stuffed animal to purchase for his nephew.  It could have become very awkward if my co-worker hadn’t developed a crush on someone else in the meantime!

During the launch party for His Brother’s Atonement, some of the readers shared the stories of their first meeting with their husbands.  Some were adorable, and some were so awkward.  Have you shared your “meet-cutes” with your children and grandchildren?  Surprisingly it is something we forget to talk about, but it is part of their heritage!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 24

deb’s Book Review, September 25

Inklings and notions, September 26

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 29

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 1

A Baker’s Perspective, October 2 (Author Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, October 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For the Love of Literature, October 4 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 6 (Author Interview)

Holly’s Book Corner, October 6

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Amy is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 gift card along with His Brother’s Atonement, a Rocky Mountains Shirt and a Rocky Mountains wooden bookmark!!

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/21a6a/his-brother-s-atonement-celebration-tour-giveaway