Book Reviews

Blog Tour: Something Worth Doing Author Interview

SOMETHING WORTH DOING
A Novel of an Early Suffragist
by
Jane Kirkpatrick
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction 
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: September 1, 2020 
Number of Pages: 336
 
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Some things are worth doingeven when the cost is great

In 1853, Abigail Scott was a nineteen-year-old schoolteacher in Oregon Territory when she married Ben Duniway. Marriage meant giving up on teaching, but Abigail always believed she was meant to be more than a good wife and mother. When Abigail becomes the primary breadwinner for her growing family, what she sees as a working woman appalls herand prompts her to devote her life to fighting for the rights of women, including the right to vote. 


Based on a true story, Something Worth Doing will resonate with modern women who still grapple with the pull between career and family, finding their place in the public sphere, and dealing with frustrations and prejudices when competing in male-dominated spaces.
 
PRAISE FOR SOMETHING WORTH DOING:

“I have long admired Jane Kirkpatrick’s rich historical fiction, and Something Worth Doing is well worth reading! Oregonian Abigail Duniway is a vibrant, fiercely passionate, and determined activist who fought for women’s suffrage. Women of today have cause to respect and admire heras well as the loving, patient, and supportive husband who encouraged her to continue ‘the silent hunt.'” Francine Rivers, author of Redeeming Love 

 
“On the trail to Oregon, young Jenny Scott lost her beloved mother and little brother and learned that no matter what, she must persist until she reaches her goal. Remembering her mother’s words‘a woman’s life is so hard’the young woman who became Abigail Scott Duniway came to understand through observation and experience that law and custom favored men. The author brings alive Abigail’s struggles as frontier wife and mother turned newspaper publisher, prolific writer, and activist in her lifelong battle to win the vote and other rights for women in Oregon and beyond. Jane Kirkpatrick’s story of this persistent, passionate, and bold Oregon icon is indeed Something Worth Doing!” Susan G. Butruille, author of Women’s Voices from the Oregon Trail, now in a 25th anniversary edition


Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling and award-winning author of more than thirty books, including One More River to Cross, Everything She Didn’t Say, All Together in One Place, A Light in the Wilderness, The Memory Weaver, This Road We Traveled, and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. 
 
Her works have won the WILLA Literary Award, the Carol Award for Historical Fiction, and the 2016 Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award. Jane divides her time between Central Oregon and California with her husband, Jerry, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Caesar.
 


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Interview with Jane Kirkpatrick,

author of Something Worth Doing 

 

How does your book relate to your training and spiritual practice?

My training or profession is in mental health. My clinical internships were at a Lutheran Family Services center and at a regional burn center. Both were places where I learned about healing and story and found myself schooled by the people who came to us for help. They helped me as well.

When I began writing about the lives of historical women, I discovered I hadn’t left my healing profession behind. Stories heal and inspire. Not surprisingly, the characters heal the writer, too. In Something Worth Doing, the character struggles with the balance of service and family and how to be present in both. That’s the journey of an author, I think, and my spiritual journey as well.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Rewriting it! I was working on a nonfiction chapter about the same historical woman at the center of the novel Something Worth Doing and, somehow, in the novel I lost the story thread and peppered it with facts! Facts are good, of course. I want the stories to be authentic and historically accurate, but the story needs to come first. So, I needed to rewrite it. My editor’s suggestions have made it a better book—at least I think so!

Who are some of the authors you feel were influential in your work?

After my first book, A Sweetness to the Soul, came out, a reader sent me a note saying my writing reminded them of their favorite author, Francine Rivers. I quickly picked up her books and fell in love. Her attention to detail, her depth of character development, and her weaving of faith and spirit have all influenced my own writing. Wallace Stegner’s book Angle of Repose and his other works inspire my love of the West.

 

Do you have any strange writing habits or writing rituals you’d like to share with your readers?

Funny you should ask! I get up really early to write, between 4 and 5:00 a.m., and as I get closer to finishing the book, I get up earlier and earlier, sometimes at 1:30 in the morning. I usually finish my writing day by stopping in the middle of a sentence so I always have a place to begin the next day. Doing that keeps me from having writer’s block.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

I once joined my husband and his hunting partner on a trip into the mountains. The hunting partner didn’t want “a girl” in camp, but he let me come along. I was a good go-fer, never complaining, and at the end of the day he said to my husband,  “Well, she weren’t no trouble and she even helped some.” I’d like that on my tombstone.



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BLOG TOUR: Airborne Guest Post

 
 
 
AIRBORNE
by
DiANN MILLS
Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense 
Date of Publication: September 8, 2020
Number of Pages: 400

Scroll down for the giveaway!

 
 

Heather Lawrence’s long-awaited vacation to Salzburg wasn’t supposed to go like this. Mere hours into the transatlantic flight, the Houston FBI agent is awakened when passengers begin exhibiting horrific symptoms of an unknown infection. As the virus quickly spreads and dozens of passengers fall ill, Heather fears she’s witnessing an epidemic similar to ones her estranged husband studies for a living—but this airborne contagion may have been deliberately released.

While Heather remains quarantined with other survivors, she works with her FBI colleagues to identify the person behind this attack. The prime suspect? Dr. Chad Lawrence, an expert in his field … and Heather’s husband. The Lawrences’ marriage has been on the rocks since Chad announced his career took precedence over his wife and future family and moved out. 


As more victims fall prey days after the initial outbreak, time’s running out to hunt down the killer, one who may be closer to the victims than anyone ever expected.

===
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
The story line for Airborne came to me three and a half years ago. All I had was a what-if: A virus unleashed on an international flight.

The search to find experts who were willing to give me accurate information took another year. Along the way, God placed the right people in my path: a woman and new friend whose doctorate is in microbiology and immunology, a man who trains flight attendants for the airline that I envisioned in my story, a pilot who not only flies for my designated airline but is also a suspense and thriller writer, the amazing people and resources of the CDC, and the wisdom and guidance of the FBI.

Tyndale House Publishers saw my passion for Airborne. This book was completed and edited before COVID-19 spread across our globe. My mission then and now is to show a story that weaves hope, reality, and the sacrificial work of first responders when a deadly virus spreads through innocent people.

My prayer is people will experience God’s presence during our current global crisis. Will you join me in that prayer?

CLICK TO PURCHASE
 
 
 
 
 

 

Stories Have Souls that Breathe Immortality

By DiAnn Mills, author of Airborne

An unforgettable story steps beyond “once upon a time” to a special place that captures the reader’s heart forever. Not every story has that spun gold, and not every reader experiences the same soul-grabbing story. What lingers as a memorable novel for you may not give me an exceptional read. But the criteria are the same: an immortal story touched us, spoke to us, and we were passionately involved in the lives of the characters and their quest.           

A gold-spun story is filled with rare, distinct, haunting, and extraordinary characters who accompany us to our sweet spot of remembrance. Readers and writers dream the character is real and imagine themselves joining the journey. Some readers become the hero or heroine, much like children don super-hero costumes and develop mannerisms of their favorite character.

A writer becomes every protagonist and antagonist. In this way, the writer understands the character’s motivation. How does a writer accomplish this amazing feat? Is there a magic wand to wave over our keyboard?

           There’s no fairy dust in writing. It’s all hard work.

We labor to create characters who are:

  • Multi-dimensional
  • Full of life
  • Possess authentic flaws
  • Solid victories
  • Flawed
  • Believable strengths

We immerse them into a setting that is determined to see the character fail by tossing rocks, swords, bullets, bombs, lies, and the hero’s worst fears into their paths. (Think Indiana Jones and his aversion to snakes.)

We offer the character a way out of their predicament, but the hero refuses. When knocked down, they get back up. When bleeding, they smack on a Band-Aid and keep moving. When they’re defeated in battle, they understand the war is not over.

  • The characters are unique.
  • The characters are not afraid to love or give.
  • They are secure in who they are.
  • They are confident in their abilities and willing to learn new skills.
  • They accept a higher deity called God is in charge of the universe.
  • They make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Their appeal is shown in their response to life’s challenges.
  • They inspire us to be better people.
  • They offer hope in a world that threatens our peace of mind.

Is a writer always successful in establishing the immortal character? Unfortunately, no. But we never give up because it’s in our DNA for each book to be written better than the previous one. We writers are committed to our craft so that our stories and their characters will live forever in a reader’s mind and heart.

What story characters have captured your heart?


 
 


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; director, alongside Edie Melson, of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and Mountainside Retreats; and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers.

DiAnn is passionate about helping other writers be successful and speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston. DiAnn is very active online and loves to connect with readers on social media and at diannmills.com

 

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Each gets a signed, personalized hardcover edition of Airborne
choice of either $25 Amazon or $25 Barnes and Noble e-Gift Card
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Blog Tour: The Republic of Jack

THE REPUBLIC OF JACK
by

Jeffrey KerrPolitical Satire / Texas Humor / Texas Fiction

Publisher: Independently published
Date of Publication: April 7, 2020
Number of Pages: 253

Scroll down for the giveaway!

 

Jack Cowherd will do anything to win the Texas governorship, even flirt with twenty-first-century secessionists in the Texas Patriot Party. Victory is achieved, but only at the cost of Texas being tossed out of the United States. The Republic of Texas lives again! And Jack is president. 

 

Friend and political advisor Tasha Longoria has long warned Jack of the dangers of his demagoguery. Now when he tries to halt the madness, the worst comes to pass: he is impeached, arrested, and charged with treason, the penalty for which is death.
Jack has but one chance to save his beloved Texas, not to mention his life. But success depends upon help from the one person least likely to give it . . . Tasha.


PRAISE for The Republic of Jack:

“Jeff Kerr’s Republic of Jack is a ribald, raucous farce of Texas politics that often exposes the self-serving cynicism boiling beneath the surface of public debate.”

—Texas political reporter R.G. Ratcliffe 


“Jeffrey Kerr’s ideal Texas politician—a man truly for these bitter times—bites off more than any enabler could ever chew in this romp of a new novel,

CLICK TO ORDER ON:
AMAZON


Review

Rating :★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book  from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

The story begins with Jack simply running for Governor of Texas but we see from the start that this election was only the beginning. As the story continues to unfold we notice unexpected twists, turn, and laugh out loud moments that leave you wanting more. Throughout this entire novel you see the true humor and turmoil behind the politics of being apart of an election. As Jack works to keep tabs on his personal life he must also accept the new responsibility’s of being an elected official. Can he survive or will he be impeached?

This humorous adult fiction novel takes you on a hilarious journey. You see Jack not only step up as Governor but then get immediately promoted to President, of Texas. Yes, you read that right. The President of the United States is so fed up with Texas that he has decided to precede with a secession of the state. With the new pressures associated with becoming President, Jack struggles with those in his inner circle. He is trying to decipher between which of his advisors is giving him the best advice. In the meantime his wife is having her own party as the new appointed First Lady. She is so consumed by the fame that she is essentially described as a surface, self absorbed  female. Nadine is simply looking for attention which becomes clear when the Vice President starts noticing her more and more. This part was a bit hard to read as it humorously implied that the women next to government officials were just arm candy. As we watch the marriage of Nadine and Jack stumble we see the true effects of the how often people change their mind in regards to politics. One minute the people of Texas love Jack and the next they fight to get him impeached. This hilarious anecdote focuses on how often people change their opinions.

The author did a great job not only with the humor but the overall plot. I enjoyed the twists and turns and the way the story was told from the various character perspectives. My only downfall of this novel was I wanted a bit more depth. Overall this was a great read.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in reading a humorous adult fiction book. This book is appropriate for adults or young adults due to the mature content on some pages.

 

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!


 

Jeffrey Kerr is the author of three nonfiction books on Texas history, a historical novel, and, most recently, The Republic of Jack, a satirical novel that imagines Texas as an independent country in the twenty-first century. His history of Austin’s founding, Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas, was named one of sixty essential books about Texas by Michael Barnes of the Austin American-Statesman. Kerr also co-wrote and co-produced the documentary film, The Last of the Moonlight Towers, and a feature film, the psychological thriller Writer’s Block. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and two dogs.

 

Website║ Facebook  ║ TwitterInstagram

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Blog Tour: The Key to Everything

THE KEY TO EVERYTHING
by
Valerie Fraser LuesseContemporary Christian Romance

Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: June 2, 2020
Number of Pages: 352

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Based on a true story, Valerie Fraser Luesse’s new novel takes readers on an incredible journey of self-discovery. The poignant prose, enchanting characters, and captivating settings in The Key to Everything make this a moving story that readers won’t soon forget. Peyton Cabot’s fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from WWII a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon, and distancing himself from his son. When a tragic accident separates Peyton from his parents, and the girl of his dreams seems out of reach, he struggles to cope with a young life upended.

Pushed to his limit, Peyton makes a daring decision: he will retrace a slice of the journey his father took at fifteen by riding his bicycle all the way from St. Augustine to Key West, Florida. Part loving tribute, part search for self, Peyton’s journey will unlock more than he ever could have imagined, including the key to his distant father, a calling that will shape the rest of his life, and the realization that he’s willing to risk absolutely everything for the girl he loves.

Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of Missing Isaac and Almost Home, as well as an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse received the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society for her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana. A graduate of Auburn University and Baylor University, she lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Dave. 
 

Website║ Facebook  ║ Blog


 

Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book  from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

 

The story begins with Peyton at yet another family event with the Cabot’s. His father, Marshall, had returned from the war some time ago and was dealing with his own demons from his past. A twist of events leads this semi-normal family into a world of new adventures and past discoveries. As Marshall recovers from an accident, Kate must work to keep his family at arm’s length as fights for his life. The life Payton once knew no longer exists as he works to grasp a hold of who his Father was. After learning of his father’s adventurous bike ride, Payton decides to take the same ride in an attempt to truly understand the father he felt like he never knew. We journey through the rest of this novel with Payton as he discovers who he really is, who his father was, and what love truly means. Will Payton find what he is looking for on his journey or will he die trying?

This is the first book I have read by this author and she has done an amazing job. I have always been interested in books writing based on different time periods. This novel is written based in the year 1947 after the completion of World War II. In the beginning of the book we see Payton described as a young boy who is in love with a new girl in town. However due to the events with his father he decides to break it off with her as he moves to another state state to be with his family as they work to heal. The author dives a bit into he healing process that a family goes through after the loss of a loved one and Payton learning to forgive his father for his alcoholism after returning from the war. Payton simply wants to understand the actions of his father and understand who he was before he went to war. On his long bike journey we see him develop friendships, get glimpse into his father’s past, discover his identity, and building lasting family in different places. He grows up fast after his father’s death and is able to not only take care of himself but those around him. All while he is working on his self discovery, his mother is at home working on grieving from a major loss. She seeks comfort in the Cabot family member and says goodbye to the life she built with her late husband. She learns to grieve in her own way by not only learning to set her husband free but also Payton. There is more to this story but you will have to read it to truly discover the love that exists not only between Marshall and Kate but between Payton and Lisa. Throughout this story you will find yourself not only captivated by the true love that exists but the courage and strength of Payton and his mother.

The author does a wonderful job unpacking multiple themes and plot twists as you continue throughout the novel. You both laugh, cry, gasp, and applaud while you read the stories of each character. Payton’s character is developed so eloquently that you feel as if you have been transported into the story with him as you ride the bike alongside him. Lisa’s character, although not seen as highly focal point character until later in the story, is well written and I enjoyed the bit of family drama that surrounded her character. Each character is developed in a way that provides depth and detail that can only be described as something straight out of a movie. Did I cry while reading this book? Yes. I didn’t cry because it was super emotional. I cried because of the beautiful scene the author created. The father’s passing was described as nothing but an act of God and the mother’s raw emotions when she prayed truly shows the great lengths of a mother’s love. It is often a challenge for to capture the true essence of grieving that is associated with living with a parent who has a destructive addiction that leaves the entire family feeling abandoned and left to pick up the pieces. I loved how the author showcases positive moments in a tumultuous journey. Each journey we take is a bit different but it is nice to read a book that allows you to connect a bit more with the characters and truly see parts of your life represented. This is such a great ode to Father’s and the families they leave behind.

 

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in reading a captivating christian fiction novel based on a true story. This book is appropriate for adults and young adults.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!


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One Winner: Copy of The Key to Everything, Necklace, $25 B&N Gift Card; 
Two Winners: Copy of The Key to Everything + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

June16-26, 2020

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Blog Tour: The First Emma

THE FIRST EMMA
by

Camille Di MaioHistorical Fiction / Historical Romance / Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing
Date of Publication: May 5, 2020
Number of Pages: 315

Scroll down for the giveaway!
The First Emma is the true story of Emma Koehler. Whose tycoon husband Otto was killed in a crime-of-the-century murder by one of his two mistresses – both also named Emma – and her unlikely rise as CEO of a brewing empire during Prohibition. When a chance to tell her story to a young teetotaler arises, a tale unfolds of love, war, beer, and the power of women.
PRAISE for The First Emma

“Di Maio’s take on a shocking American drama pleasantly blends romantic and historical fiction . . . a sweet memorialization of a real-life female business pioneer in San Antonio.” —Kirkus

“A beautifully crafted portrait of an intriguing woman. Mystery and romance are set against the backdrop of fascinating pieces of twentieth-century history, and a richly drawn setting leaves the reader feeling wholly immersed. Historical fiction fans will love this one!” —Chanel Cleeton, NYT bestselling author of Next Year in Havana


“Di Maio does a brilliant job of weaving together all the threads—from past to present—while unearthing a tale of blossoming love, the power of our chosen family, and the losses that make us whole again.” —Rochelle B. Weinstein, USA Today bestselling author of This Is Not How It Ends

CLICK TO ORDER ON:
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Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished ebook  from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

Emma Koehler, known as the first Emma, is a woman of great stature and determination. Her life took an unexpected turn of events as she lived through milestone moments. Emma watched her successful husband take on more than business ventures. Her relationship with her husband is described as purely contractual and far from an emotional connection. However, like any woman, Emma wanted the love of her husband but that would soon be deemed impossible after her accident. We are taken on a journey through history as we watch her story told by Maribel. Maribel is a young woman whose fiancé’ left her for another woman while at war. She answers an and for a job and leaves from Baltimore to Texas. We continue to watch as we learn more about the story of Emma Koehler told from the perspective of Maribel. Will they both find peace in this journey as the dive into the past?

Emma Koehler is a strong female lead who is described as taking charge and using her husband’s wandering eyes as a base to gain privilege in his company. She is an inspiring woman as she continues to take charge despite the many challenges she faced. Although, unable to live the life she wanted she insisted on making the best out of her situation. It was very interesting to read more about each Emma and their role in Otto’s death. We watch as Maribel is set as the narrator after a beginning that would leave any woman begging for a fresh start in a new place. Both women had a different start at life but they struggled with the men in their lives and you can see that connection in the beginning. The reader and the narrator are both captured by the story of Emma Koehler, both on the edge of their seats waiting for her next response. As we learn about each Emma and her role in the infidelity that plagued the Koehler household makes you wonder who is at fault in this situation. Is it the first Emma that lead to the death of Otto or is it the Emma that left? Throughout this story we are captivated by the strength, determination, and resiliency described in the first Emma. In the end, no one left this story unscathed.

I devoured this book in one sitting in less than three hours in an attempt to get to the end. In the beginning you are unsure of which direction the author will take the book as the title captures your attention. You wonder throughout the story, why is there a first Emma? The more the story unfolds then you understand the importance of the writing style and the way the author tells this story. The author does a phenomenal job with the telling of this story that captures the attention of the reader. You feel transported in the prohibition era and into the home of Emma and Otto Koehler. The contrast in stories from Emma and the narrator Maribel allows for a bit of a happy ending for both. I enjoyed reading about both Emma’s past and watching Maribel grow and develop in the story. It is truly remarkable to see such an interesting part of history told in such a way that provokes the reader to do more research on the subject matter. After reading this book I wanted to know more about the story of Emma and Otto. As you continue to journey through each page as the story unravels the intensity of each descriptive detail begins to reveal true emotions displayed by the main characters. Throughout this story I gasped, I cried a little, I laughed, and I applauded.

This is my first time reading a book by this author and I enjoy her writing style and attention to detail. I have read quite a few historical fictions and this book fits the bill of an entrancing read. You get to the end of the book and are excited to read more about the facts of the main character. You can tell the author was passionate about writing this book and took the time to do extensive research to ensure the story was told in a way that did not take the reader’s attention away from the first Emma. In the end, all I can say is “wow” what a wonderfully written book and I wish there was more.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in reading a captivating historical fiction novel. This book is appropriate for adults and young adults since it does not contain lewd content and is an easy read.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!


Camille Di Maio always dreamed of being a writer, though she took a winding path of waitressing, temping, politicking, and real estate to get there. It all came to fruition with the publication of her bestselling debut, The Memory of Us, followed by Before the Rain Falls, The Way of Beauty, and The Beautiful Strangers. In addition to writing, she loves farmers’ markets, unashamedly belts out Broadway tunes when the mood strikes, and regularly faces her fear of flying to indulge her passion for travel. Married for twenty-three years, she home-schools their four children. (Though the first two are off at college now!) She is happy to live in Virginia near a beach. 

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ONE WINNER receives a signed copy of The First Emma
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Thank you, Garden

THANK YOU, GARDEN
By LIZ GARTON SCANLON
Illustrated by Simone Shin
Children’s Picture Book / Poetry / Environment / Ages 3-7
Publisher: Beach Lane Books / Simon & Schuster
Date of Publication: March 3, 2020

Number of Pages: 32

A community garden unites neighbors in this celebration of all the things that grow there, from flowers and fruits, to friendships! 

This ode to working together for a better world will have young readers wanting to plant gardens of their own!

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Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of many beloved books for kids, including the brand new Thank You, Garden, as well as the Caldecott Honor book All the World and others, including several co-authored with her pal Audrey Vernick. Scanlon also wrote the middle grade novel The Great Good Summer and is published in numerous poetry anthologies. She serves on the faculty of the Vermont Faculty of Fine Arts and is a frequent and popular presenter at conferences and festivals. Find more about her life and work at www.LizGartonScanlon.com



Follow illustrator Simone Shin on Instagram!

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THANK YOU, GARDEN and ANOTHER WAY TO CLIMB A TREE
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Blog Tour : A Firm Place to Stand

A FIRM PLACE TO STAND
by
LORI ALTEBAUMER
Genre: Christian / Romantic Suspense
Independently published
Date of Publication: January 25, 2020
Number of Pages: 321

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Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished pdf copy from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

Has there ever been a moment in your life where you’ve felt like you can’t catch a break? Have you ever felt as though you were a burden to everyone you encounter? The main character Maribel has nothing but shortcomings her entire life but a job opportunity at Summer Camp in the middle has become available. She hasn’t had the best of luck with jobs or relationships but this may be her chance for a fresh start. That is until her car malfunctions and catches ablaze as she nears her new town. Within the first twenty-four hours of her arrival to her new town she finds a corpse in the river on her morning job, her car catches fire, and she has unexpectedly become involved in the secrets of her new town. Will she be able to uncover the secrets behind the dead body and the potential missing person? Can she keep her current role? How long can she keep her past hidden and stay hidden?

This book starts at a steady pace with the introduction of the main character and the author does a great job of capturing your attention in the beginning. We watch as Maribel’s character develops more as the storyline begins to unfold. The book begins with us seeing a glimpse into the past of Maribel and the preconceived notions she has about the people in her new town. She must learn to keep her guard up but also work to remove the walls she placed around herself to allow people a chance to get to know her. I enjoyed the development of each character and the realistic emotions tied to each character. Of course, as the story moved on I felt remorse for Maribel as she struggled to forgive herself for her past and move forward with the opportunity she was given. The author does a wonderful job of being descriptive when it came to explaining each character’s emotions, actions, and interactions. The writing style was intriguing where the author took the approach to alter between perspectives. There was no one true narrator in my opinion. The story was being told by each character and enjoyed getting the chance to be inside the mind of each character which aided in understanding the character development fully. I spent a great deal of time being both shocked and on the brink of tears while reading this book as it hit close to home to watch the main character try so hard. You can watch as the town’s secrets begin to unfold and Maribel sees who she can trust. With the journalist’s background in tow, she can observe her surroundings and get to the bottom of the town’s biggest secrets while simultaneously not realizing how sinister the villain in this novel is. I was thoroughly surprised and gasped out loud as finally came to the end of this book. All I can say is well done what a remarkable tale.

The author takes an interesting approach to the Christian based thriller. As the story continues to unfold you feel involved in the development of each character and invested in the outcome of the story. However, I did feel it was a little dry in some areas and wanted a bit more action. I felt there were high points in the story and a few low points in the story where I felt could have been developed a bit more. However, overall this was a well written Christian thriller. You can tell the author worked hard to have the biblical aspects of the story to fit well within the chapter. I enjoyed the fact that the author inserted a practical biblical tip of forgiveness and the importance of forgiveness. It is inspirational to see that focus inside this specific text that contains aspects of betrayal, loss, grief, and victimization. The author showcases the challenges of forgiveness from both parties. She sheds light on the perspective of forgiveness from the accuser and the person who has experienced the loss. the Bible discusses the importance of forgiveness throughout and the importance of relying on God to provide peace in the middle of a storm or turmoil. Special thanks to the author for doing a phenomenal job at incorporating the biblical aspect and the ability to have it flow so well.

 

I highly recommend this book for any who is interested in reading a thrilling christian mystery novel. This book is appropriate for young adults and higher as there isn’t any foul or rude content.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!



 

A life-long Texan, Lori lives in a small community not far from the rugged West Texas landscape she loves to write about. The mother of now-grown twins, she has learned that the secret to survival is a well-developed sense of humor and an active prayer life. After years spent working in the insurance business, Lori now uses her time to educate, inspire, encourage, and entertain through the written word.

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Blog Tour: The Caretakers

THE CARETAKERS
by
ELIZA MAXWELL
Genre:  Psychological Thriller / Gothic Fiction / Sisters Fiction 
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: April 14, 2020
Number of Pages: 317Scroll down for the giveaway!

In the isolated estate she’s found the perfect getaway. But there’s no escaping the past in this chilling novel from the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl.

Filmmaker Tessa Shepherd helped free a man she believed was wrongly imprisoned for murder. When he kills again, Tessa’s life is upended.
She’s reeling with guilt, her reputation destroyed. Worse, Tessa’s mother has unexpectedly passed away, and her sister, Margot, turns on her after tensions from their past escalate. Hounded by a bullying press, Tessa needs an escape. That’s when she learns of a strange inheritance bequeathed by her mother: a derelict and isolated estate known as Fallbrook. It seems like the perfect refuge.A crumbling monument to a gruesome history, the mansion has been abandoned by all but two elderly sisters retained as caretakers. They are also guardians of all its mysteries. As the house starts revealing its dark secrets, Tessa must face her fears and right the wrongs of her past to save herself and her relationship with Margot. But nothing and no one at Fallbrook are what they seem.

“Suspense fans will be satisfied.” —Publishers Weekly

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Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished audiobook from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

 

Have you ever thought you were making the right decision and then it turns out it could have been wrong? Tessa thought she was making the right decision when she helped to free someone she felt was innocent but her core is shaken the killer strikes again. Not only is Tessa facing the challenges of a crippling career after a murder was released on her watch but now there is turmoil in her family. Her relationship with her sister is tumultuous and now she must work with her sister to uncover the family’s many secrets as an estate turns up as an inheritance to both women. As Tessa works to uncover the mystery behind the estate in Fallbrook, she finds more than she bargained for.

This captivating audiobook captures you from the moment it begins with a vivid telling of this suspenseful novel. The author does an amazing job with the selection of the narrators for this book. Each narrator being picked precisely for the personality of the main characters. I loved that the story was told from different perspectives allowing the reader to engage with each character. The transitional viewpoints allow the reader to gain a better understanding of the two sets of sisters and how their timelines and stories intertwine.

You ever come to the end of a novel and wonder, did that just end like that? That was me finishing this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the entirety of this novel. The author did an exceptional job creating a novel that allows the reader to be connected and intertwined with each character. I felt every emotion that lined the pages of this novel as the characters’ stories started to unwind. There are twists, there are turns, there are moments where you want to both scream and cry at the same time. The ending left me to want ing more from the story and it completes shock. The reality of the struggles Tessa faces with her anxiety is both empowering and impactful. How many times have we all put on a facade but have been facing a crippling fear and anxiety underneath? It reminds me of some of the same emotions I faced when I struggled with anxiety but did not share it with anyone. The struggles Tessa and Margot faced with their relationship provides a realistic approach to how the lack of communication and cause the downfall of a family. Everyone had good intentions but sometimes those can be misinterpreted. I wonder how longer Dierdre can keep up the facade with Kitty and what’s next for Tessa.

This is my first time reading a book written by this author but I am thoroughly invested in her writing style and the way the words flow throughout this story. There were a few times that I was a bit lost trying to keep up with the supporting characters but overall this book was phenomenal. I enjoy this type of historical based writing style that captures the essence of an authentic thriller storyline that has you at the end of your seat during the full ride.

I highly recommend this book for any who is interested in reading a thrilling mystery novel. This book is appropriate for young adults and higher as there isn’t rude content but it does discuss anxiety and parts of the story can be a bit heavy for younger audiences.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!

Eliza Maxwell is the author of The Shadow Writer, The Widow’s Watcher, The Unremembered Girl, The Grave Tender, and The Kinfolk. She writes fiction from her home in Texas, which she shares with her ever-patient husband, two impatient kids, a ridiculous English setter, and a bird named Sarah. An artist and writer, a dedicated introvert, and a British-cop-drama addict, she enjoys nothing more than sitting on the front porch with a good cup of coffee. For more information, visit www.elizamaxwell.net.


 

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Blog Tour: Violence/Joy/Chaos

VIOLENCE / JOY / CHAOS
by
Jane Marshall Fleming
Essays / Poems
Publisher: Rhythm & Bones Press
On Twitter
Date of Publication: April 1, 2020
Number of Pages: 154

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This debut full-length hybrid collection of essays and poetry explores the moments of joy and chaotic hilarity that mingle with the experiences of trauma and trauma recovery.

Jane Marshall Fleming writes with boldness and shows the beauty in every moment amidst violent chaos, embracing joy just as much as darkness. Moving from a backdrop of a small Virginia town and eventually finding herself in the freedom and wilderness of the desert, readers will follow the author on her journey mapping her skin, sharing in her joys, grief, pain, loss, discovering love and self-growth, night-blooming like a desert flower.

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Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

Have you ever had to make a challenging life choice? Held a secret from a family member? Have you ever been judged? Violence/ Joy/ Chaos is a collection of poetic writing that focuses on the life of the author. The author spends time diving into the most life-changing and challenging moments in her life. She takes you on the journey of love, loss, grief, self-discovery, pain, anger, and finally freedom. 

There aren’t too many words that I could use to fully describe how beautifully written this book of poetry is written. This book of poems flows wonderfully together as the author allows the reader to be transferred into her life. The highly descriptive writing style allows for the emotions of the author to be transferred onto the page. It is such a challenge to portray such raw emotions in such a way that not only captures the attention of the reader but also provides a connection between the reader and the storyline. There are moments during the reading that feel her anger, sadness, grief, love, pain, and finally freedom. You feel as though not only is she free from herself. Although her road to recovery and freedom was tumultuous it is truly enlightening to take on the journey to her discovering herself. The most beautiful part of this book is knowing that although she finally was able to find true love she still struggled daily with control. That is inspiring to know that it is okay to struggle even after you become free. Here dialogue with herself is powerful and shows the reader the true power of words. One of the most important conversations you will have is the one you have with yourself. 

I cried, I laughed, and I gasped while reading this book of poetry. There were a lot of instances where the author captures the essence of each moment being described. Throughout this collection of essays and poems, you find yourself crying when she cries, laughing when she laughs, and rejoicing in those moments of triumph. We are all transferred into her life as she takes us on a long-awaited journey through the years and we watch her find her voice and discover herself. There were a few moments where I essentially had to stop and process the information that was delivered. The following quote resonated with me the most. 

I had forgotten what brought me here. The loss, the pain. I left my

phone in the house while we walked. No buzzing, no texts, no pain.

No pain.

It encourages you to consider the times you have lost someone and have wandered from the path you were previously on. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a loss, it can be the end of a relationship, a traumatic event, or anything that has thrown your life for a loop. It reminds of those moments where you wander aimlessly hoping to find a place that has a solid ground or a place that will make you whole. I learned that wholeness for me didn’t come from a person but came from the Bible and building that relationship. Although you may find your freedom, it is okay to struggle but it is important to stay grounded and find your roots. 

I highly recommend this novel for any mature young adult. There are a few instances where they could be trigger warnings for those who have suffered abuse (sexual and domestic), struggled with suicide, and suffered a loss. I would take caution if you decide to read this book but overall the remaining context is appropriate for mature readers and adults. Special thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this book and thanks for writing it. It is an inspiring text. 

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!


Bourdeau Photo
Jane Marshall Fleming is an author and artist living in Austin, Texas. She currently works as an assistant instructor at the University of Texas at Austin and is also the author of the chapbook, Ocotillo Worship (Apep Publications, 2019). Violence/Joy/Chaos is her first full length collection.

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Blog Tour: Out of the Embers

OUT OF THE EMBERS
MESQUITE SPRINGS, BOOK ONE
by
Amanda Cabot
Historical Fiction / Christian Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 3, 2020
Number of Pages: 336

Scroll down for the giveaway!
 
Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own.

At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.



PRAISE FOR OUT OF THE EMBERS:

Out of the Embers is part prairie romance, part romantic suspense. I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a book more. Amanda Cabot has written an intriguing, chilling mystery and she winds it through the pages of a sweet romance in a way that made me keep turning the pages fast to see what was going to happen next. An absolutely excellent read. And now I’m hungry for oatmeal pecan pie!” 

Mary Connealy, author of Aiming for Love, book #1 in the Brides of Hope Mountain series
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Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

 

What lengths would you go to protect someone you loved? Evelyn Radcliffe’s life was forever changed ten years prior after her parents’ were murdered in their restaurant. She has spent the last ten years in an orphanage that she has now called home. Although the sheriff said her parent’s murderer was captured and hung, she still feels as though she is being watched. Her suspicions have become more evident after she and Polly narrowly miss being killed in a fire that took the lives of those in the orphanage. Evelyn must step up as guardian for Polly and work to protect them from the person who appears to want them both dead. After the orphanage burns down Evelyn decides to take Polly and leave the town she has called home for far too long. After a harsh storm, Eveyln and Polly take shelter in the home of Wyatt Clark in the town of Mesquite. Soon she will realize there is more to the new town that a kind stranger. Will they both survive? Will Evelyn let go of the guilt that she carries and move forward with her new life?

In this first installment of a new Christian Historical Fiction series, Cabot dives into the realm of historical fiction. The author does a phenomenal job with the telling of. the story of Evelyn and Polly. The storyline flows seamlessly with twists and turns on every corner. I thoroughly enjoyed the emotional connection the author enabled with her writing style. I was able to fully connect with each character and truly feel transported into this time period. Each supporting character played a major role in the overall plot and the author even provided a teaser at the end of the book. I enjoyed how Eveyln’s character is developed as a strong female protagonist with a compassionate heart to serve others. I also enjoyed the Christian based aspect of this novel and the influence of the scriptures. There is one part of the story where Wyatt looks at Evelyn and tells her that the truth will set her free. Evelyn has been carrying the weight of her parent’s death and the weight of the burning down of the orphanage on her shoulders far too long. At that moment she feels as though God has saved her for a reason. Which we will later find out towards the end of the story and we come to find out more about Polly and why she won’t share her last name.

I felt a strong connection to this novel. Often times we don’t fully understand how God truly intervenes in our lives to save us because our saving is tied to saving someone else. I would implore the readers to really consider this as they dive into this book. Think a moment where you know that God has saved you to only use you to provide a blessing to someone else or use you to save someone else.

Overall this is truly a remarkably written Christian historical fiction novel that allowed the reader to be transported into the story. The author spent time developing every supporting character, the description of the setting, and the plot. This all combined created a well-rounded novel with a heartbreaking beginning and a happy ending. I highly recommend this novel for anyone looking for a Christian based novel as such that focuses on fear, grief, strength, and love.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!


Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.
 

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Copy of Out of the Embers + Special Hill Country Sweets Cookbook
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Copy of Out of the Embers + Special Hill Country Sweets Cookbook 
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March 10-March 20, 2020
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